The American Bulldog Pitbull mix, also known as the Bully Pit, is a designer dog resulting from breeding an American Bulldog with the American Pitbull Terrier. Making this pup double the American goodness rolled into one! They are often described as all the dog anyone could want, but too much dog for some.
Bully Pits are intense canines, and they are not suitable for many families. They need an active family with the time and commitment to keep them stimulated and busy daily. They also need an experienced dominant dog owner who can train them firmly and consistently to remain well-balanced and polite. Otherwise, they can become unruly and unmanageable. But if you get the balance right, they can make brilliant family companions.
We explore everything you need to know about this mixed breed. Including their history and how that affects their personality. As well as their exercise needs, training requirements, puppy costs, and what type of home they thrive in. Are you interested to learn more about the brilliant Bully Pit? Let’s take a look.
Looking at a dog’s history can tell you a lot about what they are like and what type of family they need. So it’s an integral part of the process when working out if a Bullypit is a good match. Before we get into their history, it’s important to clear something up …
Four Pitbull-type breeds fall under the umbrella term “Pitbull.” Most people think of The American Pitbull Terrier when thinking of a Pitbull. The American Bulldog does not fall under the Pitbull umbrella term, although many people think they do. They often confuse the American Bulldog with the American Bully, one of the four breeds and very different from the American Bulldog. So it’s important not to confuse the two. Let’s explore the Pitbull’s and Bulldog’s history.
American Pitbull Terrier
The American Pitbull Terrier is a misunderstood breed, and this is because their origins began with dog fighting. Their journey began in 19th-century England when dog fighting was a popular sport. English Bulldogs were bred with Staffordshire Bull Terriers to create powerful and vicious canines. These dogs were brought to America, where the largest and most impressive were meticulously bred to develop a larger terrier breed. And this is what we now know as the American Pit Bull Terrier.
Many people don’t realize that they were created to be vicious towards their four-legged opponents in the ring but gentle and loving towards their human owners and family. Thankfully, dog fighting is now illegal in the U.S., so this brutal trait has been bred out of most bloodlines. But their human-loving quality remains, which is why they are now popular as family pets and successful as therapy and service dogs.
Sure, some Pitbulls are still bred for the illegal dog fighting trade, partly contributing to the false narrative that all Pitbulls are dangerous dogs. But responsible breeders have worked hard for over a hundred years to create family-friendly canines. The Pitbull is not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), but the United Kennel Club (UKC) recognizes them as a breed in their own right.
The American Bulldog is thought to have been in America as early as the 18th century, having come from England with their working-class immigrant owners. And as you can tell by their face, the American Bulldog descends from the English Bulldog, the original sour face pooch. Farmers, particularly in the southern states, recognized their skills in catching large vermin, drafting heavy weights, protecting their land, and keeping their family company.
Over time, farmers bred them to become larger, more athletic, and better equipped than English Bulldogs to deal with feral pigs and cattle that ravaged their farms. It isn’t exclusively documented which other breeds contributed to the American Bulldog’s larger size. During the World Wars, the breed nearly became extinct, although a handful of ranchers in the southeast maintained their working dogs.
Two men, John Johnson and Alan Scott, are recognized as saving and refining the breed seen today. With different breeders aiming to create American Bulldogs for different work purposes, there are several distinct lines. The most known lines are the Johnson and Scott types. The AKC welcomed the American Bulldog into their Foundation Stock Service in 2019. This means they are closer to becoming recognized as an official breed. The UKC recognizes the American Bulldog.
Bully Pits have a personality that reflects the traits found in both parents. This means you can expect your Bully Pit to have a protective character. They guard their home and family, alerting their family to strangers approaching the house. Thankfully, with the proper training and socialization as a pup, they aren’t overly threatening or aggressive. But you need to be an experienced and firm owner to bring out the best in them.
