Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Bully as a Good Guy: American Bulldogs in Film

While American Pit Bull Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers have gotten a bad rap in the past few decades (with Hollywood's help), filmmakers have taken a different angle with their cousins, the American Bulldog. Beginning noticeably with Walt Disney's Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey in 1993, ABs have been increasingly playing the role of family, and more notably children's, companions in such films as The Little Rascals (1994), The Pooch and the Pauper (1999), Cheaper by the Dozen (2004) and its sequel. Though still with some not-so-friendly incarnations such as Wonder Boys (2000), AMs have largely avoided the kind of typecasting that Pits have received.

In Homeward Bound, Chance (played by a dog named Rattler) was not only not the tough guy, but a goofball personality similar to what most people associate with a Golden Retriever. Ironically enough, his composed, wise companion was the Golden. Hollywood can brake the rules just as easily as they can make them.

Pictured: Poster artwork from author's collection; Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, featuring Golden Retriever "Shadow", Himalayan Cat "Sassy", and American Bulldog "Chance." Copyright The Walt Disney Company, 1993.

Readers may be interested in some of these films, all featuring American Bulldogs:
Bark (2002)
Bingo (1991)
Bubble Boy (2001)
The Pooch and the Pauper (1999) (Not available on DVD)

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