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What if we stopped calling dogs bully breeds?

Can we stop referring to certain types of dogs as “bully breeds”? Or am I missing something?

The word “bully” is obviously negative and not a word we should use to describe any type of dog, let alone dogs that are already discriminated against and even killed based on their appearances.

I’ve always interpreted the term “bully breeds” to mean dogs with “bull” in the name like American bull dogs, American pit bull terriers, bull terriers, etc.

Kind of a “cute” term the way we might refer to Australian shepherds as “Aussies” or dachshunds as “doxies.” I guess we can call bull dogs “bullies.”

Only it’s not cute.

Calling a dog a “bully” makes the dog sound mean, which is not exactly what you want people to think when you’re referring to dogs.

Could we stop calling dogs bully breeds

It’s cute for those of us who understand dogs, because we know no breed or type of dog can actually be a bully.

Calling certain types of dogs “bullies” is sending the wrong message to people who don’t understand dogs.

I guarantee you that certain relatives of mine just assume the term “bully breeds” refers to “mean breeds” or “dangerous breeds” (which don’t exist).

It makes sense for them to assume this, thanks to the media and thanks to us dog lovers who ever so kindly refer to certain dogs as “bullies.”

I’d like to see the phrase gone. Use “pitties” if you have to. At least it makes the dogs sound gentle.

What does the phrase “bully breed” even mean?

I don’t know.

The term means different things to different people, and it’s become a general phrase like “pitbull” to casually refer to lots of different breeds and mixed breeds. says many of today’s “short muzzled” dogs are included under the “bully” label such as boxers and English mastiffs and Boston terriers.

There’s a Facebook page for “bully breeds” and it includes Rottweilers and French bull dogs in the mix but focuses mostly on “pitbulls.”


And then there’s a dog called the “American bully” that even has its own club called the American Bully Kennel Club. The group’s Facebook page says the American bully is a new breed created from the American pit bull terrier.

Are you confused yet?

I’m sure this blog post will attract commenters who will say things like, “No, an American bully is this” or “No, bully breeds do not include this.” And maybe they would all be right.

It’s kind of how some people use “pitbull” to mean American pit bull terriers while others (most of us?) use “pitbull” to describe a huge variety of mixed-breed and purebred dogs.

Language changes, I guess.

I just think we need to be careful about our words.

There are still plenty of breed bans in place and dogs are still being killed in U.S. shelters and around the world, not for acting a certain way but for looking a certain way.

Calling dogs “bullies” is not cute. We are the bullies.

What does “bully breed” mean to you, and do you think we should drop that term?

Penny the American bull dog mix

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