History Of The American Pit Bull Terrier & The Evolution Of The American Bully

Apr 1, 2017 · 14 min read
Left: American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) Right: American Bully Grand Champion Thee Buss

“The American Bully (an offshoot of the American Pit Bull Terrier) evolved through careful and selective breeding.” according to most major registries description of the breed.

At least that’s the politically correct answer..

In reality, it is more likely that breeders after a bigger “pit bull” with exaggerated features added various bulldog breeds in, often times hanging papers. Regardless of how it truly happened, the result was an extremely physically impressive animal.

One with the look of a pit bull, but with heavier bone structure and more muscle mass. This breed went on to become the American Bully. The temperament was a bonus, as they are very laid back and make excellent companion dogs.

The Limas family with Venom daughter Mohana

Today’s American Bully began it’s establishment around 20 years ago and has exploded in popularity as the ultimate family companion, becoming widely desired for it’s impressive physical attributes. The American bully Breed is an offshoot of the American Pit Bull Terrier infused with the American Staffordshire Terrier along with various bulldog breeds designed to place an emphasis on maintaining a loyal, devoted and steadfast temperament, while enhancing desired physical characteristics.

The traits of dog aggression and gameness were purposely bred out, because the breed had no future purpose for those traits (with the exception of hunting and sporting events) A new style of breed was formed and is now promoted as the “American Bully.” This newer breed still carries the ancestry of the “Pit Bull” and unfortunately still has to deal with the reputation and stereotyping of the breed.. but it IS NOT the same breed.

The 1st ABKC Grand Champion Pokemon

Confirmation Shows and Events are showing the world why this is such a great breed, (just like the American Pit Bull Terrier despite what the media would have you believe) and changing public perception in mass numbers. These types of events help educate the public on the American Bully and what makes it such an incredible breed, and have also helped to break down negative stereotyping of both the breed and people.

The American Bully possesses the loyalty and stability of the American Pit Bull Terrier while retaining the sociable, amiable, and outgoing temperament of the American Staffordshire Terrier and the various bulldog breeds. Initially registries were reluctant to acknowledge the existence of bulldog breeds, but many including the ABKC have come forward and acknowledged it’s presence.

Black Label’s Frank Lucas

This unique breed is noted for displaying extreme tolerance toward children and an overwhelming eagerness to please its family. Physically, the American Bully has a graceful yet impressive, solid, defined, athletic build that is both muscular and toned, and denotes strength as well as agility. It is a breed capable and diverse in all tasks and abilities.

The American Pit Bull Terrier is a wonderful breed of dog, well-known for its intelligence, strength, and loyalty. In recent years, the breed has been unfairly villianized as overly aggressive and dangerous.


The media unfairly groups several different breeds under the label “pit bull” for news reports grossly miscalculating bite and attack statistics. Scientists and DNA tests have proven that the majority of attacks by breeds labeled as pit bull were not in fact, true American Pit Bull Terriers.


Like many modern breeds, it is impossible to be completely sure of the details of the American Pit Bull Terrier’s long history. However, many pit bull enthusiasts believe the origins of the breed can be traced back to antiquity and the Molossian family of dogs.


The Molossian family of dogs bears the name of the people with whom they were most often associated — the Molossi tribe, a group of people who lived in ancient Greece and favored the use of robust, muscular dogs in warfare. Officially termed canus molossi (dogs of the Molossi), these animals were reknowned for their fierceness, and for their innate ability to intimidate the enemies of their tribe.

During this same time period, it is also believed that the Molossian dogs were used for other purposes. In fact, early Phoenician traders may even have used the Molossians as a bargaining item in their commercial transactions. The Molossians gave rise to another family of dogs known as the Mastiffs. The early Britons employed a variation of the Mastiffs as pugnaces — fighting dogs that could be used in either a guardianship or warfare capacity.


Sadly, the Romans would not be the last to use pit bulls in cruel and grisly blood sports. When the Normans invaded England in 1066, they introduced a new sport called baiting. Interestingly enough, baiting originated with butchers who kept dogs (called Bullenbeissers) to handle unruly bulls as they were herded to the market for slaughter. When a bull stepped out of line or exhibited uncontrollable behavior, the dogs would clamp down on its nose and simply hang on until the handler could regain control of the wayward animal.

Like most dog owners, the butchers were proud of their canine companions and their stubborn tenacity in dealing with the much larger, and potentially dangerous bulls. Consequently, pubic displays were arranged to showcase the dogs’ abilities and, quite frankly, to appease the multitudes that attended baiting events for their entertainment value. By the 16th century, nearly every town in England had its own baiting ring. The popularity of baiting events was unparalleled at the time, as was their ability to draw spectators from every level of society. Their popularity was further enhanced by the misguided perception that prolonged torture ensured the tenderness of the meat.

Bull Baiting


In 1406, Edmond de Langley — the Duke of York — produced a short treatise for Henry IV entitled, “The Master of the Game and of Hawks.” In it, he described a descendent of the ancient Mastiffs that he called the “Alaunt”, the most commonly used baiting dog of the era. A 1585 painting of the Alaunts hunting wild boar portrayed lean, muscular animals with profound similarities to the dogs we know as pit bulls.


