Originally developed by crossing the Rhodesian Ridgeback with the English Bullterrier in South Africa for hunting purposes, the breed now known as the American Bull Ridgeback was created by crossing these imported working bandogs from Africa with American Bulldogs in the late 1980's, establishing the foundation type presently recognized by its fanciers as the "Classic American" variety of the breed, with the American Pit Bull Terrier lineage is seen as forming the "Basic American" type, which is becoming increasingly popular. Some English Bullterrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Zulubull blood was introduced in the 1990's in Africa, making the breed more dog-aggressive, but also more tenacious and agile. Some South-African bloodlines have also been influenced by the Boerboel, creating even greater variety within the country's Bull Ridgeback population. Most modern American lines are based on either the 1st generation RR/APBT or the RR/AB recipe, as well as crosses between those strains and they tend to be more bulldogge-esque in appearance than Bull Ridgebacks found in Africa and Europe. Being basically a specialized bandogge, this rare working dog is not officially recognized as a breed in the traditional sense, although it's becoming moderately popular in the United States, particularly the southern parts of the country, where it is used for hunting duities.

Muscular and athletic, the Bull Ridgeback might have a future in dog sports like Agility, but due to its territorial and confrontational temperament this lovely bandog is better suited for farm life. Only dogs with the trademark ridge on their backs are bred to reinforce the trait. Some specimens are lean and tall, while others are fairly "bully" in type, resembling larger Pit Bulls. The head is large and broad, with a strong muzzle and well-developed jaws.

The nose can be black, brown or pink. Ears can be cropped or left natural, the tail is usually docked and the short dense coat is preferred in lion-yellow shades, although other colourings exist, including various bicolours. The average height is around 25 inches, but smaller examples can be found as well.

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