Many American bulldogs stop growing between the ages of 12 and 14 months old; some may not be full-grown American bulldogs until the age of 2. Like humans, dogs are individuals who don't always hit common benchmarks at the same time, such as weight, height, and growth. So, if your American bulldog stops growing at 12 months or continues to grow between the ages of 1 and 2, both are perfectly normal.
Understand the meaning of "full-grown" bulldog
Full-grown American bulldogs have stopped growing, having reached the height and weight they will maintain throughout most of their adulthood. Typically, full-grown males are between 22 and 25 inches in height at the withers (shoulders) and weigh between 75 and 100 pounds. Females are smaller at 20 to 23 inches tall, weighing 60 to 80 pounds.
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Of course, dogs' weight can fluctuate, gaining pounds if they eat too much, don't exercise enough, or gain muscle weight and lose pounds when they're ill, old, or exercising more often. Once they reach their adult height, dogs will not grow taller.
Ensuring health and growth
The standard, or ideal, American bulldog is a solid, very muscular, athletic dog. They are known to be able to jump 3 feet or more straight into the air due to their musculature. Raising a dog who can accomplish such a feat and more requires careful and continuous attention to nutrition and care. Feed your American bulldog food your veterinarian recommends, being sure to match your dog's growth stages with food designed for each stage: puppy, adult dog, and senior dog.
Most vets recommend that you feed adult dogs two or three times daily based on what works best for you. For example, if you are not home most days at noon, a twice-a-day feeding schedule would work better for you. It is important to feed your bulldog the measured amount of food your vet recommends divided by the number of feedings per day. So, if your dog eats three times a day, each feeding will contain less food than if he ate twice a day. Dogs will learn their schedule and know when to expect food, which helps you to know when they are ill because they aren't eating on schedule.
Daily exercise is also important to the health and growth of your American bulldog. Going for walks is a good way to get exercise, building slowly from short walks to 2-mile stretches using different routes for variety and interest. Pay close attention to your bulldog during exercise, however; with their short snout, bulldogs can experience uncomfortable, labored breathing, especially in the heat, which can even lead to heatstroke. Another way to exercise indoors or out is with games like tug-of-war and fetch. Aim for a variety of exercises to build and strengthen different muscles, including walking, jumping, quick stopping, pivoting, and turning.
Feeding and care of American bulldog puppies
Puppies need special nutrition and care during this time of rapid growth, exploration, and learning. American bulldog puppies are energetic and curious, so watch that they don't fall from heights or down the stairs, breaking bones that can cause problems throughout their life. Their high energy requires adequate, nutritious calories on a daily basis.
Offer American bulldog puppies food four times a day, such as at 6 a.m., 1 p.m., 6 p.m., and 11 p.m. Puppies are often distracted, so it may be advisable to leave their bowl out for an hour at each feeding, with the possible exception of the pre-bedtime feeding. Usually, puppies will drop the late meal by themselves at 4 to 5 months and move to two meals on their own by 8 months.
Comparing growth between different bulldog breeds
Among the most common bulldog breeds are American bulldogs, English bulldogs, French bulldogs, and olde English bulldogges, all differing in many ways from the others, particularly in size. For example, French bulldogs are muscular and compact, weighing a maximum of 28 pounds when full grown. English bulldogs are a medium size, weighing between 40 and 50 pounds, while olde English bulldogges were bred to be more robust at 60 to 80 pounds. American bulldogs are the largest and most athletic, bred to be true working dogs.