The Southern Bulldog can trace its origins back to indigenous American working dogs, many of which populated the Rural south over the last 200 years. How much actual "Bulldog" exists in the mix is anybody's guess, but the breeds which might comprise the Southern Bulldog include Boxer, English Bulldog, Mastiff, White English Terrier, Labrador, Catahoula, American Staffordshire Terrier, Plott Hound and Black mouth Cur to name a few.

Southerns were used widely as general purpose utility dogs - anything from watchdog to companion dog to hunting. Some lines have been trained successfully to compete in Obedience and Weight pull competitions. Other lines have competed at high levels in Sport work such as French Ring and Schutzhund, although they will probably never match the German Shepherds or Malanois at high levels in this field. This is because Southerns have evolved for generations on farms performing general utility work. They are a "Jack of all trades" breed that has the intelligence, loyalty, athleticism and tenacity to take on just about any task.

Variously known as American Bulldogs (AB's), Old Southern Whites (OSW's), Johnson Bulldogs (JDJAB's) or White English (WEB's), these dogs varied in size, colour, temperament and appearance depending on the geographical area they populated and the tasks for which they were used. Some breeders believe that there remain "pure" examples of each of these breeds (or lines) in certain geographical areas, but this has proved to be impossible to verify. All that can be said with accuracy is that there have been a very few "lines" that have been bred and kept within families for many years. What the origins of these lines are, less than a hundred years ago, nobody knows. To complicate matters further, these same lines have been interbred to such an extent that it is often not possible to source their origins.

I think that the answer to the "big question" about the origins of the American Bulldog is a rather simple one.  Aside from the well documented, and comparatively recent infusion of registered English Bulldog made by J.D. Johnson, there is absolutely NO PROOF that the American Bulldog of today originated  anywhere else but the USA. A common belief amongst breeders is that English settlers brought Bulldogs with them when they arrived during the 17th and 18th century. Between 1732 and 1736, it has been documented that many English settlers moved into the Georgia area, bringing with them a variety of livestock - including dogs. It is reasonable to expect that these dogs may well have been representations of the English Bull or Bear baiting dogs. However, there is no definitive proof - only supposition. Whether these dogs remained in their "pure" form, or to what extent they interbred and "evolved" over the next 250 years is debatable. What is apparent, however, is that the Southern Bulldog originated from a variety of working dogs with the purpose being to create a useful, intelligent and strong farm dog that could accomplish a variety of tasks. The fact that these tasks varied considerably from area to area (hunting Vs. working cattle Vs. watchdog Vs. predator control) dictated the selection of dogs used, and therefore the structure, colour and temperament preferred.

Commonly regarded as the grandfather of the American Bulldog is John D. Johnson of Georgia. This gentleman did more to establish and popularise the breed than anyone. After World War Two, he gathered together as many good examples of the breed as he could find, sourcing dogs from farms throughout the rural south. Obviously, there were no pedigrees on these dogs. Johnson relied on his memories and experiences with these dogs since his youth in the 1920's and 1930's. He then set about breeding best to best in order to set a consistent "type" and temperament. In 1985, Johnson changed the name of his dogs from "American Pit Bulldog" to "American Bulldog" to avoid the inevitable and unwanted confusion with "American Pit Bull Terriers".

In 1970, the first official Standard was written for the American Bulldog. "These breed standards were established by John D. Johnson of Georgia, Alan Scott of Alabama, and the Alabama-Georgia American Bulldog Club. These standards were approved and the American Bulldog was approved for registration by the National Kennel Club on July 7, 1970." (Quoted from the original Standards document).

Whilst it is important to have an understanding of the history of the Southern Bulldog, most important for our breeding program is where we are going in the future. We cannot change history, but we are setting clear goals for the future.

Since 1996, we have been involved in collecting quality dogs from America and New Zealand in an effort to breed a line of dogs that are healthy, people friendly, sound of temperament and capable of doing the kind of general work their ancestors were prized for. I have selected away from dog & human aggression towards trainability and athleticism. Most people want a dog that will be a reliable and stable family member - not a  dog that will bite people or other dogs without extreme provocation. We are striving to produce dogs which will not be subject to health problems such as hip dysplasia or NCL. This is a time consuming, expensive but rewarding process.

Since 1996, we have kept our yard closed to the public. We do not sell to other breeders or those who are looking to make a quick buck. We have always retained all the paperwork on our dogs in an effort to control future breedings and directions. We enjoy an excellent working relationship with a few quality breeders, and will continue to strive for  the very best in form and function.
The reason for the name change to "Southern Bulldog" away from "American Bulldog" is to distance ourselves from some of the unprofessional, unethical and inept "breeders" populating Australia today.

Our "Southerns" represent the essence of the old working farm dog of the rural south. A once dying breed that has successfully made the transition from the American Deep South to the great Down Under.


You can see from the picture opposite how our Southerns manage to "get along". They can usually be relied upon to remain non-aggressive unless directly challenged or threatened. This means all the fun of ownership without the hassles of breaking up dog fights.


Despite their stable temperament and friendly disposition, Southerns are certainly not a breed for the inexperienced. They are highly active, powerful dogs that require training, supervision and daily exercise. A bored Southern will quickly become a nuisance around the home. Owners must be prepared to devote plenty of time to their dog in order to get the best out of them. Formal training is recommended.

Southerns relaxing by the back door
Whenever you go outside, your Southern will be right there waiting for you!


A Southern puppy


This is an American Bulldog typical of the type used as working farm dogs.

We have used quality working American Bulldog stock to produce a line of dog that is intelligent, stable, healthy and trainable. Unfortunately, many American Bulldog breeders today are producing dogs of exaggerated physical and mental characteristics - dogs which bear little resemblance to the working dogs of old.
In view of the fact that there is very little proven "bulldog" blood in todays dogs, it seems inaccurate and downright misleading to refer to them as bulldogs at all. We are in the process of using DNA profiling in an attempt to determine the exact make up of these lines, but it is likely that science will not allow accurate results for some time yet.
In the mean time, we call our dogs "Southerns". A great working hairy family member, thats a pleasure to own.

Our breeding program is not open to the public yet, but rest assured, we are working tirelessly using DNA profiling, Hip scoring and temperament screening in an effort to produce the best quality dogs possible.
Please feel free to check in from time to time and see how we are going!

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