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How to be a Responsible Parent to a Bully Breed Dog

Updated on September 8, 2012
American Bulldog mix
American Bulldog mix

Bully Breed Dogs

Bully breed dogs make great pets for some people. They don't make the perfect dog for all people.

These poor dogs tend to be lumped together as "bad dogs," but in reality they're not. They just have an unconventional history and past.

Human's don't have the best history, and yet we tend to trust them. I'm not saying that I would trust my child with a stranger, but I'm, also not saying that I'd trust my child with a strange dog, not matter what breed.

That being said what are the bully breed dogs? Bully breed dogs are often lumped together as "pit bull," but that doesn't really tell you anything because there are at least 6 common bully breed dogs and many less common ones. The more common of the bully breed dog breeds include the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Miniature Bull Terrier, and the American Bulldog.

Bully Breed Dogs as Pets

Being misconstrued as bad dogs, it's often assumed that bully breed dogs make terrible pets. This is simply, but true.

What is true, is that they do not make the best pet for every person.

Inexperienced dog owners are not the bet pet parent to these dog breeds. People who cannot provide proper training and socialization, should not have these dogs. Those who want guard or protection dogs, need to find another breed. And, those people who cannot be the alpha, pack leader, should go to a different dog.

Bull breed dogs are great with people of all ages as long as they are socialized and trained.

Be Responsible

If you have a bully breed dog or are interested in bringing one home, you need to make sure that you are ready to deal with the consequences.

First, check the ordinances in your town and state. Make sure that the breed isn't illegal to own. In many areas these dog breeds are illegal to have as pets.

Don't assume because you're buddy down the street has an AmStaff, you can too. You buddy down the street may be breaking the law.

So, once you check out the laws, you need to do as much research about the breed and training thereof before searching for a responsible breeder or looking through a rescue.

Training and socializing is the key with any dog, especially dog's with bad reputations.

You don't want your beloved family pet to be accused of attacking another dog, animal, or person, even if he really didn't do it. It happens. It may even be more common than you think.

Make the public aware that your dog is good. Get him CGC (Canine Good Citizen) certified.

Although, this isn't a definite answer, it will help your case if your dog is ever accused of being aggressive.

American Staffordshire Terrier
American Staffordshire Terrier

Spay and Neuter

Make sure to get your dog altered at the appropriate age.

Having bad reputations, responsible owners of bully breed dogs do not breed. They spay and neuter.

There are already so many stray "pit bulls" and bully breeds out running the streets, you don't want to help the overpopulation problem.

Plus, already with a bad reputation these stray bully breed mixes worsen the cause and make the fight against Breed Specific Legislations harder.

Plus spaying and neutering lessens hormones in dogs, which can decrease an aggression problem.

Responsible dog owners spay and neuter.

Owning a Bully Breed


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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Our AmStaff takes long naps with our cat. Is kind and patient with our 3 kids, and sleeps with us every night. We love him. Thank you for writing this.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      My boyfriend and I have a six month old female pitbull and she is the BEST THING TO EVER HAPPEN TO US. Not only is she the sweetest dog ever she is smart and has the funniest personality you will ever see. The neighbors love her and their kids come over to see her all the time. I'm impressed with how gentle she is with the kids (much better than some of the other dogs I've had in the past which were supposed to be the "family dogs") She knows who's in charge and doesn't attack anything but her chew toy ;) Overall I could not be more pleased with this breed and thrilled with the joy she has brought into our lives.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      i HATE when people say pits are mean dogs.any dog can be mean the owner just has to know how to raise a dog if they raise them right any dog can be a sweetheart but raise them wrong any breed of dog can be viscious.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I just "inherited" a full blood Razor's Edge pup of 4 months. He is the sweetest animal ever. He is socializing with two not so accomadating Min Pins, and a Long Tall female Eli Pit. He watches Roxey the Pit like he wants to be just like her and he learns so fast from everything he watches. I just so enjoy his laid back nature. He is fast becoming his own bona fide member of our "Pack". Bully breeds ROCK!!!

    • Lea^ profile image

      Lea Smith 

      11 years ago

      I am glad to see that there are people who are open to breeds that are being banned simply for being born a certain breed. I have written an article dealing with this subject as well, and plan on writing more. Did you know that many more breeds have been targeted as bully breeds, many most of us would not even think of as being a problem. Breeds such as Dalmatians, for instance, which is odd because they are known for working for the public (firehouse dogs). These dogs labeled as bullies are actually very sweet, good with children, love and want to please people as much as any dog. One of the things that I like to remind people to do is to check out both sides of a story before judging.

    • profile image

      Doggy Mommy 

      11 years ago

      T recently adopted a 2 year old American Bulldog/Pit mix. She has been well socialized and in training. She is very lovable and they are one breed that is very affectionate. No matter where i am in the house, she will find me and come lay beside me. These breeds respond to love and a caring owner but they do need a firm hand. She does get punished and occasionally a smack. She always knows who is in charge. the only negative is- really hard to get them to walk on a leash because they pull hard and want to run ahead.

      great pets- lots of kisses and intelligent.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      As an owner of 1 female APBT & a rescued female Am bully/great dane mix(along with 3 GSD),I can say without a doubt,'pit bull' type dogs are great pets if raised in the right environment.Though dog to dog agression is common and normal in these breeds, the way they are with people,when socialised and trained properly is just wonderful.Don't believe the media hype about ALL ofthem being killer dogs,(unless you count being licked to death).Properly socialised,well trained,and properly managed pit bulls,are no threat to soceity,and are great pets for those responsible enough to care for their unique needs.

