The Truth About the American Bully

American Bully wearing a cute bowFerocious? Aggressive? THINK AGAIN. The American Bully dog is anything but grumpy.

Bred specifically for companionship, this dog will stay by your side until death do you part.

With Bully breeds, aggressive stereotypes and discrimination are common.

I’m here to tell you everything you need to know about the American Bully, so you know the truth about this loving dog before you decide if it’s the right breed for you.

What is an American Bully?

American Bully wearing a green collar

The first American Bully was bred in the United States between 1980 and 1990.

A common misconception is that it is the same as the Pit Bull. This is NOT TRUE. The American Bully does have Pit Bull genes in its original genetic code, but other Bull Dog breeds were also mixed in, giving the American Bully its own distinction.

It’s genetic push away from the Pit Bull was no accident, either. Passionate breeders sought a dog with an athletic build and a low fighting drive. These attributes are exactly why the American Bully is quickly rising as one of the most popular breeds today.

The American Bully was officially recognized by the American Bully Kennel Club in 2004, where the pedigree was documented and the breed standard was protected. It was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 2013.

You can compare the Pit Bull and American Bully in our article here or watch our video below:

Built Like a Tank

The American Bully features favored Bully traits, such as a wide front, heavy bones, a squarish head with large jaws, and short, muscular legs. The tail is long and never docked.

This breed comes in 4 sizes. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Standard American Bully: This is a 20 in (51 cm) medium-sized dog with a muscular body and block head.
  • Pocket American Bully: This dog reaches 17 inches (43 cm) and, as you can guess, is a small-sized dog.
  • XL American Bully: A big boy, this type reaches a height of 20 inches (51 cm).
  • Classic American Bully: This American Bully shares the same measurements as the standard, but what sets it apart from the other 3 types is its build. The classic body is less bulky, with longer legs and a narrow frame. The classic is said to resemble the Pit Bull more than other varieties.

When it comes to American Bully weight, it varies with each height. In fact, all American Bullies are considered to be Standard in size until 1 year of age. This breed’s average weight can range from 66 to88 lb (30–40 kg).

Because of its diverse height/weight scale, the American Bully makes a good fit for any home situation, whether it’s an apartment in the city or a house with a yard. Just pick the size that suits you.

Micro & XXL American Bully

If you see “Pocket Bully”, “Micro” or “XXL” varieties advertised by breeders, be aware that these terms are not recognized by the ABKC.

If you get a small American Bully and are considering dog shows as a career, keep in mind that too small dogs are often penalized or even disqualified for not fitting with the expected height requirements.

The Low Maintenance American Bully

One of the best characteristics of this breed is how low maintenance it is. The American Bully sports a short, smooth coat that can come in any color pattern.

Although it is NOT hypoallergenic, the coat is low shedding. You’ll only need to brush your Bully once a week. No groomer is needed, so that’s some extra money that stays in your pocket!

Keep in mind that this dog is suited for warmer climates. If you live in a region that gets cold, you shouldn’t keep your American Bully outdoors on a permanent basis.

American Bully Bite Force

American Bully close up

Some people are skeptical of the American Bully for a few reasons. It was originally bred from a Pit Bull, it has an intimidating appearance and it is used frequently as a guard dog.

It can be hard to tear your eyes away from the American Bully’s massive jaws. But, are they steel clamps that should be feared?

I could not find a definite estimate for this breed’s bite force PSI. But, we can look at the Pit Bull and American Bulldog to get a better understanding.

The Pit Bull has a PSI of 235. This is a pretty average bite force compared to other dog breeds. Nonetheless, it’s more so the dangerous reputation and roots in dog fighting that make the Pit Bull bite so feared.

The American Bulldog bite force is 305 PSI, which packs more of a punch than the Pit Bull. This breed isn’t considered aggressive, sharing a reputation with the American Bully for being a gentle family dog.

These are both Bully breeds, so we can gather that the American Bully bite force might be somewhere between 200 and 300 PSI range.

Any dog breed can bite hard, but it depends on the owner and the amount of socialization the dog has received that determines its behavior. Therefore, this is not a bite force to be feared!

