Classic American Bully: Your Complete Breed Information Guide

Understanding the classic American Bully dog breed  begins with recognizing its unique characteristics and origins. This type of American presents itself with a strong, muscular build, complete with a distinctive blocky head that emanates an impression of robust strength relative to its size. Known for its bulk, the American Bully carries heavy bone structure and an appearance that might suggest aggressiveness. However, contrary to what their powerful physique might imply, American Bullies boast a gentle temperament, often making them excellent family companions. They carry themselves with confidence and exhibit a zest for life.

Dave Wilson, the breed founder and owner of Razors Edge Kennel, played a pivotal role in establishing the characteristics that are admired in the breed today. The development of the American Bully as a separate breed was a well-thought-out process that aimed to create not just an aesthetically pleasing dog, but also one that exhibits an eager willingness to please and bond with its family. While they exude strength, American Bullies are also recognized for their friendly disposition towards children, strangers, and other animals, showcasing a balanced and affectionate nature at home.

In learning about this breed, one finds that human or dog aggression, shyness, or viciousness are uncharacteristic and highly undesirable traits for the American Bully. When you welcome an American Bully into your life, you’re not just getting a pet; you’re gaining a loyal and exuberant member of your family, well-suited for both companionship and an active lifestyle. For a deeper insight into the breed’s physical characteristics and temperament, you can refer to the American Bully Kennel Club (ABKC) for a complete overview on the American Bully.

So, What Is A Classic American Bully? Breed Overview

The classic type American Bully is a variation of the American Bully breed, known for its muscular build, but less extreme in bulk compared to other types. It possesses a balanced temperament, combining strength and athleticism with a friendly and confident demeanor, making it a popular family pet.

The American Bully breed has several types, including those recognized by the American Bully Kennel Club (ABKC):

ABKC Recognized Types:

  1. Pocket: The smallest ABKC-recognized type, compact with muscular build.
  2. Standard: Represents the breed’s standard size and appearance, muscular but not overly bulky.
  3. Classic: Similar in height to the Standard, but with less body mass and muscle.
  4. Extreme: Larger and more muscular than the Standard, with significant body mass.
  5. XL: The largest ABKC-recognized type, taller and heavier than the Standard, with more muscle mass.

Non-Recognized Types:

  1. Exotic: Bred for exaggerated features, compact and heavily muscled, not recognized by major kennel clubs.
  2. Clean Exotic: Similar to Exotic, but with an emphasis on fewer health issues and a more functional physique.
  3. Micro: Extremely small in size, often at the expense of breed standards.
  4. XXL: Larger than the XL, the XXL type is bred for its immense size and muscle mass, often exceeding the breed standards set by recognized kennel clubs.

These non-recognized types, especially the XXL, are bred primarily for their distinctive size and physical traits, which may not align with the breed standards established by kennel clubs like the ABKC. 

But this article focuses on the classic type, so let’s look at what makes this Bully dog so exceptional. 

Classic American Bully History and Origin

Dive into the rich tapestry of the American Bully’s origins, from its early foundation to the established breed we recognize today.


The American Bully’s roots are deeply embedded in the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) and the American Staffordshire Terrier (AmStaff), which has stood as the breed’s cornerstone for more than a century. Select APBT strains were initially crossbred to craft a more robust “bully” of bulldog-like physique, eventually leading to the birth of the breed known today as the American Bully.

Historical Significance and Breed Development

The 1990s marked a monumental era for the American Bully, intertwining its rise with the flourishing hip-hop culture. Breeders, keen on further refining the breed’s characteristics, introduced a mix of bulldog breeds, including the American Bulldog, English Bulldog, and Olde English Bulldogge, each contributing to the Bully’s unique aesthetic and temperament.

The Breed Today

Regarded as a standout companion dog, the American Bully is distinctive from other bulldog-type breeds. Its appearance, shaped by its massive build and heavy bones, reflects the breed’s original design for a friendly yet formidable presence. 

Kennel Club Recognition

The American Bully, including its Classic variety, has seen varied recognition across different canine registries. In 2008, the European Bully Kennel Club (EBKC) officially recognized the American Bully breed. This acknowledgment was further extended on July 15, 2013, by the United Kennel Club (UKC), one of the most reputable canine registries in the United States. 

