The American Bully has fast become a popular breed because of its friendly and loving nature. However, along with it being an excellent family pet, the American Bully also makes a great show dog.
Picking a quality American Bully puppy for the purposes of showing isn’t as easy as you might think. There are quite a few things to look out for when choosing the best puppy, so here is a handy guide to picking a show quality American Bully puppy.
1.First decide which type is right for you
One of the best things about the American Bully breed is the fact that it’s divided into several types. For many the main difference is size, but there are types that include crosses with other breeds. If you’re looking for an American Bully puppy, you can choose from:
The breed standards of the American Bully don’t vary massively between types, apart from size of course. All types include references to heavy, muscular builds, with wide shoulders and a thick body. All American Bullys should have a short, stiff coat around a quarter inch long. Competition judges accept all colors for the American Bully, except merle/blotched.
Size is probably going to be the biggest deciding factor when it comes to choosing the best American Bully for you. You can show American Bullys of any size, but they’ll obviously be divided into different categories during shows. The permissible sizes of the American Bully are:
Standard: Males – 17-20” Females – 16-19”
XL: Males – 20-23” Females – 19-22”
Pocket: Males – under 17” but no less than 14” / Females under 16” but no less than 13”
Micro Exotic: Males under 14” / Females under 13”
It’s also worth remembering that the American Bully is known to be a very strong dog, and so choose a size that you could handle confidently. Size won’t necessarily have any bearing on whether you can compete or not, so choose the one that’s right for you.
Obviously you won’t be able to tell an American Bully puppy’s full-grown height when you’re choosing it. Be clever about which puppy you select, as it might not always be worth going for the biggest – it might end up too big to show. Similarly, steer clear of the runt of the litter, unless you’re choosing a Pocket or smaller.
2. Trust the blood
If you’re new to the world of showing dogs, but were drawn in by the idea of showing an American Bully, then you need to know one thing: trust the blood. This means studying a dog’s genealogy, as there’s usually a good chance that winning dogs will produce winning puppies.
At the very minimum you need to look at the immediate pedigree of the parents. Make sure they both conform to breed standards and are free of any illnesses or hereditary conditions. Responsible breeders will test for these, meaning you should have clear information about the chances of a puppy developing a condition.
Some breeders say it’s more important to look at the mother’s side, but obviously check both. If you have access to the information, check the mother’s parents to see what their pedigree is like. It’s worth going back a few generations if you can, as some conditions can skip a generation.
It almost goes without saying, but you should always see the mother and father before choosing a puppy. Visit on several occasions if you can and watch the puppies interact with their mother. It’s possible the father won’t be there, but meet him if the breeders still have him.
Aside from anything else, you need to check that the puppies are acting naturally, and that the dogs don’t seem farmed in any way. A responsible breeder will raise their dogs with care, and this makes a massive difference when it comes to developing a show quality dog.
3. Check for flaws
When you’re visiting the breeder and deciding on which puppy to adopt, you need to look out for flaws. Make sure you check the parents and all the puppies, including the one you’re thinking of adopting. While your puppy might seem fine, it’s entirely possible that flaws could develop later if there were breeding issues.
Flaws aren’t necessarily health conditions, but they’re things that’ll lose you marks – or disqualify you completely – when you go to show your American Bully. Flaws are generally physical “defects” that mean the dog doesn’t conform to the breed standards. However, some flaws can relate to temperament too.
When inspecting the dog(s) for flaws, look out for the following:
Disqualifying colors (blotched or merle pattern)
Bulging or protruding eyes
Kink tail or a tail with curvature
Underjaw turning up / underbite
Albino nose (pink nose)
Curly or wavy coat (it should be completely straight)
Limp or difficulty walking
There are plenty more faults to look out for in an American Bully, but many of them won’t be fully visible until the dog is fully-grown. During competitions, judges look out for things like a weak neck and bowed front legs, or splayed feet and a short tail. Many of these will show signs in the puppy, but won’t really manifest properly.