American Bully vs. American Bulldog

  • Time to read: 8 min.

American Bullies and American Bulldogs are both known for their powerful, muscular stature and loyal, family-oriented temperament. Often confused with one another, these two dogs are entirely different breeds, each with their own distinct traits. 

American Bullies are a newer breed in the US, having begun breeding in the 1980s, while American Bulldogs have been around since the 1700s. Both dogs are known for their similar stature and temperament. American bullies are typically more playful, while Bulldogs have a more protective demeanor. 

Read on for a more in-depth look at the similarities and differences between American Bullies and American Bulldogs. 

American Bullies vs. American Bulldogs: Key Traits

Because of their similarities in stature, demeanor, and even in their name, American Bullies and American Bulldogs are often confused with one another. Although incredibly similar in some respects, these two breeds do have some apparent, significant differences that are unique to their own individual breed. 

Here is a table highlighting some of the key traits of American Bullies and American Bulldogs:

AreaAmerican BullyAmerican Bulldog
OriginUnited States
The 1980s
United States
The 1800s
ParentageAmerican Pitbull Terrier
American Staffordshire Terrier
English Bulldog
TemperamentLoving
Friendly
Outgoing
Loyal
Playful
Loyal
Protective
Confident
Energetic
Assertive
Physical Appearance13-20 in (33-50 cm) tall
44-132 lbs (20-60 kg)
20-25 in (50.8-63.5 cm) tall
60-100 lbs (27.22-45.36 kg)
Health IssuesHip and joint problems
Eye conditions
Hip and joint problems
Eye conditions
Life Expectancy12 years10-16 years

In order to understand these breeds better, let’s take a more in-depth look at some of these characteristics:

Origin

The American Bully is a new breed, originating in the United States and initially being bred in the 1980s. This breed has not received full recognition from the American Kennel Club (AKC). They were, however, recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) as their own pure breed in 2013. In 2004, the American Bully Kennel Club was formed, which hosts its own Bully Showdowns.

Although the AKC has not recognized American Bullies, The American Bully Kennel Club formed its own organization in 2004, hosting its very own Bully Showdowns and providing opportunities for American Bully owners to show their animals. 

American Bulldogs’ origin story goes back much farther than the American Bully. It is rumored that the first Bulldogs came over with English immigrants as far back as the 1700s, to be used as farm dogs. The American Kennel Club has recognized the American Bulldog breed since 1999. 

Parentage

The American Bully was bred with the intention of eliminating aggressive, violent behaviors and creating a friendly, family-oriented dog. By combining characteristics of the American Staffordshire Terrier, the American Pitbull Terrier, and other various pitbull breeds, the American Bully was born. 

A common misconception about American Bullies is that they are Pit Bulls, but this isn’t true. Although American Bullies have been bred with multiple types of Pit Bulls, there are very true differences between their temperament, physical appearance, and personality that make them completely different breeds. 

Believed to be descended from the English Bulldog, the American Bulldog was born when farmers bred working dogs with English Bulldogs, creating the perfect dog for hunting, herding, and companionship. 

Temperament

In some circumstances, the temperament of the American Bully and the American Bulldog is relatively similar; however, there are some key differences between the two as well.

American Bullies are known for their friendly, outgoing nature. They are loyal to their families, gentle with children, and make great companions. Because they have had aggressive behaviors bred out of them, they are a popular choice for families with young children.

Similarly, American Bulldogs are friendly, playful, and loyal; but their friendliness is somewhat limited to their family. While they are not naturally outright aggressive, they are powerful and fiercely protective- meaning that their playful nature might not be outwardly apparent in the presence of new people or strangers. 

Because of their protective qualities, American Bulldogs make excellent guard dogs and are a popular choice for people seeking protection and safety. 

Both dogs are robust, powerful, and incredibly muscular. They also require a lot of activity, as they tend to be relatively high-energy. These dogs need quite a bit of attention and to be trained firmly, but both have the potential to be very well-mannered pets. 

Physical Appearance

When it comes to physical appearance, American Bulldogs and American Bullies are very similar. Both have a stocky build and boxy, robust head- but the difference in size is quite noticeable. 

American Bullies are typically 13-20 in (33-50 cm) tall and weigh between 44-132 lb (20-60 kg). The size of an American Bully is dependent on its breed version (pocket, classic, standard, XL, or XXL) and its gender. Typically, male bullies will be heavier and taller than their female counterparts. 

American Bulldogs are taller than American Bullies, measuring between 20-25 in (50.8-63.5 cm). That doesn’t necessarily mean that they will weigh more than an American Bully, though. Most American Bulldogs weigh between 60-100 lb (27.22-45.36 kg). 

Because American Bullies are so stocky and muscular, they can sometimes weigh more than an American Bulldog, even though they are shorter.

Health Issues

As with any breed, certain health concerns manifest in these dogs. American Bullies and American Bulldogs each have their own common health issues that owners must be prepared to care for. 

Hip and joint issues are the most commonly developed health issues for both American Bullies and American Bulldogs. In some breeds of both dogs, their bones will grow at a faster rate than their muscle tissue, causing them to stretch and create discomfort. This is a genetic issue that is common for both American Bullies and American Bulldogs.