However, not all kennel clubs have embraced the American Bully. Notably, the International Canine Federation, The Kennel Club in the UK, and the American Kennel Club (AKC) have not recognized or accepted the American Bully into their registry as a purebred dog. This lack of universal recognition reflects the varied standards and perspectives of different canine organizations towards this relatively new breed.

Physical Characteristics

When considering the American Bully, you can distinguish the breed by its robust and muscular stature which adheres to specific size standards and exhibits a range of accepted and disallowed colors and coat types.

Size and Build

The American Bully’s structure is compact and solid. It’s characterized by a large skull, a deep, broad chest, and a well-defined musculature. Here’s what you typically expect for their measurements:

Weight (kg / lbs)31 – 54 / 70 – 12031 – 54 / 70 – 120
Height (cm / in)43 – 51 / 17 – 2041 – 48 / 16 – 19
Length (cm / in from chest to rear)18 – 19.5 / 45 – 5017 – 18.5 / 43 – 47

Note: These values are general guidelines. Individual dogs may vary.


The American Bully’s head is broad with a well-defined stop and strong jaws. Their eyes should be set well apart and matched in color; any departure from this could be seen as a fault. Also, their appearance can be marred by an overly visible haw or any other eye irregularities. 

They display a confident posture, with a straight, level back and tail that tapers to a point. It’s important to note that exaggerate features such as overly long muzzles or issues that affect normal breathing are considered faults.

Coat and Color

The coat of an American Bully is short, glossy, and smooth to the touch, and despite its thickness, the breed is not known for excessive shedding, nor are they considered hypoallergenic. A curly, wavy, or sparse coat is seen as a fault. 

Your Classic American Bully comes in a spectrum of colors. These can range from common hues to more unique shades, according to the American Bully Kennel Club (ABKC) breed standards:

  • Solid Colors: Blacks, whites, and fawns are often seen. These solid colors may sometimes be accompanied by white markings.
  • Patterned Coats: Brindle, which includes a mixture of brown and black, and piebald, a pattern with large unpigmented spots.
  • Rare Colors: Shades like blue, lilac or isabella, chocolate, or tricolor, which include a combination of three distinct colors on their coat.

Colors Not Allowed:

  • Merle (Not allowed by the UKC, but can be found with many Bully enthusiasts)
  • Albinism (Pink)

The Classic American Bully stands apart from other Bully types due to its less bulky body and lighter frame, akin to that of the original American Pitbull Terrier, but without sacrificing the distinct character and temperament that define the breed.

Temperament and Personality

The American Bully is known for its exceptional temperament and personality traits that make it a great companion. Understanding these characteristics can help you determine if this breed is the right fit for your home.

General Disposition

The American Bully is renowned for its outgoing and friendly demeanor. As a pet owner, you can expect a loyal companion that is often eager to please and incredibly obedient when properly trained. This breed possesses a stable temperament that is neither overly aggressive nor timid. In fact, ethical breeders breed the classic to be an ideal family dog.

It is crucial, however, to ensure these dogs do not exhibit extreme shyness or viciousness, which are considered disqualifications in the breed standard.

Suitability with Children and Other Animals

These dogs are especially playful and gentle with children, making them excellent family pets. Their patience and protective nature often extend to other animals as well, allowing for peaceful cohabitation when properly socialized. However, some of them can be aggressive with other dogs, or chase smaller animals.

In your role as a pet owner, you’ll find that with consistent training, American Bullies can adapt well to homes with multiple pets.

Common Behavioral Traits

Your American Bully will typically demonstrate a balance of activity and calmness, adapting to your energy levels and lifestyle. They thrive on interaction and play, which makes regular exercise vital for maintaining good behavior

In terms of agility, they are more than capable of participating in various dog sports, which also aids in obedience training. Due to their intelligence and eagerness to learn, you’ll find these dogs to be agile learners who respond well to positive reinforcement techniques.

Health And Lifespan

When considering the health and longevity of your Classic American Bully, it’s important to be aware of the breed’s average lifespan and common health issues, as well as ways to provide preventative care and dietary considerations that can contribute to a healthy life.