    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Georgia

      What was the situation. How was the dog acting before he attacked? How were you acting? How was the other person and dog acting?

      Sometimes the dog may feel an emotion that you or the other person was feeling that led to the attack.

      Was the puppy being overly playful and maybe your dog had had enough.

      Generally, when someone says their dog has never done this before, there have been signs leading up to the attack. That or the situation was just a fluke, or the dog just had enough that day.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I was just wondering if anyone could offer a little guidance on my situation. I have an English Stafforshire bull terrier, sweetest dog in the world and couldn't ask for more. He is roughly over a year , super well socialised yet today he attacked another dog (larger puppy) while at the dog park. The puppy was on a leash which most should know that off leash dog areas are not the greatest of places to keep your dog on a leash, creates a weeker link. Regardless it could have been fatal Im sure. He has never attacked another dog so this concerns me immensely. I am open to any comment or suggestion. I just do not want to be held responsible for the pain or death of another dog.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I had a APBT for almost 6 years. I got him when he was 6 weeks old and it was the best thing I had ever done when it came to being a dog owner. He was the best dog I had ever owned and my two children's best friend. My family shook their head when they found out I was going to bring children in to my home with a "pit bull"... But when they received their christmas cards with a picture of my 8 day old son sleeping on the couch with my little bully "gauge" they changed their minds almost immediately! And to this day I will continue to own the breed NO MATTER what I have to do..... My Gauge even scared off an intruder at a friends house while she was watching him for me while I was out of town. Now that's what I call mans best friend!!! Hands down!!!!!

    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      12 years ago from Georgia

      Bully breed is more or less to denote dogs of bulldog decent (for the most part). APBTs and other breeds have just been included in the group as of recently (IE past few years). I think given time these dogs will have their good ole reputation back... They used to be one of the most loved dogs in familys with children.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      I think it's unfortunate that the term "bully breed" even exists. the term bully denotes an attitude of aggression and instigation. We just got a boxer pitX and he is the sweetest most gentle dog ever. And, I am firm believer that too many people get a pitbull for the status, or as an accesory, without thinking about the fact that all dogs, no matter the breed, need training, attention, and love just like any other pet. I truly believe it is unfair that these dogs have gotten such a bad reputation.

    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      13 years ago from Georgia

      No a lab/bully mix will not help the mouthy issues. Labs are just a mouthy if not trained. All dogs can be just as mouthy. And if you step on a dog of another breed, you still pose the concern of will it try to bite back. My mother has a st bernard/ collie mix, neither breeds are consider bully, but she will she enough let you know if you step on her tail. If you step on my APBT's tail or feet, she just looks at you like "what?" If any dog bites it can hurt.

      I wanted to add that labs have been deemed more dangerous than Pit Bulls by the U.S Humane Society.

      And, Rotties actually aren't consider bully breed dogs. Dogs that have bulldog in them are consider bully breed dogs, but that does not mean that all bulldogs are considered bully breeds.

    • profile image


      13 years ago

      I think 'bully dogs' are great but what about when they do bite, like if you step on there tail or something couldn't that really hurt someone. It would be cool to get one except for the fact that when they do bite if at all it could really hurt. Would getting american bully lab mix help the mouth issue because labs have soft mouths. Also do bully breeds have to have bull in them like some of the breeds that guard a lot are banned also like a rottie or something.

    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      13 years ago from Georgia

      Some people claim that and American Bully is a cross between and APBT and an AmStaff. I disagree. These people also claim that it's a breed on its own, but if its the classification of a mix between, then its not a breed. I believe that an American Bully is nothing more than and APBT. My Blue Gotti APBT is considered an American Bully, and she's 100% APBT. No AmStaff blood in her. It's all in opinion at this point in time. Most APBT people says it's just a selectively bred APBT, others claim it's a mix-breed hybrid. If you find a breeder claiming to have Gotti American Bullies, you'll probably pay more than for a Gotti APBT.

      American bullies are nothing more than a staulky, muscular, big headed selectively bred APBT. They're usually classified under the bloodlines- Gotti, Razor's Edge, and a few others.

    • Olive S. profile image

      Olive S. 

      13 years ago

      Hi Whitney,

      I would like to get a American Bully. What is the difference between an American Bully and a ABPT? [if there is a difference.]

    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      13 years ago from Georgia

      Oh definitely Helena. The more good words, the less bad. AmStaffs are gorgeous dogs. I wish I could afford one. the APBT is the cheap-mans AmStaff. Ha.

    • helenathegreat profile image


      13 years ago from Manhattan

      Great hub, of course. :) When I'm "grown up" and settled and own my own property, I'd like to get an AmStaff. They're one of the breeds I might like to actually buy from a breeder... they're just so freaking gorgeous, and breeding can be pretty important if bad people are potentially breeding for fighting.

      The more word there is out there that these dogs aren't inherently bad, the better, right?

    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      13 years ago from Georgia

      Sybille- training and socializing is the key, by far.

      Dhuffman- you're correct. any bad dog is direct reflection on the owner. there are actually very few "bad dogs." In most cases, the dogs just aren't in the right home, and in another home would be much better behaved as the new owner may know how to better correct the problems from the past.

    • dhuffman31 profile image


      13 years ago from Memphis TN

      Kudo to you and the American Pit, we have 2 and they are the best dogs, I could ever have hoped for. Bad "pits", or any bad dog is a direct reflection of their owner. Ho Rah!

    • Sybille Yates profile image

      Sybille Yates 

      13 years ago

      We have two Staff Bullies in our village, the sweetest dogs imaginable BUT they have also very good owners that socialize and train them properly. For the right person it is surely an excellent breed. SY


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