EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW About XL American Bully Puppies
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The XL American Bully is a variety of the American Bully: a designer breed that only has been recognised as its own separate breed by the United Kennel Club in 2013. Their history dates back no more than a few decades: In the 1980s and 90s, dedicated breeders in the US set out to create a perfect family companion. For that purpose, they crossed an American Staffordshire Terrier with an American Pitbull Terrier. From that first litter, they developed the new breed further into the American Bully that we have today.
The creators of this new breed aimed to maintain the Pitbull’s stunning outer appearance, whilst removing some of their less desirable traits – such as dog-aggression and extremely strong prey drive. Their plan was to emphasize the Staffy’s more mellow and gentle temperament, as precisely these attributes make Staffies such amazing family dogs.
In the years following that first litter, various breeders all over the United States continued developing the American Bully – often, by bringing other breeds into the mix, such as American and English Bulldogs.
In simple terms, the XL American Bully is merely the largest version of the American Bully, whose breed standard differentiates between 4 types:
Number 1: Pocket American Bullies, who measure between 14 and 17 inches at the wither (which is between 35 and 43 cm)
Number 2: Standard American Bullies with a height of 17 to 20 inches (which is 43 to 50 cm)
Number 3: Classic American Bullies, who are the same size as the Standard ones, but have a lighter frame
And, finally, Number 4: XL American Bullies, who are a larger variant of the standard version, with males reaching 20 to 23 inches (or, 51 to 57cm) at the withers and females 19 to 22 inches (so, 48 to 54 cm).
By the way, the one criterion for these categories is the dogs’ height: Weight and other factors do not count. In terms of body type and looks, all these different types should be similar according to breed standards. The XL type can weigh between 80 and 150 pounds – that is, between 36 and 68 kg. In other words, these are seriously large, heavy and very, very strong dogs!
However, in order to conform to breed standards, XL American Bullies not only have to have a certain build, height and weight: They also MUST have the temperament of the gentle family companion whom the American Bully originally was bred to be.
What is their temperament like?
And this leads us straight into discussing the temperament of the XL American Bully. Just like the American Staffordshire Terriers that are responsible for 50% of their genetic makeup, the Bullies are calm, stable, and affectionate family dogs who are great with children of all ages. They are devoted, sweet and deeply loyal companions who form extremely close bonds with their families. These naturally joyful and happy dogs love nothing more than spending time with their favourite humans.
Despite their fearsome looks, XL American Bullies are indeed amazingly friendly – and not only to their owners, but also to their owners’ circle of family and friends. Surprisingly, they even extend that kindness to people they have never seen before, as well as to other dogs: Unlike the American Pitbull Terrier, they do not display dog-aggression, when socialised correctly.
Perhaps this extraordinary kind-heartedness is due to their origins: Contrary to various other bully breeds, they were not bred to fight, but to be perfect family dogs. Because they are so gentle, XL American Bullies are ideal for families with children.
- Not only because they are very patient with them, but also because their guarding instinct is well-balanced. This means that they are not prone to attacking your childrens’ friends when they come over for some shared playtime. Other guard dog breeds – like, for example, the Akita - can misread such a situation as “their own” children being under attack by the other kids, and this can lead to serious injuries.
All in all, XL American Bullies do look scary, but they really are an amazingly loving, gentle and friendly breed.
How intelligent and trainable are XL American Bullies?
As all American Bullies, the XL dogs are highly intelligent and can be trained to high levels of obedience. These dogs are a pure pleasure to work with. They are immensely eager to please their owners and will give their very best in each training session. This high trainability allows you to teach them new commands very quickly.
Of course, this pronounced eagerness to please comes in quite handy when it comes to providing the XL American Bully with sufficient mental and physical stimulation: Your dog will greatly enjoy these training sessions – which you can easily supplement with play. This way, you can make obedience drills into fun experiences for both you and your dog.
There is another aspect to the XL American Bully’s keen intelligence – and that is their ability to effectively protect their owners and their homes, should the need arise. Now, this only SEEMS to contradict their mellow nature that we discussed just a minute ago. Let me explain:
Due to the deep bond they form with their owners, XL American Bullies are acutely aware of their owner’s emotions and body language whenever they are near them. Combine that with their keen natural intelligence, and you have a dog who is well able to discern between harmless situations - and potentially threatening ones.
For example, should you ever be faced with an attack to your person, your Bully will come to the rescue – without having to be formally trained as a guard dog. Quite obviously, XL American Bullies make formidable opponents to anyone misguided enough to launch an attack to yourself – or an intrusion into your home.