Average Lifespan

The Classic American Bully is known for its athletic build and generally robust health compared to other bully breeds. They typically have a lifespan ranging from 10 to 12 years, which is relatively lengthy for a dog of their size. This is attributed to their leaner physique which reduces the stress on their joints and overall body.

Common Health Issues

Despite being healthier on average, the Classic American Bully can still be prone to specific health issues. However, because they have a long nose, the generally don’t suffer as much from conditions like Cherry eye and issues related to brachycephalic respiratory syndrome in shorter-snouted dogs are observed in this breed.  Neither do the have same wrinkles as bulldogs, so they have fewer problems related to skin fold dermatitis.

Moreover, you should be vigilant for signs of Cystine Kidney stones and congenital heart disease that can affect your pet. Atopic dermatitis and other skin conditions are also common concerns, alongside hypothyroidism, which can impact their overall health.

Preventative Care Tips

Routine veterinary check-ups are essential in catching and managing health problems early. Regular exercise keeps your Bully fit and can decrease the risk of health complications like obesity and heart issues. 

Additionally, ensure their grooming needs are met, especially for their coat, to prevent skin conditions. Being proactive with vaccinations is crucial, as American Bullies can have an increased risk for ailments like parvo, a severe and potentially life-threatening virus.

Dietary Considerations

A balanced diet tailored to your Classic American Bully’s age, size, and activity level is vital. Since they are agile and active, they may require a diet that supports their energy needs. However, always be mindful of overfeeding, as excessive weight can lead to health problems. Consulting with a veterinarian about your pet’s diet can help prevent issues like Cystine Kidney stones and ensure they receive the nutrition they need for a long and healthy life.

Exercise And House Needs

The classic American Bully is a breed that enjoys both relaxing and engaging in physical activity. They thrive on your companionship and require a mix of down-time and exercise to stay happy and healthy.

Daily Exercise Requirements

Your American Bully needs around 45 minutes of exercise each day to maintain their health. Ideal activities include:

  • Short, high-intensity games: like fetch or tug-of-war satisfy their energetic streak. These dogs also thrive on weight-pulling sports where they can put all that extra muscle to work!
  • Regular walks: to keep them agile and fit.

Incorporating these types of exercise will not only keep your Bully physically healthy but also mentally stimulated.

Space Requirements

Although American Bullies can adjust to smaller living spaces, they still require sufficient room to move around. Ensure you provide:

  • Adequate indoor space: for stretching, playing, and exploring.
  • Access to a fenced yard or park: where they can enjoy more vigorous exercise and play.

Remember, they’re not suited to being outdoor-only dogs and should be kept as an integral part of your indoor family. These dogs are bred to be family companion dogs and do not do well when they are left outside.

Housing Needs

American Bullies are social animals that need to live indoors with their family. To create a suitable indoor environment:

  • Comfortable resting area: with a cozy bed to retreat to after play.
  • Safe indoor environment: without hazards that could harm a curious pet.

Always include them in your daily life to prevent feelings of isolation that could lead to disruptive behavior.

Training and Socialization

When it comes to training your Classic American Bully, a blend of intelligence and eagerness to please makes them quite receptive to learning. Establishing a calm, clear leadership approach fosters trust and reduces the chance of reactivity.


Your Classic American Bully is intelligent and typically enjoys learning new commands. Training should revolve around positive reinforcement, as these dogs thrive on encouragement rather than heavy-handed methods. Early engagement in training is key, and you’ll find that consistent, patient instruction will yield the best results. Remember, their intelligence can also lead to stubbornness, so consistency is crucial.

Socialization needs

Socialization is imperative for your Bully, starting at a young age. It builds their confidence and helps them navigate the world with neutrality, rather than fear or aggression. Ensure your dog is exposed to a variety of people, environments, and situations. This exposure teaches them to stay focused on you even in the presence of other dogs, and to remain calm. A muzzle may be an added precaution in public to safeguard against unpredictable scenarios.

