Do American Bullies Have a High Prey Drive?

The American Bully is a new dog breed but has become very popular in recent years. onsidering American Bullies are powerful dogs, you may wonder about their temperament. You might worry their strong frame is also accompanied by an irresistible impulse to chase prey, making them difficult to control.

American Bullies don’t have a high prey drive, meaning although they may track down and chase other animals or objects, their chasing tendencies are not overwhelming. The breed’s prey drive isn’t as high as other dogs, thanks to careful breeding. Proper training will also lessen their prey drive.

Read on, and I’ll tell you more about these wonderful dogs and whether or not they have a high prey drive.

American Bullies Don’t Have a High Prey Drive

american bully and cat sleeping

First off, you should remember that an American Bully is different from a standard American Bulldog. The names are similar, and the dogs share some traits and some ancestry. But an American Bully is a separate breed with different physical characteristics and instincts.

The American Bully is a mixture of American Bulldog, Pit Bull Terrier, and American Staffordshire Terrier. Breeders were looking to develop a dog with the physical characteristics of a bulldog but a personality that would do well as a companion animal.

Part of that meant toning down the “prey drive” that tends to run strong in bulldogs and related breeds. In general, American Bullies don’t have a high prey drive.

Like other dogs, American Bullies have the tendency to chase animals or objects, especially when they’re in the mood for playing. However, their prey drive isn’t as high as other dog breeds — dogs bred for hunting, like the Labrador.

But every dog is unique, so it won’t be surprising to meet American Bullies with high prey drive. However, proper training can help keep their prey drive in control. Some dog owners with high prey drive canines use the same strategy.

What Is a Prey Drive?

Prey drive refers to a dog’s instinct to track, chase, and capture prey. It’s a holdover from the dog’s wolfish origins. Wolf packs got their food by hunting other animals, especially rodents they caught in the fields. As humans domesticated dogs, they retained many of their old hunting instincts.

If your Bully has a strong prey drive, you’ve probably seen it carefully watching small animals in your yard or chasing them down. The prey instinct can extend to inanimate objects, too. Dogs will track down balls, sticks, even frisbees, using the same tracking and catching instincts their ancestors used to catch rabbits.

You might think any kind of prey drive would be dangerous, but a dog with a high prey drive isn’t necessarily a threat to other humans as long as it’s appropriately trained. That means even if your Bully has a high prey drive, that doesn’t mean it’s dangerous to other people or animals.

In general, all dogs have a little bit of a prey drive. But dogs generally don’t think of humans as prey, and that’s especially true with their family. The dog’s family will be its pack, not its prey.

American Bullies Have a Playful Temperament

So, the American Bully was bred specifically to have less of a prey drive. Breeders identified dogs with less of an urge to chase and hunt and used those to develop the American Bully. The result is a dog that’ll still have some desire to hunt, but it shouldn’t be overwhelming.

Your American Bully should be fine around the house with good training, even with other animals around.

But your Bully is still a frisky and powerfully built dog that’ll need outlets for all that energy. Your Bully will need attention from its master and family. You’ll want to play with it and take it for walks. It would help if you also give your dog a chance to socialize and learn to get along with other dogs in the area.

I have an XL American Bully, so based on my experience, I can say that my Bully behaves well around other people. My Bully loves to play but doesn’t chase small kids or animals in the house.

I believe that it’s important to train your Bully not to run after anything it’s not supposed to, even if it doesn’t have a high prey drive.

Play Fetch of Catch To Improve Your Bully’s Prey Drive 

Your Bully is going to need to run off some of that energy. The simplest way to work out that prey drive, and maybe the best, is to give your dog something to chase down: playing “fetch” or “catch” in other words.

How you do it is up to you and your dog. A trip to the park with a plain old tennis ball will usually work just fine. If your dog is really good at tracking things in the air, you can also try a frisbee.

If you’re the fastidious type that doesn’t like handling dog slobber, there’s a hands-free approach. 

Check out the “Chuck-It” Ball Launcher. This device will let you pick up and throw tennis balls without handling them yourself. The added length will even let you throw the ball farther with less effort, giving your dog more exercise.

Teach Your Dog To Get Along With Other Dogs

Another issue you might run into with your American Bully is a tendency not to get along with other dogs. 

This is an unfortunate hand-me-down from some of the Bully’s ancestors, especially the Pit Bull Terrier. Some Pit Bulls have been bred for fighting against other dogs, a disgraceful practice. In the past, many dishonest breeders tried to get a fighting edge by breeding dogs that were hostile to other dogs.

This is different from prey drive. Your bully sees other dogs as threats, not as prey.

American Bully breeders look for gentler dogs, but the old fighting background sometimes sneaks in anyway. So you must watch how your Bully reacts to other dogs and train it to be friendly with other dogs. You should check out this within the first few weeks after bringing your dog home.

The first step is to take your dog to a dog park or walking trail that dog owners frequent. You don’t necessarily want your Bully to get close to other dogs at first. More important is to see how it reacts to the smells and sounds of other dogs. Praise and reward your dog for being calm.

You can then start to let your dog get closer to others. Keeping your dog 20 feet (6.1 meters) or so from others will give your Bully the chance to see other dogs without being threatened. Remember, your Bully is a pretty strong dog, though, so keep a firm hold on the leash until you know how your dog will react!

Again, be sure and praise your dog and give it rewards for remaining calm. As your dog gets more comfortable, you can allow it to get closer. If possible, try to arrange for a meeting with the owner of a calm and friendly dog. Keep that first encounter brief, and reward your dog for staying calm.

Hopefully, this won’t be a significant issue for your Bully. But if it is, you can train your dog not to act aggressively with a bit of patience and consistent training. Just take it slow, and your Bully will learn how to play nicely.

Conclusion

American Bullies, like other dogs, tend to run after things thanks to their prey drive. However, they don’t have a high prey drive, meaning they won’t spend too much time tracking down, chasing, catching other animals, or running after people.

But because every dog is unique, it’s not surprising to meet some American Bullies with high prey drive. If you notice that your Bully has a high prey drive and you don’t like it, you can always train it not to run after things it’s not supposed to. 

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