Bred to be Your Best Friend

If you’re looking for a companion dog, the American Bully is an excellent choice. After all, this dog was bred specifically for the position.

According to the breed standard, this is a confident and social dog. You won’t have to worry about unpredictable or skittish behavior.

The American Bully is not skeptical or wary. Instead, she will scamper up to meet your friends, quickly becoming part of the crew.

What are some of the other characteristics used to describe this breed’s personality? Loyal, affectionate, and gentle top the list.

The American Bully is highly intelligent, waiting and watching before making a move. She loves to please, so you can expect her to learn quickly and respond with unwavering obedience.

This is a highly energetic pup, so keep in mind that if she doesn’t get her daily calorie burn session, she might take it out on your shoes or furniture.

Does the American Bully dog breed do well with children?

The Pit Bull has been referred to as the “Nanny Dog” throughout history, so it’s no surprise that the American Bully is known to be a saint around little ones.

No aggression, no herding, and no bumping! If your dog is well-socialized, she will be drawn to the care-free demeanor of children. Roughhousing is ok, she will not react. Instead, the American Bully will let kiddies climb all over her!

No matter what breed you have, it is recommended to never leave a dog alone with a small child.

Does the American Bully do well with other pets?

The American Bully is naturally a social dog. She loves to be around others, including pets. As with any breed, socialization from an early age is key to ensuring the pup will be comfortable in new situations.

We’ll talk more about socialization a little bit later, but generally, the American Bully makes for a great pal at home with your other pets or at the dog park.

Is the American Bully Aggressive?

Let’s stop and have a chat about dog aggression. With Bully breeds, especially a dog with Pit Bull roots, stereotypes and misconceptions have become the norm.

No doubt, these dogs are rough, agile and muscular. They excel at sports and can take on any physical challenge with finesse.

They also look tough, with rippling muscles and monstrous jaws.

The problem lies in dogfighting. Bullies (especially Pit Bulls) are heavily used in these terrible blood sports. Dogs are reared specifically for aggression, disrupting the natural traits to be loyal and gentle.

These dogs are not the breed standard. They are abused by humans, leading to trauma that results in behavioral issues.

That’s why it is so important to be mindful when choosing a breeder, to ensure you purchase a puppy that began life in a loving environment.

So, NO the American Bully is not inherently aggressive. It all depends on the genetics, breeding, and training (which, goes for just about any dog breed).

Training an American Bully

American Bully sitting in the sun

Whether you decide to splurge on a professional dog trainer or want to undertake it yourself, training is definitely recommended for the American Bully.

This is a dog that wants a job and she will be as obedient as she can in order to please her beloved owner.

As the owner, it’s important to be confident, patient, and firm, never showing frustration. Not only does this help teach the dog who is boss, but fosters an environment of respect and following the rules.

The 3 best training methods for the American Bully breed

1. Crate training

American Bully puppies lack bladder control up to 3 months of age. Crate training should be implemented as soon as you bring your baby home.

Spending small amounts of time in a crate helps to create a routine. As well, dogs naturally do not want to defecate where they lay.

The crate becomes a familiar, personal “den” where your dog can feel relaxed and safe.

2. Obedience training

Obedience is a trait that this breed is known for. American Bullies come from a working dog background and will learn to follow commands quickly. That’s why they perform well in shows and make great guard/service dogs.

By developing obedience early on, you’ll be rewarded with a reliable, well-behaved dog that understands you’re the one in charge.

You can hire a professional trainer, but if you do it yourself, be sure to stick to a plan. Consistency is key with this type of training. You’ll also need to stay calm, never yelling or giving into frustration.

3. Socialization

This is the most important method of training for the American Bully. She is wonderful with children but can be stand-offish with other dogs unless well socialized from an early age.

You can introduce her to other dogs by bringing her to the dog park on the weekends. Keep her on a leash and let her slowly approach furry friends for a meet-and-greet. Soon, her natural inclination for being outgoing will take over and she’ll be wagging her tail to meet everyone.

