The term bully pitbull is used to refer to the American bully and also a cross breed of the American bull dog and the American pitbull terrier by some hybrid clubs. But the question really is: what exactly is a bully? The term bully and/or bully breed are used to categorize a group of breeds that are descendants of the old English bull dog. And there is a long list of dog breeds that fall into this category.
In the same vein the pitbull is not a specific dog breed but a name that is use to refer to several breeds that are the outcome of cross breeding different types of bulldogs with different types of terriers. So dog breeds that are classified as pitbulls are also bully breeds but bully breeds are not necessarily pitbulls.
The bully pitbull which essentially refers to the American bully has been at the center of controversy since the early 1990s when this new breed surfaced in the dog world. The controversy around this breed is linked to its association with the American pitbull terrier (APBT) which has also resulted in the American bully being registered in some breed specific registries as an American pitbull terrier.
This has not only angered the fanciers of the American pitbull terrier but has also created confusion among the general public who now think that the American pitbull terrier and the American bully are the same breed when in actual fact they are not.
Pictures of American bully pitbull puppies
The perspective of the American pitbull terrier advocates
Since the advent of the American bully, the term bully appears not to refer to a group of breeds but to a breed that looks like the American pitbull terrier. This breed is the American bully which is a poorly conformed pitbull in looks and appearance that is too wide, too big and just plain grossly exaggerated. Some breeders are even rumoured to be secretly crossing in larger bully breeds in order to enhance the size of the breed.
These poorly bred, badly conformed bully pitbulls from unproven parents do not in any way represent the true form of the American pitbull terrier. Bullies are not necessarily pitbulls and these bully pitbulls are bred without regard to the preservation of the breed standards of the pitbull. The different breeders of this breed are all driven by their own individual definition of what they think the bully pitbull should be, which essentially is: the more exaggerated or the bigger the better.
The bully pitbull has only been around for a very short while (in the 1990s) but already it considered as a breed (purebred that is) on its own. It has taken many decades to develop the well known pure breeds that the dog world now cherish but American bully breeders think they can achieve the same result in less than 3 decades.
The promoters of the American bully have refused to make a distinction between the American bully and the American pitbull terrier. One of the foremost breed specific registries of the American bully registers all dogs that are currently registered as American pitbull terrier and American Staffordshire terrier as American bully. Does a change in name make a new breed?
By their own admission the American bully is an extension of the American pitbull terrier that was specifically bred to be a companion dog. In reality the American bully is a poorly bred American pitbull terrier that does not comply with the accepted breed standards and in some cases purebred American pitbull terrier were not used in the breeding process. Indeed some of the dogs bred by these breeders do not look anything close to American pitbull terrier.
The bully pitbull, officially called the American bully is the unofficial version of the American pitbull terrier that some people have attempted to turn into a new breed. The lines between the American bully pitbull and the American pitbull terrier have been made so thin and neither is there a concerted effort to turn the American bully into a new breed.
Breed registries are established for the purpose of promoting and preserving already established or emerging breeds, with well spelt out breed standards (breed blueprint) that all ethical breeders must adhere to. Dogs that do not meet the breed standard both in looks and temperament should be spayed or neutered to remove them from the gene pool. In the case of the American pitbull terrier, it is a medium sized dog that should neither be too big or too skinny.
When breeders of the pitbull start ignoring breed standards and start exaggerating features in order to appeal to a customer base and for pecuniary gains, this is nothing short of destroying a breed that has taken many decades of hard work to establish. Sooner than later the breed will be lost as it will evolve in to something entirely different from what it was initially bred for: a pseudo pitbull. Some American pitbull terrier breeders are worried that some American bully breeders have crossed the American bully with APBT and passed it off as purebred American pitbull terrier.
The question a fancier of the bully pitbull will probably ask would be: maybe some people like the dog and what is wrong about breeding it for the satisfaction of those people? For a breed like the pitbull with a lot of issues surrounding the breed and with a significant number in the shelters, the least that the future of the breed deserves is a distortion that can significantly put the breed at the risk of extermination.
For now the direction of the breed specific registries that are promoting the American bully as a new breed remain unclear. Do they wish to seek wider acceptance for an emerging breed by closing the gene pool? Or do they wish to maintain the middle ground between American pitbull terrier and the distorted version of it that has been largely rejected by APBT community?
The perspective of the American bully advocates
According to united kennel club, a respected all breed registry that opened its doors to the American bully in July 15 2013:
“The American Bully breed developed as a natural extension of the American Pit Bull Terrier. The APBT has maintained a characteristic appearance and temperament for over 100 years. As with any long-standing breed, several types evolved from the parent breed, with one in particular taking on a specific build and structure that is so unique it was wise to recognize it as a different breed altogether. That being the American Bully breed.
The American Bully breed was subtly influenced by the infusion of several other breeds, which include the American Bulldog, English bulldog, and Olde English Bulldogge.”
It went further to state that:
“The goals and purposes of this breed standard include: to furnish guidelines for breeders who wish to maintain the quality of their breed and to improve it; to advance this breed to a state of similarity throughout the world; and to act as a guide for judges.
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.”
The American bully evolved through careful and selective breeding that involved lots of breeders perhaps hundreds of them (many of them were working alone) working towards breeding an enhanced version of the American pitbull terrier that would be the ultimate family dog. The fact that the American bully was not the creation of an individual or one breeding program must have contributed to the lack of concerted effort toward establishing the bully pitbull as a unique breed distinct from the APBT.
Also it is unclear if the American bully was meant to be a new breed or just simply to alter the temperament of the APBT. However all American bully pitbull breeders agree that the American bully was bred to be the ultimate family dog and according to the American bully kennel club (ABKC) dog aggression and gameness was bred out of the breed because the breed has no future and purpose for those trait. The American bully however retains the working ability of the pitbull such as therapy, property protection, agility, law enforcement and dog sport. Ancestral traits such as loyalty, willingness to please, stability with humans and other attributes were also kept intact.
Lots of American bully breeders use the American pitbull terriers and the American Staffordshire terriers in breeding the American bully pitbull. However it is an open secret that other breeders crossed in other breeds both within and outside the bully breed. Breeds like the English bulldog is believed to have been heavily used as it could provide the calmer, less aggressive temperament that American bully breeders sought in the bully pitbull but also the massive head, bulky body and the tough look. American bulldog, bull terrier, bullmastiff and the Rottweiler are some of the other breeds that are believed to have been crossed in by some of the American bully breeders.