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Australian Bulldog

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The Australian Bulldog represents an effort to improve on English Bulldogs, which are already one of the most popular canines in the world.

Here is the Australian Bulldog at a Glance
Name Australian Bulldog
Other Names Australian Bosdog
Nicknames None
Origin Australia
Average size Medium large
Average weight 60 to 75 pounds
Average height 17 to 20 inches at the shoulder
Life span 10 to 12 years
Coat type Short, smooth
Hypoallergenic No
Color Red, mahogany, fawn, brindle
Popularity Not widely known
Intelligence Above average
Tolerance to heat Poor
Tolerance to cold Poor
Shedding Average
Drooling Some
Obesity A risk
Grooming/brushing Minimal
Barking Not excessive
Exercise needs Not excessive
Trainability Average
Friendliness Fairly friendly
Good first dog Okay
Good family pet Yes
Good with children Yes
Good with other dogs Not great
Good with other pets Not great
Good with strangers Wary, watchdog instincts
Good apartment dog No
Handles alone time well Average
Health issues Hip and elbow dysplasia, skin and eye problems, obesity
Medical expenses Annual average $200
Food expenses Annual average $230
Miscellaneous expenses Annual average $70
Average annual expense $550
Cost to purchase $1,000-$1200
Biting Statistics Known human attacks: 1 Maiming: 1 Child Victim: 1

The Australian Bulldog’s Beginnings

The Australian Bulldog, also known as the Australian Bosdog, is a brand new breed that began to be developed in the nineteen sixties, but its roots go far back in time, to the English Bulldog.

The English Bulldog started existence as a large canine meant for herding and driving livestock, but in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries it also became a popular choice for bullbaiting, where a bull, or sometimes a bear, was tethered to a post, and then dogs were released to attack and kill it. The dogs were also frequently maimed or killed, but the Bulldog, with its massive head and jaws, and loose skin that was hard for a bear to grab firmly, survived better than other dogs. They continued to be bred for size and ferocity, but in the nineteenth century, when bullbaiting was outlawed, Bulldog lovers began to work to change the breed, crossbreeding it with other, gentler dogs, such as Pugs, to make it more suitable as a family companion. The end result was the modern English Bulldog, which is gentle, playful, and lacking aggressive tendencies.

Another result of the breeding efforts, however, was that English Bulldogs are one of the unhealthiest breeds around, vulnerable to hip dysplasia, vision problems, trouble breathing, and with heads so large that pups typically have to be born by caesarian section.

Despite health problems, English Bulldogs are extremely popular, including in Australia; but some breeders in Queensland, Australia, decided to try to create a new and improved version that would have the English Bulldog’s wonderful personality and temperament, but be better adapted to the harsher Australian environment, and not have the health issues common to the English variety.

In this effort, English Bulldogs were bred with Bull Mastiffs, Boxers, and crossbreed hunting dogs, with an effort made to keep the English Bulldog part of the mix at a little less than seventy-five percent. This breeding program started in the nineteen sixties and has continued. An Australian Bulldog Society was formed to begin work on standardizing the dogs in an effort, not yet successful, to have them recognized as a separate breed by the Australian Kennel Club. The new society also decided to give the dog a new name, and it is now officially the Australian Bosdog, although Bulldog is also still commonly in use.

The Dog You See Today

The Australian Bulldog, or Bosdog, looks very much like its progenitor, with a large square head, wide muzzle, and flat face with jowls. It is somewhat heavier than the English Bulldog, weighing in at around sixty to seventy-five pounds. It stands seventeen to twenty inches at the shoulder. The body is heavy-boned and compact. The ears are square and wide set, and the teeth are scissored. The coat is short and smooth, and comes in any number of different colors, including mahogany, red, fawn and brindle. There is often a patch over one or both eyes. The tail is medium length and straight, tapering from a thick base.

The Inner Australian Bulldog



The Bosdog has a reputation for friendliness and calm temperament. It inherits intelligence from its English forebears, and is generally easygoing around people, although it is somewhat wary and protective around strangers, and actually makes a good watchdog.

The Bosdog is very loyal, protective and affectionate. It can be very playful, and enjoys its people a lot. Like its English forebears, it is playful, patient and forgiving around children, so it makes a very good family dog.

Living with an Australian Bulldog

What will training require?

The Bosdog is smart, but can also be somewhat stubborn. Training takes some time and effort, but when it is properly motivated the Bosdog can pick up new skills easily. It also has some well-ingrained needs for dominance, and this can create problems around other dogs at times, so early and determined socialization is necessary.

How active are they?

This is not a very good dog for apartment dwellers, in part because of its size and tendency to be a barker. It does best in a fenced yard, although the yard does not have to be that large, and it is not an escape artist, and won’t create problems by digging out of or under a fence. It is, as it happens, a good swimmer, and loves being in the water.

