Are American Bullies Good Hunting Dogs?

american bully xl in hunting wood area

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Several decades of selective breeding and behavioral adjustments have made American Bullies lose most of their ancestors’ aggressive traits, making them ideal house pets and companions.

The United Kennel Club (UKC) disqualifies those that display aggression towards humans and other dogs or animals. 

Are American Bullies good hunting dogs?

American Bullies aren’t good hunting dogs due to genetic suppression or their lack of aggressive behavior and prey drive. In addition, the UKC classifies them as companion dogs due to their warm, friendly, and playful temperament. 

This article will explore the origins of American Bullies and discuss how and why they shifted from their ancestors’ prey drive and hunting nature to become one of the most beloved and sought-after companion dog breeds today. 

Why American Bullies Don’t Make Good Hunting Dogs

Hunting skills require aggression and strong prey drive, but American Bullies generally lack such traits due to decades of selective breeding. As such, this dog breed does not make good hunting dogs. However, they may possess some qualities necessary for hunting. 

Below are essential traits for hunting dog breeds: 

  • High prey drive 
  • Athleticism 
  • Endurance 
  • High trainability 
  • Excellent scent tracking ability 
  • Great auditory sensitivity 
  • A close interactive relationship with human hunter 

Breeds that show these traits make the best dogs for hunting prey. Meanwhile, some dogs may exhibit many of these characteristics, yet they cannot become good hunters due to the essential traits that they are missing. 

So, let’s look at these traits and talk about how American Bullies do or don’t fit the bill:

They Have a Reduced Prey Drive

american bully in hunting field

Canines, by nature, are carnivores with a strong prey drive that once helped them survive in the wild for several generations. It is important to note that science cannot completely erase this instinct from any dog. 

It just happens that breeders have purposefully reduced prey drive among American Bullies, among other breeds, through various methods. 

Hundreds of years of domestication, selective breeding, and classical conditioning have turned them into the gentle house pets that we know today. 

While some breeds still exhibit high prey drive and hunting instincts, a well-bred American Bully does not, making them safe pets for families with young children. 

Sadly, a misconception that American Bullies are aggressive still exists because they physically resemble pit bulls (a breed that is usually an excellent guard and hunting dog). 

Their Athleticism Is Not Sustainable

American Bullies have a muscular physique that provides enough energy to exhibit their playfulness. Many show excellent agility that helps them perform tasks well at sporting events. However, they are not strong enough to stay physically active for extended periods. 

In addition, hip dysplasia is a common health condition among American Bullies, limiting their ability to run fast. Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition passed down from their bulldog ancestors. 

Larger types, such as the XL American Bullies, have a higher risk of having hip dysplasia. Some of them may also have congenital heart disease. 

Fortunately, not all of them suffer from these conditions. Nonetheless, they have a high risk of getting injured, so they shouldn’t be forced or allowed to run too fast, especially when they are less than two years old. These limitations generally make them unsuitable for hunting or retrieving game. 

They Have Low Endurance

american bully sitting

Despite being physically strong, American Bullies possess several traits from their bulldog origins that negatively affect their endurance, such as breathing problems. As a result, their build is not suitable for activities that require massive amounts of energy for long periods like hunting. 

American Bullies need their daily dose of exercise—roughly one hour of playtime or running per day. However, it is best to remember that it shouldn’t be overdone because they also have a low tolerance to heat. 

They Can’t Be Trained for Hunting

American Bullies are valued for their warm and friendly personality. These dogs love to please their owners and, thus, respond well to training. In addition, they are pretty intelligent. You can teach them to perform various tricks and follow commands with a bit of patience and adequate preparation. 

However, it will be difficult, and it is highly discouraged to train them for hunting. As mentioned, an American Bully’s body is not suited for prolonged physical activities. Moreover, it goes against the breed standards to awaken or instill prey drive into them. 

They Have Average Scent Tracking Ability

Healthy American Bullies have an average sense of smell, meaning it’s not strong enough to track prey for hunting. On the other hand, some less healthy ones may suffer from allergies and breathing problems, limiting their ability to detect scents accurately. 

Moreover, American Bullies are people-pleasers, making it easier for them to divert their attention back to their owners than other breeds with pretty strong prey drive. Other breeds with a strong hunting instinct are much harder to distract when they catch sight of a squirrel or other prey animal. 

They Have Average Auditory Sensitivity

Excellent auditory sensitivity is one of the essential traits hunting dogs must possess. You may notice your dog’s ears perk up with the slightest sound and rush to chase the source of the sound. Their innate hunting instinct drives this behavior. 

However, American Bullies do not usually display such a level of sensitivity. They may perk up in response to sound and approach it out of curiosity. They most likely wouldn’t do so out of their desire to attack or hunt unless they become overly defensive of their humans. 

American Bullies have average auditory sensitivity that helps them respond well to their owners’ calls and commands. Their hearing skills are not good enough to join a hunt. In addition, it is not rare for dogs in the breed to have deafness in one or both ears. 

They Have No Inclination for Dog-Hunter Relationship

There is no question about an American Bully’s excellent people skills. They love their owners and will generally approach even strangers with positive energy. They enjoy receiving plenty of attention from humans, making them relatively easy to train. 

However, being more of a companion dog than a hunting dog, an American Bully’s interaction with humans focuses mainly on playtime and lots of loving. They are not instinctively inclined to the complexities of a dog-hunter relationship. 

The Origins of the American Bully

The American Bully came from American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) and various bulldog-type breeds, such as the English Bulldog. The combination brought about some unique characteristics of the American Bully that make it an entirely new breed. 

While the APBT has the physical requirements necessary for hunting and can be trained to become a good hunter, the American Bully can’t learn to hunt well due to limitations from the bulldog genes they got from their ancestors. 

Even physically healthy American Bullies may not prove to be good hunting dogs. In addition, training them to become such will defeat the purpose of training out the prey drive from the breed. 

American Bullies As Companion Dogs

Contrary to the common belief that American Bullies are aggressive due to their pit bull genes, this breed is most commonly praised for its excellent temperament. They are pretty gentle companion dogs regardless of their size—from pocket to XL. 

They make great indoor pets because of their low tolerance to hot weather. Nonetheless, they can also appreciate an hour or two outdoors. With proper introduction, they are naturally gentle towards young children and may also be friendly towards other house pets, such as cats. 

So, although they may not make excellent hunters, they do make lovely friends. 


Any dog has an instinct to hunt even if breeders trained the drive out of them for several generations. Proper training and patience are all it takes to awaken the hunter in a dog. However, not all domesticated dog breeds are adept at hunting due to health and physical limitations. 

One such example is the American Bully breed. These dogs are more suited to living comfortably and happily with their humans. If you are interested in hunting dogs, you may select from numerous other winning dog breeds. 

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