American Bullies have grown in popularity in the last decade following the United Kennel Club recognition in 2013. The breed is a cross between American Pitbull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers and is renowned for its muscular build combined with loyal and friendly temperaments.
Although the breed is primarily considered healthy, some common American Bully health issues must be considered.
We will explore these health issues in this article and briefly outline the available types of American Bully.
Types of American Bully
Although all leading kennel clubs do not recognize the American Bully, the American Bully Kennel Club (AKBC) was set up to create a legitimate authority that standardizes breeding practices.
The AKBC currently recognizes five American Bully types, briefly described below.
The Standard American Bully is medium to large-sized and characterized by having a blocky head and muscular body. Standard American Bullies typically stand 16 to 20 inches tall.
Classic American Bullies tend to be narrower, lighter, and less muscular than Standards. Despite this, they also stand 16 to 20 inches tall and have a similar temperament.
Extreme American Bullies have a wide range of sizes due to being bred with various Pitbulls and Terriers. Extremes typically have larger body mass and a heavier frame with more wrinkles.
Pocket American Bullies are the smallest American Bully available, known for their compact body shape, deep-filled chest, and muscular build.
XL American Bullies are the largest variety of the breed. They are large-size dogs with the classic Bully features and temperament and stand taller and bulkier than the Standard variety.
Common American Bully health issues
Hip dysplasia refers to the ball and socket hip joint failing to fit together snugly, which causes intense pain and lameness.
American Bullies’ broad and muscular build makes them particularly prone to this issue. The standard solution if the pain becomes unbearable is a total hip replacement.
American Bulldogs are also prone to elbow dysplasia. It is a similar joint issue, which is commonly a congenital abnormality. The condition can cause other joint problems due to self-correction to reduce the pain and arthritis.
Pocket American Bullies are most likely to suffer from this condition due to their compact build.
Elbow dysplasia can often be managed through a good diet and exercise.
Congenital heart failure can occur in American Bullies, present at birth, and can lead to heart failure later in life if not treated appropriately.
Heart failure can also impact the brain and nervous system, so you should get regular vet check-ups if there is a genetic diagnosis.
Hypothyroidism is a hormonal condition that can lead to other health issues, such as hair loss, weight gain, and extreme tiredness. American Bullies and Pitbull breeds are prone to developing this condition caused by a genetic disorder or autoimmune disease.
Allergies are a broad umbrella; some of the most common are broken down below.
Individual American Bullies can be allergic or build an intolerance to certain foods such as chicken, beef, wheat, corn, soy, or dairy products. Allergic reactions manifest themselves through itchiness, hair loss, and redness.
Environmental elements commonly cause allergies in American Bullies, including mold, fleas, pollen, and dust mites.
These types of allergies typically lead to coughing, sneezing, and wheezing.
American Bullies are often prone to suffer from eye conditions, including:
- Cherry eye
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Most eye conditions can be managed effectively if treated early, so it is essential to seek medical advice early.
American Bullies are known for having short, smooth skin. However, the breed can be prone to various skin problems outlined below.
Caused by either allergies, stress, or bacterial infection, hot spots are a type of dermatitis that leads to inflamed, red skin spots with pus. Your American Bully naturally wants to chew or lick the spot, which can worsen symptoms.
This skin issue is caused by tiny mites which burrow themselves under the skin. Mange is very contagious and passes from dog to dog. The skin condition causes itchy sores, intense itchiness, and sometimes hair loss.
Seborrhea leads to dry and flaky or greasy and oily skin. It is a skin condition caused by genetics, hormonal imbalance, or allergies.
Seborrhea is a different condition from mange.
American Bullies often suffer from ear infections caused by ear mites, bacteria, or allergies. An ear infection results in smelly discharge from the ear or itchiness.
A lack of cleaning and care mainly causes dental issues. A buildup of tartar and plaque on the teeth can lead to toothache, periodontitis, or gingivitis.
Recognize American Bully health issues
Owners should constantly closely monitor their dogs. Regular monitoring allows you to tell if your dog is behaving unconventionally quickly. Typical signs of ill health in American Bullies include:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight gain/loss
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Panting and drooling
If you notice one of these American Bully health issues, contact your vet for a check-up as soon as possible.
Tom Novo is an enthusiastic owner of an American Bully named Rocky, who is currently eight years old. He fell in love with the American Bully breed a decade ago when his friends adopted a rescued Bully from a neighborhood shelter. Tom was inspired to acquire his own American Bully and become a dog behavioralist and trainer. He now helps households maximize the potential of the American Bully breed and regularly writes helpful, informative content on the breed.