American Bully: Guide to Owning a Bully Dog

The American Bully is a crossbreed of the American Pit Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier with some Bulldog-type breeds. It’s a medium-to-large-sized dog that measures 16 to 20 inches (41 to 51 cm) tall and weighs around 65 to 85 pounds (29 to 39 kg). 

Also known as Am Bully or simply Bully, the American Bully was bred to combine the best traits of its Pitbull and Bulldog parents and develop a companion dog.


American Bully wearing a cute bow
A smiling American Bully

American Bullies are new dog breeds, having just been developed during the 1980s and 1990s in the United States. They were first recognized as a breed by the American Bully Kennel Club (ABKC) in 2004, then followed by the European Bully Kennel Club (EBKC) in 2008, and by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 2013.

However, the American Kennel Club (AKC) doesn’t recognize the American Bully in their registry as a purebred dog.

Despite their intimidating appearance of having a close resemblance to their Pitbull parent, American Bullies are loyal, gentle, and protective. They can be excellent family pets and are well-suited to living in an apartment or small space.

Read on to discover more about American Bullies and learn how to keep them happy and healthy.

The American Bully at a Glance

We’ve put together a table below to give you a quick overview of the American Bully.

Breed Summary Standard American Bully Quick Facts
Breed Purpose Companion Dog
Breed Size Medium-to-Large
Height 16 to 20 inches (41 to 51 cm)
Weight 65 and 85 lbs (29 to 39 kg)
Coat Type Short, smooth, glossy single coat
Shedding Low to Moderate
Most Popular Coat Colors Blue, Fawn, Black, and White
Lifespan 10 to 13 years
Temperament Loving, affectionate, kind
Energy High
Exercise Needs 1 hr per day
Average Price $2,500 to $5,000

Is an American Bully a Pitbull?

The American Bully is NOT a Pitbull. Although they both look very similar and share many same characteristic features, the American Bully is a different breed from the Pit Bull.

As mentioned, the American Bully has Pit Bull genes in its original genetic code and it’s one type of Pitbull dog breed.

American Bully wearing a green collar
A Portrait of an adult American Bully

Breeders developed American Bully by mixing the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) and American Staffordshire Terrier (AmStaff) with English Bulldog, American Bulldog, and Olde English Bulldogge.

Their purpose was to create a companion 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.

You can compare the Pit Bull and American Bully by watching the video below:

How Many Bully Dogs are There in the World?

It’s not known how many American Bullies there are worldwide because they are modern and rare dog breeds.

Although they were recognized as a distinct breed by a few kennel clubs such as ABCK in 2004, EBCK in 2008, and UKC in 2013, there’s no recorded exact number of registered American Bullies mentioned on their sites.

What Does an American Bully Look Like?

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.


White American Bully lying down
A White American Bully

How big is the American Bully?

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. The average weight of male and female Standard American Bullies can range from 65 to 85 lb (30 to 39 kg).

Because of its diverse height and 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.

Read all about: American Bully Growth Chart

5 Types of American Bully

There are 5 types of American Bully based on their sizes recognized by the American Bully Kennel Club. These are the Standard, Classic, Pocket, XL, and Exotic or Extreme, which is recently added to the list.

1. Standard Bully

A Standard American Bully
A Standard American Bully

A male Standard American Bully is about 17 to 20 inches (43-51 cm) tall while a standard female stands about 16 to 19 inches (41-48 cm).

2. Classic Bully

A Classic American Bully staring seriously
A serious-looking Classic American Bully

The Classic American Bully shares the same measurements as the standard, but what sets it apart from the other four types is its build. The classic body is less bulky, with longer legs and a narrow frame. It is said to resemble the Pit Bull more than other varieties.

3. Pocket Bully

A smiling Pocket American Bully
Drogo, a Pocket American Bully

The Pocket American Bully is a smaller version of the standard. A male Pocket American Bully only stands between 14 and 17 (36-43 cm) tall while a pocket female stands between 13 and 16 inches (33-41 cm).

