Defining The Bully Breeds

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ABKC Breeds

Defining The Bully Breeds

Recently, on a Facebook group I’m part of, I saw there was some confusion. There were some people commenting that all “Pits” should be called “Bully’s”. However, I’m here defining the Bully breeds for everyone that might not know the difference.

Now, I’m going into a detailed explanation of each Bully breed. That is a different series of articles I’m afraid and each breed would need their own article. However, I can define them simply.

First, let me start by saying that there are 18 breeds of Bully’s out there. This is coming directly from the American Bully Kennel Club. Like the American Kennel Club, there are specific breeds the ABKC recognizes. Their specialty are the Bully Breeds.

So, to say that all American Pit Bull Terriers should be referred to as Bullies, is a misconception. Grouping all these breeds into the same category, while they share similar traits, is a gross misuse of the term. We’re all human, but we’re not all the same. Just like with dogs, while they’re all dogs, they’re all different.

Different Bully Breeds as Recognized by the ABKC.

As I mentioned above, there are 18 different breeds of Bullies. This is your basic list to start:

  • American Bully
  • Olde English Bulldogs
  • Shorty Bull
  • American Bulldog
  • English Bulldog
  • French Bulldog
  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Bull Terrier
  • Miniature Bull Terrier
  • Cane Corso
  • Killian Bulldog
  • Pacific Bulldog
  • Alapaha Bulldog
  • Boston Terrier
  • Dogo Guatemalteco
  • New Age Bulldog

As you can see from the above list, referring to all American Pit Bull Terriers is classifying each of these breeds into a single grouping. Each breed has very specific traits, looks and classifications. Each of these above breeds has different temperaments, things that the ABKC looks for exclusively.

Let’s pick the American Bully for example. They look slightly similar to the American Pit Bull Terrier, but they are much more muscular. They have shorter bodies, wide in stature and shorter muzzles. This breed, the ABKC looks for a gentle loving nature. Any aggression is frowned upon, both towards humans and other dogs.

The American Pit Bull Terrier is often more hyper and needs a lot of exercise. They are rarely aggressive towards humans and if trained properly, not aggressive towards dogs. They are often taller than the American Bully and their body is not as wide.

Then you have some other Bulldog breeds that look completely different from the APBT such as the French Bulldog. To classify the APBT with the French Bulldog, also called a Frenchie, well, seems downright silly.

Slang Terms Often Used and Why.

Defining the Bully Breeds in terms of slang. I understand why many people want to use a single term to classify dogs. It’s easier and faster to roll off the tongue by simply saying, “She’s a Bully Breed.” However, the public often doesn’t understand what that means. Here’s an example of what I’m referring to everyday.

Out in the store, I always Atlas with me if she’s allowed in the store. I’m going to use Home Depot as an example today. Walking inside, people will admire Atlas. I mean, she’s a beautiful dog, great temperament and wants everyone to love her. It’s natural people want to pet her. I always get asked permission, which I appreciate as her trainer. I have to let her know it’s okay and that you’re not a danger to me. She’s not aggressive, let’s not confuse that issue. However, I want her to know when I think I’m okay versus when I don’t think I’m okay.

They’ll walk up and ask, “What a beautiful Pit, can I pet her?”

Now, I’m a lover of all dogs. I think Pits are often mis-classified due to the media coverage of them being aggressive. Do they have this trait in them? Absolutely! But, if they’re trained the right way, they are not aggressive. Back to the story.

Slang terms are used in everyday language throughout the world. My daughter just said to me the other day, “That’s sus.” I don’t know what that means! I asked her to clarify and she laughed at me.

It’s often easier to call dogs a shorter term. Pit, Bully, Frenchie, Old, etc. For the owners of these breeds, more often than not we know what you’re referring to. For some that are newer to the breeds, clarification is necessary.

So when I’m out in public, I always correct people when they call Atlas a Pit. Why? Because they’re classifying her in the wrong group. In fact, they’re really saying that all the above 18 Bullies are the same. They’re not and that should be recognized.

Some Differences in the Breeds.

Each of the 18 breeds mentioned above all are very different. I’ll go into a simple explanation of defining the Bully Breeds for this article.

Yes, some of them, many of them, share the same ancestry. However, many breeders have taken an extensive amount of time and dedication to make each breed unique.