Ultimately the public’s fickle gaze fell on the sport of dog fighting, primarily because it could be more easily hidden from the prying eyes of the law than baiting and other fighting sports. Since dog fighting required smaller and more agile animals than the ones that were used in baiting, fighting bulldogs were bred with terriers who were known for their feistiness and indefatigable focus. The result was the bull-and-terrier, more commonly known as the first pit bull terrier — a muscular, canine gladiator bred specifically for combat with other dogs.


During the course of a dog fight, the dogs were expected to fearlessly hurl themselves at their opponents without flinching or hesitation. If a dog turned away, it was viewed as a weakness and could be grounds for forfeit. Even if the hesitant animal was lucky enough to survive the encounter, he was still not out of the woods. Many handlers killed their own dogs because they believed a dog that hesitated even once could no longer be relied on to fight with the verve and tenacity the sport required.



The performance events created an immediate problem for the pit bull since the function for which they were bred — fighting — was illegal. Furthermore, the AKC understandably refused to remotely endorse anything related to dog fighting. In response to the AKC’s unwillingness to include pit bulls as a bonafide breed, in 1898 an alternative group was formed — the UKC (United Kennel Club). The purpose of the UKC was to certify breeds that were not eligible for certification by the AKC. Not surprisingly, the UKC’s charter member was the American Pit Bull Terrier.

Ultimately the AKC did recognize the pit bull in 1936, albeit under the designation of the Staffordshire Terrier, named after the region of England where the crossbreeding of bulldogs and terriers is thought to have begun. Today, the AKC continues to include the American Staffordshire Terrier in its registry, although ironically this has now developed into a breed that is distinct from its American Pit Bull Terrier cousin. Over the years, the American Pit Bull Terrier has been a beloved symbol of America.

Sergeant Stubby WWI War Hero


Sergeant Stubby was a stray, homeless mutt who saved more lives, saw more combat, and performed more badass feats of heroic awesomeness than most people could ever hope to accomplish. This friggin’ dog/Battle-Cat hybrid learned the damn bugle calls, could execute the marching maneuvers with the men, and was — I shit you not — trained to salute superior officers by raising his forepaw to his brow.

Stubby was so incredibly badass there’s too many war stories and tales of heroics to write, but you can find them HERE. Stubby came home from the war to a hero’s welcome and went on to become the mascot for Georgetown University. Over the years, many famous Americans have owned pit bulls. Mark Twain, Theodore Roosevelt, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Thomas Edison, Woodrow Wilson, John Steinbeck, Helen Keller, and Fred Astaire have all been proud to own dogs of this breed. The actor Ken Howard (the father on the TV show Crossing Jordan) even credits his pit bull with saving his life.

Pit bulls have crept in the hearts of Americans through a variety of ways. For years, RCA recording company looked to a pit bull as its corporate logo. Similarly, Buster Brown Shoes used a pit bull as the cornerstone of their marketing campaign. But, perhaps the most famous pit bull was Petey, the adorable ring-eyed cutie featured on the TV show Little Rascals. In no time at all, Petey secured a place alongside Alfalfa, Spanky, and the other rascals as a national treasure.

Little Rascals’ Petey


“Pit Bulls” given credit for way more attacks by the media than DNA testing proves

Pit bulls have born the brunt of the backlash because of their popularity with dog fighters. This has caused the public to demand legislative action against pit bulls. Yielding to the pressure of their constituents, public officials have banned pit bulls in many civil jurisdictions and others are following suit including insurance companies who reserve the right to cancel a homeowner’s policy if it is learned that a pit bull resides on the premises.

The negative treatment of pit bulls in our society is unfortunate to say the least. Just the being labeled “pit bull” by someone can be a death sentence for a dog.

The scary part, is that it’s usually people without any experience with the breed that label them “pit bulls” based off of looks alone.

In Colorado, the police went around murdering people’s beloved pets and family members because they “looked like pit bulls.” Montreal is attempting to ban them now, or already has. If I were Montreal, I would focus my time, energy and resources on all of the criminal activity, the influx of drugs and criminal organizations.. or perhaps address the trafficking of women in the city.. Where they’re exploited for profit. But I digress..

Pit bulls and people can live harmoniously if given the chance. Training is an important consideration in pit bull ownership. The history of the breed demonstrates that unless they are properly trained and socialized at a young age, this strong-minded dog will quickly attempt to dominate the household. However, with the proper training the American Pit Bull Terrier can be a remarkably loyal and valued member of the family. As with any breed, responsible ownership is required. Be the leader of your pack and work with your dog.

Never leave any dog unattended with young children.


BULLY KING Mascot Champion Lucky Luciano

One with the look of a pit bull, but with heavier bone structure and more muscle mass. This breed went on to become the American Bully.

There is bulldog in the makeup of the American Bully, whether we agree with it or not is irrelevant,. It’s there. But Breeders trying to take shortcuts and breeding a Pit Bull with a Bulldog today are taking steps backwards. Other breeders mixing in French Bulldogs attempting to get an “exotic bully” are also damaging the breed.

See Everything You Need to Know About the American Bully- The Definitive List.

Grand Champion Reliance’s Chumper

Fast forward to 2016, the American Bully is the fastest growing breed in the world in terms of popularity.

2017 BULLY KING Magazine Mascot VENOM aka “Chunk” of Texas Size Bullies

For good reason too, on top of being one of the most physically impressive breeds on the planet, they make excellent family companions, service animals, therapy dogs and can be unbelievably gentle with children.

Baci and 3 year old Dom making their 1st Introductions

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