At first glance, American Bully dogs may look tough and intimidating. But don’t let those muscles fool you – these loyal pups thrive when they’re bonding with their families.
In this in-depth guide, I’ll give you the real scoop on all the different types of American Bullies out there. You’ll learn about their origins, physical traits, personalities, exercise needs, health issues and costs—everything you need to decide if one of these special dogs belongs in your home.
Table of Contents
By the end, you’ll see why Bully enthusiasts are so head-over-heels for this breed in all its forms. Let’s get to know the American Bully!
Where Did American Bully Dogs Come From?
To really understand the American Bully, it helps to first look back at how the breed developed in the 1980s and 90s.
- Breeders had the idea to create a new kind of bully-type dog focused on being a chill companion instead of a working or guard dog.
- They started crossing American Pit Bull Terriers with mellow, stockier bulldog cousins like the English and American Bulldog.
- The goal was to combine the Pit Bull’s loyal personality with the Bulldog’s easygoing nature.
- Breeders selectively picked puppies that showed less dog aggression and just wanted to hang with people.
- In 2004, the American Bully Kennel Club formed to promote proper breeding.
- Around a decade later, the official breed name “American Bully” was chosen to represent this hybrid Bulldog/Pit Bull mix.
Thanks to dedicated breeders, the American Bully thrives today as the ultimate family-oriented bully breed. But developing those stockier Bulldog traits has led to different types like the Pocket Bully. Let’s check out the varieties out there.
The Different Types of American Bully Dogs
While the core breed remains the same, selective breeding has produced some distinct sizes and looks:
Classic or Standard – This is the original mainstream Bully with males 17-20 inches tall and females 16-19 inches. They represent the breed standard in terms of looks and temperament. The only type currently recognized by the American Kennel Club.
XL (Extra Large) – As the name suggests, XL Bullies are bigger. Over 20 inches tall for males and over 19 inches for females. XL’s can weigh up to 160 pounds but still look fit and athletic, not chunky.
Pocket – This smaller Bully ideally stands 13-17 inches tall for males, 13-16 inches for females. More compact with a flatter face and front wrinkles. Pocket Bullies weigh 35-55 pounds fully grown.
Extreme or Exotic – This controversial subtype features exaggerated traits like a super short muzzle, heavily bowed legs, and other distortions. Often unhealthy. Best to avoid unethical breeders only seeking extremes.
Micro or Teacup – “Micro” and “Teacup” are just gimmicky labels disreputable breeders use for runts deliberately bred tiny. Since dwarfism is often involved, health issues abound in so-called Micro Bullies.
No matter the size differences, all American Bullies share the same devoted personality. Now let’s look closer at what makes these dogs so delightful.
The Unique Temperament of American Bullies
Despite their muscular bodies and tough facade, American Bullies are tender-hearted sweeties. Here are some of their best traits:
Affectionate – American Bullies bond deeply with their families. They thrive on constant companionship and want to stick by your side.
Gentle – This breed has infinite patience with kids. Their nurturing spirit makes them ideal family fur babies.
Eager to Please – These highly trainable dogs aim to impress their owners. Positive reinforcement training is the way to their hearts.
Friendly – While cautious at first, proper introductions make American Bullies friendly even with strangers. They don’t have an aggressive edge.
Fun-Loving – American Bullies are happy-go-lucky goofballs, always entertaining and spreading joy. It’s impossible not to smile around them!
Confident – Brave without being aggressive, American Bullies make vigilant watchdogs who will sound the alarm for anything suspicious. But they aren’t typically protective.
When properly cared for, trained and loved, the American Bully makes an unforgettable best friend for the whole family.
Activity Needs of American Bully Dogs
These high energy pups demand vigorous daily exercise:
- Puppies should avoid strenuous workouts to protect developing joints. Low impact activity is best.
- Adults need at least 60-90 minutes of intensive exercise daily—more like 2 hours for XL’s.
- Great activities include jogging, hiking, swimming, retrieval, agility drills, and flyball.
- Mental stimulation is also crucial. Train scent work, tricks and challenging skills. Use interactive food puzzles.