The Bosdog’s energy level is not super high, much like its English cousin, and its needs for exercise and activity are not excessive. It actually has no problem with just lying around, although it does run the risk of getting fat.

Caring for the Australian Bulldog

Grooming requirements

The Australian Bulldog has moderate grooming needs, it should be brushed at least once a week using a firm bristled brush. They shed a moderate amount on a regular basis so there will be loose hair to deal with. It can have wrinkles which will need to cleaned out and kept dry to prevent infection. Use a damp cloth and wipe his face and jowls daily particularly if in a hot or humid climate. Should the skin there become irritated you can get an ointment from the vet. Bathing should be kept to when it needs one, not done on an overly regular basis as that damages the natural oils in its skin.

Other grooming requirements include clipping the nails if they become too long, brushing teeth at least two times a week and checking and wiping its ears once a week.

Feeding the Bosdog

The Bosdog on average will need to be fed 2½ to 3 cups of good quality dry dog food each day. That should be split into at least two meals to prevent issues with Bloat. Measuring out the food is a good idea as it also helps to control the dog's tendency to overeat and become obese. The amount it needs to eat will vary depending on activity level and general health.

Getting along with children and other pets

While good with children, it is not always that good with other dogs, because of its dominance needs, and is also not the best canine to live with if your family has other, small pets. This does not have to be a problem, however, if the Bosdog is subjected to firm, early and consistent socialization.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

As noted, part of the rationale for developing this new breed of Bulldog was the chronic health problems that the English Bulldog is prey to. Unfortunately, the Bosdog does still appear to have some of the issues that create problems with the English variety. It is still vulnerable to hip and elbow dysplasia. It has some problems with eye irritation and infections, as well as skin problems. It is at risk for obesity. As the breeding program continues, some of these problems may dwindle. Time will tell.

Biting Statistics

The Bosdog is a new dog so statistics for attacks do not date back far. There has been one reported incident of a Bosdog attacking a child. The child victim was maimed and the dog was put down. Maiming means the victim was left with scarring, disfigurement or loss of limb. With 15 to 20 years of history, one known incident is a relatively number. To better ensure you do not have problems it is important you get a dog suited to your needs, that the dog is given the training and socialization it needs and the love and exercise it needs. A well raised and well homed dog is far less likely to have any attack incidents.

Your Pup’s Price Tag


The first difficulty may be locating an Australian Bulldog. They are reportedly becoming popular in Australia, and there is even a rescue society there, associated with the Australian Bosdog Society; but outside of Australia you may be out of luck. If you do locate one, it won’t be a bargain basement dog. The expected price for an Australian Bosdog runs in the neighborhood of $1,000 to $1,200 Australian, or $700 to $840 U.S. Then there would be the cost of shipping, if you are outside Australia.

Once you have your Bosdog pup, the next step of course would be having it spayed, if it is female, or neutered if it is male, which probably will cost about $200, plus routine initial medical procedures like deworming for another $70 or $75. Then of course your new pup will need a license for $15 or $20, and a leash and collar for about another $40.

After that comes obedience training. An initial set of lessons will usually cost in the neighborhood of $120, and you might or might not want to go beyond that, depending on what else you want the Bosdog to learn.

Next comes food. While it is a pup, you will want to provide your Bosdog with food designed for large dogs. That kind of food is typically high in protein and somewhat lower in calories so that you dog won’t grow too fast, and its bones will be able to keep up with the rest of its body. Over all, expect to pay around $230 a year for quality dog food. That does not count treats, of course, which can add up to as much or as little as you wish, keeping in mind that the Bosdog will have a propensity for overeating and getting fat.

Generally, you can figure that keeping your Australian Bulldog happy, healthy and well fed will run your around $550 a year.


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The Australian Bulldog, now preferably known as the Australian Bosdog, represents an effort to re-create the English Bulldog in a new version that will fit the Australian environment better and not be prone to as many of the English dog’s health problems. This is an experiment that only began a little more than fifty years ago, and the jury is still out on its success. It has, however, begun to be a popular breed in Australia. It is not yet recognized as a breed by the Australian Kennel Club, but it does have its own organization, the Australian Bosdog Society.

The Bosdog has very much the same look as the English Bulldog, although it is somewhat larger and heavier. Like its English cousin, it is fairly placid and easygoing, and extremely affectionate. It is playful, and gentle, and gets along well with children. It is generally a good family dog, although it may present problems around smaller pets. That is a problem that can be minimized with early and consistent socialization. It is also somewhat stubborn, but trains reasonably well.

It is not common outside Australia, but over time that can be expected to change as more people discover its good qualities.

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