Is the American Bully a Pitbull?

Is the American Bully a Pitbull?

We can’t recall the number of times someone’s asked us ‘Is the American Bully a Pitbull?’ It’s not surprising that society at large wants to know more about the American Bully. It’s on its way to becoming one of the most popular dog breeds of recent years. Speaking of dog breeds, did you know that the American Kennel Club acts as a governing body to determine dog breeds in the USA? At this point, you’re probably wondering what that has to do with the American Bully Pitbull dilemma?

Allow us to explain. First of all, the confusion about whether an American Bully is a Pitbull is partly related to the breed’s name. Because of this, folks also tend to get confused about the physical traits of Bullies and what they’re actually supposed to look like. But there’s no need to fret because we’re about to break it down for you and provide you with all the knowledge you seek. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

So, Is the American Bully a Pitbull?

The American Bully is not a Pitbull, despite having similarities in its name and genetics. The terms Pitbull, in fact, refers to a type of dog including 4 breeds but can also be used as an abbreviation for the American Pitbull Terrier breed.

The four main breeds under the Pitbull-type umbrella include the:

  1. American Pitbull Terrier
  2. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  3. American Bully
  4. American Staffordshire Terrier
different breeds of pitbull dogs
Infographic: overview of the different breeds of pitbull dogs.

So, although the American Bully is a type of Pitbull, it is not the actual American Pit Bull Terrier. However, before we cover anything else, it’s time for a brief history lesson. The word ‘Pit Bull’ comes from the 1800s when the British Isles participated in a gory game called bull baiting. Long story short, the sport involved a helpless bull tied to an iron stake and a bunch of angry dogs. What resulted from this arrangement was a gladiator-type spectacle, meant for public entertainment; not exactly the stuff of dreams.

The point behind the story is that initially, the dogs used in the sport were English Bulldogs, which were later bred with terriers. That’s where the term pit bull comes from. It stands for a ‘type’ of dog that’s a cross between a bulldog and a terrier. As doggy genealogy wasn’t exactly a science back in the day, the Pit-Bull group of dogs includes a lot of breeds. The breeds in the Pitbull category include – the Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Pitbull Terrier, and the American Bully.

Why people confuse American Bullies for being Pitbulls is simple. The American Bully breed is a mixture of American Staffordshire Terriers and American Pitbull Terrier, both of which are Pitbull breeds. This means that even though the American Bully isn’t a Pitbull, it still shares similar genes. But, make no mistake, the American Bully is not a Pitbull, despite certain similarities.

American Bully vs Pitbull: A Comparison

We can all agree that the situation at hand can be quite confusing. Nonetheless, our American Bully vs Pitbull comparison will help you tell the two apart easily.

differences between amstaff, pitbull and bully.
The American Bully is bullier, less terrier than the Am Staff and the APBT.


One of the easiest ways to tell an American Bully apart from a Pitbull is by comparing their builds. Although different Pitbull breeds can have drastically different appearances, we’ll try to make a generalized comparison here.

Pitbull breeds usually have a wide chest, and their overall build is muscular and broad. Their ribs continue to the back, giving them an elongated and attractive look. Also, a Pitbull’s body tends to incline towards its back, and its fore chest is at level with the shoulders. An adult Pitbull can weigh up to 70 pounds and measure 20 inches at the shoulders.

On the other hand, American Bullies are much bulkier in appearance. Bullies have a deep chest with well-defined ribs. Their fore chests do not extend beyond their shoulder points, and their backs appear quite wide. But the trademark of an American Bully is its large blocky head and short legs. Adult Bullies can weigh up to 120 pounds and measure 17 to 20 inches at the withers.


We’ve already touched upon this topic a bit in the beginning, but this time we’ll focus solely on what separates the two breeds.

We know that Pitbulls originated in the English Isles, during the 1800s, by breeding the Old English Bulldog and English Terrier. The breeders involved in the sport of bull-baiting were trying to produce a breed that had the power of a bulldog, and the tenacity of a terrier – the perfect fighter.

Now, the American Bully was created decades later. In this case, the breeders were looking to create a canine companion unlike any other. American Bullies were originally a crossbreed between the American Pitbull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier.