- Dog parks can be risky due to bullying of smaller dogs. Supervise playmates carefully.
- Leash training early is essential. Start with front-clip harnesses and teach impulse control. Reinforce solid recall skills.
An exercised Bully is a calm, happy Bully! Working that body makes them more mellow at home. Now let’s talk about proper diet for these active dogs.
Feeding an American Bully Dog
These muscular pups have high calorie needs from quality nutrition:
- Puppies require 3-4 meals per day to fuel growth and development.
- Adults only need 2-3 daily feedings to maintain peak conditioning.
- Serving sizes vary based on weight, but expect 2-5 cups per day. XL’s naturally need more.
- Choose a premium food formulated specifically for bully breeds. Avoid fillers or poor quality ingredients.
- Look for adequate animal-based protein as first ingredients along with healthy fats. Limited carbs and grains are ok.
- Supplement as needed for hip/joint, digestive or immune system support.
Discuss your Bully’s ideal nutrition plan with your veterinarian. The right diet fuels their active lifestyle and keeps them healthy.
Grooming Needs of American Bullies
Grooming this short-haired breed is pretty straightforward:
- Weekly brushing removes dead hair before it can shed. Bathe only when dirty to maintain the natural oils in their skin.
- Check and clean facial wrinkles daily to prevent moisture buildup that can lead to infections.
- Clean inside ear flaps weekly using a veterinarian recommended solution to avoid infections. Never insert cotton swabs down the ear canal.
- Brush teeth ideally daily, or at minimum several times per week. Trim nails monthly.
- Apply a musk-neutralizing spray occasionally if needed. Gently wipe any excessive drool.
While low maintenance, consistency with basic grooming keeps your Bully looking and feeling their best.
Health Issues Seen in American Bullies
Like any pure breed, American Bullies are prone to certain health conditions, including:
Joint Dysplasia – Look for OFA certified parents. Maintain lean weight, exercise reasonably, and give joint supplements to reduce risk.
Allergies & Skin Problems – Allergies, yeast overgrowth, fold infections, and demodectic mange are common. Keep face folds clean.
Brachycephalic Issues – Shortened muzzles increase risk for breathing problems, snoring, and overheating.
Heart Disease – Some bloodlines prone to mitral valve disease or cardiomyopathy. Discuss tests with your vet.
Cherry Eye – Prolapse of the third eyelid gland. Usually easy to correct surgically if occurs.
Choosing a breeder who screens breeding dogs for health improves puppy odds tremendously. Still, pet insurance gives peace of mind.
With attentive care and a high quality diet, most American Bullies can thrive into their senior years. Now let’s go over training musts.
Training & Socializing American Bully Puppies
Proper early socialization and training sets American Bully pups up for success. Be sure to:
- Start positive reinforcement training the moment they come home. Enroll in group puppy obedience classes for crucial early socialization.
- Establish yourself as a gentle, consistent pack leader. These dogs aim to please their owner. Reward-based methods work beautifully.
- Practice basic obedience commands daily until mastered. Then continue expanding training skills and fun tricks.
- Socialize extensively to build confidence around anything new – people, places, animals, noises. Pair new exposures with tasty treats and praise.
- Immediately discourage any resource guarding around food, toys or sleeping areas to prevent possessive aggression.
With the right early foundations, your Bully puppy will blossom into a friendly, obedient companion dog.
Finding a Responsible American Bully Breeder
Looking to add one of these special dogs to your household? Be sure to:
- Seek out ethical, conscientious breeders doing all health and temperament tests on breeding dogs – not just pumping out trendy pets. Meet parents when possible.
- Check shelters and rescues for adoptable American Bullies needing homes. Many end up there through no fault of their own.
- Research breeders thoroughly – visit facilities, ask for references, ensure health testing proof. Avoid shady pop-up breeders and pet stores selling dogs.
- Expect to wait on a list with responsible breeders. Good things come to those who wait! Be very wary of instantly available online puppies.
- Make sure you’re ready to properly care for, train, exercise and supervise this active, muscular breed with extensive needs before committing.
Taking the time to find an exemplary breeder or rescue sets you up for success with your ideal American Bully puppy companion!
