We explain all things Alapaha Bulldog in today’s guide. Learn about their temperament, health, personality and more.
Height: 18 – 24 inches
Weight: 60 – 95 lbs
Lifespan: 12 – 13 years
Pedigree Breed: No
Pros and Cons
- Loyal dogs
- Interesting history
- Easy coat maintenance
- No significant health concerns (as always, some still exist)
- Not suitable for some families and first-time dog owners
- Must be walked on a leash
- Requires strict training from an early age
- Not as approachable as other dog breeds
Alapaha Bulldog: Overview
The Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog, often known as just an Alapaha dog, is one of many breeds described to resemble a typical English bulldog.
Alapahas are catch dogs, which means they are dogs not originally meant for families, but rather to work by catching and driving hogs, pigs and cattle.
This can be seen in their somewhat aloof personalities, yet, today they are more often seen in the company of families just as much as farmers’ yards.
These dogs are relatively large reaching up to 24 inches in height but also weighing up to 95 pounds. This weight comes about because of the dog’s extremely muscular body typical of bulldog breeds, as well as their wider frame and large square heads.
Many have a short white coat, but some variations do exist, including another color alongside white in their coats.
These dogs are rapidly becoming part of family homes, but they will not be suitable for all families.
They are not ideal for first-time dog owners because of their aloofness and more aggressive behaviors than most other dogs bought by families.
History of the Alapaha Blue Bulldog
There is no known documentation of Alapahas existing before 1979. Despite this, there is a lot of evidence that Alapahas have been around for almost 200 years, beginning their existence in the USA in some of the southern states.
The Alapaha dog is believed to be the product of different bulldogs brought to the USA many years ago, with new settlers contributing new dogs to the gene pool. During these earlier years, the Alapaha was not considered a family pet but exclusively a working dog.
They had multiple jobs from driving pigs and cattle to guarding homes and even hunting vermin.
During their existence, these dogs have also had other names. They have been called Cowdog, Otto, Catahoula Bulldogs, and Silver Dollar dogs. Whatever their name to whichever group of people, the breed began to disappear, and their numbers dwindled.
This was until a group of people took decisive action to breed them and keep them in existence.
In 1979, a group of people in the south of the USA decided to start an official breeding standard for them, gave them a new name – Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog – and founded a namesake association.
Arguably, these actions have kept the Alapaha dog with us still today and numbers of them have increased with safe breeders now spanning further than the USA.
The Alapaha can be summed up as loyal, dutiful, protective and a guardian of its own territory. These dogs demand attention but in return will reward their owner’s efforts by responding loyally – and with devotion.
These types of dogs have a personality that is very serious, and they take their role within their known group, including your family, as very serious.
However, do not confuse this protectiveness with suitability to leave them outdoors guarding the home all day. They like to be on guard but not to be used as full-time guard dogs outdoors.
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Are They Good with Strangers?
If you have a family friend coming over and an Alaphaha in the house, don’t expect them to get along like a house on fire from the first moment. It is common for Alaphaha dogs to act aloof to strangers, being wary of their presence before trusting them within their territory.
This does not mean they will attack the stranger or become aggressive – unless they have not been adequately trained – but it does mean they are likely to keep their distance.
Are They Good with other Dogs?
If your Alapaha dog was raised with another dog, it is likely that the Alapaha will also be protective of his fellow four-legged friend. The same applies to other common pets such as cats.
However, if the dog or cat is unknown to your Alaphaha, there is a strong chance that the Alapaha will react badly and be aggressive to the other dog.
Are They Okay with Children?
This also applies to children around the Alapaha. If the Alapaha has been brought up with young children in the family home, the Alapaha can be a friendly and trusted playmate with your child.
Yet, if the child is a new face to the Alapaha and unrecognizable, it is best to keep an eye on how the dog reacts in case it feels threatened and as though the child is an intruder to their territory.
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The same way people can develop any disease, dogs have the capacity to inherits an array of genetic ailments and issues. If you visit a breeder of any dog breed who cannot offer a health guarantee, run away fast – don’t walk.
Reputable and trustworthy breeders will be upfront and honest about the potential medical issues that your dog could face, and be helpful in providing the common health issues that these Alapahas are more likely to encounter. Those being:
- congenital deafness
- hip dysplasia (common in many dog breeds)
- an eye issue called entropion
- skin problems
Not every one of these common health problems can be identified when the dogs are puppies and in their younger years. Without guarantees and easy ways of knowing, the best thing owners can do is equip themselves with pet insurance and only seek out breeders who make the best attempts to breeding healthy animals.
This means providing documentation on the health status of the puppies’ parents and grandparents. Never settle for their word and only ever accept approved certificates.
Moreover, do not rely on vet checks as these sorts of checks cannot account for genetic health tests, which documentation and certificates do cover.
Some breeders will claim that genetic testing is not required for their Alapaha dogs, most often stating that they have never encountered problems in the past. This is again not be used as assurance.
The best Alapaha breeders and the ones you should use are ones who only use genetic testing. However, even with good breeding practices, mother nature can throw up surprises.
Despite tests stating otherwise, it is not unknown for the Alapaha to experience any of the aforementioned health conditions. The better news is veterinary care keeps on improving many of the medical issues facing Alapaha can be mitigated or overcome.
Lastly, do not ignore one of the most common health issues among almost all dogs, obesity. Maintaining your Alapaha’s healthy weight is one way of extending their lifespan and owning a healthier and happier dog.
These dogs have moderate activity level needs in comparison to other breeds. They require their activity to feel as though they are executing a task or job, such as guarding their territory or even yourself.
This means you will need to take them for a walk while on a lead for around one mile each day on top of behavioral training for about 20 minutes.
It is crucial that when outside in public with your Alapaha that they are on their leash at all times. This is because of their significant prey drive which means they will chase other animals (possibly into the road).
If you keep them in a private outdoor space, ensure that the fencing or equivalent is secure.
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Intelligence and Trainability
These dogs are smart, but you must start training them from day one. Doing it early is not because training any dog is always best done from the start, but it is also because it lets you train these dogs while they are at a more manageable size and weight.
The best way to train this breed is by making them work for everything. Making sure they are given nothing for free or without effort is one way of making sure they become obedient to you and your family.
These dogs also respond well to positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats, play, and praise. It is recommended to take these dogs to specialized training schools if affordable to you.
The extremely short coats on Alaphahas make them easier to maintain compared to dogs with longer coats, wavy coats or a second coat. It is recommended to simply brush them each week to remove dead hairs and keep their coat healthy.
Other than keeping them clean and brushed, it is essential that owners of these dogs also clean their teeth regularly, provide proper nutrition and clean his/her nails and ears to prevent infections.
Treating infections is always harder and more costly than preventing them.
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Do you own an Alapaha or know someone that does? What’s your experience been like with these dogs? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section down below!