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Many individuals have a misconception over what an American Bully is, and the difference between American Bullies and American Pit Bull Terriers. To begin, they are 2 completely seperate breeds. The two breeds share a variety of similar charachteristics, yet have many strong distinguishable differences, which we will go over toghether! 

American Bullies are not a "more muscular version of/a large Pit Bull". This is a common mistake, and this misconception also carries into conversations about  American Staffordshire terrier disputes online, as to if a photo/video of a dog is an American Bully, American Staffordshire terrier, or an American Pit Bull Terrier. We will begin to break down different characheristics/traits that distinguish the 2, and then go over freequently asked questions regarding each breed. 


Ancient roots of American Bully

In ancient times, strong, loyal, fierce, and brave dogs were considered to be valuable assets. As one could imagine, dogs were used for war, gaurding homes/property, families, livestock/flocks, and more. The Molossus was a type of Molosser dog that belonged to the ancient Greek tribe and kingdom of the Molossians. Yes, that was a lot of Moloss you just read! The Molosser group would later in histroy be known as one of the most notable classes of dogs in ancient times, and is highly considered to be one of the key ancestors of the bully breeds.

These dogs were thick/heavy boned, large head, short muzzle, with a strong/muscular neck. Around 50 AD is when Roman Molossers had began being imported/exported throughout Europe, which introduced a genetic melting pot for the Molosser class. These large Molosser class dogs fought against lions in the Roman colosseums and amphitheaters. For entertainment, these dogs were used against gladiators, and during those times, the Molossers would fight against each other as well. The Bulldog breeds split from the Molossers in England and spread to the New World with colonization as well as Western Europe.


In the early 19th century, bloodsports such as bull-baiting, bear-baiting, and cockfighting were quite common forms of entertainment. During these times, dog breeders in England began mixing Bulldogs and Terriers, in search of a dog that would combine the strength and athleticism of the bulldog with the gameness of the terrier.  

Throughout the years and course of mixing Bulldogs and Terriers, two seperate, new breeds came into being, which is the Bull Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. During the unfortunate history of dog pit battle/fighting in the United States of America, Staffordshire Bull Terriers became formally known as American Pit Bull Terriers. This breed eventually became quite popular across the country. Dog fighting eventually became illegal in England, so bulldogs were eventually brought to the United States of America where they continued to be bred for thier fighting abilities.

United States of America

With all of this being said, there was actually a growing demand for a less aggressive breed of dog, so Bull Dogs were crossbred with American Staffordshire Terrier, and American Pit Bull breeds. The result of this would be that of the American bully, which quite frankly is a far more gentle, loving, and overall different breed of dog than its ancestors, especially when it comes to temperment.

The American Bully is quite different from its ancestors, although holding traits/charachteristics of both. The American Bully is subtly influenced by the infusion of different bulldog type breeds, which consists of the American Bulldog, English Bulldog, and Olde English Bulldogge. Shorter coats, larger muscles, and overall structure with a higher level of energy are a few of the traits adopted/embedded within this breed. While the American Bully shares many physical characteristics with the Pit Bull, they are not as aggressive.

American Bullies are now predominantly bred for their physical appearance/aesthetic, along with their personalites rather than their working ability. American bullies are a gentle and compasionate breed of companions that are highly geared toward families, including those who have children due to thier protective, loving, and caring nature. The American Bully has a history of being known as "Nanny dogs". 

The AKC rightfully rejected to endorse/embrace anything related to dogfighting. This resulted in the kennel club beginning to register American Pit Bull Terriers as American Staffordshire Terriers breeds.  In 1898, an alternative kennel club was formed – the United kennel club. This was created to certify breeds that were not eligible for certification by the AKC.

A uniqe fact pertaining the history of the American Bully breed is that in the ’90s, a few select breeders througout the USA had decided to independently start to developing a dog breed from UKC registered American Pit Bull Terriers and AKC registered American Staffordshire Terriers. The goal of the breeders came down to seeking to outbreed the characteristics that had caused the APBT a repuation that was not favorable due to aggression. The end result ended up being a dog with a very unique build and level headed/calm temperment that needed to be recognized as a seperate breed.

The American Bully breed was first recognized by the American Bully Kennel Club, in 2004. The United Kennel Club followed on July 15, 2013. The American Bully is also recognized by the Bull Breed Coalition Registry. The European Bully Kennel Club (EBKC) was founded to promote and protect the breed throughout Europe.

American Bully breeders predominently used American Pit Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers. Many did exclusively.  Although it has never been openly admitted, it is almost universally agreed that breeds outside the 2 mentioned above were used as well. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the English equivalent of American 
Bully breed, was almost certainly used, especially to develop smaller sizes of American Bully.  The English Bulldog was also almost definitely used, and some have speculated that is was used very heavily.  This breed would have provided a calmer, less aggressive temperament, as well as a tough, bulky body and massive head.  
American Bulldogs are also widely thought to have played a significant role, and other breeds which have been suggested include the Bullmastiff, Bull Terrier, and mixed breed dogs.

