The American Bully is a compact dog with a muscular body, a wide grin, and a lovable demeanor, which is why so many fall in love with this breed. Despite the name, these beautiful dogs come with highly desirable features and an impressive lineage, making them the ideal family pet. In this article, we look deeper into this amazing breed and how you can care for them in your own home.
What are American Bullies?
While this isn’t the most popular breed, it has become the fastest-growing new breed with families around the U.S., where the dog breed was first introduced. The standard American Bully will have features like heavy bones, a compact body, and a large head, making them easily recognizable. But don’t let their aggressive appearance fool you — when raised well, the American bully breed can become well-rounded dogs and loving family members.
Bully dogs are naturally affectionate, and are social both with animals and humans. This breed is known for being loyal and protective and will also generally get along with other dogs. Moreover, Bully breeds are known for their devoted personality and will always try to please their owners, thriving on attention.
The best thing about them is that they are an intelligent type of guard dog but despite their reputation as aggressive dogs, they’re more likely to lick people than show aggression.
History of Bully Puppies
Originating in the United States between the 1980s and the 1990s, the American bully was created through years of selective breeding. This breed carries the genes from two well-loved dogs, the American Pitbull terrier, and the American Staffordshire terrier. However, there’s a general consensus that other breeds like the American bulldog, bull mastiffs, and even the Olde English Bulldogge (old English bulldog) have also contributed to this breed’s bloodline.
However, it wasn’t until 2004 that this breed was recognized; the American Bully Kennel Club eventually introduced them and created written standards for them. In 2013, the United Kennel Club also recognized this breed officially. Although, neither the American Bully Kennel Club nor the United Kennel Club has accepted or recognized the American bully as a purebred dog.
Types of American Bully Puppies
Just like with any other dog breed, your desired traits and physical characteristics will play a key role in setting the standard for an American Bully breed. There are four types of American Bullies according to the American Bully Kennel Club, which are categorized according to the adult’s height. These classifications are the Pocket Bully, Standard American Bully, Classic Bully, and XL Bully.
Despite their differences in size, the appearance of these dogs will generally stay uniform — it should be a medium-sized dog, with a big head, and a muscular body. The head should be in proportion to this muscular dog’s body while also being free from any exaggeration. Furthermore, they should have a broad skull, pronounced cheek muscles with pointed ears, and a dense bone structure.
Below is a more detailed look into this breed’s appearance.
For Pocket Bullies, the average size for adult males is under 17 inches while females come in at 13 inches. The Standard and Classic Bullies come in at 20 inches for males and 19 inches for females. Finally, XL Bullies, which are the tallest breeds, come in at 23 inches for males, and 22 inches for females.
As seen in their size differences, the various kinds of bully dogs can fluctuate with the gender and size of the animal, and the same thing applies to their weight. Fully grown Pocket Bullies can weigh anywhere between 11 to 24 pounds, while the Classic and Standard can weigh anywhere between 60 to 80 pounds. On the other hand, the XL Bullies can weigh 70 pounds to a whopping 130 pounds of pure muscle mass and bones.
American Bully dogs will have a smooth, short coat which means they don’t shed as much as other breeds, which is great if you’re prone to allergies. Because of this, you won’t have to groom them much, but this doesn’t mean that you can eliminate grooming altogether. On the contrary, their short coats will make it hard for them to cope during winter months, so you might want to get a few doggie sweaters for them.
Because it came from a wide range of different breeds, you’ll find that American Bullies come in an assortment of colors. They come in colors such as red, black, blue, fawn, brown, pie-bald, and white. While the dogs will usually carry a combination of two colors, some will also be tri-colored.
Bully Puppies Personality and Temperament
The American Bully was bred specifically to be a companion dog, retaining the best characteristics and traits from their parents. Despite being powerful dogs, they were bred to have a muscular and athletic build without a high fighting drive. Because the American Bully is a confident and non-skittish breed, they make for great companion dogs and won’t exhibit unpredictable behavior.
They’re also highly intelligent and love to please their family — they aren’t prone to herding or bumping tendencies. While Bullies can be rough with children at times, they become more tolerant once they’re socialized and will be more than happy to take up the role of protector. The good-natured American Bully is an affectionate, gentle, and sweet breed that makes for loyal companions.