4. XL Bully

An XL American Bully lying in a bed
Meet Tyson, an XL American Bully

An XL or Extra Large American has the same body build as the standard size but it’s taller, bulkier, and heavier. A male XL American Bully has a height of 20 to 23 inches (51-58 cm) while a female XL measures 19 to 22 inches (48-56 cm).

5. Exotic Bully (Extreme Bully)

An Extreme American Bully
An Extreme American Bully dog

The Exotic Bully, also known as Extreme Bully, is smaller than the Pocket Bully but has a heavier body structure and a wider look than the Standard American Bully. 

Summary of Bully Classes By Height

Here’s a quick reference to compare the 5 types of Bullies based on their height.

Types of Bullies Height
Standard Bully 16-20 inches
(41 to 51 cm)
Classic Bully 16-20 inches
(41 to 51 cm)
Pocket Bully 13-17 inches
(33 to 43 cm)
Extra Large Bully 19-23 inches
(48 to 58 cm)
Extreme Bully

What Coat Type Do American Bullies Have?

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

Although it is NOT hypoallergenic, the coat sheds only minimally to moderately. 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.

Related article: Blue American Bully

What are the Characteristics of Bully Dogs?

A full-grown American Bully dog
A full-grown American Bully

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, he will scamper up to meet your friends, quickly becoming part of the crew.

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

The American Bully is highly intelligent, waiting and watching before making a move. He 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, he will be drawn to the carefree demeanor of children. Roughhousing is ok, he will not react. Instead, the American Bully will let kiddies climb all over him!

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

Does the Bully do well with other pets?

The American Bully is naturally a social dog. He 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?

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

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.

American Bully Bite Force

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?

The definite estimate for American Bully’s bite force (PSI) is not available. But, we can look at the Pit Bull and American Bulldog to get a better understanding.

American Bully close up
American Bully’s Bite Force: between 235 and 305 PSI

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 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 the 235 and 305 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!

How to Train an American Bully?

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 he will be as obedient as he can in order to please his 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.

American Bully sitting in the sun
Training an American Bully

The 3 Best Training Methods for the American Bully breed

1. American Bully’s 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 for your Bully

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 and 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 in to frustration.

3. American Bully Needs Socialization

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

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

How Long Do American Bullies Live?

American Bullies have an average lifespan of around 10 to 13 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 the 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 Nutrition

Feeding a 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 essential nutrients 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).

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

Read all about: Best Dog Food for American Bully

How Much Exercise Does the American Bully Need?

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

A big mouth Blue American Bully
A big mouth Blue American Bully with a firm look

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 Bully dogs and is light on their joints. Throw a ball into the pool and watch your American Bully make a splash.
  • Agility training: Not only does this challenge your Bully physically, but mentally as well. With an agility training course, you get to sharpen their obedience.
  • Bike riding: Start practicing by peddling slowly while your Bully 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 $2,500 and $5,000. This is a popular dog!

Two American Bully puppies
Two cute American Bully puppies with blue eyes

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 American Bully 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. 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.

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

The American Bully and the American Pit Bull Terrier breeds
The equally amazing American Bully (left) and American Pit Bull Terrier

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.

Read all about: Pit Bull vs American Bully

Are American Bully and American Bulldog the same?

American Bully running and American Bulldog sitting
The more active American Bully (left) and the American Bulldog (right)

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.

Read all about: American Bulldog vs American Bully

Conclusion: Is the American Bully the Right Breed For You?

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.

Pros of owning an American Bully:

  • 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

Cons of owning an American Bully:

  • 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!

1 thought on “American Bully: Guide to Owning a Bully Dog”

  1. I have 2 American Bullies. They are my girls. Very loyal, great guard dogs, and listen very well. They love everyone even my cats. One of my girls tries to be momma to the baby kitties. Best dog I have ever had.


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