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What Is an Exotic Bully & What’s a “Clean Exotic?”

It is widely known that a dog is man’s best friend. This is exceedingly true in the Bully community as it represents one of the most passionate groups of dog breeders, owners, and lovers. Subcategories of the American Bully have arisen within the breeding practices and have grown to be extremely controversial.

The Exotic Bully and the Clean Exotic headline many discussions and pit members of the community against one another with differing views on a list of different beliefs.

The American Bully surfaced within the last twenty-five years.

The continuity and quality of the breed’s characteristics and health have not fully been established. This is why it is extremely important to follow through with due diligence before bringing an American Bully into your household.

The breed standards and their lack of longevity, lead to the room for interpretation amongst breeders. Even more so for subcategories even newer than the “original” American Bully.

The American Bully comes in four varieties that are all recognized by the American Bully Kennel Club or A.B.K.C. (the founding registry of the breed). From smallest to largest, the varieties are Pocket, Classic, Standard, and XL.


The Exotic Bully is the latest variety and the support for its emergence is far from universal. Since breeding for desired looks and preferences can not be separated from breeding for optimal health, the disagreements between the two communities have escalated.

Nonetheless, fans of the Exotic Bully have grown in number to hundreds of thousands, if not more. Still, the community is divided. Half of the population despises Exotics and claim that the subcategory is not a real breed.

They believe it’s an unhealthy depiction of what the American Bully was designed to be. The other half is made of both responsible breeders and those who may recklessly aim for selfish results, despite health concerns.

The Clean Exotic is a subcategory of the Exotic Bully movement that aims for a healthy and respectable Exotic Bully. With tensions so high in online communities, the new descriptive term will continue to stand the test of the public and fight for solidified validity.

What Is An Exotic Bully?


As mentioned, the Exotic Bully is the latest variety of the American Bully who’s designs has distanced itself from the previously accepted breed standards. Some breed mixing occurred prior but around 2008, more or less, the Exotic Bully began its popularity at large.

Though the Exotic Bully has created a separation between itself and its American Bully cousin, it remains controversial because the greatly needed breed standards are not yet agreed upon.

The genetic framework of most “exotics” is derived from the American Bully, French Bulldog, Olde English Bulldog, Shorty Bull, and English Bulldog. Other types of Bulldog and related breeds are assumed to be incorporated also.

Without breed standards that are universally accepted within the Exotic Bully community, any mix-breeding, deviation or variation can make claims to be an Exotic Bully. For instance, somewhat accepted, descriptive traits of the Exotic Bully are; exaggerated features on a smaller, more compact dog.

Also, Exotic Bullies tend to have more bulldog-like features. Descriptions like this are just too broad and don’t  narrow down the generalized definition.

So, how can the Exotic Bully earn its credibility amongst all? What registries currently hold the most weight and trustworthiness?


Current Exotic Bully Registries


exotic bullies

1.) International Bully Coalition (IBC)

The IBC was founded by Jorge Soto. Jorge has been a pivotal part of the Exotic Bully movement’s growth. He is often associated with the creation of the Exotic Bully that is most accepted today. His kennel in California is called “The Bully Campline” and his most famous dog is “Mr. Miagi”.

Mr. Miagi has sparked a lot of debate around his distinct features. The dog’s exotic looks stand out even from other Exotic Bullies. The debate about appearance reaches to Mr. Miagi’s sire Marcello of Kingpin and La Madrina of The Bully Campline. Then, dates even further back to their foundational bloodlines.


The International Bully Coalition (IBC) is recognized as the first registry to establish a breed standard for the Exotic Bully. Breed Standard is more than modeling the “proper” look of a dog. They exist because health concerns are coupled with specific genes in a breeds DNA.

Chasing a certain look in dog breeding can also surface disease, bone, heart and lung issues. If breeders do not breed responsibly and avoid mating dogs who will produce liters inheriting bad health, bloodlines will be ruined and increasingly, more dogs will live sick and uncomfortable lives.

Here is a statement  issued by the IBC laying out the emergence of the Exotic Bully. A comparison is made to the evolution of another breed that strived for legitimacy in an already standardized breed with a proud history.

micro bully

“Major changes in the phenotype of the breed have been due to consistent infusion of different bulldog breeds. Although we do not know specific dogs, bloodlines or origin of the dogs. When they were introduced the vast majority of these animals were not recorded in Genealogical Records.

