I recently got a good email asking me to explain exactly what the difference is between an American pit bull terrier and an American bully.

Why it is a great question?

Because they are easily mistaken for one another. But to understand the differences between American Pitbull and American Bully, we’ll break it up into sections. We will discuss the

  • differences in history
  • differences in their looks
  • differences in their temperament

You’ll then see these breeds are very much different individual breeds

American Pitbull vs American Bully History

Here is the difference between the history of American Pitbull vs American Bully.

American Pitbull vs American Bully History

American Pitbull History

American Pitbull Terrier was created here in the UK in the early 1800s.

The breed started its development from the old English bulldog. That bulldog looks nothing like the English bulldog we see today. And they actually looked a lot more like the current American bulldog.

They were bred for a variety of blood sports including bull and bull bear-baiting. They were renowned for being the best breed in this cruel sport.

After bull and bear-baiting were made illegal people turned towards ratting. This was still legal and the breed got its name as people would use the pit.

The rats were put in the pits. These rats could not escape and the pit bulls were thrown in to kill the rats for sport.

And although illegal they were also commonly used in dogfighting. As this was easily hidden from authorities and rarely enforced at the time.

These sports required more speed and athleticism. So breeders would mix in terrier breeds. And that is what we see of the start of the American pit bull terrier we have today.

American Bully History

American bull’s history only dates back to the 1990s. In the US, the breeding program began to create a perfect family companion.

People started by crossing the American pit bull terrier and the American Staffordshire terrier. It was to create the base stock for a breed.

The aim was to retain the pit bull’s looks and build. But remove the drive and dog aggression. And also heighten the gentle nature and loving loyal temperaments in the dog.

Dozens of breeders all around the United States began developing these dogs. And it’s not sure if they were actually in contact or not.

It’s for many of these breeders also started mixing other breeds into the program including American bulldogs, English bulldogs bull, mastiffs, and bull terriers.

You can see although the American bully has the pit bull in its lineage we’ll see how the breeding program has differentiated their temperaments as well.

American Pitbull vs American Bully Temperament

Here is the difference between the history of American Pitbull vs American Bully.

American Pitbull Temperament

Despite popular belief and media portrayal, the pit bull is not actually an aggressive dog at all especially not with humans. But I’ll talk about animal aggression in a second.

The actual temperament of the pit bull is

  • a combination of playful, boisterous, and friendly.
  • And it does have a strong desire to please its owners.
  • Pitbull is known to be very good with children of all ages.
  • They make excellent watchdogs and guard dogs.

Deeply loyal and protective, combined with that gentleness around their family does make them a good family guard dog.

Now yes the pit bull does have a very high prey drive. And that comes from the terrier.

High prey drive does make them excellent working dogs especially things like eradicating vermin on farms and large properties.

Dog aggression can be a common problem. And the pit bull is infamous for its high drive.

American Bully Temperament

American bully’s temperament is one that is pure joy and happiness. They form extremely strong ties with their owners.

Although they may look tough which was bred on purpose, in reality, American bullies are just real sweethearts.

They love nothing more than spend as much time as possible with the people they love. This will be your entire family and friendship group as they really do have plenty of love to go around.

American bully is also known to be very very good around children of all ages. Because of that sheer genuine look for them they can get a little excited just to be with them.

As with any dog, you do need to be careful. This excitement does lead to accidents.

They are also known to be excellent around strangers and people. This can differ from dog to dog and some may be a little bit warier.

But as a whole, a well-socialized American bully will greet everyone with excitement and kisses

Trainability: American Pitbull vs American Bully

Before we move on to the looks, it’s worth noting their intelligence and trainability at this point.

American Pitbull and American Bully dogs are very intelligent and capable of absolute levels of obedience.

But the American pitbull can be a bit more feisty especially when young. They love to learn but can be a little headstrong. And the drives can get the better of them at times.

On the other hand, the American bullies can tend to be slightly more focused and less likely to question commands. They just have such insane levels of wanting to please you.

American Bullies really are a dream to work with and will keep a smile on your face the whole time you’re working with them

American PitBull Appearance

American Bully from Pitbul

  • The pitbull is a medium-sized, very well-muscled, and solidly built dog.
  • It’s equally as athletic looking as it is powerful.
  • They have a medium-length head with wide deep muscles.
  • And they can come in all colors and patterns of colors except for mil.

American Bully Appearance

American bully commonly broke up into three sub sizes.

  • the pocket American bully
  • the standard American bully and
  • the extra-large American bully.

American bullies are impressive dogs of extremely muscular bodies.

They have unique-shaped heads which is one of the breeds key characteristics being broad and very large. And it’s matched by the powerful wide physique of the rest of its body.

Differentiate American Bully from Pitbull

American Bully from Pitbull

Above mentioned features on paper make them sound very similar. But when you see them side-by-side that it becomes evident

the American bully’s head is much wider. And they tend to have much shorter legs in proportion to their bodies regardless of how big they are.

For example, if you add an equally tall pitbull and an American bully you can tell them apart by looking at their heads and the length of body proportion

So as you can see, if you knew what you were looking for it is easy to tell them apart. But I do also understand that is very easy to confuse the two breeds as well.