I’m going to say no, and the general consensus is solid black is definitely not acceptable, except for one registry that accepts it, the NKC, they also accept dogs with no pedigree information, so that should tell you a lot about their standards or lack of them. Black patches and very dark brindle are acceptable, let;s take a closer look.
Why the confusion? well, the breed standards differ across the different breed registries, the ABRA says “Dogs that are primarily black are disqualified from the show ring” so dogs can be black but it is a disqualification from the show ring. they can also have black patches.
The NKC says black is just fine “Solid white, or any color pattern including black, red, brown, fawn and all shades of brindle”
The ABA says “up to 85% color (brindle, red/fawn, black)” so black is fine, but must have at least 15% white color to go with it.
And the UKC standard reads “Any color, color pattern, or combination of colors is acceptable, except for solid black” So again, no solid black.
Kraken above looks black but when you take a loot at his coat it has some brindle in it.
The existence of Black American Bulldogs is nothing new, many breeders have experimented over the years with infusing black into the bulldogs, mostly with the standard type infusing pit bull blood.
We have been involved with the breed since 1998 and have discussed this many times over the years. We personally know breeders who have done this, there were breeders trying this in Illinois in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, and I’m sure there were many before and many after.
If you like black and want black go for it but if you want a correct American Bulldog to breed and show you are much better off getting an American Bulldog that is white with patches of brindle, red or fawn or a dog with a brindle, red or fawn body suit.
Below is a gorgeous example of a mostly black American Bulldog, his name is Venn’s Gaucho and I have included a link to the Pedigree Database website, if you would like to check out his pedigree. Venn’s Gaucho
You will see several Braveheart kennels dogs in his pedigree, this kennel is know to have infused greyhound of all breeds into their program to get the black colour.
Doug Kennedy also had a line of Classic American Bulldogs coming down from his dog Champagne, Champagne had Ellerbe and Blackwell blood in her, and Ellerbe is alleged to have mixed in Pit Bull or Neopalitan Mastiff into his lines, while Blackwell is alleged to have mixed Dogue to Bordeaux into his lines to increase the size.
Needless to say, with such a mix in her background, Doug produced Black as well as Blue American Bulldogs when line breeding down from her.
Another Kennel know to have infused Pit Bull into his program to produce black dogs is Konfederate Kennels, who also breeds Staffy Bulls, perhaps they too are in there?
It’s also important to remember the history of this breed, they only started to register them with kennel clubs in the 1970’s. John D. Johnson was the primary reason for this and it was his life’s mission to preserve these great dogs, but, being they were not registered, and he drove around Georgia looking for great examples of the breed, anything could have been in that original stock.
Also, a bit player in the early history of the American Bulldog, Joe painter was rumored to go to the pound and adopt anything resembling an American Bulldog, and then sell them as such, again, there could of been a multitude of breeds and colors in their background.
So there you have it, Black American Bulldogs do exist, most registries do not accept them as an acceptable color, and if you want a true representation of what an American Bulldog is best to choose from the myriad options in the color palette that is acceptable.