Tri-Color American Bully

Any color of American Bully is a beauty, but the tri-color Bully has to be among the most striking of all.

As you’ll probably know, tri-color Bullies have three colors, and the various color combinations and markings make for some pretty unique dogs. 

Tri Color Bully

Finding a tri-color Bully is getting easier, since some breeders are targeting these genetics owing to demand. But tri-color Bullies are still pretty rare.

That’s because the first requirement is the presence of the tan point gene in both the mother and the father – and even then, it might not show up in their offspring.

We’ll look at this in greater detail shortly, but first, let’s clear up a little misconception.

Tri-Color American Bullies Are Not A Separate Breed

Tri-color Bullies have become so popular that some people think they’re a different breed to regular American Bullies. So, to clear up any confusion, here’s what you need to know.

Not all kennel clubs recognize American Bullies as a breed, and even the ones that do recognize them don’t see tri-color Bullies as being a different breed. Instead, it’s a wonderful range of color combinations occurring within the breed. 

Tri Color Bully

Since American Bullies are comparatively new to the doggy breed scene and come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, there’s a possibility that the breed will be split up to represent different variants.

But if this happens, the distinction will probably not be based on color alone, especially since crossing two tri-color parents doesn’t necessarily result in tri-color puppies.

So, other than color, are there any differences between tri-color Bullies and other bullies? The answer is a definite no. American bullies are bred to be even-tempered, friendly, and sociable, and tris are no different. 

However, to get the best out of any American Bully, proper training and socialization are key factors.

Your dog will need lots of attention, play, and exercise, and you should be sure you have the time to give him what he needs before considering investing in Bullies of any kind – tri or otherwise. 

The Three Plus Colors In A Tri-Color Bully Coat Explained

Tan Points

It’s tan points that make tri-color Bullies so rare. Here’s why. In genetics, recessive genes are suppressed if one of the parents doesn’t pass them on to their offspring. So, both parents must have that gene or the tan points won’t show up. 

The tan point gene is the one that gives dogs tan “points” on the eyebrows, muzzle, and under the tail as well as the potential for twin tan spots on the chest or tan on the legs and paws. 

While certain breeds of dogs always feature this gene, American Bullies are so diverse that they may or may not carry it.

If one parent transfers this gene, but not the other, the dog that results from the cross doesn’t show tan points but has a fairly good chance of producing some pups with visible tan points in the next generation. 

Just to complicate things further, the tan point gene can come from both sides of a dog’s family, but the effect of the gene is “masked” by other genes so that the tan points aren’t visible.

Naturally, the resulting pattern of colors is not considered to be “tri-color.”

Sometimes, the dominance of another color only partly suppresses the appearance of tan points. So, they’re there, just not very clearly.

This is known as “ghost tan,” and dogs with these faded points are still considered tri-color as long as they also have white and another base color. 

Simply put, the only way to be sure of getting a tri-color Bully pup is to reserve one from somebody who is breeding tricolor males and females with one another or is breeding gene carriers and will be happy to reserve a tricolor pup for you. 

A Base Color

Apart from having tan points, a tri-color Bully will have a “base” color that can be seen over most of its body. Any possible American Bully color can be the base.

So, a tri-color Bully can have black, white, chocolate, lilac or blue as a base color. Color dilution genes can result in different shades of each color. 

But that’s not where it ends. Other patterned coats are also seen as base colors. So for example, a merle or piebald coat may have several colors, but they are seen as the base color. 


The final color in our triad of colors is, of course, white. The chest, neck and tummy are the most common areas to find these white markings, but they can extend into other areas at times. 

However, the lack of white will disqualify a Bully from being seen as a tri – and that can occur, even when both parents are tris!

Nevertheless, a bicolor bully is a beautiful animal, and if it is an exceptionally good dog from a breed point of view and has the tri genes, it could yet be in demand for breeding tri-color Bullies.

So, What Are The Criteria For A Tri-Color Bully?

First, the tan points gene must be homozygous (coming from both parents), and the tan points must be visible, even if only in one place.

That place has to be one of the traditional places for tan points to show up. Besides the tan points, the tri-color Bully has a base color and it will also have white. 

Tri Color American Bullies

But what if the base color is white? Some people may argue this, but based on definitions of what a tri-color Bully is, a white dog with tan points (even if these only show faintly) could be regarded as a tri-color. 

How To Define The Color Of A Tri-Color Bully

Now that we’ve got the gist of what it takes for a Bully to be seen as a tri, we can go ahead and start naming some of those amazing colors and patterns. Let’s begin with the easy ones and work our way up. 

Black Tri: black base coat, white markings and tan points.

Blue Tri: a silver-gray base coat, white markings and tan points.

Chocolate Tri: chocolate brown with white markings and tan points.

Lilac Tri: light gray with white markings and tan points.

Champagne Tri: most purists say that champagne-colored bullies can’t be tri-color because champagne and tan are really just different shades of the same color. 

But now we come to the patterns and things get a little more interesting, if only because some of the names are rather charming. 