The infusions were constant enough that these dogs got very far away from the original proposed standard by the American Bully.

An inevitable conflict within that breed fell on the Clubs, Owners, and Breeders similar to the disdain American Pit Bull Terrier fanciers had toward the American Bully during the establishment of the American Bully breed.

The feud is still going on, with APBT owners claiming that the American Bully ruined the American Pit Bull Terrier by breeding out gameness. Proponents of the American Bully argue that there is no need for those traits and that the breed makes excellent companions.”

2.) American Bully Registry (ABR)

The ABR is a growing registry that recognizes the Exotic Bully. Their mission is to be a responsible registry without discrimination. They believe that only inclusion can help keep dogs safe and promote healthy breeding practices within the breeding community for the new subcategory.

Mix-breeding will continue, aiming to produce more Exotic Bullies with or without the acceptance from registries. So, it’s imperative that organizations like the ABR, step up by documenting and rewarding healthy dogs and breeders with credentials.

The ABR is headquartered in Menifee, California. It was founded by Albert Murillo who owns EOG’s Jawbreaker, Jorge Soto of The Bully Campline, and Peter Banuelos (owner of EOG’s Bullseye). The three are respected in the Exotic Bully community and have issued this statement…

“We listened to the public and have decided to step out as leaders and give them a home. Exotics are here to stay and are in a class of their own and although we want to give exotics a home, we also encourage and welcome all bully breeds with no discrimination.”

Currently, the ABR has standard registration, single registration, litter registration, and at-show registration. They also have a breed standard for the Exotic Bully

micro exotic bully

“The Exotic Bully is an extension of the American Bully but its looks and characteristics are more exaggerated and pronounced than its American Bully counterpart. Being that the class is in its infancy, current standards will be amended and adjusted in a manner that best suits the betterment of the breed and breeder.

The general impression of the Exotic Bully leaves little to no room for mistaking it for any of the other Bully breeds due to its over-exaggerated characteristics and extreme features. Though Bulldog looks are very influential in the breed, mixing is not condoned nor accepted by the ABR.” 

3.) International Bully Registry (IBR)

The International Bully Registry was established in 2015. It is fairly new but aims to play its part in the attempt to solidify the Exotic Bully within a divided community.

Jorge Soto is involved in founding and maintaining many of the listed registries and owns the IBR as well. The primary platform for the organization has been Facebook. 

Their exotic classes are exactly described as:

American Bully Exotic 

The American Bully Exotic is an extension of the American Bully Standard. It is an established breed known for its eye-catching features.

The American Bully Exotic brings a definite wow-factor with its ability to provide an exaggerated blocky head, great amounts of girth and muscle tone, all on a compact body.

What we find a little suspect is that there are so few faults in the breed standard, mainly easty westy feet, and short or kinked tails.”

micro exotic american bully

The Micro Exotic Bully

Shares the same characteristics but is significantly smaller than the American Bully Exotic but still maintains good girth, muscle tone, and exaggerated features. The Micro Exotic is determined by its fully developed height in its adulthood. The general size is 13 inches and under from ground to withers.”

4.) U.S. Bully Registry (USBR)

The USBR is one of the most renowned registries, recognizes the Exotic Bully, and offers registration according to their standard. They believe in placing the power of standard creation in the hands of committed and accountable dog owners.

The organization is led by President Edward Shepherd, Vice President Benny Chavez, and Director of Shows, Judges, and Representatives Toby Santos.

Here, they describe and provide what they call a general impression (of the Exotic Bully breed) on their website.

“Over the last few years the Exotic Bully is beginning to get a “desired” look that is becoming more consistent and this breed standard will serve as a standard for which they will be graded by with the goal of bringing more even consistency to the breed.

We also recognize that the Exotic Bully is a continuing breed that still to this day has various looks defined by bloodline.

This breed standard is to serve the breed in protecting its health as well as not preventing breeders from following their vision to create their version of the breed. This breed standard will be revisited in a few years for revision if necessary.”

micro mini exotic bully

GENERAL IMPRESSION 

“The Exotic Bully should give the impression of great strength for its size, compact to medium/large size dog with a muscular body and blocky head.

The Exotic Bully should have the appearance of heavy bone structure with a bully build, the breed is a “head and front breed” chest should be wide to match blocky head type. The Exotic Bully should NOT look like an American Bully.”

