American Bully Dog Breed: 14 Must Know Facts

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The American Bully is a type of bully breed known for their muscular body, square head and faithfulness.

American Bullies were bred to be a companion pet. This breed loves with so much intensity that after owning one, you will never want to be without one.

While they do share similar genes to a Pitbull, the American Bully is not a Pitbull. They were bred from American Pits, Staffordshire Terriers and other bulldog breeds.

In 2013 the United Kennel Club recognized them as their own breed.

Come and discover 14 facts you need to know about this dog.

ALSO READ: What Is An American Bully XL? Everything To Know

American Bully

1. An American Bully Is A Type Of Bully Breed

The American Bully is a relatively new dog breed, having first been bred in the 1990s.

First bred in the US, it is a mix primarily between the American Pitbull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier. They also have other bulldog breeds in their lineage such as the American Bulldog, English Bulldog and Olde Bulldogge.

This makes them a type of bully breed.

All Bullies are considered to be descendants of an ancient breed called Molossus. This is what gives them their famous, muscular body type.

They are known for their compact, muscular and heavy-boned body.

American Bullies have a square head that is in proportion to their bodies. They also have a wide muzzle and pointed ears when cropped.

Though bulky, this is a very athletic and active breed which is why they are also suitable to be a running and hiking dog. However, the American Bully was first bred to be a family companion dog.

2. They Are Not A Pitbull

Many fans of this breed ask “Is an American Bully a Pitbull?”

An American Bully is not a Pitbull, though they are often mistaken for one.

American Bullies share a common ancestry with Pitbulls as they descend from the American Pit Bull Terrier. However, they are so distinct in appearance that they have now been named their own breed.

The major difference is the physical appearance of their body and head.

They are like a shorter body-builder version of a Pitbull with a heavier bone structure and wide chest.

The head of an American Bully is larger and squared with a wide muzzle and many more wrinkles. A Pitbull has a more narrowed and smaller head.

Both breeds have the same sleek, shiny coat and come in the same colors.

The American Pit Bull Terrier is a much older breed. They originated when bulldogs were crossed with terriers for blood sports in the late 1800s. They then became a working farm breed in America in the twentieth century helping farmers with hunting and herding.

Unlike the Pitbull, the American Bully is bred entirely for companionship.

3. Puppies Can Cost Over $3,000

American Bully puppy

The average cost of an American Bully puppy is $3,000 to $7,000.

Prices will vary based on color, size, breeder and location.

The most expensive American Bully puppies for sale are those that are bred for show. International breeders that breed dogs of the highest quality with excellent pedigrees will charge more, especially for the larger ones such as an XL.

XL puppies can cost up to $15,000.

A regular family should not consider paying that much for an American Bully. A healthy puppy with papers will cost closer to $3,000.

4. Bully Puppies Have Three Growth Stages

American bully growth happens in three parts:

  1. Infancy (0-12 weeks)
  2. Pre-adolescence (12-24 weeks)
  3. Adolescence (24-48 weeks)

As a puppy matures, they will go through these three growth stages.

Each growth stage has features or milestones that will include not only their size, but also changes in their temperament and how they interact with the world.

Infancy (0-12 weeks)

This is the time period from when your puppy is born to when they are old enough to go home. During the first three weeks of life your American Bully will be developing their senses, and is about 10% of their final body weight.

By week 4 their eyes will open, their ears will start hearing and they will start walking.

During this growth phase the breeder should give the puppies their first dewormers as they are very susceptible to becoming infected with worms.

Between weeks 4 and 8 the breeder is also busy socializing the pups. This is very important for them so that they are familiar with other animals and people. At week 8 most breeders are ready to give the pup to their new home.

At this point they will have grown about 30-40% of their final adult size.

Pre-adolescence (12-24 weeks)

At week 12 your puppy is beginning to develop their personality.

Socialization continues to be important for your puppy at this age. They need to be near other dogs, adults and kids to teach them how to play and behave. This will help to develop their gentle and nurturing qualities.

Their permanent teeth will also start to emerge and a lot of chewing will start. This means your American Bully should have lots of toys so it doesn’t ruin your furniture!

This is also the time period where your American Bully will undergo most of their growth.

At six months old they will have reached 70% of their final size.

Adolescence (24-48 weeks)

The American Bully is an active breed and will want to go out and play.

During adolescence your puppy starts becoming a bit more active. They will want to play more, do more and generally be active. This is a good time to take them out for walks and let them explore the neighborhood and continue to meet other dogs and people.

While regular exercise is very important for this puppy, remember that they are still a brachycephalic breed, meaning they are prone to breathing problems. Too much exercise is dangerous for them.

Between months 8 and 12 is also when your puppy will have almost reached their full grown size. At this time they should be around 80% of their final weight.

After 12 months, you might see your American Bully becoming more muscular and filling out. However, you shouldn’t see too many changes in their height.

