American Bully

Canis lupus

Last updated: May 6, 2023
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Zanna Pesnina/Shutterstock.com

Though the American bully was bred to look intimidating, it makes an extremely friendly family pet!


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American Bully Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Carnivora
Family
Canidae
Genus
Canis
Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

American Bully Conservation Status

American Bully Locations

American Bully Locations

American Bully Facts

Group Behavior
  • Social
Fun Fact
Though the American bully was bred to look intimidating, it makes an extremely friendly family pet!
Diet
Omnivore
Average Litter Size
4-6 puppies

American Bully Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Brown
  • Grey
  • Fawn
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Black
  • White
  • Tan
Skin Type
Hair
Age of Weaning
5-6 weeks
Aggression
Low

American Bully as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Shedability
Trainability
Intelligence
Tendency to Chew
Size
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Low
Separation Anxiety
Moderate
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
Moderate
Friendly With Other Dogs
High
Pure bred cost to own
$2,000 to $10,000
Dog group
Non-sporting
Male weight
40-110 lbs
Female weight
40-110 lbs

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Despite being a new breed, the American bully has cemented its place in dog lovers’ hearts. These excellent family pets are trainable, loveable, and loyal to a fault. The breed originated in the United States in the 1980s. Breeders created this companion dog from American pit bull terriers, American bulldogs, and American Staffordshire terriers. The idea was to combine the stocky, muscular bodies of bulldog-type breeds with the affectionate, playful personality of the American Staffordshire terrier. What emerged was a physically tough dog with a heartwarming personality.

In contrast to their intimidating name, American bullies more than live up to their mandate as companion dogs. With wide grins that seem to reflect their inner dispositions, they love to play and cuddle with their owners. They also get along well with children and other dogs. American bullies are short-haired dogs that come in a range of colors including black, brown, white, grey, tan, fawn, red, and blue. Their coats may be a mix of these colors, usually two or three.

American Bully

Standard American bullies are medium to large dogs with incredibly stocky bodies and well-defined muscles.

©Liudmila Bohush/Shutterstock.com

The 5 Different Types

There are five different types of American bully mixes besides the purebred standard American bully:

  • XL American Bully (mix of American bully and pit bull)
  • Pocket American Bully (mix of American bully and Patterdale terrier)
  • Bully Pitsky (mix of American bully and Siberian husky or Alaskan malamute)
  • Bully Chi (mix of American bully and chihuahua)
  • American Labrabull (mix of American bully and Labrador retriever)

Ownership: 3 Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Affectionate and great with children. American bullies make fantastic family pets regardless of the age of the children in the household. With loving and affable dispositions, they make loyal lifelong companions.Require moderate exercise. Because American bullies originate from working dogs, they have moderate to high energy levels. Daily exercise is a must, preferably outdoors as well as indoors.
Easy to train. Despite their tough appearance, American bullies are eager to please, making them easy to train. They lack the stubbornness typical of similar breeds.Expensive. American bullies are expensive dogs to purchase. The typical price range for a purebred puppy is $2,000 to $10,000. Any cheaper than this and the puppy is likely a mixed breed.
Easy to groom. When it comes to grooming, the short-coated American bully needs very little maintenance. The breed does shed, but only minimally.Puppies grow extremely quickly. American bully puppies grow at an astonishing rate, gaining weight and filling out almost too quickly for their owners to keep up. It is vital to adjust their food allowance accordingly to accommodate their changing needs.

Size and Weight

Standard American bullies are medium to large dogs with incredibly stocky bodies and well-defined muscles. Adult males range from 17-21 inches in height, while females stand anywhere from 16-20 inches. The weight of both males and females differs greatly based on breeding, with some adults weighing as little as 40 pounds and some as much as 110 pounds. American bully puppies grow rapidly, weighing 50-70 pounds by six months of age and standing 14-18 inches at the withers.



American Bully puppy dog

The American Bully can weigh as much as 110 pounds when fully grown, depending on breeding.

