American Bully Temperament & Personality
What is it that makes the American Bully one of the most popular and loved dog breeds in the world? An American Bully’s physical appearance is not hard to forget. Just picture a typical gym instructor – well-muscled and has a wide chest. It looks tough and has a thick bone structure. Some people get intimidated with how aggressive they look, and how they successfully guard properties. They are known to be very loyal and fight for their families to death, if needed.
Surprisingly, the American Bully is also known to be one of the most affectionate and family-friendly breeds. With proper training and early socialization, these dogs are quick to learn how to move around your family – adults and kids alike! If you want a dog that is strong enough to protect you and at the same time sweet enough to play with you, American Bully may just be the one you are looking for.
How do they act and look like?
They adapt well in an environment where they can get plenty of exercise and play time. Although they are typically small, they would not be happy in a space where they can barely move and get fresh air. American Bullies love to be in houses with yards, but they would be okay to live in apartments as long you walk them out daily. Letting them join you on your jogging or brisk walking routine is good for their mental health and energy release.
They are generally a happy breed and prefer a great deal to be around their humans. Although, they may be less friendly towards strangers, people and dogs. Early socialization and training are good practices to avoid defensiveness with visitors.
Due to their playful nature, it is important to train your American Bully so they will know how to behave within rules and boundaries. They commonly have a short-attention span, so they will need a firm, calm, and consistent trainer. You will know more about this as you read along.
- American Bullies are beautiful
With a glossy medium-length coat in a variety of colors and patterns , American Bullies have proven to us that they are a one of a kind dog breed pleasant to the eye. Looseness in skin is very minimal and not often found.
American Bullies have wide chests that are balanced and can support their muscles. Also proportional to their strong appearance are their pronounced skulls and jaws. The under-jaws display strong biting power, while lips are most often closed. They have boxy heads, shoulders that display strength, and well-defined shoulder blades. They have high-set ears that may or may not be cropped. They have large noses and oval-shaped eyes that, just like their coats, also come in every color except albinism. Their tails are short, low-set, and tapering to a straight point. Tails are never curled.
Although typically small, American Bullies vary in size. A standard male American Bully has a height of 17 – 20 inches (43-51 cm) while a standard female has a height of 16 – 19 inches (40-48 cm). Ideally, a good weight is one that is proportionate to its height - which is within the range of 66 – 120 lbs. for both male and female.
You would be glad to know that health complications aside, you can be with this fur companion up to 16 fruitful, happy years. Be sure to spend them wisely and collect lots of memories!
What are their physical needs?
To stay happy and healthy, these little fur balls of energy need regular and adequate amounts of play and exercise. If they are not well-stimulated, American Bullies may feel neglected or bored and start to exhibit destructive behavior. Make sure that you don’t leave them alone sitting in a closed room for long periods of time. Imagine a toddler who is well-rested and just has to release his energy!
In general, American Bullies need one hour of activity time every day and an average of 12 walking miles per week. They love all sorts of physical play such as running, jumping, and playing fetch. Use your imagination and research fun ways to bond with your American Bully. Don’t over-exert, though! Base the time and intensity of activities on your American Bully’s size and age.
How do you train an American Bully?
Experts say that training an American Bully is quite challenging. These dogs are very loyal and tend to be territorial when faced with a visitor, thus, owners are encouraged to train them as puppies to mold their behavior and temperaments early.
The challenge comes with their playful disposition. It requires owners to be extra patient and consistent in training to avoid losing focus. It is also vital for a trainer to be calm, confident, firm, but still loving. Specific rules, routine, and expected behavior should be put in place early so that they will adhere to them and won’t end up confused.
American Bullies may be a handful at the beginning, but remember that they are intelligent and easy to adapt. Spend fun times training them and they will surely learn quickly. The basic lessons include teaching your American Bully to recognize his name and follow your commands. Begin by letting your puppy recognize your voice as soon as he becomes a part of your family. Once your puppy gets familiarized with it, you will be able to use your voice in halting undesirable behavior simply by saying a firm “no”. It is important not to shout and be violent with your puppies. Other habits will then be easily taught after your American Bully recognizes a commanding voice from you.
As soon as your American Bully gets vaccinated, you may then begin introducing them to other people and dogs. Walking in the park or neighborhood helps in developing and training their social skills. This way, you will be able to teach them how to behave when there is no obvious threat.
