Uncovering the American Bully History | How & Why This Dog Breed Was Developed

American Bully history is an intriguing and fascinating history – one you might not know much about! Knowing the breed’s background can be incredibly useful if you are thinking of getting a pup. It gives us an insight into what to expect regarding its temperament, needs, characteristics, and how these may fit in with your household environment. So get ready for some research…digging deeper reveals all sorts of fun facts about our beloved bully breeds!

American Bully Dogs have been popular for nearly a quarter-century, making them the perfect companions for anyone looking to add some extra pep to their step!  Having first come about by combining American Pitbulls and American Staffordshire terriers. A couple of other breeds were then added to the mix in order to bring out certain desired characteristics – making them quite popular across all corners of the USA!

As a veterinarian with my own rescued Bully Dog, I understand the need for people to understand the history behind the Bully Dog breed. Too many American Bully Dogs end up in shelters or need to be rehomed because owners did not do their homework.

What Are The First Origins Of Bully Dogs?

When the British first came to the American colonies, they brought their dogs with them. The dogs included a range of breeds, Pitbull terriers, Staffordshire terriers, Mastiffs, and Bulldogs.

These dogs had all been developed for specific purposes and had characteristics that allowed them to fulfill their functions. In early America, selective breeding altered these breeds slightly to suit the functions they fulfilled in the new country.

The American Pitbull and American Staffordshire terrier were born out of these dogs. The American Kennel Union (AKC) recognizes these two dog breeds as purebred dogs.

Why Were American Bully Dogs Developed?

As times changed, there was no longer a big demand for Pitbulls as working dogs. The dogs were still popular, but many owners could not handle their Pitbulls.

American Pitbulls are working dogs with a strong work drive and the energy to match. They were bred to have high levels of aggression towards dogs and other animals. This made them difficult to fit into a suburban home and made multi-dog households complicated.

The result was that Pitbulls began getting a bad reputation. Some Pitbull breeders saw the need to produce a similar dog with different characteristics.     

These breeders wanted a dog with the same muscular, sturdy build but with less energy and work drive. They wanted a dog with less aggression and could live companionably with other pets, such as cats.

The American Bully Dog was developed to be a companion and show dog. This aim meant it should have an excellent temperament and be good with children and other animals.

What Is The American Bully Mixed With?

Breeders in Virginia and Southern California were the first to experiment with developing an alternative to the American Pitbull. It is unclear if they wanted to create a new breed or were just trying to alter the temperament of the Pitbull.

Breeding for a different kind of Pitbull type soon spread across the country, with different breeders trying out various dog breeds and bloodlines. The American Bully history is unique in that no one developed the breed – multiple breeders began producing alternatives to Pitbulls.

The foundation breeds for American Bully Dogs were American Pitbulls and American Staffordshire terriers. Careful consideration was given to bloodlines, and breeding dogs were selected for temperament by responsible breeders.

Breeders began adding English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, and Olde English Bulldogs into the mixing pot to produce the large head and brachycephalic face of the American Bully Dog. Some also wanted to produce bigger dogs and used various Mastiffs to add height. 

olde english bulldog

Is There A Breed Registry For American Bully Dogs?

Dave Wilson was an influential breeder in the development of American Bully Dogs. He started Razor Edge Kennels and was instrumental in establishing the American Bully Kennel Club (ABKC)

Due to the number of breeders experimenting with breeding Bully Dogs, there were many variations in appearance and temperament. The ABKC was developed to establish a breed standard.

Some breeders call their dogs American Bully Dogs, but their dogs do not meet the standards set out by the ABKC, which becomes very confusing to the general public. It is important to check the ABKC standards for Bully Dogs if you wish to add a Bully puppy to your home.

Will The Bully Dog Breed Change?

 Dave Wilson notes that there are still issues that they are tweaking in the breed. The breed registry is still open for stud animals to be registered. He expects it to remain in this state for the next fifty to seventy years.

An open registry means a dog without registration papers can be assessed by a panel of judges. If they find the dog conforms to the required standards, the dog can be registered as an American Bully Dog.

Dog breeds can take many generations and years to develop fully, and only once this is done will the American Bully Dog registry be closed. The criteria have become much stricter, and dogs with Bulldog parents or are too much like a terrier are excluded.  

The ABKC aims to establish a healthy breed and exclude dogs with health problems. They recommend breeding registered American Bullies to each other without adding any other breeds that will alter the dog.

Are Their Different Sizes American Bully Dogs?

The ABKC recognizes four sizes of American Bully Dogs. They are:

1.      Pocket Bully Dogs

2.      Standard Bully Dogs

3.      Classic Bully Dogs

4.      XL Bully Dogs

My Final thoughts

American Bully Dogs are a new breed of dog considered separate from American Pitbulls. They have distinctive features, and the ABKC is working hard to maintain consistency and health in the breed. They are ideal companions and generally get along with other pets and children.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do American Bully Dogs need a lot of exercise?

A: Yes, American Bully Dogs are active and like to be exercised regularly. They require daily walks or runs and playtime in the backyard. Make sure they get enough physical activity to avoid boredom and destructive behavior.

Q: Are American Bully Dogs good family pets?

A: Yes, American Bully Dogs are very loyal and make great family pets. They are gentle with children, protective of their families, and get along well with other animals.

Q: Are American Bully Dogs easy to train?

A: Yes, American Bully Dogs are generally eager to please their owners and are easy to train. They should be socialized from a young age so that they are comfortable around different people and animals. Positive reinforcement is the best way to train them.

Q: Do American Bully Dogs require a lot of grooming?

A: No, American Bully Dogs do not need a lot of grooming. They have short coats that are easy to brush and they do not need frequent baths. Regular brushing will help keep their coat shiny and healthy and reduce shedding.  It is important to check their ears, eyes, nails, and teeth regularly for any signs of infection or health problems.

Q: What dietary needs do American Bully Dogs have?

A: American Bully Dogs need an appropriate diet with balanced nutrition to stay healthy. They should have high-quality food that is AAFO approved, complete, and balanced for their life stage. The amount of food will depend on their age, activity level, and health condition. Consult your veterinarian for more information about specific dietary needs for your pup.  ​​​​​

Emily Andrews