American Bullies are certainly attractive dogs, but it’s a very new breed that only emerged in the 1980s, and you’re curious about how it was created.
What are American Bullies mixed with? Or, more accurately, what mixture of dog breeds was used to create the American Bully and why?
By looking at the American Bully mix, you’ll be able to gain a better understanding of the breed, and an insight into its temperament, trainability, and physical abilities that may help you to decide whether the American Bully is the dog for you.
Although it’s hard not to find these beautiful dogs appealing, we’ll do our best to give you unbiased information and a balanced picture of the American Bully and its origins.
We’ll also look at the characteristics of each breed that went into the American Bully so that you can see what breeders were hoping to achieve with this mixture. Did they succeed? We’ll leave you to be the judge of that!
The American Pitbull
Justified or, as many enthusiasts say, not, the American Pitbull is feared for its unpredictability and aggression.
It’s certainly a breed that has been demonized with a robust “nature versus nurture” argument that could be summed up as follows.
Many pitbull owners have found their dogs to be gentle, patient, and good-natured, but as a breed that requires good training and a lot of attention, some pitbulls have been allowed to develop vices that make them unsafe around people and other animals.
Their reputation as fierce guard dogs may also have prompted people who have no real affinity for dogs, and only wanted a “vicious dog,” to adopt them. And with active encouragement to be vicious, any dog can become dangerous.
There’s also the question of genetics, and this is where our breeders enter the picture.
The theory goes that some Pitbulls are genetically disposed to be aggressive while others are not. And this is where American Bully breeders began their selection process.
In their quest for a “companion” dog with all of the advantages of the Pitbull and none of the vices, they selected Pitbulls known for their calm good-nature as the basis for a new breed: the American Bully.
The American Staffordshire Terrier
The lovable yet athletic American Staffordshire Terrier or AmStaff is a perfect genetic match for what American Bully breeders hoped to achieve.
With oodles of intelligence, excellent trainability, and a reputation as affectionate and loyal family dogs, they certainly matched the personality profile which breeders hoped to emphasize in their new breed.
A stocky build and a fondness for physical activity further indicated a match made in heaven.
By carefully selecting AmStaffs with the best breed characteristics and personalities to breed with American Pitbulls, the breeders of the American Bully were confident that they were already making progress towards their vision.
But at least one more dog breed would be added to the genetic mixing pot before they were satisfied with the results.
The American Kennel Club sums up the temperament of the Bulldog in three words that say it all: “friendly, courageous, calm” Bulldogs ticked all the boxes with regard to intelligence and affinity with their human owners.
That made them an excellent choice for a breeding program that was working to produce a “companion” dog with a powerful physique and even-tempered nature.
Physically, Bulldogs are blessed with strength and a surprising amount of athleticism. They’re quite energetic dogs despite occasionally being seen as “lazy.”
Both in appearance and temperament, Bulldogs seemed the best option to round off the breed and create further genetic separation from the Pitbull gene pool that might overcome any genetic reversion to Pitbull “aggression.”
The only drawback of the Bulldog is the squashed-in face which, though “ugly-beautiful,” often leads to breathing problems.
By mixing it with the other two bloodlines that make up the American Bully we know today, this issue has been all-but eliminated, though very short-faced puppies do occasionally occur.
American Bully breeders prefer not to breed from pups demonstrating this fault, so we can expect the frequency of it occurring to become less as time goes on.
The Olde English Bulldogge
In case you’re wondering about the spelling, this breed is not the Old English Bulldog.
The Old English Bulldog is, in fact, extinct, and the Olde English Buldogge is neither English nor particularly old in breed terms.
This breed, which contributed its genes to the development of the American Bully, was first recognized in 2014 and was bred in America.
Initially bred to replicate the appearance of the extinct English Bulldog, this breed has far fewer health issues than the “real” Bulldog that most of us are familiar with.
It’s known for a relaxed temperament and great athleticism and may be used to combat the inbreeding of the “real” Bulldog.
In the context of the American Bully, it was chosen for its muscular build, good overall health, wide head, and pleasant temperament.
It’s possible that other bulldog-like breeds have contributed to the development of the American Bully, but it’s safe to assume that the Bulldog, Olde English Bull Dogge, American Staffordshire Terrier and Pitbull hold the lion’s share of the bloodline.
The Four (Plus One) Types Of American Bully
Now that we know what American Bullies are mixed with, it’s time to take a look at the results:
a highly variable breed that has been classified into four categories based on its height and physique. There’s also a fifth up-and-coming variant, and we’ll take a closer look at that too.
1. The Standard Bully
A glance at this dog is enough to give a clear indication of the breeds that went into its heritage. Males measure 17 to 20 inches at the withers and females are 16 to 19 inches tall.
Emerging in the 1990s, the barrel-like body and wide head are in proportion to one another.
And although we can see the Bulldog build in the Standard Bully, we don’t have the drastically foreshortened muzzle that causes breathing issues.
Even though it’s an early form of American Bully, it already has the patient temperament for which it was bred and is known to have a sociable nature.
2. The Classic Bully
Classic Bullies are very like their cousins, the Standards, but they aren’t as stocky and heavy. The American Staffordshire side of this variant’s lineage is clearly visible.