With their family, Bully Pits tend to be cheerful, bubbly, and playful. They love to spend the day with their humans, playing, exploring, and enjoying life to the fullest. Bully Pits are one of the most loyal and loving canine companions you can have. And they’re great fun, too! After a day of having fun, they take great pleasure in cuddling up to their human pack, ready for belly rubs and lots of fuss.
Size & Appearance
Those who love Pitbull mixes find the Bully Pit to be a super handsome hound. They have broad chests, muscles on top of their muscles, large feet, and a huge head. Bully Pits have a wide and infectious smile that stretches from ear to ear. Their ears are triangular and small compared to the size of their head. And their tail is long and thick.
Generally speaking, they are smaller than the American Bully but larger than their Pitbull parent. Mature Bully Pits are expected to weigh between 45 and 80 pounds and measure between 19 and 23 inches tall, from paw to shoulder. Females are typically smaller than their male counterparts. Bully Pits with a parent from the Johnson American Bulldog bloodline are usually more prominent than the Scott bloodline. If size is important, ask your breeder which line of American Bulldogs they come from.
Falling slightly outside these measurements isn’t a big deal as long as they are proportionate in size and healthy. But if they are way off, there’s a chance the dog in question might not be healthy or not be a Bully Pit. If you already have a Bully Pit but are unsure if they fit into these guidelines, you can learn more with a DNA test kit.
Coat & Colors
Their fur is always straight, slightly stiff in texture but sleek to the touch. They have a double coat and shed seasonally, meaning they are not a hypoallergenic dog breed. Their parents enjoy a wide range of colors, meaning the Bully Pit has an extensive collection of coat colors to choose from. As the Bulldog is mostly white with colored patches, most puppies in a Bully Pit litter have white on their coat in some form.
If the Bully Pit has a red-nose Pitbull parent or a blue-nose Pitbull parent, they might inherit a blue-nose or a red-nose along with the same colored features, such as eyelids, lips, paw pads, and nails. But most Bully Pits have black noses and black features. Blue-nose or red nose Bully Pits are rarer and often command a higher puppy price. Knowing that the different color features result from a recessive gene is important. And this heightens the chances of additional health issues and diseases.
Exercise & Living Conditions
Bully Pits might be large and heavy looking, but they are surprisingly active. They need between 60 and 90 minutes of exercise daily to keep their mind stimulated and body healthy. They are happy to run around a field playing fetch and tackling tricky agility courses. Their activity needs to be challenging to burn up their mental energy. Otherwise, they might become frustrated, destructive, and unruly. Tackle this with tough chew toys for mental stimulation.
Bully Pits are large dogs. And combine that with their need to play, explore, and exercise, they prefer a home with access to a yard. Their yard must be secure and enclosed, too. They are sneaky escape artists when they want to be. They won’t hesitate to run into traffic or chase other dogs if they feel threatened or bored. Not only is this dangerous for them, but it can also be dangerous for outsiders.
When it comes to living with children and other pets, it is dependent on their training and character. Bully Pits that have been trained well and live with an experienced and firm owner do well living in most family environments. However, undersocialized and unruly Bully Pits might not cope well with other pets in the home, given their parentage. Well-balanced Bully Pits tend to thrive in a family environment and tend to gravitate toward kiddos. But children must be dog-savvy and respect the dog’s boundaries.
Bully Pits are challenging dogs to own and need an experienced dog owner and firm handler to bring their best side out. These pups are not a great choice for first-time owners. If a Bully Pit thinks you are inexperienced or not worthy of being their master, they won’t listen or respect you. But, with the right owner and proper training at an early age, these dogs can become obedient and reliable canine citizens. Trainers like Doggy Dan can help with any training need.
Early training is critical, so working with a responsible breeder who begins the socialization process from day one is vital. And when you bring them home, it is your responsibility to continue their training. You need to establish routines and rules when your pup enters their new home. Mix them with as many humans, dogs, and new experiences as possible and ensure each experience is positive. Bully Pits have a dominant character, so consistent, lifelong training is essential.