Are XL American Bullies healthy dogs?
Because this is such a young breed, there is not much information available, as of yet, when it comes to the common health issues of the XL American Bully.
However, there are a few health problems that the standard American Bully is prone to suffer from, especially hip- and elbow-dysplasia as well as Demodex mange – a skin condition caused by mites. Other possible health issues are cataracts, atophy, congenital heart failure, brachycephalic airway, syndrome, gassiness as well as heat intolerance.
The life-expectancy of XL American Bullies lies somewhere between 9 and 13 years.
In order to ensure a healthy growth of muscles and bones, puppies should be fed a diet with a high protein and fat content. In fact, a raw food diet is perfect for them – preferably with products sourced from organic farming: Out of all the possible diets for your dog, raw food has the highest nutritional content.
How much exercise do XL American Bullies need?
The answer is: A lot! As their enormous size and their muscular bodies suggest, the XL American Bully absolutely needs sufficient daily exercise to stay healthy and happy. In order to avoid any form of destructive behaviour (such as chewing or digging up your garden), they must be provided with positive outlets for their energy.
When given ample exercise, XL American Bullies are quiet in the house and make the perfect canine companions they have been bred to be.
Now, this does not mean that every single walk needs to be a hardcore-workout: Bullies will absolutely enjoy at least one nice heel-walk a day around your neighbourhood. Such walks are also excellent opportunities to strengthen the bond between yourself and your dog - and to keep your Bully keen and sharp on the obedience front.
Apart from this leisurely kind of walks, XL American Bullies need to be able to work their muscles, and there are a number of fun ways to provide them with such a workout, for example:
Runs off-leash: Your super-sized Bully will require at least one good run off-leash a day – either in a securely fenced-in area or, once you have perfected your recall under distraction, in nature.
Interactive play: Invest in a variety of extra-durable toys, then teach your dog to fetch! This is an excellent way to get your canine companion tired out without you yourself having to move around much. Also, use an extra-robust rope toy and play tug-of-war with your Bully. Both these games are lots of fun and provide great workouts. As well, such games of fetch and tug-of-war can be easily combined with obedience drills.
Cycling: Whilst your Bully will no doubt love to trot and run next to your bicycle, them being XL Bullies means you need to take serious safety-precautions yourself. For example, use a SAFE prong collar; I personally always recommend the Herm Sprenger ones. Whilst prong collars are a highly controversial training aid, in the case of XL Bullies, you might well need the extra bit of control over your dog they give you. Their purpose does not consist in hurting the dog, but in protecting yourself AND the dog from any accidents. Of course, being a responsible owner, you will have educated yourself on the proper use of such a collar prior to using it.
Mountain Biking: If you have trained your Bully to high levels of obedience off-leash, then, taking them along on a Mountain Biking trip will provide fun and high levels of exercise for the both of you.
Canine cardio: With such an extra-large breed on your hands, you might want to invest in a dog treadmill. This tool is a veritable Heaven-sent for owners of large Bullies. It allows your dog to get an excellent cardio-workout, without you having to exert yourself.
Spring-pole: This is another fun way for your Bully to use their muscles – without requiring any activity on your part: Spring poles can be easily installed in your back yard and can keep your dog occupied for hours.
What are their grooming requirements?
As this beautiful breed has a very short coat with a nice natural shine to it, it hardly requires any grooming: Even when they spend a lot of time outside, XL American Bullies tend to stay remarkably clean. Dust and dirt hardly ever stick to their coats.
However, should they manage to get themselves caked in mud, a quick spray-down with a garden hose is usually sufficient. Of course, especially when you keep them inside the house, it is recommendable to brush your Bully once a week. Use a soft bristle brush or a mitt. During shedding season in spring and autumn, more frequent brushing might be required to keep those short hairs from getting onto the floor.
All in all, I think it is safe to say that the early breeders’ efforts to create a perfect family companion have been wildly successful: The XL American Bully retains the beautiful, one-of-a-kind looks of the American Pitbull Terrier. At the same time, they are free from the more problematic traits of the Pitbull, such as aggression towards other animals and extremely high prey drive.
The result of those breeding efforts is one of the most fun-to-work-with dog breeds that I have ever encountered. XL American Bullies are a joy to have around. They genuinely adore people and greet even complete strangers with enthusiasm.
So, if you are looking for an affectionate, gentle companion for yourself and your family – and, at the same time, you love the typical bully breed-looks – then, this dog is the perfect fit for you.