Behavioral Training Tips

  • Set clear boundaries: Establish rules and stick to them. This helps your dog understand their limits within your home and public spaces.
  • Controlled introductions: Gradually introduce them to different types of animals and people to build social skills. Keep interactions positive and controlled.
  • Focus on neutrality: Your dog should learn to behave neutrally around other dogs, even if they don’t become fast friends. Training them to stay calm and centered can prevent conflicts.

Avoid areas like dog parks where your Bully might face situations that could lead to conflict or unwarranted blame. Instead, opt for structured playdates with known, friendly dogs to ensure positive social experiences.

Diet and Nutrition

Providing your Classic American Bully with the right diet is fundamental to their health and well-being. It’s important to match their food intake with their activity level, and to adjust portions accordingly to prevent overweight issues which can strain their joints and frame.

Dietary Needs

Classic American Bullies thrive on a diet rich in proteins to support their muscle mass. High-quality dog food that includes white meats can be beneficial, especially if your Bully is prone to conditions like cystine bladder stones requiring a diet low in red meats and purines. 

Hydration is essential; always ensure your Bully has access to clean, fresh water. Integrating foods that contain probiotics can promote good gut health, and omega-3 fatty acids are great for their skin and brain health. Don’t overlook supplements such as taurine for heart health and vitamin E as a powerful antioxidant.

Feeding Schedule

  • Puppies (2-6 months): Small, frequent meals (3-4 times a day)
  • Adult Dogs (6 months and older): Typically 1 – 2 meals per day

Adjust the feeding times and portions based on your dog’s unique metabolism, health status, and activity level. Consistency in the feeding schedule helps manage hunger and maintain a stable metabolic rate.

Special Dietary Considerations

When considering your Bully’s diet, it’s vital to avoid letting them become overweight at any life stage. An overweight puppy is particularly at risk due to the stress added to developing joints and cartilage. For some Bullies, a vet may recommend a specialized diet to address health problems. Always include essential fatty acids, and consider taurine supplementation to aid in maintaining heart health. Vitamin E serves as an antioxidant and should be part of their diet.

Grooming Needs

Now let’s look into how keep up with your Bully pup’s grooming needs.

Grooming Frequency

You should wash your American Bully every 6 weeks to maintain their coat’s health without over-drying the skin. Cutting nails should be done monthly, while brushing teeth should be a daily routine to prevent dental issues. Regularly clean eyes and wrinkles to avoid irritation and infections, and clean ears weekly to keep them infection-free.

Grooming Tools

For your American Bully, you’ll need:

  • A nail clipper or grinder designed for dogs.
  • A soft-bristled toothbrush and dog-safe toothpaste.
  • Mild dog shampoo suitable for your pet’s skin type.
  • A microfiber towel or cloth to gently clean wrinkles and eyes.
  • An ear cleaning solution and cotton balls for ear care.

Grooming Tips

To make grooming a positive experience for your American Bully, follow these tips:

  • Praise and reward your dog to create positive associations with grooming.
  • Start grooming when your dog is young so they can get used to it.
  • Use short, gentle strokes when brushing to avoid pulling on the coat or skin.
  • Approach sensitive areas like eyes and ears with extra care and patience.

Remember to check with your vet for any specific products or methods tailored to your individual dog’s needs. Always keep grooming sessions short and sweet to prevent your dog from getting stressed or overwhelmed.

Cost of Ownership

Taking on the responsibility of a classic American Bully involves significant initial financial commitment and continuous investment for their care.

Initial Cost (Classic American Bully Puppy Price)

Expect to pay anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 for a Classic American Bully puppy from a reputable breeder. The price can vary based on the bloodline, breed standard, and registration. Some puppies from exceptional bloodlines or very rare colors can go for over $20000.

Ongoing Costs

Besides the initial price, you’ll need to budget for ongoing expenses such as:

  • Food: High-quality dog food and treats can cost approximately $50 to $100 per month.
  • Veterinary Care: Routine vet visits, along with vaccinations and occasional treatments, may add up to $200-$700 annually.
  • Grooming: Even though American Bullies have short coats, regular grooming sessions are recommended, costing around $30-$50 per visit.
  • Insurance: Pet insurance could range from $30 to $50 monthly, but it can mitigate unexpected costs from accidents or illnesses.
  • Miscellaneous: Toys, bedding, and other supplies will also contribute to the cost, though these prices vary widely.

