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BREED TRAITS

& Characteristics

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The American Bully is first and foremost, a Companion dog. They make great family pets and should be up for anything - whether it be a day long hike or lounging on the couch for a sick day.

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American Bullies generally have a remarkably high tolerance and patience with children's behaviour, however, they are often "bulls in a china shop" and may need training and/or management to keep them from knocking young children over when they are excited.

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The American Bully is not a Guardian breed and by nature are extremely human friendly. They may bark to alert of someone's arrival, but that is the extent of it.

Breed Traits & Characteristics
My Take On The Breed
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The American Bully is a medium sized dog with a big, blocky head and wide build. It should genetically carry great muscle mass and appear to be very strong for it's size. Characteristically these dogs tend to be much lower maintenance than their bull breed cousins (APBT, SBT, AST, etc.) because they typically have much lower energy levels and most possess little to no dog aggression. Some degree of prey drive is common in the working bred lines, but generally speaking most American Bullies do not have intense prey drive in comparison to terriers. Many have the desire to chase in the general direction of another animal that is moving, but no actual desire to catch it. I always joke that American Bullies are "cool looking couch potatoes", but don't think that just because they are lower maintenance that they have the needs of stuffed animals. They still need a fair amount of exercise, mental stimulation and training, like with any strong breed. 

 

The American Bully has been in the making since the 90's, so the breed is about 30 years old. There is quite a variety of characteristics in the breed, so they are broken down into 4 classifications - Pocket, Classic, Standard and XL. The titles kind of stand them for themselves, but I have attached a photo below to give you a visual idea of the differences. All of our dogs aesthetically are considered Classics, however Willow and Brick both meet the height requirement to push them into the XL category.

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Having finally been recognized as their own breed by the UKC (United Kennel Club) in 2013, breeders are now starting to dive into creating the ideal American Bully. Unfortunately, certain breeders are taking their "vision" too far and the animal's health and mobility are being compromised. Ideally, every class of bully should be perfectly functional and healthy, but that is not the case currently. As breeders and breed enthusiasts, everyone should be health testing their dogs and breeding for functionality before looks. This is the major downfall to the American Bully - with it being a newer breed and each breeder having their own "vision" instead of having a uniform vision with very slight differences, there is a lot of inconsistency in addition to very few dogs are being properly health tested prior to being bred. But all of that being said, there are also many amazing breeders that really care about the future of the breed, their dogs, and they take mental and physical health into consideration before considering the dog for breeding. 

 

Another interesting piece of information is that the American Bully, when registered as such, is actually not included in BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) bans, or at least not any that I have seen. If you have papers stating that your dog is registered as an American Bully, your dog can not be classified as a "pit bull looking dog", because the papers prove that the dog is a different breed entirely. The banned breeds are often from the Terrier group, whereas American Bullies are in the Companion group. However, just because American Bullies can slide under the BSL Radar does NOT mean that our dogs are free and clear to do whatever they want. Considering that the general public doesn't know how to tell an APBT and a SBT apart, it's not surprising that Bullies often fall into the assumed "pit bull category" as well (but please be aware that the ONLY pit bull is the American Pit Bull Terrier, which is a registered breed). With this, comes great responsibility. Not only does the future of our breed rely on us making sure our dogs good public representatives, but there are many breeds like the APBT, AST, and SBT that will surely take the fall for our breed should our dogs be irresponsibly owned and/or managed.

To learn more about BSL and what you can do to help, click here.

 

Below, you will find snippets of the American Bully Standard as written by UKC (United Kennel Club), as well as pictures to help you visualize what to look for in an American Bully. It is important to note that there are NO CLASSES of American Bully through UKC. All dogs whether pocket, XL, Classic, etc are expected to show in the same ring and represent the same standard. Also remember that this is in a perfect world - dogs are bound to have flaws, but any dogs that are used for breeding should have minor flaws at most and only be bred to a dog that will counter and correct the flaws they possess. These standards are written out in a way that a dog is to be judged if taken to a show, but these guidelines should still be followed with the breed regardless of a breeder or owner's intent regarding showing.

To learn more about Responsible Breeding practices regarding the American Bully, click here.

