How To Know What Kind of American Bully You Have

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The American Bully is a relatively recent and well-received dog breed that takes the iconic American pit Bull genes and blends them with the courageous and muscular American and English bulldog.

However, unlike the American pit Bull Terrier, there’s more than one breed standard for the American Bully breed. 

To know what kind of American Bully you have, a height and weight measurement should distinguish whether you have a pocket, standard, or XL Bully. Classic Bullies are less muscular and resemble the American pit bull lineage more closely while still conforming to the UKC breed standard. 

American Bully is a loving and loveable breed, and Americans have begun to recognize the breed for its fantastic nature as companions and family dogs. If you’re lucky enough to own one of these loyal and gentle bullies, here are some ways to determine which type of American Bully it is. 

Pocket, Classic, Standard, and XL Are the Most Common Bullies

american bully xl stack
XL Bully (10 months)

The American Bully evolved from the iconic American pit bull Terrier and evolved into a distinct breed through the infusion of several other breeds, including the American bulldog, The English Bulldog, and the Olde English Bulldogge. 

The breed merged in the USA in the 1980s and exhibited different characteristics and temperaments distinct from the American pit Bull Terrier. The American Bully Kennel Club (ABKC) first recognized the American Bully in 2004.

In the 1980s, breeders sought to breed a companion dog with a lower prey drive and a more even temperament than the American pit bull. They also increased to distinguish the breed with enhanced musculature and dense bone mass more indicative of their bulldog ancestry. 

The United Kennel Kennel Club recognized the breed in 2013, although the American kennel club has yet to accept the American Bully as a distinct breed. Unlike the pit bull-type cousins, the American Bully distinguishes itself by having four accepted size divisions within the accepted breed standard, which include the:

  • Pocket
  • Classic 
  • Standard 
  • XL

In addition to these sizes, there are non-standard size allocations that some bully owners recognize that aren’t included in the ABKC, like the micro and XXL sizes. The UKC has one size standard of 17 to 20 inches (43 to 51 cm) for adult males and 16 to 19 inches (41 to 48 cm) for adult bitches. 

How Can I Tell What American Bully I Have?

pocket bully
Pocket bully

You can tell what American Bully you have by looking at the UKC and ABKC breed standards it falls into. These standards are the basis on which a bully’s breed quality is based and how they conform to the ideal shape and dimension of the American Bully breed.

You can do the following to help you determine what American Bully you have:

Look at Your Bully’s Overall Appearance 

The American Bully is an impressive and muscular dog with a compact and thickset build. Although the Bully is muscular and compact, the breed standard dictates that the dog is agile and free from exaggerated proportions that compromise their breathing and movement.

Although the breed standards accommodate a variety of sizes, overlarge and tiny dogs are not accepted in the breed standard. 

Determine Your Bully’s Character

According to the AKC, the Bully is a friendly, active, and affectionate breed and excessive shyness and aggression are disqualifying characteristics.

Despite its formidable appearance, the American Bully is a confident and social dog and has a happy and energetic nature. First and foremost, breeders describe the bully as a loyal family and an exceptional family dog. 

Pay Attention to Your Bully’s Physical Features

The head is one of the distinguishing features of the Bully. It’s large and broad, with large cheek muscles free from wrinkles. The head should be proportionate to the body; overly large heads are not part of the UKC standard. Other features include:

  • Muzzle: The AB skull is shorter than the skull by around 25–35% the length of the head and is blocky and square. 
  • Nose: The USK accepts various nose colors generally in harmony with the coat with wide and unobstructed nostrils.
  • Teeth: The breed standard describes the teeth as evenly spaced and with no evidence of overbite or underbite.
  • Eyes: Almond-shaped and set wide apart and set low on the head. The UKC accepts most color eyes except mismatched or blue eyes. 
  • Ears: The Bully’s ears are high-set, pricked, or unpricked. Wide ears are not a preferred breed standard.

Examine Your Bully’s Body

The American Bully’s neck is muscular and has an arch at the crest, and it widens towards the shoulder area. It’s smooth and free from sagging skin or dewlaps. 

The Bully is broad of the chest that’s typically wider than deep. It has a straight and strong back, tapering slightly toward the tail base. Although broad-chested, the breed standard does not accept disproportionate chest proportions restricting movement. 

The forelimbs are strong and straight. And the distance from the withers to the elbow should be the same as the elbow to the ground. 

An American Bully’s hindquarters are muscular, with a well-bent hock. The Bully rump is firm and well filled out, and the tail tapers to a point and maybe straight, or crank handle shaped. 

The ABKC Only Recognizes 4 Size Divisions 

Although non-standard size divisions are advertised on social media, such as Macro and XXL/Extreme, the ABKC recognizes only four size divisions in their breed standards. Typically excessively tall or excessively small or compromised bodily structures are also not accepted in the UKC breed standard. 

If you wish to know which type of American bully you own, an easy way to determine its type is by the height and weight distinctions listed in the UKC and ABKC breed standards discussed below.

American Bully Standard 

The UKC determines the ideal mature male height to be 17 to 20 inches (43 to 51 cm), at the withers (top of the shoulder), and females at 16 to 19 inches (41 to 48 cm). However, dogs slightly above and below these ranges are permissible if they exhibit balance and overall proportion.

Pocket American Bully 

The ABKC bases the Pocket bully designation on the adult height only, and the pocket bully conforms to all the American Bully breed standards. Like the Standard bully, they share a muscular physique with a compact body, broad angular head, and pronounced jaw muscles. 

However, the Pocket Bully could hardly fit a pocket, such as the pocket Yorkie. The adult male height is under 17 inches (43cm), and the female adult height is under 16 inches (40 cm) but not less than 13 inches (33 cm) at the withers. 

Classic American Bully 

Unlike the pocket Bully, the Classic American Bully is not a mere height or weight division from the breed standard. The Classic bully has a different body structure with lighter body frames and less pronounced musculature.

Both males and females follow the American pit bull conformation more closely than other types of American Bully. Consequently, their bodies appear narrower, lighter, and more athletic than their bully cousins.

Other than the build, the Classic Bully male adult follows the same UKC standard of 17 to 20 inches (43 to 51 cm) at the withers while females are 16 to 19 inches (40 to 48 cm) at the withers.

XL American Bully

The XL Bully follows the same breed standards regarding conformation as the UKC and ABKC. It attains its ABKC designation as XL by its difference from the bully height which is taller than the UKC breed standards.

The most imposing Bully type, the XL bully adult male, stands a fearsome 21 to 23 inches (51 to 57 cm) at the withers, and the adult female stands 19 to 22 inches (48 to 54 cm.)


The original breeders of the American Bully sought to create a family dog with the heart and strength of a pit bull without less aggression than the typical pit bull-type breed. As a result, a formidable-looking dog with a heart of gold and an excellent reputation for loving nature was born.

However, whatever type of American Bully you own, you should always ensure proper training and socialization. American Bullies are strong dogs.

3 thoughts on “How To Know What Kind of American Bully You Have”

  1. Hey my names jenna I currently have 3 xls from the same litter. Could you help with chatting an advising. I’ve always owned big dogs.. rotties.. cane corso etc

  2. How can I find out dogs pedigree history if the person who gave it to me lost paper work he said he paid 6500$ Its a female with n black with spotted freckles like the gotti line.what can I do to get her paperwork. Thank u

    1. It will be really hard to get duplicate papers. Unless you are still in contact with the breeder. They should be able to get you a duplicate.

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