American Bully Health Facts

When it comes to health, the American Bully does quite well. It has an average lifespan of 8 to 12 years.

With any dog breed, there are genetic diseases that are common and must be regarded. The same goes for the American Bully. The best way to avoid these ailments is to be careful when choosing a breeder. I’ll hit on this later on!

Here is a list of the most common American Bully health issues.

  • Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a worrying defect because it cannot be detected until the dog is older. Abnormal growth of the hip joint leads to a painful deformity that eventually causes loss of mobility or lameness.
  • Cleft palate/lip: Present at birth, this is a malformation of the top lip or mouth. It’s not life-threatening, but purely cosmetic. An easy surgery is all it takes to fix this condition.
  • Luxating patella: This is an abnormal growth that causes a dog’s kneecap to dislocate.
  • Congenital heart failure: This is a dangerous condition where the heart becomes enlarged. This leads to fluids being released throughout the body.
  • Demodectic mange: This is a parasite that causes hair loss and scabs on the skin.
  • Ichthyosis: This is a skin issue that causes thickening and peeling of the paw pads.
  • Atopy: This is a common skin allergy that affects dogs and causes discomfort.
  • Cerebellar abiotrophy: Luckily, this condition can be detected days after the puppy is born. This genetic disease affects the brain and nervous system.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: This eye disease causes a gradual disintegration of the eyesight. Incurable, it can lead to blindness.
  • Hypothyroidism: Due to a thyroid issue, activity slows down and weight gain becomes imminent.
  • Cataracts: This is another eye disease that causes a dog to slowly lose its vision. It can be corrected with surgery.

American Bully chow time

It is recommended to feed your American Bully 3 times per day.

Feeding an American Bully takes special consideration since this breed suffers from obesity, skin allergies, and gassiness. By sticking to a healthy balanced diet, these problems can be avoided.

You can choose raw foods, which include organic vegetables, fruits, organ meats, fish, pork, turkey, and eggs. This diet is packed with nutrition and none of the preservatives, additives, and fillers that are found in traditional dog kibble.

Maintaining a raw food diet can be time-consuming and expensive for some. Instead, opt for the premium, high standard dog food for your American Bully. Make sure it is packed with protein and substantial carbs (not corn).

Also Read: Best Dog Food for American Bully

She’s an exercise addict

American Bully relaxing

The American Bully is an energetic fellow that craves playtime. You’ll need to exercise her for at least an hour every day, or else she’ll get revenge by being destructive around the house.

Here are some ideas to keep your American Bully moving and never bored.

Walking: This is always a good option! Take your dog on a long, brisk walk at the park or even on hiking trails out in nature.

Swimming: This is especially great if you live in a hot area. Swimming is excellent for dogs and light on the joints. Throw a ball into the pool and watch your American Bully make a splash.

Agility training: Not only does this challenge your dog physically, but mentally as well. With an agility training course, you get to sharpen obedience.

Bike riding: Start practicing by peddling slowly while your dog trots alongside your bike. Soon enough you two will be tearing up the roads.

Toys and puzzles: Invest in heavy-duty chew toys to give your American Bully something to bite on a rainy day other than your shoes. Dog puzzles stimulate the brain, which is something this breed enjoys.

Finding the Best American Bully Breeder

If owning an American Bully is at the top of your to-do list, then let’s dive into one of the most important sections of this guide: finding breeders.

First, be prepared to dish out some serious dough. The American Bully price range is between $2000 and $5000. This is a popular dog!

You may think that finding a dog breeder is as easy as a Google search. Actually, there are numerous red flags to look out for when choosing a breeder.

You’ll want to educate yourself on how to navigate your way through all the puppy mills to land on a winner.

How can you avoid puppy mills?

Make an appointment to visit a breeder. Puppy mills don’t want you to see the inhumane conditions where they pump out puppies like a factory.

Two American Bully puppies

An ethical breeder will invite you over for a tour, happy to show you around. You’ll get to see if the puppies play outdoors if they are exposed to other animals and people and you’ll get to meet the parents.

Go for the puppy that costs a bit more. You’re paying for quality, pure bloodlines, and health guarantees.

