American Bulldogs have short, smooth coats that don't require much grooming. These dogs shed heavily, though, so owners use particular practices for reducing the amount of shedding. See below for further info about maintaining an AB's coat (including a section dedicated to brushing), other areas of care, and details about shaving this breed's coat.
American Bulldog grooming doesn't take too much work; in a nutshell, this is a "wash-and-go" breed. Though they shed a good bit year-round, these dogs' short-haired, smooth coats don't mat or tangle, so they'll need brushing (described in more detail in the Brushing section) once or twice a week. They'll require baths every couple of months, unless they get particularly dirty or stinky. And while these Bulldogs don't need haircuts, some owners shave the coats every 2-3 months because they believe that cuts down on the amount of shedding--though it's debatable whether or not that's the case.
American Bulldog bathing info can be found below.
If you choose to shave your American Bulldog, more details on the process can be found in the Styling & Haircuts section of this page.
Brush your American Bulldog at least once a week to help remove dead hairs. Owners say they like to brush their Bulldogs outside, as doing so in the house means they'll have to thoroughly vacuum the room afterward. The best brush for an American Bulldog is actually not a brush, but a rubber grooming glove. (Others say a curry comb works great too.) Before brushing, wipe the coat with a disposable wipe to remove dirt and moisten the hair, then go over the coat thoroughly with the glove or comb, starting at the shoulders and working downward and backward; make sure to follow the natural lay of the hair.
Owners of these dogs often ask, "How often should I bathe my American Bulldog?" Unless the dog gets especially dirty or stinky (in which an "emergency bath" is called for), every 2-3 months is a good interval.
When bathing an American Bulldog, be sure to use shampoo made for dogs, as the human kind has a different pH and can irritate the dog's skin. The best shampoo for an American Bulldog includes brands like Earthbath, 4-Legger, and Pro Pet Works--all of which will make your American Bulldog smell, look, and feel great.
Before the bath, give the dog a good brushing. You can bathe your Bully in either a bathtub or an outdoor plastic pool (using a garden hose as a water source). First wet the coat thoroughly, then apply some American Bulldog shampoo to the dog's back. Lather well, working downward and outward; don't forget the legs, underbelly, and tail! Clean the face, head, and ears with a washcloth, then rinse the coat completely.
Towel-dry the dog, then give the coat another quick brush-through to make it look clean and neat.
Besides its coat, an American Bulldog will need regular maintenance in other areas:
- Ears: American Bulldogs, more than many breeds, are prone to yeast infections in their ears. Check inside your AB's ears weekly for any signs of infection, and clean in there with a cotton ball and a gentle, vet-approved cleanser. (If the outer ear canal shows signs of infection--redness or brown/yellow discharge--see a veterinarian right away.)
- Teeth: Just like humans, dogs need their teeth brushed regularly to promote decay and bad breath. Brush your AB's teeth once or twice a week using canine toothpaste.
- Nails: If your AB's nails "click" when the dog walks/runs on hard surfaces, it's time for a trim. Clip the nail using standard clippers--but make sure not to cut them too short! Doing so can cut into the "quick" (the vein running through the nail), making it bleed and be painful.
American Bulldog coats are too short to receive proper "styled" haircuts. Some AB owners, though, shave their dogs' coats to half their length or less, as they say that doing so reduces the volume of shed hair and helps keep the dog cool in the warmer months. Many professional groomers frown upon the practice (and some even refuse to do it), because of the danger of injuring the dog with the clippers.
If you choose to shave your AB, it might be good to find a groomer willing to do it; if not, it can be done at home using high-quality dog grooming clippers. Groomers say that using a #10 or a #15 blade is best on short-haired dogs; clip the hair moving in the same direction as it grows--but make sure not to apply too much pressure on the clippers, as doing so can cut the skin beneath.