They need a family that can spend most of their time with them. They can suffer from separation anxiety, and if they do, they become destructive. For these reasons, it’s a great idea to crate-train them. Not only does it give them a space to relax, but it also means they are safely contained to prevent them from wrecking your home. It would be best to have a robust and durable crate for a powerful dog like this.
Bully Pits are relatively healthy dogs with a typical lifespan of 10 to 14 years. Daily exercise, high-quality nutrition, and regular health checks keep them healthy. You should also consider pet insurance. It can be a helpful way to proactively plan and offset the costs of emergency care. If they take after their Pitbull parent more than their Bulldog parent, they are likelier to live longer and be healthier. Let’s look at some health conditions commonly associated with this mixed breed.
If your Bully Pit is more Bulldog-like, they might have a similar flat-faced anatomy to the Bulldog. This means they might experience some problems associated with brachycephalic syndrome, such as upper airway abnormalities and obstructions. Thankfully, the Pitbull influence should ease these abnormalities. Still, avoid exercise when it is too hot and monitor them during activity. Keeping your Bully Pit at a healthy weight is the best way to avoid these potential issues.
Their Bulldog influence means they have a higher incidence of deafness than other breeds. Deafness in Bulldog mixes is often linked to their white coat, called cochleosaccular. It can affect one or both ears and can be seen as little as one week old. Working with a breeder who submits their dogs for a BAER hearing test is important. Although being deaf doesn’t cause any distress to the dog, it requires you to accommodate their additional needs.
Bully Pits are predisposed to several eye conditions, such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataracts, and canine multifocal retinopathy (CMR1). Some of these conditions can lead to blindness if left untreated. Again, working with a responsible breeder who submits their breeding stock to regular ophthalmologist examinations is important to prevent passing on these genes. If you notice any problems with your dog’s vision, or they seem nervous about poor visibility or bumping into things, you should get them in for a check-up.
Joint dysplasia is a relatively common health condition in medium to large-size dogs, including the Bully Pit. It occurs when the elbow and hip joints form abnormally, causing additional wear and tear. This can eventually lead to painful joints and mobility issues. A responsible breeder only breeds dogs with good joint scores, so be sure to ask about this. Limping, stiffness, kicking out, and poor mobility are signs of joint dysplasia.
Degenerative myelopathy (DM) is an inherited disease sometimes found in the Bully Pit, although it is still rare. It affects the spinal cord and causes loss of coordination and progressive muscle weakness, primarily in the hind limbs. Symptoms usually appear around eight years old, and it can take only up to 12 months until they are unable to walk.
Skin disorders are among the most common health concerns in Bully Pits and both parents. They are often a result of allergies, including food, environmental allergens, or parasites. It’s essential to identify the allergen so your dog can avoid it. Other skin disorders include ichthyosis, where the skin thickens and becomes scaley. This is incurable but manageable with medicated shampoos. Symptoms of various skin disorders include excessive scratching, hair loss, sore skin, open or oozing wounds, and distinctive odors. Please see your vet if you notice any of these symptoms.
Bully Pits are large dogs with a large appetite. How much you feed them is dependent on various factors such as their age, weight, sex, activity levels, and what type of diet you feed them. So there’s no one-size-fits-all here. But they need a high-quality diet containing protein, healthy carbs, omega three and six fatty acids, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Pick a food compliant with the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), which should meet their nutritional needs.
Their nutrition needs to be age and size-appropriate, too. This is especially important during the developmental puppy stage, as it helps to maintain healthy skeletal development. This can minimize the risk of developing joint dysplasia, which the Bully Pit is predisposed to. There are many types of nutrition to choose from, such as kibbles, raw diets, wet food, and fresh subscription services.
It’s also imperative that you don’t overfeed your Bully Pit. They need to maintain a healthy weight and avoid the problems associated with brachycephalic syndrome and joint dysplasia. Bully Pits are renowned for eating everything they can get their paws on, so be sure to keep dangerous food items out of reach.
