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The 5 American Bully Classes

The American Bully is a relatively new dog breed, formed by breeding American Pit Bulls and American Staffordshire Terriers to various bulldog-type breeds. Despite their rough look, they are excellent companion dogs, very loving and affectionate towards their family.

The breed was initially recognized by the American Bully Kennel Club in 2004, and by the United Kennel Club in 2013.

The American Bully was originally divided into four categories: Standard, Classic, XL, and Pocket. Nowadays there are five American Bully types, the Extreme one being the latest added.

We will begin discussing the different types of this breed, with their characteristics. Bear in mind that the lifespan, for example, may vary depending on how well the dog is cared for. Many dogs may live longer than expected if fed very high-quality food and are taken to the vet regularly.

There is no standard weight for each type, but it should be proportional to the body frame. The average weight of an American Bully is between 66 – 88 lb. The standard features presented below are according to the American Bully Kennel Club.

1.) Standard Bully

Male Size: 17” – 20” at withers
Female Size: 16” – 19” at withers
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years

The Standard Bully was initially created in the 1990s as a show version for the American Pit Bull Terrier, as well as a companion dog. 

Some of the main official ABKC standards of this type are:

  •  Thick, muscular and compact body with a broad chest, giving the impression of great strength, but no exaggerated features;
  • The broad and heavy head must be proportional to the body, even though the cheek muscles are prominent and the skull is large. Well-defined jaws;
  • Eyes are oval or almond-shaped, set low down in the skull and far apart. They may be any color, except pinkish red (albino), and blue color or lack of pigmentation is undesirable. Round eyes are undesirable, while bulging eyes are a fault;
  •  Short-medium muzzle that should not affect normal breathing. The top line of the muzzle forms a straight line with the nose;
  • Muscular neck, slightly arched and strong shoulders. The skin is tight, but minimal loose skin is acceptable.

It is great with children, as it is very patient and has an inhibition for biting and snapping.

The Standard Bully is very affectionate and loyal to his family and family’s friends, especially if they are friendly towards him. Despite its aggressive and rough look, it is very social and will easily tolerate friendly strangers. Defensive behavior against aggressive dogs or people is normal and acceptable, but it must not be exaggerated.

They have a high tolerance for pain, which may not always be a good thing. Bullies will usually not show signs that they are injured and could endure pain in silence. This can sometimes be lethal for the dog if not discovered in due time.

2.) Classic Bully

Male Size: 17” – 20” at withers
Female Size: 16” – 19” at withers
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years

This type is an amendment to the Standard Bully and is differentiated by its body build. The Classic Bully has less overall body mass and a lighter body frame. It does exhibit “bully” traits, as it was made to look more like the traditional American Staffordshire Terrier and/or the American Pit Bull Terrier. 

Apart from their smaller body structure, Classic Bullies follow the same standards as the Standard type.

  • Compact and strong-looking, but less thick and muscular than the Standard Bully;
  • Large head and well-defined jaws;
  • Oval or almond-shaped eyes of any color. Blue or poorly pigmented, as well as albino is not acceptable. Round eyes are acceptable, but not desirable. Bulging eyes are a fault;
  • Muzzle must allow normal breathing. Its top part must be in line with the nose;
  •  Strong neck and shoulders, neck slightly arched, with tight or minimal loose skin.
  • Lighter, less muscular body with a broad chest, still giving the impression of a strong and dominant dog.

The Classic Bully has a very similar temperament as the Standard Bully. Both types are outgoing, stable and confident, being able to bond strongly with their owner, especially if the owner takes great care of them. They are very loyal and patient as well, and always want to please their owners.

Like the Standard, the Classic Bully is very social and tolerant of children, as well as strangers, while still being protective of their family and property. 

It has high pain tolerance, strength, and agility.

3.) XL Bully

Male Size: 20” – 23” at withers
Female Size: 19” – 22” at withers
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years

Also an amendment to the Standard Bully, the XL Bully has the same body build as the Standard’s but is taller and bulkier. As it has more body mass, the XL Bully is heavier compared to the Standard. It follows the same standards as the Standard type and its features should not be exaggerated.