MY PERSPECTIVE

On the Breed

UKC BREED STANDARD

UKC AMERICAN BULLY

Breed Standard

COMPANION DOG GROUP
Breeders and judges have the responsibility to avoid any conditions or exaggerations that are detrimental to the health, welfare, essence and soundness of this breed, and must take the responsibility to see that these are not perpetuated.
Any departure from the following should be considered a fault, and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog's ability to perform its traditional work.
Quality is never to be sacrificed in favor of size and mass. UKC is unwilling to condone the validity of using exaggerated specimens of this breed in a breeding program and, to preserve its health and vibrancy, cautions judges about awarding wins to these representatives.

GENERAL IMPRESSION
The American Bully breed is recognizable by its characteristic compact, strong, thick-set structure and build. Their appearance reflects a strong American Pit Bull Terrier foundation, blended with stock from other bull breeds. The overall balance and correct proportions of an athlete are essential, and absolute soundness and proper muscle tone is a must. Head properties are in proportion to the body, reasonable, and free of exaggeration so as to not compromise breathing and/or obstruct normal vision. It is a smooth coated dog that possesses great strength for its size. Although quite muscular, it is active and agile. Its presence is a picture of tremendous power and stamina that belies its kind and loyal temperament.
Eliminating Faults: Any disproportionate, overdone characteristic that would interfere with physical activity or working ability.
Disqualifications: Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid.

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CHARACTERISTICS

The American Bully breed is, first and foremost, a companion, exhibiting confidence with a zest and exuberance for life. Despite its powerful appearance, their demeanor is gentle and friendly. This breed makes an excellent family dog. The ideal American Bully possesses the athleticism to do well in performance events.

Aggressive behavior towards humans is uncharacteristic of the breed, and highly undesirable.

Disqualifications: Viciousness or extreme shyness.

HEAD

  • The American Bully breed head is unique and a key characteristic. It is large and broad, but never disproportionate to the overall dog. There is a well-defined, moderately deep stop. The flews are deep, but always clean. Cheek muscles are prominent and free of wrinkles.

MUZZLE

  • The muzzle is broad and blocky, or slightly square. The length of the muzzle is shorter than the length of the skull, being from 25 to 35 percent of the overall length of the head. The top of the muzzle is straight. The lower jaw is well-developed, wide and deep.

  • The overall structure of the lower jaw, muzzle, stop and skull planes should bear little to no characteristics of the English Bulldog.

 

NOSE

  • The nose is large, with well-opened nostrils. All colors of nose pigment are acceptable. Nose color is usually in harmony with coat color.

  • Eliminating Faults: Excessively large, heavy, head disproportionate to the body. Muzzle so short and blunt as to interfere with normal breathing. Snipey muzzle. Weak lower jaw. Excessive flews. Muzzle slightly turned up at the nostrils.

 

TEETH

  • The American Bully has a complete set of evenly spaced, white teeth meeting in a scissors or even bite.

  • Serious Faults: Missing teeth. Overshot.

  • Eliminating Faults: Undershot. Wry bite.

 

EYES

  • Eyes are medium size, oval to slightly round, and set well apart and low on the skull. All colors are equally acceptable except blue. The haw should not be visible.

  • Fault: Blue eyes.

  • Serious Faults: Eyes not matched in color.

 

EARS

  • Ears are set high, and may be natural or cropped, without preference. Prick, or flat, wide ears are not preferred.

  • Disqualifications: Unilateral or bilateral deafness. Bat ears.

INCORRECT

NECK

  • The neck is of moderate length and muscular. There is a slight arch at the crest. The neck widens gradually from where it joins the skull to where it blends in to well laid-back shoulders. The skin on the neck is without excessive dewlap.

  • Faults: Neck too thin or weak; ewe neck; excessive dewlap.

  • Very Serious Faults: A short neck that would interfere with functional ability. Neck too long as to be out of proportion with body.

 

BODY

  • The body is close-coupled, with a broad, deep chest, and well-sprung ribs. The chest may be wider than it is deep, but free from exaggeration. The forechest does not extend forward much beyond the point of the shoulder. The back is wide, strong and firm. The topline is level and straight. The croup slopes slightly downward to the base of the tail. The loin is wide and short.

  • The distance from the withers to the elbow is equal to the distance from the elbows to the bottom of the feet. Dogs that are slightly shorter in distance from the elbows to the bottom of the feet are acceptable but not desirable.

  • Eliminating Fault: Chest so wide as to interfere with normal movement.

 

FOREQUARTERS

  • The shoulder blades are long, wide, muscular and well laid back. The upper arm is roughly equal in length to the shoulder blade, and joins at an apparent right angle.