The USBR also lists disqualifications as; “Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid (one or both testicles have not dropped); viciousness or extreme shyness.”

So, What Do the Registries Agree Upon?


There are many different standards even amongst the various registries that recognize the Exotic Bully. However, they agree on a few faults that should be phased out of bloodlines as the subcategory continues to strive for broader acceptance.

The faults include:

  • Kinks, knots, and short tails, long tails
  • Extremely overshot or undershot bites
  • Excessive pointing inward or outward of the feet

The faults listed are common in lists of faults in similar dog breeds including the American Bully. The goal is for breeders to minimize the existence of these traits in future litters.

If breeders do not strive to uphold the integrity of the new subcategory, the Exotic Bully’s acceptance and validity will continue to waiver. For future litters to have the quality of life they deserve, Exotic Bully registries must not favor or recognize dogs with these faults.

What Is A Clean Exotic Bully?


“Clean Exotic” is a new phrase in the Bully community that represents the attempt to breed the new subcategory responsibly.

Atlanta has become a hotbed for Exotic Bully shows and hosts many attendees who participate in the passionate Facebook groups and online forums that promote the growth in popularity.

Health Issues of the American Bully & the Exotic Category


If there is no civility and organization within the Exotic Bully movement, chaos will ensue as rogue breeders continually produce litters with little to no regard for the health of new bloodlines.

Although Exotic Bullies are designated by their difference in stature and overall look, health must be the primary concern. Aesthetic traits can not be continued if the paternal or maternal dog shows any sign of irregularity that must not be passed on.

With ownership of either the American Bully or Exotic Bully, it is vital to the breed’s success to understand fully, what it takes to raise a healthy pup and what health issues specific to the breed may appear. Good genetics and breeding best practices are the start to a healthy life for all Bullies.

Like any breed of dog, there are some health challenges that present themselves more common than others in this specific breed.

The most threatening health concerns for Bullies include:

  • Cerebellar Abiotrophy
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Congenital Heart Failure
  • Hip & Elbow Dysplasia
  • Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)

Other common health concerns for Bullies include:

  • Demodectic Mange Atopy
  • Cataracts
  • Ichthyosis
  • Luxating Patella
  • Cherry Eye
  • Eczema

These health issues have been the most common for the American Bully and prove to be prevalent in Exotics as well. This does not mean that most Bullies will experience any of these conditions but they are the most common health challenges the breeds face.

If breeders prioritize aesthetics and look over breeding to produce healthy litters above all, it will spell disaster for bloodlines to come.

A Guide To Desired Traits


Because of everything discussed above, one universal definition of Clean Exotic does not exist. When searching online, there are many different interpretations. When diving into online forums and niche groups, the differences in opinion grow in number.

In fact, it is very possible to receive a different description of the breed from each person you may ask.

The Clean Exotic is an attempt to breed Exotic Bullies with respect and integrity. Those within the movement who agree that the dogs’ health is the most important element don’t expect to cut corners for desired results.

The look that the Clean exotic aims for is a Bully with a shorter and more compact frame, ideally under 13″ in height.

There is an accountable and honorable method to achieve the shorter muzzle and more distinct features that have led the Exotic Bully to request independence as a legitimate variety type.

This is a list of desired traits of the Clean Exotic Bully. The list is mainly derived from the standards of the USBR and can be found on their website: http://www.usbullyregistry.com/breed-info/exotic.html 


HEAD

Medium length, deep through, broad skull, very pronounced cheek muscles, 90 degree skull stop, and high set ears.

Minor Faults:

Skull stop is sloped more than 100 degrees but less than 135 degrees; narrow eyeset.

Serious Faults:

Skull stop is sloped more than 135 degrees.

EARS

High set and may be natural or cropped without preference. Prick, or flat, wide ears are not desired.

Disqualifications:

Unilateral or bilateral deafness.

EYES

All colors except albinism. Eye shape would be round to oval, low down in skull and set far apart.

Serious Faults:

Bulging eyes; both eyes not matched in color; blue eyes.

Disqualifications:

Blindness in either or both eyes not caused by injury.

MUZZLE

Short rounded on upper side or squared to fall away abruptly below eyes. Jaws well defined. Under jaw to be strong and have biting power.

exotic bully puppies

LIPS

Semi-close and even.