5. There Are 4 American Bully Sizes

The normal American Bully is known as a Standard. However, there are three other American Bully sizes, making four different sizes in total:

  1. Pocket
  2. Classic
  3. Standard
  4. XL

A Standard is 16-19 inches tall for females and 17-20 inches for males. There is no specific standard for weight; it should just be in proportion to body size.

The smallest type is known as the Pocket Bully. Males are 14-17 inches in height and females are 13-16 inches.

XL Bullies are the largest. Males grow over 20-23 inches tall and females over 19-22 inches.

The Pocket is like a shorter version of the standard, while the XL is a larger version.

The fourth size is called the Classic Bully.

This dog is very similar to the standard and is actually the same height, but is less muscular and has a lighter bone structure.

Pocket13-17 inches
Classic16-20 inches
Standard16-20 inches
XL19-23 inches

6. This Breed Has A Shorter Lifespan

Compared to other Pitbull breeds, the American Bully has one of the shortest lifespans.

The American Bully lifespan can range from 8-12 years.

The longest lifespan of any bully breed belongs to the American Staffordshire Terrier as they can actually live 12-16 years.

Smaller dogs tend to live longer than larger dogs. This may be one reason why the larger American Bully does not live as long as the smaller American Staffordshire Terrier.

Why the American Bully lives a shorter life is not really known, but factors other than size can be at play too. These can include inherent factors such as genetics of the breed, and external factors like environment, exercise and nutrition.

This does not mean that they are less healthy, as these Bully breeds all share common health issues.

The most common hereditary conditions that affect them are:

  • Elbow and hip dysplasia
  • Cleft patella
  • Luxating palate
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Cerebellar abiotrophy
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Skin conditions and allergies
  • Cataracts
  • Hypothyroidism

They like to eat too! American Bullies need a lot of food with high protein to maintain their muscular body and replenish their energy after a long day of exercising. Be careful to not overfeed them as they can easily become obese which can lead to problems like heart issues.

7. There Are 10+ American Bully Colors

Bully dogs

Whatever coat color you can imagine, you can probably get an American Bully in.

American bullies can be any color, pattern or combination of colors.

The only exception to this rule is the merle pattern. Merle is a gene that is often associated with medical issues like blindness and hearing loss. Because of this breeders do not breed for a merle American Bully.

This breed can be white, fawn, chocolate, black, brindle, blue, champagne, tan, gray, lilac, piebald and tri-color.

The most common American Bully colors are red, blue, white, black, fawn and brindle.

Red and blue American Bullies are very rare, but these dogs get a special name as Red or Blue Nose American Bullies because their noses match their coat color.

American Bully Color Chart
BlackA black American Bully is fully black, while a fawn one has a brown-yellow coat. Many black Bullies come with some kind of white patches on either their face, paws or chest.
WhiteAn entirely white coat, that often comes with a few patches of black. An entirely white Bully will have pink gums, nose and eye rims. These dogs are rare and not the healthiest because of the lack of pigmentation, making them susceptible to sun burn.
BrindleThese dogs have a tiger-like pattern where dark stripes cover a lighter colored fawn body. Brindle is not really a color, but a pattern.
BlueBlues are actually gray! However, most people refer to them as blue because of the blue tinge on their coat. These dogs also have a blue nose to match and light eyes.
RedA red American Bully has an orange-red coat, almost brick color. They too have a red nose to match and amber eyes.
Tri-colorThese dogs are a combination of three colors and are normally white, with tan points and a third color of black, blue or chocolate.
MerleAn American Bully with this coat pattern has a base color covered with splotches. They also often have blue eyes because of the loss of pigment. Merle is considered a mutation and can have negative health consequences so is disqualified from the show ring.

8. Bully Dogs Have A Flat Face

Owners need to be aware that an American Bully is flat-faced, or a brachycephalic dog.

All bully breeds are flat faced. This is as true for the Exotic Bully as it is the American Bully.

Brachycephalic means that they cannot breathe as efficiently as other breeds because their upper airways are smaller. They can easily develop breathing problems if overexerted or if outside in the heat too much.

It is important to avoid exercising or over-heating your bully to the point where they can’t breathe normally.

This can become a major and life-threatening problem if not controlled.

9. They Have A Split Head

American Bully split head is a term that is used to refer to when their head has fully grown.

Between the ages of 8 and 12 months, when they are reaching maturity, their head will also grow in size.

The muscles on their forehead become more prominent and create a vertical divot, which makes it seem as if their head is split in half.

10. Pros and Cons

There are many reasons why people love this breed so much.

The American Bully can be an excellent pet, especially for families with children. They have a huge love for children and need to protect them like their own pups. They are often considered as a ‘nanny’ to children.

However, no dog is perfect.

American Bullies can be great pets, but only if they have a dedicated owner who trains and socializes them.