Grooming your Bully Pit is typically easy if they have healthy skin and coat. They only need brushing once every week to keep them healthy and looking smart. During the shedding season, they might need extra grooming. Grooming is essential to spread their natural oils and stimulate the skin to keep itself healthy. This can help your Bully Pit, who is prone to skin disorders, to retain healthy skin. A deshedding rake is a helpful tool to keep their coat healthy.
If your Bully Pit has skin rolls, you must keep them clean by wiping them with a hygienic, damp cloth or specific roll-cleaning formulas. Skin folds are a breeding ground for bacteria, and it’s important to dry them after cleaning. If your Bully Pit has a skin disorder, they might need medicated shampoo or other medicated products to keep them healthy as directed by your vet. These can increase grooming time but are necessary to keep your Bully Pit healthy and happy.
Bathing your Bully Pit is a must every two months. This keeps them clean and smelling fresh. Use a gentle doggy shampoo formula as they have sensitive skin. Their teeth need cleaning weekly, and their nails need to be clipped when they become too long. Getting your pup accustomed to their grooming routine from a young age is a great idea. It can be a challenging task if an 80-pound canine doesn’t want a bath or their teeth brushed.
Breeders & Puppy Costs
Working with a responsible breeder is always important, but it’s incredibly vital for a dog like the Bully Pit. The critical stage for socialization starts at eight weeks old, but what happens beforehand is also important. Growing up in a warm, loving environment with healthy parents affects their personality. And a happy and healthy pup is likelier to grow into a well-balanced and respectful dog.
Irresponsible breeders and puppy mills often miss out on this crucial stage, leaving them undersocialized and potentially problematic for their future families. Plus, they often breed unhealthy dogs, too. Avoid them at all costs, and research the breeder you want to work with. Make sure you ask all the important questions and ask to see health certificates to ensure you’re getting a healthy puppy.
The average price of a healthy Bully Pit from a responsible breeder is between $1,000 and $2,000. Prices can vary depending on location, demand, and bloodline. And remember that this is just the cost of the puppy. You need to buy everything they need, and the first year setting up costs and health care can make it the most expensive. The Bully Pit is a large dog, making it costlier than smaller breeds.
Rescues & Shelters
If buying a Bully Pit puppy is not an option for you right now, but you still want one, you could try rescuing one from a shelter. Unfortunately, it does mean you probably won’t know much about their upbringing or past, but if you meet the one for you, it might not matter. There are many Bulldog and Pitbull mixes waiting for their forever home. However, it can be challenging to identify their breeds, given the lack of history.
The cost of rehoming a dog from a shelter is often much less than buying a puppy from a breeder. Average rehoming fees fall between $100 and $300 depending on various factors. Try online rescue organizations if you can’t find a Bully Pit in your local shelters. They list Bulldog mixes and Pitbull mixes nationwide.
As A Family Pet
Here’s what you can expect from the Bully Pit as a family pet:
- They are dominant dog breeds not suitable for first-time owners.
- Bully Pits need tough love and firm, consistent training.
- Early training and socialization are key to a well-balanced dog.
- There is never a dull day with a fun Bully Pit.
- Bully Pits tend to be loving and affectionate with their family.
- They are active and need over one hour of exercise daily.
- Tough chew toys are great for preventing unwanted chewing behavior.
- Children need to be involved in training and dog-savvy.
- Their grooming routine is relatively simple.
- You need to keep your Bully Pit healthy and not overfeed them.
The Bully Pit is an incredible dog for the right family. They can be too much dog for some, especially first-time owners or those without experience with dominant dog breeds. But this could be a great mixed breed for those looking for a tough but friendly Fido. They need tough love, early and consistent training, lots of exercise and stimulation, and company. If you want to research this breed in further detail, check out their parents on our American Bulldog vs Pitbull guide as well.