American Bully Breed Standard

Written by Tony Gold

  • GENERAL APPEARANCE: The American Bully breed is recognizable by their blocky head, compact, thick-set structure and robust build. Their appearance should resemble the APBT/Am Staff foundation, while also displaying features from other bully breeds. Overall the American Bully should be balanced and proportionate, allowing them to still maintain athletic ability. Absolute soundness and proper muscle tone is a must with this breed. The head should be in proportion to the body, free of exaggerations that may compromise breathing and/or obstruct normal vision. The coat of the American Bully should be short and smooth. Its presence should leave an impression of tremendous power and stamina and have a kind and loyal disposition.
  • CHARACTERISTICS: The American Bully is, first and foremost, a companion breed, that possesses great strength and confidence with a zest for life. Despite its powerful appearance, their demeanor is gentle and friendly thus making it an excellent candidate for a family companion. Aggressiveness towards humans is uncharacteristic of the breed, and is highly undesirable.
  • DISQUALIFICATIONS: Viciousness or extreme shyness.
  • HEAD: The American Bully breed head is unique and a key characteristic exemplifying breed type. It is massive but in balance with the body. The stop should be deep and well defined. The flew should be deep, but clean. The head is well muscled throughout with prominent cheeks which should be free of wrinkles.
  • MUZZLE: The muzzle is broad and blocky, or slightly square. The length of the muzzle is shorter than the length of the skull, being from 30 to 40 percent of the overall length of the head. The top of the muzzle is straight. The lower jaw is well-developed, wide and deep. The head should bear little to no characteristics to the English bulldog.
  • NOSE: The nose is large, with well-opened nostrils. It is an extension of the topline of the Muzzle and do not protrude beyond nor recede behind the front plane of the muzzle. All colors of nose pigment are acceptable. Nose color is usually in harmony with coat color.
    • FAULTS: Excessively large, heavy, head disproportionate to the body. Muzzle so short and blunt as to interfere with normal breathing. Snipey muzzle. Weak lower jaw. Excessive flews. Muzzle slightly turned up at the nostrils.
  • TEETH: 42 large size teeth should be present. Dogs with broken teeth should not be penalized. In the event a Dog is missing teeth, documentation from a licensed Veterinarian will required. Strong with scissors bite preferred, but level bite acceptable.
    • FAULTS: Missing teeth.
    • SERIOUS FAULTS: Overshot, undershot, wry bite
  • EYES: Eyes are medium size, oval to almond shape, and set well apart and low on the skull. All colors are equally acceptable except blue. The haw should not be visible.
    • FAULTS: Blue eyes, haw should not be visible.
    • SERIOUS FAULTS: Eyes not matched in color, Bulging or protruding eyes
  • EARS: Ears are set high, and may be natural or cropped, without preference. Prick or flat, wide ears are not preferred.
    • DISQUALIFICATIONS: Unilateral or bilateral deafness. Bat ears.
  • NECK: The neck is of moderate length and muscular and blends in to the well laid-back shoulders. It must be long enough to exert leverage, but short enough to exert power. The neck at its widest point is nearly as broad as the head, with a slight arch at the crest, and tapering slightly from shoulders to the head.
    • FAULTS: Neck too thin or weak; excessive dewlap. A short neck that would interfere with functional ability. Neck too long as to be out of proportion with body.
  • COLOR / COAT: Any combination of colors is acceptable, except for merle. Coat to be smooth and tight
    • FAULTS: Curly or wavy coat
    • DISQUALIFICATIONS: Albinism. Merle.
  • GAIT: The American Bully breed moves with alertness and a confident attitude, the gate should be brisk and powerful with strides of moderate length. Back remains strong, firm and level. Rear legs move in line with front legs. Viewed from any position, legs turn neither in nor out, nor do feet cross or interfere with each other.
    • FAULTS: Legs over reaching; legs crossing over in front or rear; rear legs moving too close or touching; pacing; paddling; sidewinding; hackney action; pounding.
  • HEIGHT: The ideal height range for mature males is over 17 and under 20 inches at the withers; for mature females it is over 16 inches under 19 inches at the withers. It is important to note that dogs should be penalized if they are disproportionately massive. Overall balance and the correct proportion of weight to height is very important.