Classic American Bully Adoption & Buying Tips

When considering adding a Classic American Bully to your life, understanding the financial commitment and knowing where to find a reputable source is essential. Here are key considerations to guide you through the process.

Where to Adopt/Buy A Classic American Bully Puppy

To adopt, check local shelters and dedicated rescue groups specializing in the breed. For buying, seek reputable breeders who uphold the breed standards and prioritise animal welfare.

What to Look for in a Breeder

Choose breeders who:

  • Offer health clearances and vaccination records.
  • Welcome you to visit and see the living conditions of the puppies.
  • Can discuss the puppy’s lineage, emphasizing the importance of a quality bloodline.

It can be difficult to breed these dogs correctly, so it pays to do due diligence thoroughly researching breeders before buying a Classic American Bulldog puppy.

Choosing the Right Puppy or Dog

Evaluate the appearance and temperament in person to ensure they align with the classic American Bully look and behavior:

  • The dog should be well-proportioned, confident, and responsive to basic commands.
  • Look for a calm demeanor in both puppies and adult dogs, signaling socialization and a good temperament.

Selecting a Classic American Bully as a pet is a significant decision. Consider the costs and responsibilities, research where to adopt or buy, assess breeders carefully, and choose a puppy or dog that represents the breed’s standard in appearance, build, and temperament.

Classic American Bully Ethical Breeding Practices

When breeding the Classic American Bully, it is essential to prioritize the dog’s well-being. Your goal should be to produce healthy puppies with stable temperaments. Here is how you can approach ethical breeding:

Temperament: Always select breeding pairs based on their calm and friendly nature. This helps ensure puppies are well-behaved and sociable.

Responsible Homing: Make sure puppies go to homes where they will be loved and taken care of properly.

Breeder Contracts: Use contracts for the sale of your puppies. This makes sure the new owner agrees to take good care of them.

Health Procedures:

  • Artificial Insemination (AI): Use AI as it can be safer for the dogs than natural mating.
  • C-Sections: Sometimes, these are necessary to help the mother during the birthing process.

Avoid Extreme Features: Never breed dogs to have overly exaggerated body shapes. This could hurt their health.

By following these guidelines, you help guarantee a better future for the American Bully breed.

Classical Bully Breed Special Considerations

When considering a classical American Bully, you need to think about their unique requirements. Climate conditions, your lifestyle, and their specific needs all play a crucial role in their well-being.

Climate Suitability

Your classic American Bully is a strong and resilient breed, but like all dogs, they’re sensitive to extreme weather. In hot climates, ensure they have shade and plenty of water, as they can overheat due to their muscular build. During colder temperatures, they may require a coat or sweater as they don’t have a thick undercoat to keep them warm.

Compatibility with Lifestyle

The American Bully needs regular exercise to stay healthy. If you live an active lifestyle, your Bully will fit right in with daily walks or playtime. For those with a more relaxed lifestyle, it’s important to still make time for their exercise needs to prevent obesity and boredom-associated behaviors.

Classical Bully Special Needs

  • Diet: Balanced nutrition is key. Look for high-quality dog food that supports their muscle mass and energy levels.
  • Health screenings: Regular vet visits are essential. Be aware of the breed’s predisposition to certain health conditions such as hip dysplasia or heart issues.
  • Socialization: Start this early to help your Bully become a well-rounded dog. Positive experiences with people and other animals are crucial.
  • Training: Consistent and positive training helps in managing their energetic nature and building a lasting bond between you and your dog.

Legal Considerations

Understanding legal considerations is crucial when you own or are thinking about owning an American Bully. Different places have varying laws that can significantly impact your rights and responsibilities as a pet owner.

Breed-Specific Legislation

In some regions, breed-specific legislation (BSL) affects certain dog breeds, including the American Bully and related breeds such as the American Pit Bull Terrier. For example, in various US states, BSL can restrict or dictate the ownership of these breeds. 

Requirements may include specific containment measures, muzzling in public, or special licensing. Additionally, in Canada, BSL varies by province and even by municipality, so it’s important to check the local laws where you live.