Costs of Owning an American Bully Dog
Here are the estimated expenses involved with adding an American Bully to your crew:
One Time Initial Costs
- Purchase from quality breeder: $2000 to $5000+
- Initial supplies like leash, crate, bed: $500 to $1000+
- Vet exams and vaccines: $400 to $1000+
- Spay/neuter when older: $100 to $500
- High quality dog food: $500 to $1000
- Routine vet visits and shots: $350 to $700+
- Heartworm and flea prevention: $200 to $300
- Toys, license, supplies: $250 to $500+
- Pet insurance: $500 to $1000+
Other Potential Costs
- Professional training: $500 to $1000+
- Boarding fees: $25 to $50+ per day
- Medical emergencies: $1000+
- Replacing destroyed furniture: $500+
Properly caring for these active dogs does require proper budgeting. But their companionship is so rewarding!
Now let’s break down the different varieties in more detail. We’ll start with the original balanced Classic Bully type.
All About Classic American Bully or Standard American Bullies
The mainstream American Bully that set the breed standard is known as the Classic or Standard. Here are the key traits:
Size: Males 17-20 inches tall; females 16-19 inches tall. Overall medium size compared to Pocket and XL types.
Weight: Males 70-120 pounds; females 70-90 pounds once grown.
Appearance: Boasts the signature American Bully physique – stocky, athletic body; large blocky head; short glossy coat. The happy medium in terms of bulk and body type.
AKC Status: The sole Bully type currently recognized by the American Kennel Club in their Foundation Stock Service class. Classic Bullies represent the breed foundation.
Temperament: Despite their impressive build, Classic Bullies have the quintessential gentle, biddable temperament. They thrive with active owners who train them properly.
For those seeking the original moderate-sized American Bully with the classic breed type, the balanced Classic Bully is the perfect pick. But Bully breeding has also yielded some larger options like the XL.
XL American Bully Dogs
For Bully lovers who enjoy the breed’s traits but prefer a larger dog, the XL (extra large) type is the way to go. Here are the defining characteristics:
Size: XL males typically reach 20 to 23 inches tall at maturity, substantially larger than Classic Bully males. XL females grow over 19 inches tall at adulthood.
Weight: Expect XL male Bullies to weigh between 110 to 140 pounds depending on exact size and build. XL females often weigh 80 to 110 pounds fully grown.
Appearance: XL Bullies boast the signature stocky, thickly muscled Bully body with a large, blocky head – just scaled up in both height and weight compared to the Classic Bully.
Temperament: Personality-wise, XL Bullies maintain the eager to please, devoted temperament iconic to the breed. Their larger size demands proper training and activity from an experienced owner.
If you love the distinctive Bully traits but would prefer a bigger dog, the imposing yet gentle XL Bully could make an excellent fit for the right owner. Now let’s explore the more compact Pocket Bully size.
Pocket American Bully Dogs
At the smaller end of the Bully spectrum, the Pocket Bully offers a more portable, compact version without sacrificing personality. Let’s learn more:
Size: The Pocket Bully ideally stands 13 to 17 inches tall at maturity for males, 13 to 16 inches tall for females. Significantly smaller than Classic Bullies.
Weight: Pocket Bullies weigh around 35 to 55 pounds fully grown. Their petite frames and muscles account for dramatically lower weight compared to other Bully sizes.
Appearance: Pocket Bullies resemble the Classic Bully build scaled down – shorter legs, smaller head, overall compact body frame. But all features remain proportionate.
Temperament: Personality-wise, the pint-sized Pocket Bully maintains the sweet, loyal, highly trainable temperament emblematic of the breed. But their smaller stature makes them better suited to apartment life.
For Bully fans who appreciate the breed’s distinctive look and temperament but prefer a lower maintenance compact size, the delightful Pocket Bully can be the perfect choice. Up next, let’s explore some of the rarer Bully colors and patterns.
Blue American Bully Dogs
One of the most sought-after and breathtaking American Bully color variations is the mesmerizing blue coat. But what causes this unusual bluish-grey hue? Let’s uncover the genetics behind it:
The Blue Gene – All blue Bullies carry a recessive gene that dilutes black pigment. This dilute gene prevents full melanin formation, resulting in a striking slate grey coat color.