Instead of hitting, you may use positive reinforcements and rewards in teaching basic commands such as, ‘come’ and ‘sit’. The greater you reward your American Bully, the more positive their response will be. Treats and toys will become handy during these times. A good dose of praises and all-smiles will also encourage your American Bully pup. Don’t let them feel your frustration and always use a happy tone so they will look forward to your training sessions.
Just like with any other breed, American Bullies will commit mistakes during training. Be fine with them, and instead maintain being patient. Remember that training is not just for your puppy to learn tricks. Use your training session to bond with your pooch and gain a positive experience from it.
What is the history here?
American Bullies are often compared with either American Pit Bull Terrier or the American Staffordshire Terrier, understandably because the three breeds are theoretically related. Documents of the breed say that the American Bully is a mixed-breed of the two with the infusion of English Bulldogs with the primary goal of creating a more family-friendly/ companion dog version of the already existing breeds. Amazingly, the end-product is a beautiful breed of its own.
American Bully was first recognized as a distinct breed in the United States of America by its founding club the American Bully Kennel Club (ABKC), then later by the United Kennel Club (UKC).
Today, the American Bully is not only widely bred in the US but also around the world, mostly in Europe and Asia.
What are their most common health complications?
Being a parent to fur babies is one of the most fulfilling human roles. That is why it would seem like the world is crashing when your dog’s health gets compromised. It will be very stressful, challenging, and confusing because the dog would not be able to verbally express their feelings and pain. It is good to be aware of the different health problems commonly seen in dogs so you will be able to detect them when they arise. Here are some concerns that may challenge your American Bully’s health:
- Stomach Problems – digestive disease symptoms include diarrhea, constipation, excessive drooling, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and bleeding. Bring your dog to the vet as soon as one of these signs arise, so they can determine the underlying cause and give the proper treatment.
- Elbow Dysplasia – symptoms include lame walking, arthritis, and painful elbows. You will notice that your dog will either hold his elbow out or hold it tightly into their bodies. He may also seem lazy and would prefer to sit and lie down. If one elbow hurts more than the other, a limp will be obvious as your dog will shift all his weight down on the other elbow.
- Hip Dysplasia – this condition is mostly genetic, but weight control can manage the symptoms and prevent it from worsening. When the hip bones of your American Bully develop faster that the muscle is requiring, the joints will become loose and can cause pain and discomfort.
- Congenital Heart Disease – heart conditions, such as mitral valve disease, are also genetic in nature but are triggered by obesity and presence of parasites. Diet management and routine worm prevention may reduce their possibility or aggravation.
- Cancer – just like in humans, there is not much of an explanation about the nature of this disease. Healthy diet, healthy lifestyle, and early detection are great weapons in battling it. Watch out for tumors or lumps and other symptoms such as loss of appetite, lethargy, and mood swings. Bring your dog to the vet as soon as you see these symptoms.
- Seizures – sudden flopping on the floor then seizing is scary for both the dog and owner, although a simple twitch may also be a seizure. The usual causes are seizure disorder, food poisoning, low/ high blood sugar, and head injury.
Aside from uncontrollable shaking, seizures also come in other forms such as jerking, twitching, walking in circles, bumping on things, drooling, foaming in the mouth, and losing consciousness.
Regardless of the symptom, make sure not to touch your dog while seizing as he might unknowingly bite you. You may turn on the fan if you feel it’s getting too hot for them. Using a calm voice, wait for the seizure to stop and reassure your dog. After a few minutes, you should bring your dog to the vet for a physical exam, diagnosis, and treatment.
How do you take care of an American Bully?
Give nutritious and adequate amount of food
We all want the best quality of life for our dogs and a sure way to give them one is by giving them food with high nutritional value. American Bullies, especially puppies, will gain a lot for their growth from food with high fat and high protein. There is a variety of food for dogs, but the top choices are raw food, premium quality dog food, and home-made dog food. Make a good judgment call and give your American Bully the most suitable one for them.
Raw dog food - The advantage of raw food is it doesn’t have chemicals such as preservatives, food coloring, flavoring, and other additives that may pose hazards in the long run. Meat, vegetables, and fresh fruits are high in protein, amino acids, and enzymes that aid in longevity, developing strong immune systems and help decrease chances of diseases. The act of chewing also acts as a muscle-exercise of the jaw, neck, and shoulders. Raw food also makes teeth stronger and healthier.
However, a great disadvantage is that raw foods are at risk of food-borne bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella. Mishandling of raw food also causes dangerous bacteria to thrive.