Ownership Restrictions

When considering where you live or plan to move, be aware that Home Owners Associations (HOAs) may have bylaws that impact your ability to keep an American Bully. Lease agreements could also include clauses related to pet ownership, potentially prohibiting breeds that are categorized as ‘pit bulls’ or similar. It’s critical to review any housing-related policies to understand what breeds, if any, are restricted in your residence or housing community.

Best Names for an American Classical Bully

Choosing the perfect name for your American Classical Bully can be both fun and crucial. It reflects their personality and your own connection to them. Here are some top picks for your companion’s name:

Male NamesFemale NamesUnisex Names
1. King1. Bella1. Bailey
2. Tank2. Daisy2. Harley
3. Brutus3. Roxy3. Sam
4. Tyson4. Lola4. Alex
5. Max5. Ruby5. Casey
6. Duke6. Molly6. Charlie
7. Rocky7. Sadie7. Jordan
8. Thor8. Maggie8. Morgan
9. Rex9. Athena9. Quinn
10. Bear10. Lady10. Taylor

Note: This is just a small sample from the 100 name suggestions. You can explore more options that fit the unique character of your American Bully.

When picking a name, consider the traits of your dog. Is your bully strong and commanding? Perhaps names like Brutus or Athena suit them. If they have a gentle side, consider softer names like Daisy or Bailey. Remember, these names will stick for a lifetime, so choose one that resonates well with both you and your furry friend.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

These questions cover essential information about the Classic American Bully, providing insights into their temperament, cost, characteristics, and types.

What are the characteristics that define the temperament of a Classic American Bully?

The Classic American Bully is known for its friendly and gentle nature. They are loyal companions that exhibit confidence without showing aggression, making them suitable for families.

How much does a Classic American Bully usually cost?

Purchasing a Classic American Bully typically ranges from $2,000 to $5,000. Factors influencing the price include bloodline, breeder reputation, and whether the dog is show-quality.

What are the key differences between a Standard American Bully and the Classic variety?

The Classic American Bully is similar to the Standard variety but typically has a lighter body frame and less overall body mass. Both share a similar temperament and overall physical appearance.

At what height is a Classic American Bully considered fully grown?

A Classic American Bully is fully grown when it reaches a height of about 17 to 20 inches at the withers for males, and 16 to 19 inches for females.

Can you explain the four different types of American Bullies?

There are four recognized types of American Bullies: the Pocket, Standard, Classic, and XL. Each varies in size and stature, with the Classic type being leaner and less bulky than the others.

Are American Bullies known to be aggressive, or are they typically friendly pets?

American Bullies are generally known for their friendly and social nature. They are not inherently aggressive and are often praised for being affectionate with both adults and children.

Final Thoughts

When you consider the classic American Bully, it’s important to recognize both the history and the characteristics that define this breed. Strong and loyal, these dogs have become beloved companions to many.

  • Understanding: Remember that despite their tough appearance, the American Bully is a gentle giant at heart.
  • Care: Taking care of your Bully means regular exercise, proper nutrition, and lots of love.
  • Responsibility: As an owner, it’s your job to ensure they are socialized well and trained properly to be good canine citizens.

Bullies might have a bad reputation because of their name and look, but with the right training and care, they often defy these stereotypes. They are quite affectionate with families and protective of their loved ones. If you’re thinking about making an American Bully part of your family, make sure to do your homework. Visit shelters, talk to breeders, and make sure you’re ready for the commitment.

While they require time and effort, the bond you’ll form with an American Bully can be one of the most rewarding experiences. Just remember, it’s your love and guidance that shape your Bully into the devoted friend they’re truly meant to be.


Tamsin de la Harpe

Tamsin de la Harpe, with a lively spirit and 15 years of experience in dog training and behavior, brings a unique flair to the team. Based in South Africa, she is deeply engaged in rehabilitating dogs, focusing on their mental and nutritional health. Tamsin's approach to dog behavior is hands-on and heartfelt, shaped by her life with her own dogs and horses. Her journey in canine behavior is ongoing, as she continues advanced studies in this field.

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