    • SERIOUS FAULTS: Disproportionately massive as to compromise the health and structure, movement and physical ability.
    • DISQUALIFICATION: Dwarfism.
  • BODY: The body is close-coupled, with a broad, deep chest, and well-sprung ribs. The chest may be wider than it is deep, but free from exaggeration. The fore chest does not extend forward much beyond the point of the shoulder. The back is wide, strong and firm. The topline is level and straight. The croup slopes slightly downward to the base of the tail. The loin is wide and short.  The distance from the withers to the elbow is equal to the distance from the elbows to the bottom of the feet. Dogs that are slightly shorter in distance from the elbows to the bottom of the feet are acceptable but not desirable.
    • FAULTS: Chest so wide as to interfere with normal movement.
  • BACK: Fairly short to medium back, slight sloping from withers to rump or straight accepted with gentle short slope at rump to base of tail. The American Bully should give the appearance of a square body, equal in length when measured from point of shoulder to point of buttocks and from the withers to the ground.
    • FAULTS: Back too long; rear higher than withers; weak or swayed topline; roached or wheel back.
  • FOREQUARTERS: The shoulder blades are long, wide, muscular and well laid back. The upper arm is roughly equal in length to the shoulder blade, and joins at an apparent right angle, with layback measuring between 35 to 45 degrees. Legs are straight and well boned, set rather far apart, without looseness at the shoulders. The forelegs are strong and muscular with a slight turn to the forearm. The pasterns are short, erect, powerful, flexible, and should show no weakness. Equal distance from the elbows to the bottom of the feet and from elbows to withers is preferred, dogs with slightly shorter distances are acceptable but not desired,
    • FAULTS: Front legs so bowed as to interfere with normal movement, weak pasterns, Elbows turned outward or tied-in, Severe toeing (in or out), Upper arm too short, Upright or Loaded shoulders; steep and forward scapula (shoulder blade), Wrists knuckled over.
  • CHEST: The chest is deep, well filled in, and moderately wide with ample room for heart and lungs, but the chest should never be wider than it is deep. The fore chest does not extend much beyond the point of shoulder. The ribs extend well back and are well sprung from the spine, then flattening to form a deep body extending to the elbows.
    • FAULTS: Chest so wide as to interfere with normal movement.
  • BACK: The back is short to medium in length while strong and firm. The topline inclines very slightly downward from the withers to a broad, muscular, level backline. The American Bully is a square bodied breed, equal in height and length. The loin is short, muscular and slightly arched to the top of the croup, but narrower than the rib cage and with a moderate tuck-up. The croup is slightly sloping downward.
    • FAULTS: Rectangular bodied, rear set higher than the withers, roach back, swayed or weak topline.
  • HINDQUARTERS: The hindquarters are strong, muscular and broad. Angulation of hindquarters balances that of forequarters. The American Bully’s square body has proper degrees of angulations to suit the length of body.  It is important to note, if a square dog had more a rectangular type assembly and stifle turn (90degree), the movement would likely be incorrect and this square dog would over reach or cross over when moving, compared to a more moderate and balanced rear assembly. Upper thigh is very broad and well-muscled. Stifle joint is well turned. Lower thigh is broad and powerful, with extensive muscling leading into a strong and well bent hock joint. Rear pasterns are nearly perpendicular to the ground. Viewed from the rear, hind legs are straight, strong, parallel to each other and wide enough apart to match the spread of the forequarters. The rump is well-filled-in, and deep.
    • FAULTS: Narrow hindquarters. Lack of muscle. Straight stifle. Cow hocks. Sickle hocks. Bowed legs, Hocks turning in or out
  • FEET: Should be tight, round, proportionate to the size of the dog and well-arched.
    • FAULTS: Splayed feet, long Toes, flat feet

TAIL: The tail is set on as a natural extension of the topline, and tapers to a point. When the dog is moving, the tail is carried level with the topline. When the dog is excited, the tail may be carried slightly higher, in a raised, upright position (challenge tail, but never carried over the back (gay tail). When the dog is standing and relaxed, the tail is carried low and extends approximately to the hock.