This is the largest American Bully type so far.

Being so large, breeding XL Bullies that meet the requirements of a Bully is very difficult and still has little success, so this type will rarely stand out or even win a dog show. The American bully breed is still very new, so breeders must be very careful when selecting XL American Bullies for breeding if they want to succeed.

  • Same compact and thick body as the Standard Bully, but taller and bulkier than other American Bully types;
  • Large and deep chest;
  • Large and heavy head with protruding cheek muscles and well-defined jaws;
  • Almond or oval-shaped eyes. Albino and poorly pigmented eyes are not acceptable. Round eyes not desirable, and bulging eyes are a fault;
  • Muzzle should allow breathing normally and be aligned with the nose;
  • Tight or little loose skin on the neck;
  • Strong, slightly arched neck and thick shoulders.

4.) Extreme Bully (Exotic Bully)

Male Size: No official size
Female Size: No official size
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years

The Extreme Bully is an amendment to the Standard Bully, determined by a heavier body structure and weight. It has more body mass than the standard type and a wider look given by very thick and heavy bones.

It follows the same standards as the Standard Bully:

  • Compact and muscular body with a broad chest. Head proportional to the body size;
  • Large skull with protruding jaws, eyes set high on the head and are oval or almond-shaped, in any color (not albino or poor pigment). Bulging eyes are a fault, and round ones are undesirable;
  • Short-medium muzzle which allows breathing; must be in line with the nose;
  • Slightly arched, muscular neck and strong shoulders;
  • Overall strong and imposing look with no exaggerated features.

There are some highlights of this type, which can be used to tell if your American Bully is an Extreme Bully or not:

  • They have semi-close lips. Some Extreme Bullies may have loose lips which are accepted by the breed standard, but some owners don’t like this feature;
  • The skin around the dog’s neck can be either tight (but not very tight) or loose. Looseness is acceptable in other Extreme Bully varieties as well;
  • The hocks (hindquarters) are slightly turned out. This is also acceptable for other Extreme Bully varieties, but not for the Standard type;
  • It has a higher rear than most Bully types.

5.) Pocket Bully

Male Size: 14” – 17” at withers
Female Size: 13” – 16” at withers
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years

The Pocket Bully is an amendment to the Standard type, distinguished only by its height at adult age. It is the shortest of its kind but still is heavy and muscular like all Bully types. This is unlike other “pocket” or “toy” dog breeds.

This type is specifically bred for owners who love American Bullies but want a smaller and more compact breed. Also, this type is great for an owner with an average lifestyle in terms of available time for socializing, grooming, exercising and playing with their dog.

Pocket Bullies follow the same standards as the Standard type, the only difference being their size:

  • Strong-looking body with a broad chest, no exaggerated features;
  • Broadhead, proportional to the body, with prominent jaws and cheek muscles;
  • Almond or oval-shaped eyes. Any color is acceptable, as long as it’s strongly pigmented. Albino is not accepted; Round eyes undesirable, bulging eyes are considered a fault;
  • Muzzle must not affect breathing. Topline must align with the nose;
  • Muscular, slightly arched neck with tight or only slightly loose skin;
  • Smaller in size than the other Bully types, but with the same proportions.

Caring for American Bullies is easy, making them desirable pets even for beginners. As they have short hair, they only need regular brushing instead of extensive professional grooming.

They also require regular nail clipping and ear cleaning like most of the dogs. Nothing out of the usual, though. Shedding may differ, as some American Bullies may shed hair regularly, while others may only shed a little. Food would also help reduce shedding in some cases.

There are still many scattered views upon the American Bully. American Pit Bull Terrier breeders will consider American Bullies inferior, as they were derived from Pit Bull Terriers.

Some will view them as Pit Bulls, although they are more closely related to Bulldogs. Others will consider American Bullies very different from the Staffordshire and Pit Bull Terriers. 

All of the American Bully types are sweet-tempered, playful and affectionate, while still protective, so if you want to have an American Bully as a pet, you will surely not be disappointed. 

If you already have an American Bully, please share with us your thoughts about this breed or a funny story with your bulky friend.

american bully classes infographic

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