The American Bully is a modern breed of dog that was developed as a companion dog, and originally standardized and recognized as a breed in 2004 by the American Bully Kennel Club (ABKC). Their published breed standard describes the dog as giving the "impression of great strength for its size". In 2008, the American Bully was recognized by the European Bully Kennel Club (EBKC), and on July 15, 2013, by the United Kennel Club (UKC). Neither The Kennel Club nor American Kennel Club (AKC) have recognized or accepted the American Bully into their registry as a purebred dog. The founding registry (ABKC) divided the American Bully into four categories, including the Pocket, Standard, Classic, and XL, whereas other registries, including the UKC, have approved one consistent size standard.
There are several types, ranging from pocket to XXL in size and weight. Temperament in adult dogs is very much dependent on training, and the breed can be very demanding and needs to be properly trained.
The American Bully, as it is now known, began development in the 1980s with the majority of the final behavioral and aesthetic product being completed in the 1990s. There is consensus that at least five other breeds were used to attain the more "bully" physical traits desired as well as the more diminutive size of some lines. The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) was the foundation (parent breed) used to create the American Bully. The APBT has maintained a characteristic appearance and temperament for over a century. Within that span of time different strains of APBT emerged within the breed, each with different physical attributes. One particular APBT strain was crossbred to create developed a specific, stockier, physique that breeders originally misrepresented as purebred American Pit Bull Terriers. Eventually, enough breeders agreed that these dogs were disparate enough from American Pit Bull Terriers that it warranted them admitting that they were different breed altogether. The bloodline of these mixed breeds were further influenced with further, openly acknowledged breeding to the American Bulldog, English Bulldog, and Olde English Bulldogge in order to fine-tune desired physical characteristics and personality traits.
The breed was first recognized by its breed club, the American Bully Kennel Club (ABKC), in 2004. This registry first acted as a means to document pedigrees and show the breed against its written standard. According to the ABKC the initial desire for this breed was to produce a dog with a lower prey drive and more of the "bully" traits and characteristics than the American Staffordshire Terrier. Mass and heavy bone was prioritized to ensure such a look, and due to this many of the dogs shown today display the wide front for which they were originally bred.
The breed's development and popularity are commonly tied to the growth of hip-hop culture. The American Bully should not be confused with the several other bulldog-type breeds.