Despite its lighter frame and musculature, this is still a beefy-looking barrel of a dog with a broad chest and strong neck and shoulders. In every other respect, including its size, it’s very similar to the Standard Bully.
3. The XL Bully
As one of the Newer entrants on the American Bully scene, the XL Bully is making waves.
With males measuring 20 to 23 inches at the withers and females reaching 19 to 22 inches, they’re only slightly taller than Standard Bullies, but they certainly appear much larger because they have more bulk too.
Because it’s an extra-large variation of the breed, finding a true-to-type XL Bully may not be an easy task, especially if you’re hoping to take home prizes at dog shows.
Choosing puppies from XL Bully parentage is no guarantee you’ll end up with an XL. If it doesn’t grow large enough, it will be classed as a Standard Bully.
Choose a reputable breeder, pick a sturdy puppy, and you’ll still have a wonderful dog, even if it doesn’t quite make the cut for an XL.
4. The Pocket Bully
Considering that it still comes from the American Bully mix, your “pocket” Bully is definitely not a dog that will fit into the average pocket.
All the same, it is smaller than its cousins. Males are 14 to 17 inches tall at the withers and the petite females are 13 to 16 inches tall. Its shorter stature is the only real difference between it and other Bullies.
You’ll get a pocket powerhouse that’s definitely not a handbag dog by any standards.
Some commentators say that they’re also a little more placid than their bigger counterparts, but they’re still energetic companions that will need plenty of exercise.
As a footnote, you may see breeders advertising mini or micro Bullies. These are not recognized as separate variants and fall under the classification of Pocket Bully.
However, it’s possible that some breeders are using these terms to describe the smallest Pocket Bullies and are using “micro” or “mini” as a way of pointing this out.
5. The Extreme Bully
Extreme bullies aren’t given their designation for their height and there’s no height standard for them.
Very reminiscent of their Bulldog forefathers, they nevertheless don’t have noses short enough to cause breathing problems.
But when it comes to bone structure, girth, and musculature, it’s easy to see where this Bully got its tag. Generally achieving a size equivalent to the Standard Bully, its thickset build sets it apart.
However, there may be other differences that all have their roots in the American Bully mix. For example, extremes sometimes have semi-closed lips and often have more loose skin on their necks.
Characteristically, the hindquarters are more turned out and there’s less of a descent in height towards the hindquarters.
The Benefits Of The American Bully Mix
In older breeds, there’s more standardization and less variation than we see in American Bullies.
Because these breeds have been around for a long time, and were bred for certain genes, there are often more genetic weaknesses than there are in more variable breeds like the American Bully.
As a young breed created from the bloodlines of several other breeds, American Bullies are less inclined to show recessive traits that could cause health issues.
That’s not to say that they don’t have any health issues inherited from their forefathers, but in general, American Bullies are as hardy as they are strong.
In creating the American Bully, its breeders hoped to develop a more sociable, less excitable version of the Pitbull, and as many families who own them will attest, the experiment seems to have been a great success.
With the sociable nature of Staffordshire Terriers, the Patience of Bulldogs, and the courage of Pitbulls selected for their outgoing and friendly nature, American Bully owners are declaring their favorite breed to be a resounding triumph in dog breeding.
However, not everyone agrees. With their Pitbull lineage and intimidating appearance still showing strong Pitbull similarities, many people, including lawmakers, aren’t yet convinced that the American Bully is as gentle and reliable as his breeders intended.
How To Tell The Difference Between An American Bully And A Pitbull
With the Pitbull having been mixed with the slightly shorter Bulldog and AmStaff, it’s no surprise that the Bully is often shorter than the pitbull.
But just to confuse matters, the bigger American Bullies can be an inch or two taller than Pitbulls.
On a height-to weight ratio, the American Bully is definitely heavier, but the Pocket Bully, with its smaller size can be lighter than the Pitbull.
The easiest way to tell Pitbulls and American Bullies apart is to look at their proportions.
American Bullies are like Bulldogs on steroids: shorter, broader, and usually wider than they are tall. Pitbulls have a more slender build by contrast.
You can also tell the difference between Pitbulls and American Bullies by looking at the size of the head and the length of the legs.
The broad head with its typical American Staffordshire Terrier smile tells you that you’re definitely looking at a Bully!
With the exception of the Classic American Bully variant, American Bullies also have shorter legs than the average Pitbull. You can definitely spot the Bulldog here!
What American Bullies And Pitbulls Have In Common
The most important thing that American Bullies and Pitbulls have in common is seemingly-boundless energy.
It’s energy that can easily become misdirected if a dog isn’t well-trained, and a bored dog who isn’t getting enough attention is likely to act out just to get the attention they’re craving.
Both breeds can be good companions, with the American Bully having been bred for greater predictability and less excitability. However, they require companionship in return.
Regardless of the breed, any dog that is not properly socialized and trained or that feels needy can develop bad behaviors.
With their size and muscle, untrained American Bullies who don’t get enough company, exercise, and mental stimulation can become dangerous. This is not a low-maintenance dog breed despite its short coat.
More than anything, an American Bully will require your attention. Do not consider getting a Bully if you’re planning to leave it alone in your yard for much of the day.
He or she will need to be part of the family. In a sense, this makes American Bullies very similar to Pitbulls although they do have a lower prey instinct and are less likely to lash out suddenly.