American Bully doesn’t require any special care comparing to other breeds and is suitable also for beginners, thinking about purchasing their first dog. Despite this, previous experience with owning a dog or at least possibility of counselling with other dog owners is always an advantage.
As with every breed, you can find some dogs above or under average in term of need for activities, but in general bullies are very adaptable to their owner’s lifestyle and they don’t require that much of physical activities, although the will love to join you for them.
Beside of daily regular shorter walks or playtime in garden/other suitable area, 1 – 1,5 hours of more intense physical activity a day should be enough satisfying for your American Bully. The best way is to divide higher intense physical activity into shorter blocks of around 10 to 30 minutes to give enough rest to your dog in between and allow its body (which is way less athletic than his AST and APT ancestors did have) to recover a bit.
As mentioned above, you can always find dogs which’s satisfaction is in endless flirt pole or tennis ball chasing. But if the dog is not the one with moderate need for activity, American Bullies are more often getting closer to “couch potatoes” and will be happy if they can play a bit and then just chill rest of the time around you, chewing their toy on the carpet in living room with their family around or even better, sleeping with you on sofa. Basically – the key word for American Bully in all terms is FAMILY AROUND – these dogs need their humans or other dogs around and don’t like to be left alone.
Longer and intense walks above 1 hour or intense playing are recommended for dogs older than 1 year, as puppy skeleton and especially big joints are developing rapidly and prone to get injured quite easily. Always supervise your puppy while it’s playing with other dogs and don’t let them play too rough and wild as every bigger crash can be reason for either acute orthopaedical injury or can cause future chronical orthopaedical problems.
You should also be careful with slippery kind of surfaces, where your dog is living on and walking/playing on. Either indoor or outdoor, softer and anti-slippery surface as grass, harder sand surface, wooden floor or carpet will help your dog to stand firm and stably, which helps for good joint and ligament development.
Regarding to grooming, American Bullies are dogs easy to maintain. What is true, same as all short haired breeds they are loosing their short hair a little bit, which you will sooner or later see at your carpet, sofa or pants. With a little extra care you can eliminate it a lots – good nutrition is the key, same as occasional brushing with Furminator (special “deshedding” comb, designed to carefully remove all unwanted and loose hair). By our experience, daily use of hair & skin vitamin supplements for dogs together with Furminator brushing once a week for few minutes will rapidly reduce most of the loose hair of your American Bully or other short haired breed.
Nails should be trimmed regularly since you bring your puppy to it’s new home, as long and overgrown nails might cause incorrect shape of dog’s paw and in extreme cases also orthopaedical problems. Depends on each dog’s genetics, nutritions you give him, its age and surface on which the dog is walking most of the time (grass and carpet don’t trim nails naturally, while stones and concrete does for example), you might need to trim your dog’s nails every two weeks but maybe also every two or three months. Average is usually once a month for most of the dogs to keep their nails in proper condition.
Regarding to diet and feeding, please see the chapter “How to feed an American Bully”.
There are two main ways how to feed an American Bully. Either with super premium dry dog food for large breeds or with fresh raw diet. We personally prefer the second option, but you can find here basic informations about both of them. As nothing is just black and white, even with feeding dogs there are more ways and possibilities then just two. Some breeders combine dry dog food with fresh raw diet, some of them prefer boiled or heat-treated meat with some side dish, some of them will sing the praises of one specific dry dog food brand and tell you that you should never feed anything else than that. Most of them are right and they can reach very similar results by different ways of feeding, as long the dog gets enough of necessary nutritions which suit its age, physical activities and health.
The only way of feeding which we would not recommend is vegan or mostly plant based diet for dogs. Although dogs have been described as omnivores and they are able to digest starch and plant matter in general, they also need to receive meat/animal origin source of food. American Bully as a “modern western breed”, especially with its body constitution requires high quality animal protein in its diet and is not ready to be fed by pure plant based protein (usually derived from soya and other leguminous plants). In general, plant based protein as major protein source in fresh raw diet or dry dog food based on such kind of protein is not recommended for American Bullies.
No matter what kind of diet are you feeding to your American Bully, always secure free access to enough of fresh drinking water during all day, not just during feeding time! Always feed your dog maximum two hours before physical activity to allow proper digestion and avoid health complications and acute disorders as bloat – a gastric torsion. Important aspect of feeding is also amount of meals per day served to dog according to its age and physical activity. Puppies between 2 – 4 months should be fed four times a day, 4 – 6 (8) months puppies three times a day and from 6 (8) months and up you can feed your dog twice a day, which is recommended also for adult dogs. Adult dogs with very high physical activity might be fed three to four times a day. Some health issues of your dog, either puppy or adult, might require different feeding frequency and you should always consult it with your veterinarian.
Fresh raw diet – BARF (Bones And Raw Food)
This is the way how we feed our dogs on daily basis, although while travelling with dogs or occasionally even at home we feed high quality super premium dry dog food.
You can find hundreds of articles, books and videos about BARF diet for dogs, although it might be sometimes difficult to choose which source of informations is the best. Here you can find description of our way of feeding fresh raw diet, together with some general facts and tips. We gained our experience during fourteen years of feeding our dogs of different breeds mostly with BARF and years before that with dry and also wet conventional diets.