Creeping Tan: The tan points seem to grow in size and the base color seems to retreat over the course of time. This is a specific genetic mutation of the tan point gene. 

Ghost Tan: The tan points are present but are less visible – even almost invisible. Sometimes, they consist of just a few tufts of tan hair on the areas where tan points usually occur. 

Trindle: Tan points are present, and so is white, but the tan points are actually brindle markings: good news for fans of brindles who’d love to own a tri but also love brindling. 

Tri Merle: Tri merles are truly beautiful, but problematic and deserve a little discussion. A merle coat is caused by a genetic mutation that affects pigmentation. The gene causes lighter patches on a solid-colored coat and the look is very attractive. 

If a merle color gene only occurs on one side of the family, the offspring may not have health problems, but shouldn’t be bred because merle genes from both parents result in an under pigmented animal who may be prone to a great many health problems. 

A tri merle has a merle coat, tan points, and white markings and should be spayed or neutered. 

Piebald Tri: Piebald bullies have coats patched with different colors. They aren’t the same as merles. A piebald tri will have a base coat marked with patches of different colors, tan points, and white markings. 

Ticked Tri: Very beautiful and unusual, ticked tris have the tan points with white markings and a “ticked” coat. Ticks are little tufts of differently colored hair, usually on a white or lighter base coat. 

How Did American Bullies Get The Tan Point Gene?

Not all American Bullies have or carry the tan point gene, but it’s definitely in the wider Bully gene pool.

To find its source, we must trace the American Bully’s lineage back to the breeds that were used in its creation. Tri Color Bullies

American Pitbulls often carry the tan point gene and that, in turn, harks back to the fox terriers that formed part of the Pitbull lineage. We can trace this back further to the terriers that were the forefathers of fox terriers. 

The American Staffordshire Terrier has some American Pitbull in its history too, and they form part of the American Bully’s heritage. 

Are There Any Health Issues Associated With Tan Point Genes?

Expression of tan point genes is what makes a tri-color bully – and we’ve noted that it’s a recessive gene – in other words, a gene that is easily suppressed by more dominant genes.

In several instances, for example, in merles (which we discussed a little earlier on), recessive genes are associated with potential health problems.

Tri Color Coat American Bullies

However, you’ll be glad to know that though it is recessive, the tan point gene does not indicate a likelihood of health issues.

There certainly are a few potential inherited illnesses from which American bullies can suffer, but having a tri-color Bully doesn’t mean that it has a greater chance of health issues. 

Do You Get Tri-Color Bullies in All American Bully Variations?

American bullies come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from Pocket Bullies all the way up to XXLs.

There are also some rarities including Micro Bullies (prone to health issues) and Extreme Bullies with massively heavy builds. 

Rare though the expression of the tan point genes required for a Bully to be a tri may be, you can find tri-color Bullies in all the shapes and sizes of American Bully. 

Should I Breed Tri-Color Bullies?

If you feel equal to meeting the many requirements for being an ethical breeder, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. But do remember that being an ethical breeder places you under several obligations. 

Your dogs’ welfare must come first, and veterinary expenses and demands on your time are likely to mount up.

You should only breed dogs that are strong, vigorous and which have good temperaments. And you should have a strong understanding of genetics in order to know which combinations are likely to work out well. 

Color American Bullies

Because tri-color Bullies fetch very good prices, some people mistakenly think that dog breeding is a huge money-spinner, but we have to say that the costs involved make it far less profitable than it may seem on the surface. 

If you love the American Bully breed and think you can contribute something to it, go ahead. But don’t expect to make a living out of it. And you definitely won’t get rich!

Some of the top Bully breeders in the US still have to keep their regular jobs so there’s no reason to believe that a beginner can make a living from dog breeding. 

Why Pick A Tri-Color Bully?

The color is beautiful, but what you really want from a dog is a staunch companion. You’re ready to be a great pet owner with a great dog, and you really like that color! 

As a person who has known several dogs in the past, you’ll know that no two dogs are alike.

But tri-color Bullies let the whole world know they’re unique through their special colors and markings. You love this individualism! Your dog will be your pride and joy. 

Can’t find a tri-color Bully? You’ll be perfectly happy to settle for any color of dog. To you, it’s the companionship of a great pet that’s the most important factor. All the same, if you can find one, you’ll be thrilled to have a tri!

That’s right! The most important reason to take any dog home with you is because you love dogs.If you don’t, choosing one for its lovely colors isn’t going to result in happiness for either of you.

Are you ready for the delights, thrills, and sometimes spills of pet parenthood? Here’s hoping you find the tri-color Bully of your dreams! 


Hi there, my name is Blake and I have an American Bully named Rocky. I fell in love with the breed around ten years ago after seeing some of my friends adopt a Bully. I love the combination of the muscular physique and calm, loyal companionship that the American Bully breed has to offer. My enthusiasm for the breed has led me to train as a dog behavioralist and trainer. Over the last ten years, I have supported many households in raising their American Bully and maximizing the potential of the breed. I’m delighted to share my knowledge and expertise on this site.

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