©Zanna Pesnina/Shutterstock.com

Height (Male)17-21 inches
Height (Female)16-20 inches
Weight (Male)40-110 pounds
Weight (Female)40-110 pounds

American bullies also come in these size variations:

  • Pocket (under 17 inches)
  • Classic (16-20 inches with a lighter frame than the Standard)
  • Extreme (16-20 inches with a heavier frame than the Standard)
  • XL (19-23 inches with a heavy frame)

Health Issues

Although American bullies are generally healthy, robust dogs, there are a few common health issues to watch out for. The most common is hip dysplasia, a condition affecting the hip joint. The cartilage protecting the bones in the hip deteriorates, causing pain and difficulty moving as the bones rub together. Elbow dysplasia is a similar condition affecting the elbows. Because bully puppies grow so quickly, they are susceptible to these ailments.

Some American bullies suffer from congenital heart diseases like mitral valve disease, often a result of obesity or parasites like heartworm. Also, because of their brachycephalic faces (flat faces with short noses), American bullies may suffer from breathing issues. Finally, watch out for skin diseases like eczema and eye issues like cherry eye.

American bullies typically live for 10-13 years with good breeding and proper care. In summary, the most common health issues for American bullies include:

  1. Hip and elbow dysplasia
  2. Congenital heart diseases
  3. Breathing issues due to brachycephalic face
  4. Skin diseases like eczema
  5. Eye issues like cherry eye

Temperament

Female American bully pocket standing on a rock

American bully dogs look intimidating, but they make affectionate family dogs.

©Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 – Original / License

American bullies are confident, outgoing dogs without the aggression that sometimes accompanies these traits in other breeds. In addition to this, they are gentle and loving with their owners. Their behavior toward other dogs is usually friendly and unaggressive. They love to play with children and thrive on attention.

Because of their devoted personalities, American bullies need to spend a lot of time with their families. They may suffer from separation anxiety if left alone too long or too frequently, which can lead to destructive behavior. Another common American bully trait is relatively high energy levels. Although they can survive in smaller living quarters, they will need adequate exercise and stimulation to stave off boredom.

Care

Although American bullies may seem like the ideal pet because of their lovable temperaments, there are many factors owners must take into consideration when preparing to care for this breed. Before purchasing one of these dogs, consider carefully the factors involved like grooming, training, and exercise.

Best Dog Food

American bullies have different nutritional requirements based on their age and stage of development. As a breed, they need a high degree of protein and fat to support their bulky mass and heavy bones. It is also crucial to keep them at a healthy weight to prevent the development of conditions like hip and elbow dysplasia.

Puppies

American bully puppies need dog food specifically formulated for large-breed puppies. At A-Z Animals, we recommend Wag Wholesome Grains Large Breed Puppy food for bully puppies. Not only is it made with real chicken and whole grains, but calcium and phosphorus allow proper bone development to prevent bone and joint disorders.

Best for Puppies
Amazon Brand - Wag Wholesome Grains Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food
  • Formulated to meet the special nutritional needs of large-breed puppies
  • Supports optimal joint, digestive, and immune system health
  • No artificial flavors, chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, or soy
  • The first ingredient is wholesome chicken
Check Amazon

American bully puppies grow rapidly. Their food allowance should change as they do. Owners should feed their bully puppies three times a day until the age of six months. Then, switch to twice a day. The daily food allowance (split between the three feedings) for a small bully puppy is two to three cups.

Adults

At A-Z Animals, we say the best dog food for American bullies is Bully Max High-Performance Super Premium Dog Food. This food delivers the high-protein, high-calorie content American bullies need to thrive. It’s suitable for any adult bully or puppy over the age of four weeks.

With 30% protein and 20% fat, this food packs an impressive 535 calories per cup. Dogs weighing 51-75 pounds need about 2 ½ to 3 ⅓ cups a day, while dogs weighing 76-100 pounds need 3 ⅓ to 4 cups a day.

Best for Muscle Gain
Bully Max High Performance Super Premium Dog Food
  • Improve your pit bull’s muscle strength
  • A fantastic choice for growing puppies
  • Contains chicken meal and fat
  • 5 Star rated performance dog food
Check Amazon

Maintenance and Grooming

american bully

American bully dogs have moderate exercise needs and require minimal maintenance and grooming.

