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American Bully XL: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

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By Nicole Cosgrove

fawn american bully XL dog

The American Bully XL is the largest of the American Bully breeds and, according to standards, can measure up to 23 inches in height and weigh as much as 130 pounds. The American Bully is a relatively new breed, having only been introduced in the 1990s, but it has gained notoriety.

A spate of attacks by American Bully XL dogs in the UK means that the breed is set to be banned.  However, most owners report that they are generally friendly and sociable dogs that get along with family and will socialize with strangers, but they do need plenty of exercise and owners must ensure they are well-socialized and trained from a young age.

Breed Overview

Height: 19–23 inches
Weight: 60–130 pounds
Lifespan: 8–13 years
Colors: Black, white, gray, brown, blue, tan
Suitable for: Experienced owners looking for an active dog
Temperament: Loving, generally friendly, strong, athletic, potentially reactive

The American Bully XL is one of a number of American Bully breeds and is the largest. It is a very strong and muscular dog, and its considerable muscles means that the dog weighs a lot for its size. The cross was bred by combining various breeds including the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier. It was bred as a companion dog and is not considered a working breed.

American Bully XL Characteristics


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The Earliest Records of American Bully XLs in History

The American Bully XL originates in the US and is one of four sizes of American Bully, determined by height rather than weight. The “Pocket” is the smallest and measures up to 17 inches. The “Classic” measures between 17 and 19 inches, while the “Standard” measures 18 to 20 inches and the XL up to 23 inches.

The breed combined the American Pit Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier and has seen some other Bully breeds also bred into it. It is likely that early breeding started in Virginia and Los Angeles, but it has become popular throughout the US and can now be found in parts of Asia and Europe. The American Bully is sometimes also referred to as the Bully Pit, Bullypit, or Bully Pitbull.

brown american xl bully dog in the forest
Image Credit: diggers1313, Shutterstock

How the American Bully XL Gained Popularity

First bred as a companion dog, the American Bully XL gained popularity in the 1990s, but their popularity has really soared in the past 10 years and formal recognition by the American Kennel Club in 2013 has only seen that popularity increase further. The size and muscular look of the dog have also seen its popularity spread globally and Bully XLs can now be found throughout Europe and Asia. Top examples of the breed can sell for several thousands of dollars, and this high price tag is another likely reason for the recent surge in popularity.

Formal Recognition of the American Bully XL

The American Bully XL is a crossbreed that combines different Bully breeds including the American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier. In 2013, the American Bully XL was formally recognized by the American Kennel Club. However, the breed is not recognized by all kennel clubs. It is not formally recognized in the UK or a lot of European countries, for example.

black male American bully xl dog
Image Credit: Vicky1981, Shutterstock

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Top 3 Unique Facts About the American Bully XL

1. The Bully XL is the largest Bully breed

The Bully XL is actually one of four sizes of the Bully breed. The XL variant measures up to 23 inches tall with other sizes including the Pocket Bully which is up to 17 inches tall. Although there are different sizes, all of the Bully breeds share similar characteristics, which means they are strong, athletic, and loyal.

2. The UK plans to ban the breed

According to research in the UK, more than 40% of fatal dog attacks in the country involved Bully XL dogs and a spate of several attacks in just a matter of weeks led to the country’s Prime Minister announcing that the Bully XL would be banned. Owners with Bully XLs will be permitted to keep their dogs, but owners will not be able to legally buy Bully XLs. It has not yet been announced when the ban will become active.

3. Most are loving, friendly dogs

Despite this fearsome reputation that the breed has in some countries, most owners report that the dog is loving and kind with family. It is said to be understanding and accepting of children, too. However, owners do need to ensure that the dog is trained and socialized from a young age to prevent responsiveness and to ensure that it is a well-behaved and sociable dog.

american bully XL dog going for a swim
Image Credit: BAUER Alexandre, Shutterstock

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Does the American Bully XL Make a Good Pet?

Bully XL owners do need to ensure their dog is well-socialized and trained from a young age. This will ensure that the dog is sociable and gets along with other dogs as well as people. The Bully XL is athletic, strong, and muscular, so it can be a challenge to walk, and it can cause accidental injuries if it jumps up when greeting people, so good manners need to be trained, too. Owners need to provide regular exercise of around an hour a day, and the strength of this breed means it can do very well in certain canine sports that demand strength and physicality.

A well-socialized, trained, and exercised Bully XL is not only good with strangers but is considered gentle and caring of children so it can make a good family pet, and this adaptable breed can adapt to life in an apartment, or it can live in a larger property with its own outdoor space.



The Bully XL has hit headlines in recent months, especially in the UK where the government is preparing to ban the XL because of a spate of dog attacks involving the breed, including several fatal attacks. However, owners of the breed claim it is a friendly and sociable animal that gets on well with everyone. Recognized by the AKC, the Bully XL is not recognized by most other kennel clubs.

Featured Image Credit: BAUER Alexandre, Shutterstock

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