The American Bully doesn’t necessarily have a long history of its own, but it certainly has an interesting one. This article is part 1 in a series of 4 that explores the history of the breed, including its origins, temperament, and physical attributes. The information comes from the book, The Bully King Magazine, which has interesting and varied information about the breed. Part 1 of the series is about the origins of the breed.
Where does the American Bully come from?
The American Bully as a breed unto itself only came about 20 years ago, but can trace its origins back thousands of years through the various breeds from which it was bred. It was created as a specific breed to retain all of the positive characteristics of its parent breeds, but to remove the most negative aspects of each. American Bullys were bred to be an excellent family companion dog, with good physical attributes and temperament.
The American Bully was created through the selective breeding of various well-known dogs, including the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and other bulldog breeds. It was mainly bred to remove any of the original traits of these breeds, such as aggression and hunting instinct, which were obviously very useful in the past when they were working dogs, but less useful now that dogs are primarily kept as family pets.
The American Pit Bull Terrier is an amazing breed on its own, but due to several years of unfair and negative press, has developed something of a difficult reputation. The worst thing about the various news articles relating to biting and aggression statistics is that most of the dogs mentioned weren’t even pit bull breeds! The unfortunate thing is that this information has stuck, leading to the breed declining in popularity, and being seen as an aggressive and unsuitable dog for families.
Why has this led to the creation of the American Bully?
In the past, American Pit Bull Terriers were fighting dogs, there’s no denying this fact. It’s how they got their name: they were bred to fight in blood sports, such as bull-baiting, and were bred with the express desire to combine the speed and agility of a terrier with the strength of a bulldog. This made them fierce fighting machines, considering they needed enough power to potentially take down large animals such as bulls and bears.
However, by the mid-19th century, blood sports were being banned, and animal welfare laws were introduced to make them harder to organize. By the 20th century, American Pit Bulls were being used to hunt game, drive cattle, but were also becoming increasingly popular as family pets. Their popularity increased over the next century, but has recently taken a hit due to press coverage and cultural fears of the potentially aggressive nature of the breed.
Blood sports such as the ones mentioned above were clearly very cruel events, and the dogs had to be conditioned using what we would now consider torture: they were deprived of human contact and instilled with a blood lust that would make them incredibly aggressive towards both humans and other animals, dogs included. Trainers used various methods to instill this blood lust in them, including diet and exercise regimes.
The American Pit Bull Terrier has always been known for its loyalty, intelligence, and strength, and these are all characteristics that breeders desired to keep in the American Bully, while removing any possibility of aggression. However, it is worth noting that although (hundreds of years ago) they may have been fighting dogs, public opinion is shifting towards the understanding that aggression in dogs isn’t related to the breed, but is more likely caused by environment, owners, and the way they’ve been raised.
The loss of aggression
Breeders of American Pit Bull Terriers would be the first to tell you that the breed isn’t aggressive by nature, but this definitely hasn’t stopped them from developing such a reputation. In fact, many of the dogs mentioned as Pit Bulls in the various news articles about attacks were DNA tested, and it was confirmed that they weren’t actually Pit Bulls. However, by this time, the damage had been done, and the breed had fallen out of favor with the general public.
So that’s how we arrive at the creation of the American Bully. Breeders wanted to retain the physical characteristics of the American Pit Bull Terrier, along with their loyalty and intelligence, but to remove any signs of aggression or gameness. They did so through selective breeding, and the introduction of other breeds, including the American Staffordshire Terrier.
In case it wasn’t already obvious from the information in this article: American Bullys are not the same as an American Pit Bull Terrier. There are visual differences between the two breeds, and even noticeable differences in their temperament. It’s still possible to get an American Pit Bull Terrier from a breeder, but many people turn their nose up at this amazing breed because of the negative reputation it’s built up in the press.
What’s so good about the American Bully?
The American Bully retains everything desirable about its parent breeds, but has had any signs of aggression bred out, as we as a society have no further use of aggressive fighting dogs. Public perceptions on the acceptability of dog fighting have changed massively in the last century, and the sport is now something that very few people would consider engaging in.
The result is a fiercely loyal dog whose only desire is to please its family. Slowly but surely it’s becoming recognized as an emerging breed by various kennel associations, and as a result is fast becoming a popular breed, especially for those with children. This is the end of part 1 of the history of the American Bully, stay tuned for our next blog post for more information on the history and physicality of the breed.