Because the American Bully is caring and loving, it can be a great addition to any family. They are particularly known to be gentle with babies, so you can safely and comfortably introduce them to the smallest member of your family. This breed is also kind and playful with children and can be the perfect playmate for active kids.
The American Bully is also a great lapdog and will happily curl up in a ball next to you on the couch as you watch TV. They’re very affectionate and will often shower their owners with licks and kisses to show their love. Because they’re such loyal dogs, they are the perfect family pet.
Health and Care for American Bully Dogs
In general, the American Bully is considered to be a low-maintenance breed. But just like other dog breeds, they can be prone to a few health problems that will require proper care for your Bully puppies to grow into healthy and happy dogs.
Because the American Bully is a relatively new dog breed, we can’t be sure just how many of their health issues are actually related to them. Below are some of the most common health problems this breed encounters.
- Hip Dysplasia: This breed is prone to hip dysplasia, so it’s important that your dog gets the right amount of exercise and that you monitor their food intake to avoid obesity, which is one of the causes of hip dysplasia. This condition occurs when the dog’s thighbone doesn’t snuggly fit into its hip joint. While some dogs will show pain or lameness in one or both legs, some dogs won’t show any signs of discomfort even with hip dysplasia.
- Cherry Eye: This condition occurs when the gland under the third eyelid starts protruding, which looks like a cherry in the corner of the eye. When this happens, the vet may need to remove it. Another common eye disorder is the development of ulcers on the cornea.
- Elbow Dysplasia: This is a common condition found in dogs of a larger breed. It is usually caused by varying growth rates and may cause lameness. Luckily, it can be solved through surgery.
- Skin Disease: American Bullies are also vulnerable to getting skin diseases like seborrhea, which leads to extremely oily or dry skin, characterized by flaky and dry patches of skin.
- Hotspots: This breed is also prone to developing hotspots as a result of allergies, over-grooming, or parasites.
- Heart Disease: American Bullies may be predisposed to congenital heart disease, which will often have genetic origins. The condition may also be made worse by parasites like heartworm or through other health problems such as obesity.
Be sure to take your Bully puppies to visit your vet regularly, and keep an eye on your dog to quickly catch any kind of health issue before the symptoms can get a chance to worsen. It’s also best to purchase your Bully puppies from a reputable breeder to ensure that the chances of your dog suffering from any of the conditions above are reduced.
Now that we’re familiar with the characteristics and traits of the American Bully, we can dive into their everyday life and see what it’s like to live with these dogs. Below, we discuss their grooming needs, exercise requirements, as well as their food and diet.
On average, the American Bully will have a life expectancy of around 10 to 13 years.
Because American Bullies are naturally muscular, providing them with proper nutrition plays an essential role in keeping your Bully puppies strong and healthy. As such, you need to provide them with a balanced diet to keep them in optimal health, and to prevent them from lapsing into obesity, which this breed is prone to. Start by giving them a high-protein diet, along with dry kibbles made specifically for this breed.
This should contain at least 30% protein and 20% fat along with high-quality ingredients. Small Bully puppies can start forming their adult muscle structures while still young, so be sure to feed them as many as two cups of kibbles around three or four times each day. As they transition into adulthood, you should change their feeding habits — increase the number of kibbles to three to five cups but only feed them twice a day.
While this breed won’t have huge exercise requirements, they will thrive in homes with bigger spaces or a backyard to play in. Even if they are typically low-maintenance dogs, they are still moderately active, which means they need to exercise at least 60 minutes a day to keep them healthy and happy. However, they can still grow happily inside smaller homes and apartments as long as you take them out for walks and fun time.
When it comes to younger and more energetic Bully puppies, you may need to provide them with specific exercises to expend their energy. Fetch and games of tug are especially fun for them and will give them the action they need.
Training and Grooming
It’s true that an American Bully’s grooming needs aren’t as demanding as other dog breeds, it’s still a necessary part of raising them. However, training them is where you will need to spend a bit more effort because they can be an excitable bunch. Without proper training, these large dogs can easily overpower humans when they’re looking to please their friends and family.