  • The forelegs are strong and muscular with a slight turn to the forearm. The elbows are set close or just slightly away from the body. Viewed from the front, the forelegs are set moderately wide apart, and are perpendicular to the ground. The pasterns are short, powerful, flexible, and set at a slight angle.

  • Eliminating Faults: Front legs so bowed as to interfere with normal movement.

HINDQUARTERS

  • The hindquarters are strong, muscular and broad. The rump is well-filled-in, and deep.

  • The thighs are well developed, with thick muscles. Viewed from the side, the hock joint is well bent, and 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.

  • Serious Faults: Narrow hindquarters. Lack of muscle. Straight stifle. Cow hocks. Sickle hocks. Bowed legs.

TAIL​

  • The characteristic tail is often referred to as a crank or pump handle tail. Straight tails are also acceptable. The tail is set on as a natural extension of the topline, and tapers to a point. When the dog is moving, the tail is carried level with the topline. When the dog is excited, the tail may be carried slightly higher, but never carried over the back. When the dog is standing and relaxed, the tail is carried low and extends approximately to the hock.

  • Eliminating Fault: Bobbed tail.

  • Disqualification: Screw tail.

FEET

  • The feet are tight, round, proportionate to the size of the dog and well-arched.

  • Removal of rear dewclaws is preferred, but not mandatory.

  • Eliminating Fault: Splayed feet.

COAT

  • The coat is glossy and smooth, close, and moderately stiff to the touch.

  • Faults: Curly, wavy, or sparse coat.

  • Disqualification: Long coat.

COLOR

  • Any color, color pattern, or combination of colors is acceptable, except for merle.

  • Disqualifications: Albinism. Merle.

GAIT

  • The American Bully breed moves with a jaunty, confident attitude, conveying the impression that he expects any minute to see something new and exciting. When trotting, the gait is effortless, powerful, and well-coordinated, showing good reach in front and drive behind. When moving, the backline remains level with only a slight flexing to indicate suppleness. Viewed from any position, legs turn neither in nor out, nor do feet cross or interfere with each other. As speed increases, feet tend to converge toward center line of balance.

  • Faults: Legs over reaching; legs crossing over in front or rear; rear legs moving too close or touching; pacing; paddling; sidewinding; hackney action; pounding.

HEIGHT

  • The ideal height range for mature males is from 17 to 20 inches at the withers; for mature females it is from 16 to 19 inches at the withers.

  • It is important to note that dogs slightly over or under these height ranges are not to be penalized unless they are disproportionately massive or rangy.

  • Overall balance and the correct proportion of weight to height is far more important than the dog s actual weight and/or height.

  • Eliminating Faults: Excessively tall, excessively short or overly massive dogs, and dogs with a height so far from what is desired as to compromise health, structure, movement and physical ability.

  • Disqualification: Dwarfism.

ELIMINATING FAULTS

An Eliminating Fault is a Fault serious enough that it eliminates the dog from obtaining any awards in a conformation event.

  • Any disproportionate, overdone characteristic that would interfere with physical activity or working ability.

  • Excessively large, heavy, head disproportionate to the body.

  • Muzzle so short and blunt as to interfere with normal breathing.

  • Snipey muzzle.

  • Weak lower jaw.

  • Excessive flews.

  • Muzzle slightly turned up at the nostrils.

  • Undershot bite.

  • Wry bite.

  • Front legs so bowed as to interfere with normal movement.

  • Chest so wide as to interfere with normal movement.

  • Splayed feet.

  • Bobbed tail.

  • Excessively tall, excessively short or overly massive dogs, and dogs with a height so far from what is desired as to compromise health, structure, movement and physical ability.

DISQUALIFICATIONS

A dog with a Disqualification Fault must not be considered for placement in a conformation event, and must be reported to UKC. 

  • Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid.

  • Viciousness or extreme shyness.

  • Bat ears.

  • Albinism.

  • Merle.

  • Dwarfism.

  • Long coat.

  • Screw tail.

  • Unilateral or bilateral deafness.

  • Note: Although some level of dog aggression is characteristic of this breed, handlers will be expected to comply with UKC policy regarding dog temperament at UKC events.

  • The docking of tails and cropping of ears in America is legal and remains a personal choice. However, as an international registry, the United Kennel Club is aware that the practices of cropping and docking have been forbidden in some countries. In light of these developments, the United Kennel Club feels that no dog in any UKC event, including conformation, shall be penalized for a full tail or natural ears.

Eliminating & DQ Faults

HELPFUL

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