Photo by Kvnga on Unsplash

Bulldog, Bully, or Pitbull? Are they the same dog? The “Bull” in these dog breed names often leads people to imagine that they are interchangeable and refer to the same dog breed, but nothing could be further from the truth. A Bulldog and a Bully are two distinct attractive breeds, each with specific traits and with unique histories.

Where and When It All Began

The American Bulldog History

The American Bulldog traces its origins back to the Old English Bulldog breed, which is now extinct. The ancestral English Bulldog was known for its courage, speed, and agility for the blood sport of bull-baiting practiced in England. 


As settlers made their way to the new world as early as the beginning of the 17th century, they brought Old English Bulldogs with them from Europe. These were working dogs brought to America to safeguard land and livestock. 


The breed risked extinction just after WWII. A reduced number of dogs was still present in the rural south of the country, and two men, John D. Johnson from Georgia, and Alan Scott are recognized as having saved the breed from extinction through searching for healthy examples and increasing breeding.


The American Bully History

The American Bully is an entirely different story. This breed was developed in the United States almost three centuries after the American Bulldog in the more recent 1990s. Its family tree includes both the American Pitbull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier among similar breeds. So, while they do descend from Pitbulls, they are not the same canine breed having been mixed with other breeds.


The American bully was only recognized as a breed as of July 15, 2013. The Bully was created to enhance positive traits such as loyalty while attempting to eliminate the aggressiveness commonly related to varieties of Pitbulls. The American Bully is a companion dog despite all appearances.


Physical Traits: Similarities and Differences


Trait American Bulldog American Bully
Height 20 to 28 inches 17 to 20 inches
Weight 120 lbs. 100-110 lbs.
Lifespan 10 to 16 years 10 to 13 years
Potential Health Issues Obesity, Allergies, Thyroid Dysplasia, Heart, Skin

Intelligent, Stubborn

Requires socialization

Affectionate, Calm

Easy to train


The American Bulldog Physical Traits

The impressive muscular Bulldog can weigh as much as 120 pounds and reach a height of 28 inches. Characterized by a large head and imposing jaws, chests are broad and muscled. Their short fur coats come in various colors, and some feature more than one color and marking. Ears can also be cropped or hanging. This breed is somewhat larger than an American Bully.


The American Bully Physical Traits

The Bully is bred to look powerful. It does not appear friendly even if it is a companion dog.  Heads appear squarish featuring short snouts while chests are oversized, bones are large, and bodies are muscular.


This American breed has four sizes that are officially recognized:

  • Classic 
  • Pocket (smallest)
  • Standard (larger)
  • Extra Large (largest)


The Classic American Bully distinguishes itself for its build. A Classic will have a similar height to a Standard Bully, but bodies are less muscular featuring a narrower frame. This is a short-haired breed with smooth fur.  It comes in a variety of colors and markings.


Bulldog or Bully: Temperament

The American Bulldog Temperament

The Bulldog is characterized by its loyalty. Known to be affectionate and friendly within its family pack, it will not be so with strangers. They are, in fact, exceptionally protective watchdogs.


For those that prefer a watchdog, the American Bulldog certainly merits consideration. However, precisely because it tends to be overly protective, they require socialization with humans and other dogs from a very early age. Highly intelligent, they train easily.


These dogs require an active lifestyle with lots of playtime and physical exercise. The ideal living situation will include a yard. American bulldogs are boisterous and not an ideal choice for those living in apartments.

The American Bully Temperament

While fearsome and dangerous in appearance, the American Bully is a gentle companion dog. They rarely demonstrate aggressivity towards humans but are affectionate. A stable calm temperament is characteristic without particular excitability or nervousness. They also do not display fear or suspicion.


You may have also heard of the Exotic Bully, which tends to have a larger head and a wider chest. 


Health Issues

The American Bulldog Health Issues 

Known for its long lifespan of up to 16 years, the Bulldog is a healthy breed. Obesity or excess weight can contribute to their developing dysplasia of the elbow or hip. Being slightly brachycephalic, they can experience breathing problems, particularly in hot climates.


With age, they may develop cataracts. Mange and hypothyroidism are also potential conditions to be aware of. Several genetic health issues are linked to this breed including kidney and thyroid issues, eyelid problem entropion, bone cancer, and nervous system diseases. 


The American Bully Health Issues 

American Bullies have an average lifespan of 10 to 13 years and are at risk for diseases common to most breeds such as congenital heart disease, hip dysplasia, eye disease, and skin conditions such as Ichthyosis and demodectic mange. These are not breed-specific health issues, so potentially the dog may never develop one. As with any breed, feeding your American Bully with high-quality dog food will help to avoid most of the common health issues.

Exercise Needs

The American Bulldog and Exercise 

An energetic dog, this canine requires at least 45 minutes of daily exercise. Physical activities should be varied to provide stimulation including walking and running integrated with games such as tug-of-war or agility exercises.


The American Bully and Exercise 

Because the American Bully excels in agility, exercises highlighting this will make for a happy, healthy dog together with walks and runs daily.


Training and Obedience

The American Bulldog and Training

Socialization is one of the most important requirements when working with the American Bulldog. Naturally protective, they need to be socialized from an early age. Owners need to be patient and firm when training because this breed is strong-willed. Positive reinforcement will achieve more than punishment. A professional trainer can be of assistance.

The American Bully and Training

Highly intelligent, Bullies are fast learners. They love to please their owners, so they are responsive to training.  They do well in obedience competitions and can be educated to work as service dogs. 

Photo by Trent Jackson on Unsplash


A Final Thought

While both these breeds can instill fear in their appearance, they are not naturally aggressive. Like most canines, they are loyal to their owners and genuinely affectionate. While the American Bully has been bred to be non-aggressive, this is a highly intelligent canine and responds very well to training. The American Bulldog, by contrast, offers exceptional watchdog talents.


Both breeds can be expensive with the Bully costing a bit more due to availability only through specialized breeders. The Bulldog is slightly larger as a breed while the Bully appears more muscular. Both breeds are good with children and make lovely family pets.

Author: Lisa Smith


Big Announce! New NFTs Art from Sandov’s English Bulldog

Hi everyone, we are very excited to announce our New NFTs Sandov’s English Bulldog Collections! We would like to invite all of you to enjoy this experience with us; our collection is from our past puppies transformed into cartoons. Our goal is to donate 7% to animal shelters and 7% to St Jude Hospital with the profits we get from this project. We would also love to create a great community with you guys and continue to create new collections and ideas for our community.

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