BARF – Bones And Raw Food – doesn’t consist just from pure raw meat/muscle, but should contain also raw bones, organs and plant components. Although there might be so many different opinions on all kinds of diets in general (even human ones), one fact is true for sure – long time consumption of one foodstuff only is definitely not healthy for anybody and leads in insufficiency of some macro or micro elements in dog (human…) body, which is causing disbalance and has consequence in variety of diseases or health issues.
All the canine, no matter wherever on planet Earth living at, consume wide variety of food sources and even when hunting, they don’t choose just “tights” or “breasts” from their prey, nor juicy steak meat. They go for everything – heart and livers, bowel with its partially digested plant content, muscles and ligaments, smaller or bigger bones, skin and maybe also fur or feathers. If being fed by their human owners, then receiving already for several thousand years with what was and is available as a “left-overs”. From bones with meat leftovers, fishes, grains, dairy products to all kinds of kitchen scraps, dog diet never consisted just from eating pure muscle.
Modern science took a deeper insight into dog nutrition and while confirming above mentioned, it brought us also plenty of surveys which help to understand exact needs of nowadays breeds living in specific environment.
According to these facts, we mostly feed our dogs twice a day from which:
Once a day we feed mixture of minced raw muscles, organs and ligaments (approximately 50% of muscles with small amount of bones, 25% of organs and 25% of ligaments which might vary occasionally) together with dried mixture of fruits, herbs and vegetables and extra addition of natural supplements. Such natural supplements are given according to each dogs age, condition and personal needs. Mixture of several supplements usually consists from joint and bone mineral supplement and special veterinarian joint nutrition and hair and skin supplements. Here is necessary to mention great importance of sufficient and balanced supply of Vitamin C and especially Calcium in your American Bully’s diet as they help to maintain development of later on heavily loaded skeleton. Such mixture of raw meat, dried veggie – fruit mix and supplements is easily accepted by our dogs and is usually given in morning.
Second meal of a day, usually given in evening consist mostly from whole big pieces of poultry with bones or whole fishes, which requires dogs to chew it.
In general we mostly feed our dogs with chicken, beef, duck, rabbit, lamb and sea fishes as mackerels.
Take in consider that some American Bullies might prone to have sensitive digestion and/or skin, food allergies etc. so in such case you have to be very careful what do you feed to your dog as some food might cause serious problems to such individuals. Veterinarian check-up is always necessary in case of health issues of your dog and special tests have to be done to find reason of them. Most common allergies or food intolerance at dogs is usually caused by chicken (poultry in general) and beef meat but also by pork. In such case, horse, rabbit or lamb meat might be accepted by sensitive dogs well.
Dry dog food diet (kibbles)
If we feed dry dog food to our dogs occasionally (for example during travelling with them to shows etc.), we always prefer to go for super premium single protein (preferably lamb as chicken or beef might irritate some sensitive dog’s digestion) holistic formula with no grains. Extra natural supplements as veterinarian joint nutrition and hair and skin supplements are recommended to add to kibbles as well, same as while feeding raw diet.
Bullies are smart dogs with great will to please their owners. They just love to make you happy and smile. They might be a bit stubborn sometimes but in general they are easy to motivate and train.
Consistency and love, these are the key words in education and training of an American Bully. Important part of dog’s education is also good socialization which should already start at breeder from first days of puppy’s life. Puppy which is lacking socialization and basic hygiene habits, doesn’t trust to people or other dogs already from the time which it spent at its breeder, might always need way longer time and more of your efforts and skills to learn new things and habits at your home.
That’s why basic education and training of puppies should always start already at breeder and you should follow it up and develop more. Choose wisely from which environment/breeder and from which breeding/parents do you get your puppy as their character and especially mother’s behaviour around puppies will have effect on puppy’s later adaptability in new home and its ability to learn things slower - harder/faster – easier.
Basic model is to make a lucky choice and choose well socialized puppy which you bring to your home and start with its training as soon as possible. Important things at the beginning are to teach him or her its name and to come for recall (recall training takes longer time, especially outside or in strange environment while puppy is disturbed by many perceptions), to do its needs at desired place (to go potty outside) and to be friendly with other people and dogs/other animals. We also highly recommend to crate train your puppy since the very beginning, although you don’t plan to use crate later on at all and your American Bully will be 24/7 free in all house and garden or apartment. You never know when it’s going to be useful for dog, maybe in case of emergency or injury, when your dog has to stay at veterinarian clinic for some day, while travelling etc. Puppies and young dogs should also not be trusted while left alone unsupervised in term of chewing your furniture and personal stuff – that can simply happen with any puppy or teenager (sometimes even adult dog) of any breed. For dogs safety and peace of your mind, it’s always better to keep your puppy in crate or specially designed safe area while not supervised.
Once puppy knows and understands/reacts at its name, we can start to teach him or her basic obedience and tricks. From our experience, positive reinforcement way of training and especially method using clicker (clicker training or simply mark and reward method) combined with shaping training method leads to desired results and is well accepted by American Bullies. American Bullies don’t like force based methods of training which usually cause refusing of cooperation with owner/handler in some way.