Premium quality dog food – Just like when you are choosing a pre-packaged or canned food for yourself, be sure to check the label. Read the ingredients and look out for dog foods with high protein, vitamins, and antioxidants in the ingredients.
Choices in the supermarket or pet shops are plenty, so if it gets overwhelming, be sure to consult your vet or breeder for the most appropriate one for your American Bully. You may also check out dog food reviews from your American Bully groups and peers. Also, don’t forget to take your dog’s personal taste or preference into account.
Home-made dog food – If you have time and patience, preparing a home-made meal for your American Bully is the best choice for you. This will be beneficial as you are in control of what to prepare and put together, and you can make your dog’s meal a complete nutritious one.
A lot of recipes for home-made dog food are now available from books and groups, just ask around!
Keep them clean and well-groomed
It is a good thing that American Bullies do not shed a lot and are low maintenance when compared to other breeds. If you are on top of your dog’s physical appearance and don’t miss out on bathing and other routines, maintaining them clean is relatively easy.
Bathing – Bathing is not a favorite among dogs and American Bullies are not exempted. Just make sure that you make it a habit to bathe your dog at least once a week to make them get used to it. The first tries will be hard but do your best to make bathing a positive experience for both of you so they will not tag it as something undesirable to do.
Brushing – Now, this one is a favorite among pets. Brushing not only satisfies your American Bully’s senses but it is also a great bonding opportunity. Choose a firm, bristle brush for your American Bully. Adding brushing to your daily routine, plus a good rub with a piece of towel, will keep your dog’s coat shiny and gleamy.
Nail trimming – This is one skill a vet or groomer must teach you. You must be very careful and do it correctly. Otherwise, your American Bully will develop an aversion once hurt. The pain and blood might even traumatize both you and your dog. If you are not confident and comfortable in trimming your dog’s nails once a month, nail filing is a good alternative.
Ear Care – Cleaning your dog’s ears shouldn’t be missed every time you bathe them. Ear problems can arise when bacteria or yeast develop in their ears.
Are children safe around my American Bully?
As soon as your family welcomes your American Bully, you should train both the dog and children on how to behave and treat each other. Just like with any other breed, never leave a child alone with the dog, especially if neither have been trained yet.
When socialized and properly trained, American Bullies are wonderful companions for children. American Bullies even have a reputation for having an outstanding patience and kindness with children. Experienced owners do recommend that you must be mindful with an American Bully’s wagging of tail. It is so forceful that it can knock a little child down. Oops!
Will my American Bully enjoy having other pets as playmates?
American Bullies really prefer people, although some may be great with other dogs as well. It will really depend on your dog’s temperament and social training.
If you get your American Bully as a puppy, you are lucky enough to be able to socially train them early. However, if you adopt them as an adult, be sure to test their tolerance and aggression first. Either way, gradually introduce your dog to other dogs so they will get used to it and learn proper behavior. Trust your dog’s instincts, though. Never push them if they show that they are not ready.
As a fur parent of an American Bully, where can I find support?
Organizations and registering bodies of American Bullies is now prevalent worldwide. One of the most respected and dedicated ones is its founding organization American Bully Kennel Club or the ABKC. There is also the United Kennel Club and International Bully Kennel Club, Inc. States and countries now have their local American Bully organizations with the same role as the internationally recognized ones. You should be able to find one in your country.
Breed organizations typically set standards about what classifies a dog as a certain breed. But aside from registering American Bullies and setting the requirements, organizations like ABKC help in raising awareness and giving proper information about the breed. They help debunk myths about American Bullies, which encourages people to look more into this wonderful breed. They also help American Bully breeders find one another. They develop friendship and mutual respect as they share stories, techniques, and tips.
In addition, rescue groups are also numerous and are now locally organized. They assist in rescuing abused American Bullies and advocates foster care and adoptions. Other ways to help is by donating and becoming a volunteer of such groups. Just do a little research and you will be able to find one in your community.
What else should I know?
Now that you know all the basics, all you need to ask yourself is are you emotionally prepared?
Make a checklist of all the things you need to buy and make your home American Bully-friendly. Let your family also know that you are about to have one so they can also read and know what to expect. However, being prepared with all the food, toys, support, and knowledge is a different thing from having a prepared mind and heart.
Owning any kind of dog is a big responsibility, owning an American Bully is promising a pup with a good-natured heart that you will be their family all their life. As you have read from this article, training and consistent physical activities are a must have for American Bullies. Are you committed enough for that? Make sure that you will be able to live up to your promises. After all, they were created to be a family companion. Don’t let them down!