Another health concern these dogs often deal with is eye issues. One of the most common conditions is referred to as “Cherry Eye.” Cherry Eye occurs when there is a prolapsed nictitating membrane. 

This membrane, also known as a “third eyelid,” creates that droopy, red, inflamed appearance that is seen commonly in these types of dogs. In order to prevent permanent damage, this condition is best treated very quickly with surgery. 

Life Expectancy

According to World Life Expectancy, the life expectancy of an American Bulldog is between 10 and 16 years, while the life expectancy of an American Bully is closer to 12 years.  

The life expectancy range is utterly dependent on the individual animal and the care it receives. These dogs’ lives will be longer and more fulfilled when given the attention they need and the appropriate healthcare required to keep them well. Moreover, specific genetic dispositions will determine the longevity of any dog.

Often, American Bully and American Bulldog’s health issues can be managed quite well if the proper preventative precautions are taken. Therefore, you can expect to enjoy the company of these lovable breeds for years and years to come.

American Bully vs. American Bulldog: Pros and Cons

When choosing a pet, it is important to consider all of the potential pros and cons of adding that animal to your family. By evaluating your own unique needs and ability to care for your animal, as well as the individual needs of the animal, you can choose the breed that is the best fit for you. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the pros and cons of both American Bullies and American Bulldogs.

American Bully Pros

American Bully
  • Great for families: American Bullies were bred to be excellent companions. They are gentle with children, loyal to their families, and show little to no aggressive behaviors.
  • Intelligent and trainable: Because American Bullies are so smart, they are incredibly trainable. When trained well, these dogs make fantastic service animals or show dogs. 
  • Easy to groom: Although they are not considered hypoallergenic, American Bullies’ coats are practically effortless to care for. They require very low maintenance grooming and experience incredibly minimal shedding. 
  • Excellent Companion: American Bullies have a strong desire to please their owners. They are one of the best companions because they have a remarkable ability to bond and create a strong relationship with their owners. 

American Bully Cons

  • Require a lot of attention: Because American Bullies are so fiercely loyal and love their owners so much, they require a lot of attention. They are very affectionate and love to cuddle, which is wonderful for the right owner, but if left alone too often, these animals can suffer from separation depression and anxiety. 
  • Training is a must: Although these animals are highly trainable, they require a trainer that can be consistent and firm. Potential American Bully owners should be prepared to dedicate ample time to training and socializing their dog so that it can develop good behavioral skills.
  • Health issues: Since American Bullies are prone to health issues like joint and hip problems as well as vision issues, Bully owners must be prepared to keep up with regular health checks and provide adequate healthcare should any issues arise. 
  • High energy: American Bullies require sufficient exercise time every day in order to satisfy their high amounts of energy. This means walks, runs, jogs, playing ball, and a lot of dedicated attention!  

American Bulldog Pros

American Bulldog
  • Good-natured and kid-friendly: American Bulldogs typically have a very good temperament toward people, especially their own families. They are also known to have an excellent demeanor towards children. 
  • Loyal and protective: American Bulldogs are fiercely loyal and very protective of their families. Their naturally intimidating appearance and quick reflexes make them an excellent choice for a guard dog. 
  • Easy to groom: Like the American Bully, the American Bulldog is very easy to groom. They experience very light shedding (although the American Bully sheds even less!) and do not require regular haircuts. 
  • Terrific working dogs: American Bulldogs descend from the working dogs of the first English immigrants in America, making them absolutely wonderful pets if you’re looking for some help on the farm! With proper training, these dogs can be skilled in herding, hunting, and guarding your property.

American Bulldog Cons

  • Requires firm training: Because of their intensely protective nature, American Bulldogs require firm, consistent training to develop good social skills. An American Bulldog’s natural defensive traits can easily slip into aggressive behaviors towards people or other animals without proper training.
  • “Pushy” towards other animals: Since herding and hunting are in American Bulldogs’ blood, it’s no wonder they’re known to be “pushy” and even aggressive at times towards other animals. American Bulldogs’ temperament should always be checked against other animals in the family before adding them to your home. New owners must train their dogs properly to protect other animals in social settings. 
  • High energy: Like the American Bully, American Bulldogs are very high energy and require daily vigorous exercise. Ideally, the American Bulldog would live in an area with space to roam as it pleases, but at the very least should have nearby walking paths where he and his owner can exercise regularly. 
  • Health Problems: As with any pure breed, the owner of an American Bulldog must be prepared to care for any health issues that arise, especially since American Bulldogs are known to deal with issues with their hips, joints, and vision.

Final Thoughts

American Bullies are wonderful, widely-beloved pets. A fantastic family dog, loyal and always ready for a good adventure, American Bullies are the perfect pet for active families with lots of time to dedicate to their pup.

The American Bulldog is a strong, powerful, protective pet that will be fiercely loyal to its family. An excellent watchdog, hunter, or herder, American Bulldogs are a superb fit for active, adventurous folks looking for companionship and protection.

Although similar in stature and name and often confused for one another, the American Bully and American Bulldog are entirely different breeds.