  • Gentle, sweet and nurturing.
  • Especially love children.
  • Love to be around everyone, no matter if they are family, friend or pet.
  • Easy to keep healthy and low shedding.
  • Very intelligent and quick thinkers that just want to please, so easy to train.
  • Great for first-time owners.
  • Come in many different sizes so you can live in any space, whether it is a small apartment or large home.
  • Can easily develop separation anxiety because they are highly attached to their owners.
  • Are not good guard dogs.
  • Prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, skin allergies, cataracts, hypothyroidism and obesity.
  • Are a brachycephalic breed and can develop brachycephalic airway syndrome.
  • Have high energy demands and need to exercise daily for at least an hour.

11. The NKC Has A List Of American Bully Breeders

The American Bully is not registrable with the American Kennel Club, but you can still find many reputable breeders in the US. The National Kennel Club, which does allow the American Bully to be registered, has a list of breeders which you start your search with.

When you begin your search for a breeder you need to be cautious.

It is especially important that you find a reputable breeder because of the genetic conditions this breed can inherit and their brachycephalic face.

An improperly bred puppy will have a higher chance of suffering from brachycephalic airway syndrome.

Unethical breeders might also try to breed pups with rare colors like merle. However, these puppies might not be the healthiest and can sometimes be blind and/or deaf.

Make sure that any breeder you find is licensed, has plenty of reviews and has many years of experience. They should also only have American Bully puppies for sale that are registered with the United Kennel Club.

Most reputable breeders will only sell pups that are vet checked, vaccinated and come with papers.

A reputable breeder will be transparent with their breeding program, allow you to visit their puppies, and will give you all the paperwork you need to know that your puppy is registered and healthy.

12. Are American Bullies Aggressive?

Bully breeds in the past have gotten a bad reputation for being aggressive because of their origins in dog fighting.

However, the truth is that a good American Bully is incredibly gentle and sweet.

They are bred to be a family pet.

The ideal American Bully should be in no way aggressive. Breeders bred this dog to be a loving and faithful companion that anyone can rely on. Their temperament should be sweet, gentle and friendly.

Any aggressive behavior is uncharacteristic of the breed because it has been selectively bred out by breeders.

Their true temperament should be confident and loyal. They have a happy spirit and an eagerness to experience life. They bring energy and positivity into any home, and will do anything just to make you feel happy. Most have a remarkable ability to tune in with your emotions and will try to make you feel better.

The American Bully gets along with everyone, whether human or animal. He would much rather leap into your arms and lick your face, than make you run away in fear. He’ll want to fit right in with everyone in the house.

13. They Need 60+ Minutes Of Exercise

American Bully dog

There is only one way this dog can maintain their trademark muscular body. They need regular exercise!

An American Bully is naturally very agile and athletic.

He will want to play and be active throughout the day and you will need to keep up with his activity demands. In general this breed should get at least 60 minutes of exercise each day. Great activities you can do with this breed include:

  • Long walks
  • Doing agility
  • Playing with toys

It is important that any exercise you do is ‘brachycephalic-friendly’.

The American Bully is flat-faced so it is very easy to overexert or over heat your dog. It is up to you to make sure that you provide the perfect balance of enough exercise, but not too much.

Just like the body needs exercise, so does this dog’s mind.

Great ways you can stimulate your dog’s brain include using puzzle toys and training. Training is very important to teach good behavior and proper socialization.

The American Bully is a very smart breed and especially loves to please. Training will not be hard, and even a first-time owner can train this breed.

American Bullies are so people-oriented and loving that they will do anything for you. They catch-on very quickly to new commands.

14. There Are Famous American Bully Dogs

An American Bully has even showed up in movies!

Though the dog is never identified, in the second and third John Wick movies, Keanu Reeves’ character John Wick rescues an American Bully from a shelter.

According to the director of the film, this dog was a talisman for the main character John Wick. The dog symbolized what Wick had lost, but also who John Wick was as a person. John Wick knows that those who have gone through bad things are not always bad.

There are also some really famous American Bullies in the real world.

The Notorious Juan Gotty is a breeder of one of the most famous bloodlines of American Bully, known as the Gottiline. This bloodline was started by Richard Baraka in West Side Kennels in 1997.

Dogs from this bloodline are very distinct in that they are a bit stockier and have a very blocky head. The dogs from this line would eventually help establish the American Bully.


The American Bully is bred from the American Pitbull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and other bulldog breeds like the American Bulldog, English Bulldog and Olde Bulldogge.

While many people might confuse the American Bully for a Pitbull, it is very different breed.

Mixing in different bulldog breeds has made their appearance different from a Pitbull.

When comparing an American Bully vs Pitbull, they have a more muscular body and larger head. An American Bully is like a shorter body-builder version with a heavier bone structure and wide chest.

The American Bully comes in four different sizes: pocket, standard, classic and XL.

You can get any of these dogs in any coat color you can imagine.

This breed is a great dog for families and first time owners, but the caveat is that they don’t come cheap. Families can expect on average to spend at least $3,000 for a puppy with papers.

Buying a healthy puppy is important to avoid genetic issues and breathing problems.

The American Bully is becoming one of the most popular family dogs in America for their loving, sweet, and gentle temperament.

Let us know what you love about this breed in the comments below.


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