Coat Colors – Solid blue Bullies appear a shimmery greyish-blue. Blue tri Bullies exhibit a mix of grey and white markings. Blue fawn Bullies blend gray, fawn, and white.
Eye Color – Some blue coated Bullies also inherit striking light blue eye color. However, blue eyes are caused by a different gene unrelated to coat color.
Controversy – Some unproven claims exist that the blue dilution gene also increases health risks. Be sure to select blues carefully from thoroughly health tested parents like any Bully.
The cool grey to blue tones create a uniquely striking Bully. But the rare color means higher prices and more limited availability. Ready to take the plunge? An ethical breeder is key.
In addition to unusual colors, some breeders have introduced more controversial smaller Micro Bullies and Merle coat patterns. But several issues surround these designer variants.
The Controversy Around Micro American Bully & Merle American Bully
Let’s examine two of the most questionable American Bully coats getting attention – the so-called Micro Bully and the Merle Bully.
What is a Micro Bully?
- The terms Micro or Teacup refer to abnormally small Bullies under 17 inches full grown.
- Unethical breeders intentionally breed runts or deliberately stunt growth to achieve an extra tiny “Micro” size.
- Their dwarfism often results from irresponsible heavy inbreeding. Micro Bullies frequently suffer serious health consequences.
- No major Bully breed clubs recognize this gimmicky micro size. Avoid supporting unscrupulous breeders just seeking profit. Seek reputable Miniature Bullies instead.
What is a Merle Bully?
- Merle refers to a splotchy patchwork coat with irregular patches of diluted pigment and darker base color.
- Breeding two merle coated dogs often produces severe health issues like blindness, deafness, and impaired vision due to the merle gene pairings.
- No traditional Bully bloodlines ever contained merle genes until very recent crossbreeding with other merle breeds.
- The American Bully Kennel Club explicitly bans registration of merle Bullies due to health risks. Merle is considered a disqualification.
Bottom line: it’s best to avoid disreputable breeders intentionally producing Micro or Merle Bullies, as both practices often involve unethical methods that jeopardize the dogs’ health. Instead, focus on breeders responsibly bettering the entire Bully breed.
Now that we’ve covered the major Bully types, let’s answer some common questions people have about these misunderstood dogs.
American Bully FAQs
Let’s recap responses to some frequent questions prospective owners have:
Are American Bullies aggressive?
Absolutely not! Properly socialized Bullies are total sweethearts devoted to their families, including kids. They can develop unwarranted aggressive reputations simply due to muscular appearance, which makes proper training essential.
Do American Bullies make good family pets?
Yes! The affectionate, playful, loyal American Bully breed thrives when sharing life with their human and canine families. Their gentle, nurturing nature makes them fantastic companions and “nanny dogs” with proper supervision around small children.
How do you train an American Bully?
Positive reinforcement training starting young is highly effective for American Bullies aim to please. Use food rewards and praise to reinforce commands and manners. Avoid punishment-based methods. Prioritize socialization exposure. Obedience classes are highly recommended throughout their lifespan.
Do American Bullies need a lot of exercise?
Yes! At least 60-90 minutes of intensive daily exercise is crucial for physically and mentally stimulating these muscular, energetic dogs. Activities like jogging, hiking, swimming, retrieval games, and chewing enrich their routine. Teaching advanced skills also tires them out.
What is the lifespan of an American Bully?
With attentive veterinary care, proper diet and exercise, and avoiding obesity, most American Bullies will enjoy a lifespan averaging 10-13 years. Some may exceed 14 years with ideal conditions.
Are American Bullies hard to take care of?
American Bullies do have higher exercise needs, require dedicated training, and can exhibit some stubbornness or aggression issues without proper handling. They flourish with confident owners able to give them structure, activity, and affection. But they are eager to please.
I hope these answers help provide clarity on the unique American Bully breed. Let me know if any other questions come up! When matched with the right active family, this breed makes an engaging, athletic companion.