American Bully Vs. Pocket Bully | Choosing the Right Dog for Your Family 

If you’re stuck between an American Bully vs. Pocket Bully to complete your family, know that these two beautiful dog breeds have some distinct differences. While the Standard or Classic are similar in size, the pocket is much smaller than its XL cousin – so think about how big of a pup fits into your lifestyle! Get ready for puppy snuggles when considering both varieties – just be sure to read up on their different characteristics before taking one home.

The American Bully is a larger-than-life pooch created by the genius mix of several breeds. Recognized today as its own unique, purebred dog, this powerful pup has an undeniable presence. But that’s not where it ends! Its mini me -the Pocket Bully -looks similar in many ways but comes with some distinct characteristics and a much smaller size profile for those who want to add canine flair without going overboard on bulkiness

I am a veterinarian who owns a rescued American Bully Dog. I have a special interest in Bully Dogs and see many in my daily work. Although American Bullies have a rising popularity, many people do not realize there are different sizes and types.  

What Is An American Bully?

  • An American Bully is a dog developed primarily by breeding American Pitbull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers. Some breeders added English Bulldog, French Bulldog, and Olde English Bulldog into the mix.
  • Bulldog blood added a larger head, more brachycephalic face, and broadened the chest. American Bully Dogs have become a recognized breed by the American Bully Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club.
  • American Bully Dogs are now bred to each other to perpetuate the breed. There are four sizes and types of Bully Dogs, Pocket, Classic, Standard, and XL.
  • The Classic Bully is a similar size to Standard Bullies, but it is not as heavy and has more refined features. The Classic Bully’s lighter build and smaller head stay true to the original breeding of American Pitbulls with American Staffordshire Terriers.  
  • Standard American Bullies have large heads, heavy builds, and wrinkles from Bulldog blood. XL American Bullies usually have some English Mastiff blood which increases their size.

For this article, I will use the name American Bully to refer to Standard Bullies.

two amercian bullys

What Is A Pocket Bully?

  • A Pocket Bully is classified as an American Bully but has different parentage from the other Bully types.
  • Pocket Bullies were developed by breeders that wanted a similar dog to a Standard American Bully but smaller. They began experimenting with different breeding programs to achieve their aim.
  • Pocket Bullies were developed by breeding American Bullies to Patterdale Terriers. Patterdale Terriers are small dogs with a height of nine to fourteen inches (25 to 38 cm) at the wither.
  • The mix of Patterdale Terrier and American Bully created a smaller Bully Dog. Most of the offspring look similar to American Bullies, with bulky, muscular builds. Others show their Patterdale heritage and have lighter builds like terriers. 
  • Many Pocket Bully kennels have selected the breed type they were aiming for and are now breeding Pocket Bullies to each other. They are a new breed type and, consequently, are rare dogs.
  • This breed has a more compact body, and is ideal for those who want the classic American bully look, only in a smaller package! They stand at approximately 12-18 inches tall and can weigh between 25 and 40 pounds, making them perfect for apartment living or those not wanting to be overwhelmed by their canine companion.
pocket bully
 Pocket BullyAmerican Bully
HeightMales 14 to 17 inches (36 to 43 cm)Males are 17 to 20 inches (43 to 51 cm)
 Females 13 to 16 inches (33 to 40cm)Females 16 to 19 inches (41 to 48 cm)
Weight11 to 22 pounds (5 to 10 kg)50 – 70 pounds (22 to 31 kg)
CoatUsually, short smooth single coat but may be wiry or wavy if this is inherited from the Patterdale parent.Short single coat.
Grooming NeedsLow grooming demand, but cleaning and keeping the wrinkles clean is essential.Low grooming needs. It is important to pay attention to wrinkles, and bathing regularly will help skin conditions.
Exercise NeedsApproximately 30 minutes daily. More exercise will be needed if the Pocket Bully has inherited more traits from the Patterdale parent.Generally, 60 minutes of exercise daily. The dog’s health, degree of brachycephalism, and age will influence the amount of exercise.
Breed FunctionCompanionCompanion
TemperamentExcellent temperament. Good with children. They are loyal to their family and protective.Excellent family dog with a good temperament. Tolerant of children. Loyal and protective of their family.
Sociability with other dogs.Can be aggressive toward other dogs, especially of the same sex. Many are compatible with other dogs. Socialization from early is important.Some individuals can be aggressive to other dogs, but generally, this breed gets along with other dogs. Early socialization is always a good idea.
Lifespan10 to 12 years10 to 12 years
Joint ProblemsHip and elbow dysplasia. Offspring with more Patterdale Terrier traits are less prone to joint dysplasia. Patellar luxation.Hip and elbow dysplasia. Anterior cruciate ligament rupture.
Skin ConditionsAllergies (Canine atopic Dermatitis) Skin Fold Dermatitis Pyoderma Ichthyosis – genetic Yeast and other fungal infections. Demodectic mange mites. Hot spots. Oily seborrhea.  Allergies Skin Fold Dermatitis Pyoderma Ichthyosis – genetic Yeast and other fungal infections. Demodex or red mange mites infest skin folds. Hot spots, also known as moist eczema. Oily seborrhea.
Heart DiseaseCongenital heart problems: Septal defects Mitral valve disease Subaortic and pulmonic stenosis PDA ( Patent ductus arteriosis) Congenital heart failure   Heart disease can also be acquired from obesity and heartworm.Congenital Heart problems: Septal defects Mitral valve disease Subaortic and pulmonic stenosis PDA   Acquired heart disease from obesity and heartworm.
Eye conditionsCherry eye Entropion Ectropion Dry eye Progressive retinal atrophyCherry eye Entropion Ectropion Dry eye Cataracts
ObesityVery prone to obesity which worsens health issues and places strain on the heart.Prone to obesity.
Average Cost$3000 to $8000$2000 to $5000
RegistrationAmerican Bully Kennel Club (ABKC) United Kennel Club (UKC)ABKC UKC

