Joe & Kimberly Sikes
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Pit vs Bully - Once and for All
Story // Dave Wilson
The quick answer is: An American Bully is a spin off the American Pit Bull Terrier. The same lineage and blood, but bred for generations for a different purpose and look. To understand this, you must first know some history behind the foundation breed and its directions.
The "Pit Bull" was a dog that came to form in the late 1800's. The purpose of this breed was to be the ultimate competitor. The breed was created for the sport of dog fighting, which for hundreds of years was a legal sport, celebrated by even the elite in society These dogs were bred to never waver in the heat of battle, hence the term "gameness." This term means to have the will to go on no matter what obstacles have to be overcome, even fatigue, and to never mentally quit or give up.
This "gameness" was the main trait bred into the breed. Another main trait was the breeds stability with people. The breed was so human tolerant that it would never bite the hand of a person, even in the heat of a match. This trait was bred into the breed to protect handlers and referees from getting bit while in a match. The breed was created to be the ultimate gladiator, but never to harm a human, thus the breed was never meant to have any human aggression.
The breed increased in size when it came to the US, and later adopted the final name of " The American Pit Bull Terrier". They used American in the name, because America is where the first registry created for the breed was formed. They used "Pit" in the name, because this was the name of the arena used in the sport they were created for. They used the word "Bull" in the name, because a "Bulldog" type was used in the creation of the breed. They used the word "Terrier" in the name, because a "Terrier" type breed was also used in the creation of the breed. A "Bulldog" type was used for power, build, and stability. A "Terrier" type was used for its tenacity and agility.
The first American Pit Bull Terriers were introduced for breed registration and acknowledgement to the only registry at that time, The American Kennel Club or "AKC." The AKC denied the breeds acceptance in its registry because the breed had no written breed standard; physical criteria that a breed should posses, written standards and descriptions of such. At this time the only trait heavily desired was "gameness." Since the AKC denied the breed to its registry, a new registry was formed, The United Kennel Club or "UKC." The UKC was created solely for this breed, and as years went on, a standard was written for the breed and adopted by the UKC.
There were still breeders who wanted the breed recognized by the AKC, so they decided to take lines from the breed and breed them in their own direction. They bred them for the purpose of companionship, and for the sport of conformation competition. Conformation competition is a show where the dogs are judged on their physical traits, movement, and handling, according to the written breed standard. These breeders wrote a new standard based on the one used by the UKC, and they continued to breed these dogs for 70 more years. Because of this the breed had changed in appearance and temperament. This spin off the original "Pit Bull" was no longer used for competition fighting, so their personalities, temperaments, and builds changed. This new breed was given the name "The American Staffordshire Terrier" or "Am. Staff". The AKC accepted the breed and now considers this a new breed of its own, and separate from the "Pit Bull". The UKC; however, accepts these Staffs as Pit Bulls and will allow them to be single registered with their registry as "Pits".
Dog fighting became outlawed in the 19th century in the US, and the UKC changed its purpose and standards for the breed. A group of the breeders of the game lines left this registry and created another registry called "The American Dog Breeders Association", or "ADBA". For generations these three registries all recognized the breed for different purposes and different standards, so the breed changed and spawned into different directions. Nowadays, the breed has been used for different types of conformation shows, weight pulling, companionship, and some even still breed the original game dogs. Due to these many directions, the breed has changed and spawned into many different forms and personalities, which brings us to where we began with Pit vs. Bully…
About seventeen years ago I started breeding to create the Razors Edge line… I started with a foundation of the AKC registered "Staffs", they carried the heavier builds, larger heads, and more mellow demeanors. We crossed in lines from UKC registered "Pits" to add more muscularity, more drive, and a harder look. After about seven years of blending and selective breeding, we came out with the look and personality that we were striving for. These dogs carried large blocky heads, short and square muzzles, full body muscularity, heavier bone structure, and just all around physically powerful builds. The personality was still to be stable and docile towards humans, but we also washed out a lot of the dog aggression that the original blood carried. In our minds we had created the ultimate companion dog.
These dogs had to be registered with the UKC, because it was the only registry that acknowledged all the spawns as the same breed. So we began competing in the UKC conformation shows. The dogs did very well and in time were given a slang name called "Bullies". This name was given basically to describe their build and the thicker look of the style. In time, "Bully" bloodlines spawned all over the US.
Razors Edge was just one of many of the "bully" lines. Other "bully" lines that are popular are: Greyline, Gottiline, Gaff, Watchdog, Camelot, DeLaCruz, Butthead, Royal, Kaos, Gangus Kahn, and many more. Even the Razors Edge bloodline spawned into other Bully lines like Remyline and Shortyline. A new look and style had formed, and its popularity spread worldwide The "Bullies" had began to make their own name and place within the breed. The love for the "Bullies" spread way beyond the UKC conformation show world. In time, the show world pushed for a direction that did not favor the "Bully" style. This left a large group of extremely diverse people, who were left with nowhere to compete and show off their dogs.
In 2003, a concept for a new registry was created for the purpose of the promotion, registration, and competition of this style of the breed, the "Bullies". Fanciers of the "Bullies" were already gathering in large numbers at BBQ style events. People from all over, and of all races would get together and host BBQ style events for the "Bullies". This provided a more relaxed atmosphere, usually with DJ's playing music, people barbequing , vendors selling "Bully" paraphernalia and gear; and breeders, owners, and fanciers of the dogs in the hundreds. These gatherings drew in large amounts of people, and especially Bullies.
A new registry was formed to accommodate these people and their dogs, so they had a way to compete with their style of dog. The registry decided to use the slang name already given to this style, "Bullies"; but, they also decided to add the name "American" to the title. This was to properly represent the nation of the breed's origin. The breed now was given the formal name, "The American Bully". The kennel club registry used the name, "The American Bully Kennel Club", or "ABKC". Now the breed had a name, a registry, and a way to compete! The biggest part of the "American Bully" goes beyond the dogs, and is the life style surrounding the breed and events. The "Bullies" now have a following worldwide, and Expo style events for these dogs bring in spectators by the thousands. The "Pit Bull" has been part of the urban world for decades now, but the American Bully is making its name as a new face in this world. You can see them featured on CD covers, music videos, and even magazine such as this one, which was created for the breed and the lifestyle.
The main differences between the "Pit" and the "Bully" are hard to state as facts, because there are many different style to the "Pit". So, we will us a general comparison using the generic form of the "Pit". Basically, an everyday backyard "Pit Bull"
Head: The head of the typical "Pit" is somewhat blocky and should have some cheek structure. The "Bully" should have a nice size head, on the large side, with sculpted head, muzzle, and protruding cheek structure.