The American Bully, the Staffordshire, the American Pit Bull and the American Bulldog. These breeds share similar qualities, in fact, share some of the same lineage. But Razor’s Edge, back in the 80s decided to breed the aggression out of the Pit’s and Stafford’s to make a different breed – the American Bully.

People wanted a dog that was a similar version of the old Bulldog’s in Europe, small, strong, muscular and loving. Not giving breeders the credit for creating something unique, well, to me is not right. They are due some credit for creating an exceptional breed of dog and family member.

How to Clarify Politely.

I understand that the breeds look similar and it can be hard to differentiate between them. But when in doubt, I ask, “What breed is your dog?”

It’s like asking how old your child is. If you don’t know, don’t guess. I suppose you can, but be polite about it versus, “Your kid’s what? 4?” Try to throw your snide voice out there, like you’re sneering.

Now, if you’re not a dog lover, I don’t expect you will ever feel the need to ask. Especially if you prefer cats over dogs. This article is meant to clarify the different Bully breeds.

While I’m not going in depth with each one, there are 18 in fact, I’m just sharing my opinion – clarifying that Pits are their own breed of dog. They are terrific dogs, as are all dogs. All dogs need guidance, training, obedience, etc. And while people look at Atlas like she’s going to harm them, I’m quick to correct that. Let’s face it, she’s a very muscular, short dog. She has a mouth that when she yawns stretches over my entire face. If she was aggressive, I would be afraid.

However, the American Bully breed is pure love in dog form. Atlas loves both humans and dogs. Many people pull their dogs away from her as if she’s aggressive, and I correct it quickly, “She’s not aggressive. She’s a Bulldog.” I get looks of ease at this and the people will allow the dogs to introduce themselves.

Are the American Pit Bull Terriers misjudged, yes. 100%. I’ve had Pits in the past and I’ve always made sure to socialize them early and train them well. Always a great dog, they love completely.

Some Breeders Will Feel Offended.

I’ve seen some breeders that will get downright offended at calling their breed something it isn’t. Now, I’m not offended, honestly, I know it’s an honest mistake. Shoot, I didn’t know about the Pocket Bullies until I brought Atlas into my life! Already knowing the difference in the Stafford, the Pit, the American Bulldog.  I’m a research fanatic!

Simply correcting people and letting them know that she’s not that breed and give her correct breed information. I usually get a lot of, “I didn’t know that breed existed.” I’m teaching the world little by little.

For the breeders that have been breeding for a long time, I understand the offense. Because you know so much about the breeds and take such care of them, you might have rose colored glasses on. The rest of the population that doesn’t have the same knowledge and education, they simply just don’t know.

The American Pit Bull Terrier is Misunderstood.

The Pit is misunderstood, so dog owners out there with the APBT; clarifying that your dog is not aggressive will slowly show the world the awesomeness of the breed. I know you can’t change the world in a day, but we can slowly change it as we go.

I see videos posted, lots of social media pictures showing the love of the Pit. It’s slowly making a difference and changing the way people see them. There’s still a long way to go though. Many still think they’re aggressive.

In public, I take it as my own responsibility to politely correct and educate. Many people, after learning the difference between the Bullies, feel a sense of awe. They’re surprised to hear of a Pocket American Bully and that they’re not the APBT.

Then I get asked, “How much for this breed?” Once the cost rolls off, they often balk and say, “Never mind.” This is a subject all on it’s own though. If the value isn’t understood, the price seems steep. The value to them must equal the cost.

I want to share another great article on this topic as well that I’ve just discovered.  Read through this and it will help define the Bully Breeds more.  Besides, I love searching through multiple sources for information!  Don’t you?  Check it out here! 

That’s part of my goal with my site dedicated to the Bully breeds. Defining value for the world to know and understand.

An Example of Classifying Breeds.

Hopefully, I’ve explained that not all “Pits” should be classified as “Bullies”. If it’s still unclear, think of it this way:

If you love dogs, and have a dog, let’s classify a specific breed as all breeds. Pretend you have a small dog that weighs 3lbs. This dog is not a Chihuahua, but rather a small Yorkie. However, everywhere you go, you get, “What a cute Chihuahua.” In your mind, you know it’s not a Chihuahua, it’s a Yorkie.

Even bring this slightly more in depth, you breed Yorkies. You love them, cherish them, adore them. You sell these small Yorkies, because of their size for $3K each. You’ve been doing this for a very long time. But everywhere you go with your Yorkie, people say, “What a cute Chihuahua.”