NOSE

All colors acceptable.

Faults:

Snipey muzzle; weak lower jaw.

TEETH/BITE

A full complement of large, strong, white teeth meet in a scissor bite; slightly undershot bite accepted. The canines are wide apart; and the incisors are in an even, level row.

Minor Faults:

Teeth or tongue showing when the mouth is closed; overshot bite.

Faults:

Extremely overshot or undershot bite measuring more than one inch in either way.

NECK

Heavy, slightly arched, tapering from shoulders to back of skull-minimal or no loose skin.

Faults:

Neck too thin or weak.

SHOULDERS

Strong and muscular with blades wide.

BACK

Fairly short to medium back. Slight sloping from withers to rump or straight accepted with gentle short slope at rump from canadian pharmacy to base of tail.

A slight fall off behind the shoulders to the beginning of the back, which is the lowest part of the entire topline is acceptable. (Desired) The length of the back should be approximately be the same as the height of the bully as measured in inches as measured from the withers to the croup.

Faults:

Back length overly disproportionate to the height of the bully.

BODY

Deep and wide chest, deep in rear and all ribs close together. Forelegs set rather wide apart to permit chest development. Chest should be deep and broad with muscular mass.

clean exotic bullies

TAIL

Short to medium in comparison to size, low set, tapering to a fine point ending at the rear hock are preferred. A docked tail is acceptable and is preferred over a tail with kinks and knots.

(EXCEPTION: Exotic Bullies that are shown or that reside in countries where docking of tails is either next to impossible or illegal; i.e. most European countries. In this regard a tail with a kink and/or knot will not have the fault held against them in the show ring.)

Minor Faults:

Kinks, knots, and short tails are accepted.

FRONT LEGS

Slightly bowed front legs, large and round bones, pasterns upright are preferred.

Faults:

Weak pasterns; knots on elbows.

Serious Faults:

Extremely bowed front legs that inhibit fluid movement.

FEET

Should be of moderate size and compact. A slight turning outwards of the feet up to 15 degrees is accepted.

Faults:

Feet measuring between 15 and 45 degrees.

Serious Faults:

Feet measuring between 45 and 90.

Disqualifications:

Feet measuring beyond 90 degrees when stacked are disqualifying.

HINDQUARTERS

Are strong, muscular, and broad. The rump is well filled in on each side of the tail and deep from the pelvis to the crotch. The bone, angulation, and musculature of the hindquarters are in balance with the forequarters. The thighs are well developed with thick, easily discerned muscles.


Viewed from the side, the hock joint is well bent and the rear pasterns are well let down and perpendicular to the ground. Viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are straight and parallel to one another.

HIND LEGS

Strong and large; slightly longer than the forelegs, which elevates the loin above the shoulders is acceptable.

Faults:

Narrow hindquarters; hindquarters shallow from pelvis to crotch; lack of muscle; straight or over angulated stifle joint, cow hocks, and sickle hoc.

GAIT

Should be effortless and powerful. The action must, however, be unrestrained, free and vigorous with powerful drive off the rear. Some paddling and lumber accepted. A bulldog “rolling” to the gait is acceptable. Regardless, the movement should appear efficient in motion.

COAT

Glossy and smooth, close, and moderately stiff to the touch.

Faults:

Curly hair.

Disqualifications:

Long coat.

COLOR

All colors and patterns are accepted except the color merle.

Disqualifications:

The color merle.

SIZE

Height and weight should be in proportion to the dog and measured from the withers.

Varieties

  • Micro: Male: 13.5” and under; Females: 13” and under
  • Standard: Male: above 13.5; Female: above 13”
exotic american bully dog

The Exotic Bully holds a personality that’s the culmination of each Bully. The breed as a whole and all subcategories have an intimidating stature but are nowhere close to vicious. They are very social dogs and typically get along well with other dogs and children.

Attention is one of their favorite treats and they are great companions. This is where the passion of ownership comes from. Dog lovers in the Exotic community will undoubtedly continue to fight for their four-legged companions and their acceptance.

In summary, the Exotic Bully and Clean Exotic can be the same dog but are not necessarily. It is important to encourage the breeding of healthy dogs no matter the desired features. The Exotic Bully has jumped into the fray of the Bully community.

Hopefully, with some regulation and organization, the Clean Exotic can achieve the overarching goals of the community in a responsible way.

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