    • FAULTS: Bobbed tail. Docked tail, Tail to long or too short approximately up to an inch above or below point of the hock. Gay tail (carried over the plane of the back)
    • SERIOUS FAULTS: Kinked, knotted, or fused tail. Extremely short tail.
    • DISQUALIFICATIONS: Screwed, bobbed, or docked tail

QUICK REFERENCE FAULT LIST
FAULTS: Faults to be penalized but not disqualifications for showing are:
HEAD

  • Overly visible haw
  • Excessively large, heavy, head disproportionate to the body.
  • Muzzle so short and blunt as to interfere with normal breathing.
  • Excessive flews.
  • Muzzle slightly turned up at the nostrils.
  • Muzzle too long or snipey
  • Missing teeth.
  • Level or flush bite
  • Lack of pronounced/deep stop
  • Weak underjaw
  • Underjaw turning up
  • Nose turning up or pushed back
  • Overshot or Undershot bite
  • Wry or cross bite
  • Blue Eyes (Albinism)
  • excessive dewlap

FOREQUARTERS

  • Neck too thin or weak
  • Neck too short as to interfere with functional ability
  • Neck too long as to be out of proportion with body.
  • Chest so wide as to interfere with normal movement.
  • Upright or Loaded Shoulders; steep and forward scapula (shoulder blade)
  • Upper arm too short
  • Elbows turned outward or tied-in
  • Severe toeing (in or out),
  • Weak pasterns,
  • Wrists knuckled over
  • Upper arm too short
  • Bowed front legs
  • Down at the pasterns (weak pasterns)
  • Splayed or flat feet
  • Long toes

BODY

  • Curly or wavy coat
  • Back too long; rear higher than withers; weak or swayed topline; roached or wheel back
  • Lack of muscle.
  • Excessive weight, as to compromise the health and structure, movement and physical ability.

HINDQUARTERS

  • Tail too long or too short (approx. 1 from point of hock)
  • Gay (Curled) tail (carried over the plane of the back)
  • Tail to long or too short approximately up to an inch above or below point of the hock.
  • Cow Hocked; Hocks turning in or out
  • Narrow hindquarters, lack of muscle
  • Straight stifle
  • Sickle hocked
  • Bowed legs

MOVEMENT

  • Movement: Rolling, pacing, sidewinding, hackney action, and paddling or pounding
  • Not moving on the same plane – legs over reaching, crossing over in front or rear, or rear legs moving too close or touching

SERIOUS FAULTS: (A Fault serious enough that it eliminates the dog from obtaining any awards in a conformation event.)  Any disproportionate, overdone characteristic that would interfere with physical activity. Faults to be heavily penalized but not disqualifications for Showing:

  • Severely overshot or undershot (1/4 inch or more)
  • Wry Bite
  • Bulging or protruding eyes
  • Both eyes not matched in color (no blue eyes)
  • Disproportionately massive as to compromise the health and structure, movement and physical ability.
  • Front legs so bowed as to interfere with normal movement
  • Kinked / Knotted /Twisted tail
  • Excessively Long or Short tail
  • Fused tail
  • Overly Short tail
  • Long coat

DISQUALIFICATIONS: A dog with a Disqualification must not be considered for placement in a conformation event, and must be reported to RKC.

  • Viciousness or extreme shyness.
  • Bat ears.
  • Albinism.
  • Merle.
  • Dwarfism.
  • Long coat.
  • Screw tail, Bobbed tail, Docked tail
  • Unilateral or bilateral deafness.
  • Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchidism (missing one or both testicles)