The American bully is one of several bulldog or bull-type breeds that can be seen out and about in the UK today, and dogs of this type are very popular in general, with strong advocates for each respective variant and many different preferences among owners to be found within the bulldog type as a whole.
American bullys are one of the several dog types that have only really come into being and begun meaningful development in the last couple of decades, and they compete with several other variants within the type too that are all in the formative stages of becoming established and developing a stable breed population.
Providing a potential alternative for bulldog lovers considering an English bulldog but that are concerned about the direction the modern English bulldog breed has taken in terms of its conformation and health, the American bully might be a good alternate choice.
However, it is important to understand the core traits of any dog type and make sure they’re a good fit for you before you commit to a purchase, and when it comes to hybrid dog types for which there is no umbrella oversight of the type as a whole, this isn’t always simple.
With this in mind, this article will tell you ten things you need to know about the American bully, before you go ahead and buy one. Read on to learn more.
The American bully is a cross breed or mixed breed dog, and the exact mixture of parent breeds that make up the ancestry of an American bully can vary quite a lot from litter to litter. First developed in the USA in the 1990s, some of the parent breeds used within the original dogs of this type included English bulldogs, American bulldogs, American Staffordshire bull terriers, American pit bull terriers, rottweilers and bullmastiffs, and potentially others too!
By no means all American bullys (particularly those from breed lines that began in the UK) will have all of those breeds in their ancestry, and most will have only two or three original parent breeds, but the level of variation within the dog type referred to as the American bully in terms of ancestry is very high.
As a mixed breed, the American bully is not recognised by the Kennel Club or any other major breed registry. This means they’re not pedigree dogs, have no standard across the breed, and cannot be entered into Kennel Club shows.
The American bully tends to be a little taller, and slightly less heavily muscled than the English bulldog, which is one of the most commonly used parent breeds. They are also generally bred to have a less flat face and less acute wrinkling and skin folds, although this can be very variable.
American bullys in the USA can once more vary considerably from dog to dog in terms of appearance, depending on their parentage and the traits that their breeders bred for. However, American bullys in the USA tend to be heavier, more muscular and squarer in shape than those from the UK, and often have a very obvious pitbull influence in their appearance, particularly in the face. It is also common to see American bullys in the USA with their ears cropped to points, which is illegal in the UK.
If you are considering buying an American bully that has a particularly American look, or that you know or suspect was developed from imported American bullys from outside of the UK, you need to proceed with great caution. This is because the American pit bull terrier is a very commonly used parent breed in the American bully in the USA, and this is a banned breed in the UK – which means that any dog with pit bull ancestry is illegal to own in the UK too.
The American bully is quite an expensive dog type to buy, particularly for one that is not a pedigree and can be so variable in traits – ultimately, anyone can call their dog an American bully and sell it as such. According to our Pets4Homes statistics, the average asking price for American bullys for sale in the UK as of September 2019 was £975 per dog.
The American bully has a brachycephalic face, which means one that is shorter than the healthy norm for dogs as a species. How flat or short the face is can vary considerably from dog to dog.
Prospective puppy buyers are strongly advised to choose puppies with relatively long muzzles, in order to reduce the chances of buying a pup with breathing difficulties and other health issues, and to learn as much as possible about brachycephalic dogs and their care before committing to a purchase.
The American bully tends to be very physically strong as they’re heavily muscled, and this strength, combined with the bulk of their shoulders and necks, means that they are best walked and handled with a harness as opposed to a collar.
It also means that properly training, controlling and managing your dog and keeping them on a lead when outside of the home or an enclosed dog-safe area is vital, as you would not win a battle with an American bully based on strength alone. Dogs of this type can be dominant if not properly managed, which can be a real problem. They also tend to be rather territorial.
However, with proper care and handling they are well mannered and gentle in the main part.
The American bully isn’t one of the most intelligent of dog breeds, and so they are only likely to be able to learn and execute a few commands, and take a while to respond when they are given. Recall in the American bully tends to be unreliable too. However, American bullys should be able to pick up and follow the essential training commands, with consistency and patience.
American bullys are complex dogs that are strong and can be dominant, and they require an owner that fully understands bull breeds and knows how to get the best out of them. They need proper training and supervision and clear boundaries, and are not generally a good pick for someone inexperienced with dogs as a whole.