Now, you know the difference, but they don’t. Maybe your Yorkie has had a haircut, and you keep their fur short. I imagine you don’t, but this is pretend, let’s roll with it.

I understand the eye rolls, the huff of air as you say, “She’s a Yorkie, not a Chihuahua.” Most people know the difference between a Yorkie and a Chihuahua. You wouldn’t group those two breeds together just because they’re small in size.

Yes, there’s a distinct difference between a Chihuahua and a Yorkie, but it’s still classifying one breed of dog with another breed. In the dog world, we don’t do that. In the event we don’t know, and I’ve been there with some breeds, I ask. It’s the polite thing to do.

Final Thoughts on Defining the Bully Breeds.

The American Pit Bull Terrier is their own breed, just like the American Bully is their own breed. The French Bulldog’s, the English Bulldogs and so forth.

When in doubt, pull a picture to see the difference. We have Google at our fingertips in almost all aspects of life. I highly recommend using it. Not only for your own education, but to know that each dog is in it’s own class. Their own breed of dog.

We are each unique as humans, dogs are the same. Each one unique, with their own story of where they came from. The breeders that have put so much time and effort into a dog that they knew the world would welcome with open arms. Some breeders will never change a breed, but some will perfect the breed.

The important part of each dog, each classification, is knowing the difference; defining each Bully breed respectively. Respecting the breed and breeders that have great measures over years and years. Honestly, I always give credit to them. It’s a full time job and it’s tough. Let’s make sure we know the difference and we help educate the world in their differences.

What breed of dog do you have? Does your dog get confused with other breeds? How do you handle that? Share your experiences with the world.

4 thoughts on “Defining The Bully Breeds

  1. Very interesting article and I must admit I am one of the uneducated who has grouped these breeds together. While I am not a dog owner, I do love my Grandpuppies as I fondly call them. Our son purchased a golden retriever who truly was a gentle giant. He was so gentle with the grandkids. Unfortunately, Charlie has recently crossed the rainbow bridge but Charlie will always be fondly remembered. Our daughter has a black lab/husky cross named Buddy, who is absolutely gorgeous. He has the size and black coat of the lab but the ears, eye color, and muscles of a husky. When out walking him I find people are afraid of his eye color, although I must admit it does look strange on a black dog. I find people are often afraid of all large breeds whether they are deemed aggressive or not. What are your opinions? Over the years I have puppy sat many times and each time I love having the dogs here. It is because we like to travel so much that we opted not to own a dog ourselves. We are content to love our grandpuppies.

    1. Hi Deb,

      I have to admit, if you’re traveling a lot having a dog is not ideal. It’s sometimes difficult to find sitters or kennels, but if you’re leaving for long periods, it’s not ideal to leave a dog with someone else. Dogs miss their owners just like kids miss their parents, they just can’t express it like humans. With Atlas, I know that I can’t go on my annual cruise next year like my husband and I like to do, but that’s because she’s a very sensitive dog. She hates when I leave her alone for only an hour and throws a fit at me. This morning, getting ready to leave the house to drive my Mom to work, she knew I was leaving by putting my boots on and she started whining from the bedroom. Of course, my husband yelled for me that Atlas was whining which I already knew and heard. So, naturally, I had to bring her with us. I couldn’t imagine leaving her for 2 weeks to go on a cruise. I think she would shun me for a month.

      Thanks for reading, glad you enjoyed it!


  2. Hi Katrina,

    I’ve actually never heard the term ‘bully breeds’ before, even though I have heard a lot about the stereotype that all pit bulls are aggressive, both pro-that idea and against it.

    Also, wow, I had no idea there were so many different breeds of pit bulls and similar-looking dogs!

    I have very little experience with dogs other than the mixed-breed dogs I’ve had growing up, but I definitely agree with you that all dogs are different and that it’s not fair to judge all dogs based off stereotypes. I really do believe that training and the dog’s history with humans has a huge impact on their behavior down the road (although like I said, I’m a far cry from an expert).

    Thanks for such an informative article! I feel like I learned a lot!


    1. Hi Jade,

      I’m glad you found this article informative. I want to try to teach the world about the Bully Breeds little by little. Most people I meet are like you, they don’t really know much about the breeds, they just go off of what they’ve learned over the course of their life.

      I think I’m going to do an 18 part series going into more about each Bully Breed. 🙂 Thanks for checking this site out!


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