©Oksamutnaya/Shutterstock.com

Being short-haired dogs, American bullies require minimal maintenance and grooming. Haircuts are not necessary as their hair doesn’t grow long enough. They do shed, though not abundantly. Weekly brushing will help to remove loose hairs and reduce shedding. A bath every six to eight weeks should be sufficient unless your dog gets dirty or begins to smell. Overly frequent bathing can result in dry or itchy skin. Regular ear cleaning and nail clipping will keep your American bully comfortable and reduce the risk of infections or other health conditions.

Training

American bullies are eager to please and therefore easy to train. They are intelligent but not stubborn, unlike other breeds like the American bulldog. Consistency and positive reinforcement are key. A successful training regime will help your bully curb its natural strength by interacting calmly with other dogs and humans, especially children.

Exercise

American bullies have moderate exercise needs. They should receive at least 60 minutes of exercise a day, whether walking, running, or playing. Many bullies enjoy swimming but may find it difficult to sustain for long periods due to their dense body type.

Because of their short noses, American bullies may have difficulty breathing during periods of exertion. Always be on the lookout for respiratory issues and cut short the exercise session if you notice your bully gasping for breath.

Puppies

American bully puppies love to play and cuddle with their owners. Though they typically fit into their new families with ease, be aware that this breed is renowned for its rapid growth rate during its first few months. Be prepared to adjust your puppy’s food and exercise as needed. Also, invest in a collar that will expand adequately to accommodate its thickening neck. Adult American bullies have an average neck size of 18-24 inches.

American bully puppy with two paws on ledge

American bullies like this puppy, if raised properly, make for great family companions.

©kukurund/Shutterstock.com

Children

American bullies are generally excellent with children. Their friendly, gentle dispositions render them tolerant and affable even with more excitable kids. As with any breed, owners should socialize their American bully puppies at a young age to ensure they are comfortable interacting with children and other dogs.

It is vital to remember that American bullies are strong dogs capable of knocking over full-grown adults. Owners should discourage overly excitable play for the safety of both children and dogs.

Similar Dogs

Because breeders created American bullies from a mix of other breeds, they bear a striking similarity to other types of dogs including the American pit bull terrier, the American bulldog, and the American Staffordshire terrier.

  • American Pit Bull Terrier: American pit bull terriers are more assertive than American bullies. They are also less stocky.
  • American Bulldog: Bullies and bulldogs are visually similar with broad chests, thick heads, and stocky bodies. However, bulldogs are slightly larger and more stubborn.
  • American Staffordshire Terrier: These dogs are smaller than bullies but share their fun-loving, affable temperament.
  • Rocky
  • Bronx
  • Bruno
  • Queen
  • Buffy
  • Hugo
  • Rogue

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What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?

X-Small
Small
Medium
Large
Xtra-Large

If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Kids
Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

Yes
No
How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?
About the Author

Kathryn Dueck is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on wildlife, dogs, and geography. Kathryn holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Biblical and Theological Studies, which she earned in 2023. In addition to volunteering at an animal shelter, Kathryn has worked for several months as a trainee dog groomer. A resident of Manitoba, Canada, Kathryn loves playing with her dog, writing fiction, and hiking.

American Bully FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How much does an American bully cost to own?

American bullies are expensive dogs with puppies ranging from $2,000 to $10,000. Mixed-breed puppies usually sell for significantly less.

Are American bullies good with children?

Yes, American bullies are great with kids. Breeders specifically designed them to be safe, affectionate family dogs.

Are American bullies friendly toward other dogs?

American bullies are generally friendly toward other dogs they are familiar with. Proper socialization from puppyhood is vital to ensure a tolerant disposition toward strange dogs.

How long do American bullies live?

American bullies live an average of 10-13 years.

Do American bullies shed?

American bullies shed minimally due to their short coats. Frequent brushing will help reduce shedding.

Are American bullies hypoallergenic?

No, American bullies are not hypoallergenic.

What is the difference between an American bully and an American bulldog?

American bulldogs are typically larger and heavier than American bullies. Bulldogs are also more stubborn and difficult to train.

What is the difference between an American bully and a pit bull?

American bullies are broader and more muscular than pit bulls. Bullies are also more easygoing in temperament with a friendlier disposition toward other dogs. Unlike pit bulls, which are working dogs by nature, bullies are companion dogs.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources

  1. United Kennel Club / Accessed October 27, 2022

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