Ask for health clearances. A reputable breeder will have the puppies checked by a vet and cleared for genetic diseases, such as hip dysplasia.

Meet and greet with the parents. This will tell you heaps about medical backgrounds and other genetic traits.

Ask for testimonials. Reading about past customer experiences gives you the real picture.

Research the breed first. When it comes to American Bullies, some unethical breeders will pump the dogs with steroids to make them appear more muscular. Not only is this risky for their health, but after a while, the steroids wear off to reveal a smaller dog you did not agree to.

It’s all about asking questions! You should be ready to ask the breeder questions and vice versa.

A passionate breeder loves their puppies and will want to make sure they go to a responsible owner. They’ll even want to keep in contact for the first few months after the puppy goes home with you.

We’ve got you covered with these reputable American Bully breeders to check out.

American Bully rescues & shelters

That new puppy price tag may be out of your reach. No problem! You can find beautiful American Bullies at rescues.

These sweet dogs are waiting to go to their forever home and shower you with love. Here is our list of American Bully rescues and shelters. They feature a variety of Bully breeds, but you can check back for the American Bully.

Dog Breeds That Are Similar to the American Bully

Bully breeds share one thing in common: They are descended from ancient Molosser dogs, just like the Canis Panther, or the American Bandogge, which is a mix of different Molosser breeds.

Often portrayed as aggressive, these breeds tend to carry a burden for being dangerous. Because of this reputation, certain dogs, such as the Pit Bull, are banned in some states.

The truth is, Bully breeds are not inherently aggressive. Though they may look intimidating with a muscular build, they are actually companion dogs at heart. It is how humans treat and raise their canine pets that determines behavior.

Perhaps the American Bully is not for you. That’s ok, there are plenty of other wonderful Bully breeds.

Here is a list of dogs that share similarities.

You may also want to check out the Miniature English Bulldog.

American Bully vs. Pit Bull: what’s the difference?

Cute American Pit Bull Terrier
Pit Bull

At first glance, you may wonder what makes these two breeds so different. In fact, there are several key differences.

The biggest distinguishing factor is physical appearance. The American Bully has a large head with a snubby snout as compared to the more narrow face of the Pit Bull.

The American Bully is shorter than the Pit Bull, mainly because of its legs. Only the Classic type of American Bully is known to have average-sized legs.

When it comes to build, the Pit Bull is certainly known for its muscle and brawn, but muscle is one of the main traits that the American Bully was bred to show off. Heavy bones, a wide chest and thick features make it quite the robust canine.

Are American Bully and American Bulldog the same?

American Bulldog close up
American Bulldog

The short answer is NO, they are not the same breed.

The American Bulldog is a cultural icon, having been around much longer than the American Bully. It was originally bred from the now extinct Old English Bulldog, brought over to the US by immigrants.

The American Bulldog was bred for farm work, as well as dog shows and sports. The American Bully, on the other hand, is an offshoot of the Pit Bull, bred for companionship.

You can really tell these two breeds apart by their physical appearance. The American Bulldog is taller, with long legs and a more streamlined, lighter body. The head is longer than that of the American Bully.

Conclusion: Is the American Bully the Breed for You?

White American Bully lying down

Built like a beast, the American Bully is muscle mayhem! Don’t feel intimidated by that broad, bulky chest and a large set of jaws. This dog has a whole lot of love to give.

Let’s do a quick recap on this breed, and you can decide if it’s your match.


  • Bred for companionship
  • Bullies are “Nanny Dogs”, so they do well with children
  • Highly intelligent and easy to train
  • Low maintenance grooming (NOT hypoallergenic)
  • Suitable for apartments and houses due to multiple size varieties
  • Excels in shows, competitions and as a service dog


  • You’ll need to dedicate ample time to training, especially socialization. This is necessary to encourage confidence around other dogs and people.
  • Obesity, gassiness, and skin allergies are common, so a healthy (sometimes more expensive) diet is necessary.
  • High energy means daily exercise is a must to avoid destructive behavior.

What do you think about the American Bully? Tell us in the comments!


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