What Is The Difference Between A Pocket Bully And An American Bully?

  1. SIZE: A Pocket Bully is a much smaller dog than the American Bully. The desired type of Pocket Bully has a sturdy, muscular build reminiscent of Bulldogs and similar to Standard American Bullies.
  2. APPEARANCE: American Bullies are larger dogs with the same powerful conformation. Both Pocket Bullies and American Bully Dogs have short legs in comparison to their body size. They have large heads, thick necks, and broad chests.
  3. WEIGHT DIFFERENCES American Bullies can reach up to 80 pounds while Pocket Bullies generally stay under 40.
  4. HEAD SHAPE: American Bulldogs also tend to have more of a blocky head and a broader chest, while Pocket Bulldogs’ heads more often appear to be shaped in a more rounded way.
  5. BREED ESTABLISHMENT: American Bullies are a more established breed than Pocket Bullies. Pocket Bullies are still a developing breed, and first-generation offspring are commonly seen.
  6. GENETIC PREDICTABILITY: Genetics is not as predictable as some people would like in Pocket Bullies. This is due to the fact they are an emerging breed and may take more after the Patterdale or American Bulldog side than the breeder would like. Some Pocket Bully Dogs may be more similar to their Patterdale parents in temperament and physical appearance. This is not considered desirable, but the dogs are still sold as Pocket Bullies.   
  7. ACTIVITY: American Bullies are generally more active and require more exercise than their pocket bully cousins.

Which Is Better: The American Bully Vs. Pocket Bully?

Pocket Bullies and Standard Bullies both have advantages and disadvantages. Your choice depends on your life circumstances, living situation, and preference.


A Pocket Bully is better for smaller homes and people who are not strong enough to cope with a Standard American Bully. Older people may prefer a Pocket Bully as they are usually easier to manage.

Pocket Bullies may need less exercise, which would suit less mobile people. Some Pocket Bullies may have inherited the Patterdale Terrier energy. They will need more exercise.

It is important to ask the breeder to advise you which Pocket Bully puppy would be best suited for your home and family. The breeder should be able to advise you on the energy levels of each puppy.

Best Suited For: Apartments, small backyards and people who are less active but still willing to train


American Bullies are well-suited to many homes, but they do need more exercise. You should plan to exercise your American Bully for about an hour each day.

Standard American Bullies are much stronger and weigh double the Pocket Bully weight. They need someone able to deal with their strength. Good training is always vital as a powerful dog can be managed more easily when they want to cooperate and please their owner.

Best Suited For Active people that are willing to socialize and train them.

Which Is Easier to Train: American Bully Vs. Pocket Bully?

Both American Bullies and Pocket Bullies respond better to positive training methods and are both similar to train in my experience. They can be stubborn and dislike being bullied or harassed.

They are sensitive dogs that quickly pick up on their owner’s moods. This sensitivity will allow them to be easily traumatized by rough or aversive training. American Bullies and Pocket Bullies can become discouraged and reluctant to work with the owner. 

Which Is Best With Children and Pets: Pocket Bully Vs. American Bully?

American Bullies and Pocket Bullies are both good with children. Certain individuals may be intolerant of other dogs and pets, but generally, they are good with other dogs.

It is always best to socialize Pocket and American Bullies with children and other pets to ensure they are well-balanced and behave appropriately. Both breeds are loyal and quickly become family favorites.

My Final Thoughts

Pocket Bullies and Standard American Bullies have similar characteristics, but Pocket Bullies are a smaller version. Many people who like cute dogs prefer Pocket Bullies. Owners that like a more substantial dog prefer Standard American Bullies. Whichever you choose, you will be rewarded with a lifetime of loyalty and affection.

Please share if you found this article comparing Pocket Bullies and American Bullies useful. 

Emily Andrews