The American Bully is currently recognized by the American Bully Kennel Club (ABKC), United Bully Kennel Club (UBKC), Bully Breed Kennel Club (BBKC), and the United Canine Association (UCA).  Due to the popularity of American culture overseas, especially the hip hop and urban culture in which Pit Bulls play a major role, 
American Pit Bull Terriers have been growing rapidly in popularity around the world. These breeds face bans in many countries. The American Bully has piggybacked on this popularity and is now found in many European countries. The European Bully Kennel Club (EBKC) was founded to promote and protect the breed internationally, 
and currently has offices in Malta, France, Switzerland, Holland, Germany, Belgium, and Italy.

American Bullies are still considered to be that of a very new breed historically, and have yet to experience a wide recognition globally, however, have been found to be increasingly gaining popularity globally in across the world in countries like Brazil, Russia, India, and more. Due to the American Bullies very well structured/distinctive features, they are predominently bred for comnpanionship, show dog competitions, and even therapy dogs. Again, the American Bully does still contain aspects of agility and sportiness, but in a different way that its ancestors. These dogs are highly intelligent, which is the reason why they do very well with obedience training, therapy work, and even law enforcement. 


American Bullies have an overall larger set of natural muscle mass per thier body to that of is ancestors, and this larger muscle mass can hinder athletic performance to that of a Staffordshire Terrier and American Pitbull Terrier. American Bullies do still retain a high level of the athletic ability and much of the strength of its ancestors. 

Because so many breeders worked to develop the American Bully, most without a clear standard or goal in mind, the American Bully became quite variable in appearance, which is pevelent in the market of American Bully Breeders. The breed can be significantly smaller than a true American Pit Bull Terrier, but it can also be several times larger.  The dog also comes in a wide variety of coat colors and patterns. Body shape, type, and proportions are also more variable than in most modern pure-bred dogs, although this breed is generally very thickly built, quite stocky, and absurdly muscular.  Head shape and type seem to be considerably more uniform but are still somewhat variable.  


As previously mentioned, the American Bully has been named as "Nanny Dogs" due to thier very calm/level temperment, which is why they do so well with children. These very muscular, chizzled/distinctive looking dogs can come off as "aggressive looking" to some, although that couldnt be further from the truth when speaking in terms of temperment.

American Bullies do not hold aggressive traits to that of the American Pit Bull Terrier. American Bullies notablly have been known to do well as indoor dogs, that do require daily exercise due to thier high drive nature. The American Bully does contain lots of energy, so multiple daily walks, runs, or some sort of muscle building/agility based activities like spring poles, slatmills, and tug poles are required to keep them from depressive slumps that can lead to chewing items due to boredom. Stronger than average toys need to be purchased for this breed, along with monitored due to destruction of the toys. Bones that are marrow filled, and different kinds of antlers/bones like knuckles, can be good ways to allow your bullies to chew away thier stress. 

The American Bully enjoys fast paced outdoor activities, and can be ideal hunting partners if trained properly as well. American Bullies have become a lovable breed on the internet when it comes to wearing funny/funky clothing, having cheese thrown on thier faces, gums played with/playfully tugged on/playfully chewed on by thier owners, cheerios/snacked stacked on thier noses and heads as a means of showing this breed is willing to take one for the team when it comes to family jokes, pranks, and play time when compared to smaller, more aggressive breeds.

American Bullies are highly intelligent dogs that enjoy mental games/stimulation/training. This breed has a history of being trained for use as law enforcement k-9 units. Training the American Bully at an early age is more ideal than waiting until they become older, although they are willing to learn at all stages in thier lives. These dogs do not contain food aggression when fed on a regular and consistent basis, although this may vary case by case depending on how the bully was raised/socialized. 


Originally bred in the 1800’s to be a competitive kind of dog. Used in dogfighting sports during the time it was legal, so it is kind of aggressive, but it is balanced with a tolerant temperament to prevent the dog from biting its handlers. It is more or less a gladiator kind of dog that wouldn’t harm a human. With dog fighting now illegal it is now relegated as a pet. The general appearance is that of a medium-size short coat dog that is solidly built with a well-defined smooth musculature.

American Pit Bull Terriers took on the job for being the total package. An all all-purpose dog in the United States as they were also guarding the cattle, protecting families, and catch-dogs.  Perhaps most importantly these dogs came to be much-beloved family pets. Therefore, the breed developed a unique set of physical and temperament characteristics. On the one hand, the breed was very driven to work, eager to please, incredibly pain tolerant, absurdly determined, single-minded, very dog aggressive, and willing to fight to the death. On the other hand, the American Pit Bull Terrier was intensely loyal, devoted, playful, energetic, extremely affectionate, very tolerant, and fond of children. 


Possess a wide, deep chest, but the width of the chest should never exceed the depth. The chest should have enough room for the organs like the lungs and heart. Its forechest does not extend beyond its shoulder point. From the spine, its ribs extend well back with a flattening form giving it is the deep body that extends to the elbows. Strong and firm back as well as a top line that has a very slight downward incline from the withers to its back that is at a level height and is broad as well as muscular. The loin is also muscular and short. Said loin has a slight arch that reaches the croup that is narrower in form compared to the rib cage. There is a slight downward slope to the croup


Makes an excellent family companion dog. However, most Pitbulls have a certain level of canine aggressiveness that is coupled with a powerful physique. Its owner must train obedience into the dog and must carefully train it to socialize as well. It is friendly to strangers who make it unsuitable as a guard dog. Also, has a high level of intelligence and great agility

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