Now let’s talk about how the Pitbull breeds and the American Bully differ in temperament. Pitbulls can make good family companions, despite the negative attention they receive. But there’s a catch. Pitbulls can have a type of instinctive aggression because of their genealogy, this is targeted towards animals.

However, this aggression can be reduced quite easily with careful training and deep bonding. Often, people want to buy Pitbulls because of their strong build and supposed reputation. Unfortunately, many owners have no clue about how to deal with Pitbulls. With some good training, they’re very loyal and intelligent dogs.

On the other hand, American Bullies are gentle by nature. They can surely look menacing at times because of their build, but they’re very bright and friendly dogs. Bullies are also great family dogs and are immensely patient with children and strangers. The point is that dogs do have unique qualities. But it’s the owner who decides how to raise the dog and how it behaves.


Pitbulls have a great history – some of which we’ve already highlighted. Immigrants from the British Isles brought their Pitbulls with them to America. And during those times, the Pitbulls became frontier dogs.

Pitbulls were used to herd and guard livestock. Not to mention, they even acted as ‘nannies’ for children when the families went on to the farm. They’re intelligent, dependable, and protective towards their families. Pitbulls can make very good guard dogs and family companions and are truly spectacular dogs.

On the other hand, American Bullies have a gentle disposition despite their looks. They make excellent family dogs because of their intense loyalty. Bullies have an outgoing and fun-loving personality and are also very tolerant. The best part is that American Bully puppies are extremely adorable. But this doesn’t stop them from being great guard dogs as adults. Their fierce build is enough to stop most trespassers from entering your premises. Plus they’re easy to look after and care for.

American Bully vs Pitbull – FAQs

Before you go, don’t forget to look at our answers for a few popular questions about the American Bully breed.

Is the American Bully Considered an Aggressive Breed?

Many people believe the American Bully and Pitbulls are all aggressive, however, these dogs can be sweet family dogs. Some folks accuse the American Bully of being a dangerous and vicious dog. This is mostly because of their connection to Pitbulls and their massive builds. Most dog experts agree that the American Bully is a crossbreed of the Pitbull. But this does not mean that the American Bully is an aggressive breed. It will surprise you to learn that Pitbulls aren’t brutal dogs either.

Years ago, breeders did use Pitbulls in dog fights. But that had more to do with the organizers of the fights making money rather than the Pitbull’s nature. Dogs have to be intensely trained to become aggressive fighters. Yes, Pitbulls have a natural tenacity, but they are also famous for looking after children. However, the press often largely ignores this fact.

Now thankfully, many breeders (and owners) are fighting against this unjust treatment of the American Bully breed. Apart from this, many Kennel Clubs are also campaigning against the Breed Specific Legislation (BSL).

american bullies are not aggressive
American Bullies are sweet and great for families!

Who is Better Between the Pitbull and the American Bully?

This all depends on what you are looking for. Pitbulls make excellent working dogs whereas the American Bully is an excellent family dog.

American Bullies are bulkier and have more strength, but the Pitbull has a history of gameness. Breeders back in the day would hone in on the determination of the Pitbull and selectively breed them to develop traits of eagerness.

The point is, it’s not a question of which dog would win or which is better. Both the American Bully and Pitbulls are exceptional dogs. They deserve love and affection.

Are the American Bully and the American Bulldog the same?

The American Bully and American Bulldog are different breeds. However, they do seem to be closely related as experts believe that some bulldog breeds were also used in the creation of the American Bully. With that said, both are distinct breeds that the American Kennel Club recognizes with their separate breed standards.

What Dog Breeds are called Pitbulls?

The word Pit Bull was first applied to the crossbreed of English Bulldogs and English Terriers. Now, the term Pitbull refers to one of the following; the American Bully, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Pitbull Terrier, and the American Staffordshire Terrier. The famous American Pit Bull Terrier is often simply called a Pitbull as well. We know it’s all a bit confusing. Just remember, the term Pitbull doesn’t necessarily refer to a “breed”, rather a “type” of dogs.

In conclusion, the American Bully is a type of Pitbull but is not the breed Pitbull. It can all be rather confusing but hopefully, we have helped to clarify things and answer any question you had.