American Bully Ultimate Guide: Pictures, Characteristics, & Facts

Based on its appearance, you may think of American Bully as an aggressive and intimidating dog. Actually, that’s the opposite of what American Bullies are. This dog is fun-loving, outgoing, and a loving family companion! Only aggressive when needed, the American Bully is one of the rising canine stars today.


The American Bully was developed in the U.S. between 1980 to 1990. It was created using the American Staffordshire Terrier bred to bulldog-type dogs. Many believed that the American Bulldog, English Bulldog, Olde English Bulldogge, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and French Bulldog was used to produce this breed.

The American Bully was purposely bred to have a low prey drive. Despite having a heavy bone and intimidating look, this dog was bred to be a family companion. They are not produced to be aggressive, instead they make excellent guardians and loving pets.

In 2004, the American Bully was first recognized by the American Bully Kennel Club. On July 15, 2013, the breed was recognized by the United Kennel Club. However, the American Kennel Club hasn’t registered the breed – at least not yet.


The American Bully has a short, glossy coat that is a bit rough to the touch. They come in all colors and patterns except true albino and merle.

You can easily recognize American Bullies due to their very muscular body. Although varying in size, the three out of four strains share the same physical features. Their boxy heads are proportionate to their broad muzzles, well-defined cheek muscles, and big noses. Their ears are either natural or cropped.

The chest is broad and deep, the shoulder blades are strong and muscular, and the thick tails are either straight or in “crank handle” style. The American Bully’s skin is firm, with a wide front bearing.


Some registering organizations, including ABKC, divided the American Bully’s size into four categories, which are Pocket, Standard, Classic, and XL. Meanwhile, other organizations opt to stick with one standard size.

All dogs are classified under Standard size until they reach the age of one, where they are classified based on their type. Here are the four size categories of American Bully:

Pocket – the Pocket variant is the smallest out of the four categories, with males standing at 17 inches (43 cm) at the withers. On the other hand, females stand around 14 inches (35 cm).

Standard – the Standard variant, well, is the standard of the breed. It’s a medium-sized dog with a bulky muscular body and big bone structure. Males of this variety stand between 17 to 20 inches (43 to 50 cm), with females around 16 to 19 inches (40 to 48 cm).

Classic – The Classic variant is as tall as the Standard variant, but is lighter in terms of weight. Males stand between 17 to 20 inches (43 to 50 cm) at the withers, while females stand at 16 to 19 inches (40 to 48 cm). They have less muscle mass, with a similar appearance to American Pit Bull Terriers.

XL – The XL variant is basically bigger than the Standard size. Males under this category stand at 21 to 23 inches (53 to 58 cm) and females between 19 to 22 inches (48 to 55 cm) at the withers.

Unofficial Types – There are other categories, such as XXL and Micro, which were not recognized by legitimate kennel clubs. Dogs under these categories are either bigger and smaller than the four recognized standards.

The weight of American Bullies depends on their size. In general, they weigh from 30 to 150 pounds (13 to 68 kg).

Life Span

If properly taken care of, the American Bully could live from 10 to 13 years! It is important to provide your dog with their basic needs, such as the right amount of diet, daily exercise, regular check-up, and lots of love to prolong their lives, as well as keep them happy and healthy.


When it comes to grooming, the American Bully is easy to groom. Although average shedders, their short coats only need regular brushing using a firm, bristle brush. Baths should only be done when necessary. Patting them with a towel keeps their coats shiny and in best condition.


Despite their intimidating body, the American Bully is a loving, joyful, and outgoing companion. Their eagerness to please their owners make them a highly trainable breed. They are not aggressive for no reason, but they are courageous and willing to fight it all when provoked, or feel that they and their family is in danger.

While they make excellent companions for families, even those with children, American Bullies tend to be standoffish and reserved towards strangers. In order for them to grow to be a well-rounded dog, early socialization and training is highly essential.

Overall, a well-cared American Bully is a trustworthy, reliable, and loyal family companion that is capable of protecting you from any harm.


American Bullies are smart dogs, therefore they need an experienced and consistent owner who will keep the training fun and entertaining. This also means that they need mental stimulation in order for them to not get bored. Boredom may lead to development of destructive behaviors, which we do not want to happen especially with these muscular, powerful dogs.


The American Bully’s stunning muscular build exhibits great strength and ability. This breed excels in canine sports, such as weight pull and flirt pole. Aside from participating in competitions, they can also be used in a wide variety of tasks, especially those that need high power.


The amount of exercise that the American Bully needs will depend on their size. Basically, the smaller the variety, the less exercise they need. On average, an hour of exercise will keep them physically fit and healthy. Observe your American Bully’s capability to keep up with vigorous activities, since short muzzles may compromise their breathing.


Aside from being intelligent dogs, American Bullies are known for their love to please their owners. Because of this, training is relatively easy. But that doesn’t mean that they should be taken easily. They would still need a firm, consistent, but gentle owner who knows how to lead them, someone who effectively gives rules and limitations.

Good With Family

Expect a highly-trained American Bully to be affectionate, loyal, and brave family companion. They are known to be obedient dogs, and are happiest when they see you pleased with their actions. Perhaps, they got their loyal personality from their American Pit Bull Terrier parent, and the friendly and outgoing personality from the American Staffordshire Terrier.

The American Bully is very patient with children, although all interactions between a dog and children should be supervised.

They are loyal and have an extreme tolerance for pain. If they perceive that you’re in danger, expect them to fight their enemies to death.

Apartment Living

Provided that they are given the right amount of exercise, the American Bully can easily adapt in apartments. They prefer warm climates, and should be kept indoors with their human family, not at the backyard or at the kennel.

Separation Anxiety

Just like all dogs, an American Bully may develop separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time, or suddenly got separated with their family. When they feel that they’re abandoned, American Bullies will exhibit distress behaviors, such as barking, chewing, digging. These actions sometimes may result in self-injury or breaking of your home furniture.

In order to treat separation anxiety, your dog will need to learn how to enjoy, or at least enjoy, being alone. It’s also important to set a routine so that they know that you’ll come back. Giving them toys will also help.

Health Issues

Since they are a relatively new breed, and with the varying size within their population, health problems may differ for every dog. However, some conditions that are known to exist in American Bullies are: cherry eye, ectropion, entropion, and hip and elbow dysplasia. Some dogs, especially those with shorter muzzles, can suffer from Brachycephalic Respiratory Syndrome.


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