American Bully Dog: Characteristics, Origin & Lifespan

The American Bully dog is a recently formed companion dog breed. It is small to large sized breed which has been divided into four categories by some registering organization. These four categories are Pocket, Standard, Classic and XL.

As the name suggests, the American Bully dog is actually an American breed, originated from United States in the mid 1990s. The breed is originally recognized by the American Bully Kennel Club (ABKC). It has been recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) since July 15, 2013.

The American Bully dog breed was founded in the mid 1990s (between 1980 and 1990). The breed was produced using a foundation of American Staffordshire Terriers and American Pit Bull Terriers bred to several bulldog type breeds. The breed was created with the purpose of being a family companion dog.

While some of the founding kennels, namely Razor’s Edge owner Dave Wilson, affirmed that they used only the two first aforementioned breeds to produce the desired dogs, it is consensus that at least five other breeds were used to attain the more “bully” physical traits desired. These are assumed to be the American Bulldog, English Bulldog, Olde English Bulldogge, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and French Bulldog.

According to ABKC, the initial desire for this breed was to produce a dog with a lower prey drive and more of the ‘bully’ traits than the American Staffordshire Terrier. Mass and heavy bone was prioritized to ensure such a look, and due to this many of the dogs shown today display the wide front for which they were originally bred.

During the early years of the breed, a wide spectrum of dogs were shown, many displaying physical traits of the other introduced breeds; these were penalized heavily by the registry, forcing owners and breeders of such dogs to create new means to show their style of dog without being rejected.

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The American Bully dog breed was first recognized by it’s breed club (the American Bully Kennel Club) in 2004. The registry first acted as a means to document pedigrees and show the breed against it’s written standard.[1]

American Bully Dog Characteristics

The American Bully dogs have a short, close, stiff to the touch and glossy coat. All coat colors and patters are acceptable. Their head is medium in length, deep through, broad skull, very pronounced cheek muscles, distinct stop and high set ears.

The ears of the American Bully dog’s can be cropped or uncropped. The eyes are round to oval, low down in skull and set far apart (all colors of eyes are accepted except albinism). The muzzle is of medium length, rounded on upper side or slightly squared to full away abruptly below eyes.

Their jaws are well defined. The upper jaw is strong and display biting power. Their lips are close and even, some looseness accepted but not preferred. The neck is heavy, slightly arched, tapering from shoulders to back of skull.

The shoulders of the American Bully dogs are strong and muscular with blades wide and slopping. The back is fairly short. Slight sloping from withers to rump or straight accepted with gentle short slope at rump to base of tail.

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There are four varieties of the American Bully dogs. Within the ABKC, the four varieties are separated by height without specification of weight. All these varieties are expected to follow the same standard with minor alterations.

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All dogs are classified and shown as Standard until they reach a year of age, at which point they are separated into the varieties and shown against their own type.


The pocket type of American Bully dog is a smaller variant, with full-grown males under 17 inches but no less than 14 inches at the withers, and females under 16 inches not no less than 13 inches at the withers.


The standard American Bully dog type is a medium-sized dog with compact bulky muscular body, heavy bone structure and blocky head. Male dogs must be 17 to 20 inches tall at the withers, and the females must be 16 to 19 inches.


The classic is a lighter-framed dog than the standard American Bully dogs, but falls within the same height range. These dogs do not display the exaggerated features often found in the other varieties, and arguably display clearer American Pit Bull Terrier/American Staffordshire Terrier lineage.


An XL type is determined by it’s adult height. The males should be between 20 and 23 inches tall at the withers, and the females should be between 19 and 22 inches tall at the withers.

Unofficial Types

Outside of the breed standard, dogs shorter or taller than the named variations have been bred. Smaller dogs are sometimes called “Micro” and larger ones are called “XXL”, but neither are recognized by the kennel clubs as legitimate varieties.


The American Bully dog is a highly adaptable breed. They are often acting as a loving companion as well as a rough breed. Many dogs do well in sports such as weight pull and flirt pole, despite acting as log dogs in the home. Dog and human aggression is supposed to be bred out of the American Bully dog, and is discouraged in the breed standards.

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Average lifespan of the American Bully dog is between 8 and 12 years.


How much a mature dog eats depends on it’s size, age, build, metabolism and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don’t all need the same amount of food. Size of the American Bully dog vary depending on the variety. Please consult with your vet for better recommendation.


Taking good care of the animals is very important for raising American Bully dogs. They generally do well in an apartment if they are sufficiently exercised. They are very active indoors and will do alright without a yard provided they get enough exercise.

As a very active dog, the American Bully dogs must have plenty of regular exercise including a long brisk daily pack walk to relieve mental and physical energy.

The smooth, short-haired coat is easy to groom. Brush on a regular basis with a firm bristle brush, and bathe or dry shampoo as necessary. A rub with a piece of toweling or chamois will make the coat gleam. This breed is an average shedder.


The American Bully dogs are generally healthy. But like all other dog breeds, they are also prone to certain health conditions. Hip and elbow scoring are the most frequently conducted problems of these animals. Cherry eye, ectropion and entropion are often seen affecting the eyes; while Brachycephalic Respiratory Syndrome can be seen in the shorter muzzled dogs.

Breed NameAmerican Bully
Other NamesAm. Bully or simply as Bully
Breed SizeSmall to large
HeightDepends on variety
WeightDepends on variety
Good as petsYes
Climate ToleranceAll climates
ColorAll colors
Lifespan8 to 12 years
Good for childrenYes
Country of OriginUnited States