American bullies are gaining popularity for their calm and loving natures, making them a great addition to a family with babies.
However sweet and even-tempered your bully might be, the onus is on you to ensure that you are a responsible owner, to bring out the best in these gentle giants.
Are American Bullies Good With Babies?
American bullies are great with babies and children and make wonderful family pets. Important facts to remember is that bullies are not inherently aggressive, and they were bred to be family dogs. However, socialization and gentle training are key to bringing out a bullie’s child-loving nature.
American bullies get a bad rap along with other pit bull-type breeds, primarily due to ignorance or irresponsible owners.
A particular responsibility comes with owning a dog of this strength and courage to ensure that they become a valuable and loving member of your human pack.
If you are unsure whether an American Bully will live up to its reputation as a ‘’nanny dog’’, here are five important facts.
1. American Bullies Are Not Inherently Aggressive
Due to the incredible strength of these gentle giants, American bullies require responsible ownership. There has been much debate regarding aggression as an inherited genetic trait in dog breeds.
Of all the breeds, the pit bull-type breeds are universally feared and sometimes banned outright in unsafe and costly regulations and restrictions.
While several studies link certain breeds to aggression and attacks on humans and other dogs, some studies refute breeds to determine potential attack risks in specific dog breeds.
The study found that aggression is as strongly linked to a dog’s environment and experiences as it is to their genetically inherited traits.
Researchers found that factors that lead to aggression were not breed-specific but linked to irresponsible ownership and harsh discipline-based training methods. In another study in 2014, aggression testing in 415 legislated dogs such as pit bull types compared to a control group of 70 golden retrievers.
Researchers found that no scientific evidence emerged that the legislated dogs were more aggressive or dangerous than the control group. American bullies especially are bred for the more even temperament and low prey drive, making them an excellent addition to families with babies and young children when adequately trained.
2. American Bullies Were Bred To Be Family Friendly
The American bully is a relative newcomer as its own designated breed, emerging as it did in the 1980s and evolving through the 1990s through selective breeding. The breeders used American pitbull as their base breed and infused several other breeds into the mix, including:
- The American Bulldog
- English Bulldog
- Olde English Bulldogge
The United Kennel Club (UKC) officially recognized the bully as an official breed in 2013, although the American Bully Kennel Club (ABKC)registered the breed as early as 2004.
The breeders aimed to create an independent dog breed that incorporated the aesthetics of an American pit bull with enhanced musculature as well as created several size divisions.
However, breeders had another outcome in mind, beyond making a more muscle-bound version of the American pit bull.
The primary aim of the breeders was to purposefully ‘breed out’ the potential aggression inherent in the pit bull genetic heritage. The resulting breed exhibits a lower prey drive while still retaining the trademark ‘bully’ traits.
The UKC includes specific temperament traits in their breed standards, including excessive shyness or aggression as contrary to the breed standards.
Through selective breeding, the American bully breeders set about creating a gentler version of the much-feared APBT.
The infusion of the characteristic family nature of the bulldog breeds created a somewhat more dependable bully breed with a calmer nature requiring less vigorous exercise than the American pit bull terrier
. Less inclined to the characteristic pit bull over-exuberance, the bully is also less likely to knock your toddler about during play.
3. American Bullies Require Responsible Ownership
Unfortunately, the public vilifies pit bull breeds, when nine times out of ten, their aggression is due to irresponsible owners. A peer-reviewed study showed that pit bull owners are more inclined to aggressive behaviors themselves and not necessarily the breed itself.
The study found a high correlation between socially deviant pit bull owners and these aggression-sensitive breeds.
The owners of aggressive pit bull-type dogs were often more prone to violence themselves often exhibit deviant behaviors such as:
- Child abuse
- Domestic violence
- Violent crimes against others
With such a courageous and physically powerful breed, it is paramount that owners ensure that they train their bully correctly and ensure the dog is socialized. The bully’s aggressive heritage is only half of the determining factors that lead to aggression against people and children. A well-trained and happy American bully will allow their gentle and baby-loving natures to emerge.
As part of the loving nature of the breed, American bullies can be overly protective of their humans, particularly children. Owners should always supervise children’s play as children’s behaviors may sometimes mimic attack and arouse the protective nature of these gentle giants.
4. American Bullies Thrive on Human Contact
Although the American Bully has fewer physical exercise requirements than their amstaff and pit bull cousins, they are a bright and curious breed that needs exercise and stimulation just as a human does.
Deprived of companionship and touch, your bully may exhibit anxiety and behaviors that are not part of their loving breed.
Dogs incarcerated in backyards may become ‘mentally ill’ much as an imprisoned human in solitary confinement. The American Bully thrives on human love and companionship and flourish when included in the family home and regularly stimulated by walks and outings.
A well-socialized and stimulated dog is less likely to exhibit aggressive behaviors, especially those trained with a gentle touch and positive reinforcement.
Much the same way, bullies thrive on human companionship, and in order to be their best selves, you need to embrace them into your family as a welcome member.
In several studies, researchers have also found that harsh training techniques are associated with higher aggression levels in dogs. The trick is gentle training with positive reinforcement that brings out the best in these fearsome-looking, soft-hearted creatures.
Their eagerness to please their owners makes the bully thrive on positive affirmations, which is key to bringing out the best in their breed.
5. American Bullies and Babies: Keep to the Golden Rule
As wonderful as the American bully is with little humans, you should stick to the golden rule. Dogs should never be left unattended with babies or children younger than ten years old who are mature enough to handle the dog responsibly.
Regardless of the dog breed, an unforeseen instance may result in a gentle dog unexpectedly reacting to the environment. There are several reasons why a dog might snap at a child, including factors such as:
- Pain such as arthritis
Although reactions of this sort are rare in the loving bully breed, parents have a responsibility to always be on hand to ensure nothing unforeseen may happen. Some people report that their dog tries to carry a baby in their mouths like a pup when agitated by a baby’s distress. No parent should leave their child alone with any dog breed. Period.
Anyone lucky enough to have an American bully as part of their family will attest to how gentle they are with humans and their particular bond with children.
However, as a parent, you are as responsible for raising your bully right as you are for raising your human baby. With love and gentle training, your only concern should be that your bully chooses the baby over you as their new BFF.
I created this blog to share my passion for bullies, and help current and future pitbull owners with things like diet and education.
Hope you find it useful, don’t hesitate to drop a comment on my articles!