The Gentle Side: Understanding the American Bully Temperament

If you already own a dog, perhaps you can confirm it is said that it is essential to understand your dog’s temperament and personality. You may have several funny stories that point to the fact that your dog has some specific traits or a funny habit that you haven’t seen in other dogs of the same breed.

I have many pleasant memories from my childhood, which shaped the way I see the man’s best friend. However, we feel important to address this issue, because not all people have experiences with dogs. Even less of them know what to expect from this young breed, the American Bully.

Some scientists use the terms temperament and personality interchangeably, while others make a distinction between them. For me, it is quite difficult to distinguish between the two terms, but I respect if you prefer to do so. Let’s look at the term “temperament,” since, in this article, we’ll cover the temperament of the American bully.

W. Handel, German Police Dog Trainer, in his article, “The Psychological Basis of Temperament Testing,” defines temperament as:

the sum total of all inborn and acquired physical and mental traits and talents which determines, forms, and regulates behavior in the environment.

In other words, the way a dog responds to various stimuli in his environment, including people, animals, noise, and distractions, is temperament.

It gives you a clue as to whether a dog is likely to react indifferently, curiously, fearfully, cautiously, or aggressively. A dog’s temperament also determines whether he likes to cuddle and how quickly and willingly he learns commands.

What Influences Temperament?

Dog breeders managed to develop relatively stable breeds with a known attitude over time in different situations. However, there are some delicate aspects of dog behavior that cannot be fully predicted. According to the Institute of Canine Biology, “Heritability for most behavioral traits is quite low”. There was a study in 2014, which was conducted to study puppies to predict adult behavior.

The result said that there was no specific evidence, that someone could predict specific traits according to the puppy’s behavior. For example, some of the fearful puppies became the friendliest adult dogs. If they could predict adult behavioral traits from puppy testing, it would significantly minimize the costs of guide dog training organizations.However, statistics show that the selection of the breeding population based on puppy testing did not improve the success rate of dogs completing the training program. About 70% of dogs that do not complete the program are removed due to their behavior. You can read more interesting information on this topic here.

The bottom line is that a dog’s temperament is the result of both inherited and environmental factors.

Why can we say it with confidence?

According to the Institute of Canine Biology, aggression and fear have reasonable heritabilities so that breeders can choose whether to be evaluated as adults. This is also a significant component in the breeding history of the American Bully breed because we know that the breederś goal was to overcome any aggression. According to official breeding standards, the American Bully is a companion breed. It is friendly to strangers, family members, and children. It is also confident but gentle.

Each dog breed has specific characteristics that are desirable for the particular breed. If some of these characteristics are missing in a dog, or if there are other characteristics present in a dog, that dog will not be suitable for breeding. These can be aggression, excessive fear, physical flaws, and others. We believe that a responsible dog breeder will ensure that his dog is healthy and suitable for breeding.

The other factor is the puppy’s first experiences in its environment. These happen when the puppy is still with its littermates, and after it arrives at its new home.

It may be interesting to look at the American Temperament Test Society, which focuses on and measures different aspects of temperament, such as stability, shyness, aggressiveness, and friendliness, as well as the dog’s instinct to protect its handler or self-preservation in the face of a threat. The test simulates an easy walk in a park or neighborhood where everyday life situations are encountered. During this walk, the dog experiences visual, auditory, and tactile stimuli. Neutral, friendly, and threatening situations put into play the dog’s ability to distinguish between non-threatening situations and those that require vigilant and protective reactions. Dogs that pass the temperament test will receive a “tt” number and a certificate from the American Temperament Test Society, Inc.


As mentioned at the beginning, it is essential to understand our dog’s temperament. He can significantly benefit from the training, socialization, and love. For various dog breeds, the proportion of these actions may be different. Don’t underestimate these components of raising a friendly, trustworthy, and stable dog that will give us unconditional love and a bond that will last a lifetime.

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    Subscribe to our newsletter and receive an exclusive set of American Bully training tips instantly. Learn, grow, and bond with your Bully starting today. Sign up now!

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