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Is an American Bully a Pitbull? FULLY Explained!

There’s still a lot of confusion surrounding the American Bully and the origins of what is essentially a crossbreed.

The American Bully is not recognized by most kennel clubs and there’s a lot of backyard breeders trying to capitalise on all the different variants.

How can you make sure you get a healthy dog if you don’t even know which dog breeds went into him?

That’s why I created this article to give you an overview of all the different breeds as well as the American Bully’s size and temperament.

So, is the American Bully the same like a Pitbull?

The American Bully is not a Pitbull but a cross between 3 Pitbull-type dog breeds, alongside bloodlines from breeds like the Old English Bulldog or Mastiffs.

When asking whether or not the American Bully is a Pitbull, some people refer to the Pitbull-type dogs in general while others mean the American Pit Bull Terrier dog breed.

In theory, the American Bully is the mix of Pitbull-type dogs, but when people generally refer to the Pitbull types, they’re referring to 3-4 other purebred bully breeds.

American Bullies can contain American Pit Bull Terrier bloodlines but don’t necessarily have to.

Don’t worry, it’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it.

Important notice: There is something I want to show you that will change the way you interact with your dog. Check it out here.

What Breeds Make an American Bully?

American Bullies are often made up from the following dog breeds:

  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bullterrier
  • (Miniature) Bullterrier
  • American Bulldog (lean and stocky type)
  • Old English Bulldog
  • Mastiffs

The first three dog breeds are generally referred to as the Pitbull-type dogs (APBT, Amstaff, and StaffBull).

To get smaller or bigger sizes or certain appearances, many people try to include other breeds.

Old English Bulldogs or stocky American Bulldogs give the dog the flat, wide frame – which is often associated with health risks.

Smaller American Bully with a very wide frame and stocky build.

Mastiffs are used to create bigger versions and also change the dog’s temperament (Cane Corso, Presa Canario, Dogo Argentino, Dogue De Bordeaux, Tosa Inu, Boerboel, Neapolitan Mastiff).

There’s no regulation on which breeds go into an American Bully because it’s essentially a crossbreed.

For all you know, your potential American Bully could have Poodle genetics to some extent.

Do not fall for backyard breeders holding this crossbreed in high esteem when they can’t prove the health of their pups through elaborate health testing.

What’s the Difference Between a Pitbull and an American Pitbull?

First of all, it’s important to know that Pitbull ≠ American Pit Bull Terrier.

As we have laid out, there are 3-4 Pitbull-type dog breeds out there casually referred to as Pitbulls.

An American Pit Bull Terrier will always be a Pitbull-type dog but a Pitbull-type dog doesn’t necessarily have to be an American Pit Bull Terrier.

How can you tell if a “Pitbull” is purebred?

Differentiating the various bully types from each other is not as cut and dried as many people think.

There are some characteristics you can look for when identifying a purebred of either one of these breeds.

The Bull Terrier looks quite distinct, the Staffie is smaller, but the differences between Amstaff and APBT are hard to distinguish for a layman. Only papers will clarify the true heritage and genetics.

Is the XL Bully a Pitbull?

The XL Bully is just a term for the kind of American Bullies with Mastiff lines.

While these dogs tend to be larger and way heavier, they’re still American Bully crossbreeds, possibly made up from all the breeds listed above.

In short, no the XL Bully is not a Pitbull either.

The XL Bully is cross between the Pitbull-type dog breeds and Mastiffs or other large dogs (sometimes even Great Danes).

American Bully Sizes

The American Bully comes in 5 different sizes.

Beware, many Bully breed lovers are arguing whether or not the results of poor breeding are deserving of a classification in sizes.

Giving them different size variants gives one the idea that there’s some legitimacy to this breeding.

However, there are absolutely no official rules on who can calls his dog what name.

Many breeders try to get buyers to check out their dogs with terms like “XXL ULTIMATE Bully Blue Line”.

This kind of stuff is often used to appeal to people’s desire to have big, stable and well-tempered dogs that happen to come in a beautiful color.

The blue line is often just a gray coat with blue puppy eyes.

Gray coats are achieved through selected breeding which can include negative practices like inbreeding if the gene pool isn’t big enough.

Blue puppy eyes almost always disappear once the dog gets older so don’t be fooled by their beautiful shine now and be disappointed once it fades away.

That being said, crossbreed enthusiasts usually differentiate between these sizes (small to big):

  • Micro
  • Pocket
  • Classic
  • Standard
  • XL (or XXL)

When American Bullies are still puppies, it can be really hard to tell if they’re just buff purebred Pitbull-type dogs or a wild Bully mix.

Sometimes even Cane Corso or Old English Bulldog puppies can look like American Bullies and vice versa.

Asking for papers and health testing is the way to go if you want to ensure you’re getting a healthy purebred pup if that’s what you’re seeking.

Four American Bully puppies with gray and white coats and blue puppy eyes.

Is the American Bully Considered an Aggressive Breed?

No, the American Bully is not considered aggressive.

In reality, no breed is really inherently dangerous due to aggression, but individual genetical lines can churn out aggressive dogs.

Granted, tempers are different and depending on the purpose a dog has been bred for, they may just display qualities we humans don’t like in our daily lives.

Among these undesired traits are: Prey drive, disliking other dogs, being territorial when guests are around for a BBQ in the garden, and so on.

Considering the background of the American Bully with the Pitbull-type breeds, it can very well be that a dog’s temperament turns out undesirable.

A high-strung and reactive dog with a reduced threshold is certainly not desirable but sadly many shady breeders have used these breeds for incredibly inhuman purposes.

Select a good breeder with my article on essential questions to ask a breeder. Alternatively, check out my dog adoption guide.

Are American Bullies Hard to Train?

Nearly all Bully breeds are said to be very tough dogs but depending on their genetic mark-up and socialization, they can be very gentle and loving too.

The American Bully might be a bit more stubborn than dogs with a strong will-to-please but if you treat them right, they will be agreeable to training and follow your lead.

“Lead” is the important word here because if you’re not taking the lead, the dog will and an American Bully can become quite powerful.

Are American Bullies Smart?

Since the American Bully is a crossbreed, their intelligence and ability not only depends on socialization and training but also what breeds went into this individual.

All Pitbull-type dog breeds (APBT, Amstaff, Staffie) and, to some extent, American Bullies are generally said to be very intelligent dogs and can be great family companions as well as endurance monsters during training.

Whether or not a dog can be called smart depends on a lot of things, not just how quickly they learn tricks.

Getting down house manners, being agreeable during training, able to be taught how to focus and so much more goes into this.

Do your research about any individual before and make sure you know about potential health risks of crossbreeds.

Let me know if you have any questions about the American Bully and I’ll make sure to address them!

About Danielle
I am the founder of PawLeaks where I share weekly tips on dog training and behavior. Sharing a passion for dogs and helping owners to solve problems through understanding canine behavior and modification is my number one goal.