While these dogs are highly low maintenance, they still need to have some kind of grooming every now and then to ensure they are healthy and presentable at all times. Their short fur makes it much easier to clean them compared to other kinds of dogs. However, their fur is quite stiff, which leads to a lot of dirt and debris getting stuck and accumulating.
Because of this, it’s best to have your American bully be washed at least once every month, where you’ll need to watch out for ticks, fleas, and lice as you groom them. It’s also necessary to establish a weekly brushing schedule to minimize fur shedding and to eliminate the debris and dirt that has been collected in their fur. While nail clipping is advised, be sure to remember that their nails can grow back fast.
If you plan on raising American Bully puppies, training them is necessary. This will help you establish your roles as the leader of the pack and to provide positive reinforcement that will shape their behavior and temperament. Fortunately, Bullies are an intelligent and smart dog breed that’s receptive to training at any age.
But before you can get the most out of their training, you’ll need to be consistent and patient with them, because they could get into a stubborn pattern if they aren’t properly motivated. Early training and providing your Bully puppies with a carefully planned training regime will ensure that you get well-behaved dogs.
Things to Consider
Just like you would for any other dog breed, there are a few things you will need to consider before you rush to the nearest American Bully dog breeder. No matter how even-tempered and lovable this breed is, it’s still prone to a few factors such as exercise requirements, and health conditions, which are common challenges with owning this breed.
Prone to Obesity
As a result of their lineage and genetic makeup, many American Bullies could be susceptible to obesity. Unfortunately, their short frame and stocky body make it difficult for their owners to correctly identify whether or not their cute Bully puppies are on the verge of obesity. Because of this, there are no standards on what the weight of an American Bully should be.
What we do know is that your dog should have a weight that’s proportionate to its height and frame. This means that your dog should have a visible waistline when you see it from above and that its ribcage isn’t surrounded by much fat.
Could Get Joint Issues
As mentioned above, American Bullies could be more vulnerable to health issues as they get older because of their size and muscular body. These problems may include elbow dysplasia, which predominantly occurs in Pocket Bullies, and hip dysplasia, a condition where the socket and the ball of the hip joint don’t fit perfectly together.
May Have Skin Allergies
Other health issues that American Bullies are prone to are allergies to the skin. This breed may encounter allergies from medications, food, and the environment where they could be exposed to mold, fleas, and pollen.
Need Plenty of Socialization
While they’re usually regarded as a naturally social breed that loves to be around people, they still need to be trained on how to act and socialize around other dogs. Because they’re pack animals, it’s important that they learn how they should interact with other animals at a young age. Just like with any other dog breed, American Bullies may develop aggressive tendencies if they aren’t introduced to socializing as pups.
American Bully Puppies Facts and Myths
As a result of the rising popularity of this dog breed in the past few years, many people have continued to confuse the American Bully with the American Pitbull Terrier. However, these two breeds are nothing like the other. Because of this, a wide range of myths about the American Bully have surfaced — below we debunk some of these with facts.
MYTH: This breed is one of the most aggressive dog breeds.
FACT: This is false. Bullies are actually the opposite and are known for their sweet and even-tempered dispositions. Bullies are affectionate and will even show love to strangers rather than aggression.
MYTH: American Bullies can’t run long distances because of their large, stocky build.
FACT: When bred properly, the American Bully will have a defined and solid athletic build capable of great athleticism. In fact, compared to most other bulldog breeds, this one is more athletic.
MYTH: The American Bully uses steroids to look the way it does.
It is an unfortunate fact that some backyard breeders still give dogs steroids to achieve their desired looks, but this is illegal. This practice is banned and reputable breeders will never do such practices since the pup could face a myriad of health problems once they no longer take the drugs. Moreover, these drugs can sometimes be passed on from the mother to her Bully puppies — as a result, the whole litter could suffer from health issues.
Even with its popularity growing, the American Bully continues to be a rare dog breed, with prices running anywhere upwards of $10,000. However, if you do decide to purchase one of these sweet, yet powerful dogs, be sure to do your due diligence on dog breeders which should be affiliated with the American Kennel Club. More importantly, you’ll need to be committed to exercising, training, and socializing your dog apart from ensuring it stays happy and healthy.