What is the difference between an American XL bully and a pit bull? UK seeks to ban dog breed after recent attacks

LONDON, UK: The American XL bully and pit bull dog breeds are largely different in terms of origins, size, looks, lifestyle, lifespan and pricing, among others.

On Friday, September 16, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak took to X, to call the American XL bully dog “a danger to our communities.”

He also announced that the breed will possibly be banned in the UK by the end of 2023 following a series of recent attacks.

“I’ve ordered urgent work to define and ban this breed so we can end these violent attacks and keep people safe,” the PM wrote.

In the wake of the latest situation, here’s a look at the key differences between the American XL Bully and Pit Bull.


Exploring the differences between the American XL Bully and Pit Bull dog breeds

Over the years, several people, including many dog lovers, have often been left confused about the American XL bully and the pit bull, mistaking both as the same breed of dogs.


While the two dog breeds have some similarities, especially in terms of looks, they are widely distinct from each other and have notable differences that set them apart.


There are major differences between the origins of the American XL bully and put bull breeds. The pit bull reportedly originated in the 1800s as a mixture of bulldogs and terriers, as per Love Your Dog.

They were bred to be presented as fighting dogs and used in bloodsports until the activity was banned in 1835 after Britain introduced animal welfare laws.


Meanwhile, the American XL bully is a comparatively recent breed, emerging in the late ’90s.

They were reportedly created as a companion dog and bred as a mix of American bullies and pit bulls, as per We Love Doodles.


While several people confuse the American bully with pit bull due to their looks, the dogs differ in appearance.

As per A-Z Animals, pit bulls are characterized by their broad mouths, which creates the illusion of a wide smile and their outwardly projected ears.

American bullies have pronounced cheek muscles, a moderately lengthy head and ears situated on the potentially higher end of the head.

According to Love Your Dog, pit bulls’ features are overall proportionate, with an athletic and muscular appearance.

On the other hand, American bullies are usually not built proportionately and are more wider in appearance as compared to their height.

However, both the American bully and pit bull have short, smooth and straight double coats, and come in a vast array of dog colors.


As per the United Kennel Club pit bull breed standards, a male American pit bull terrier usally weighs between 35lbs and 60lbs and stands 18 to 21 inches tall from floor to shoulders.

A female American pit bull terrier is slightly smaller and weighs approximately 30lbs to 50lbs with a height of 17 to 20 inches at the shoulders.

The term “pit bull” is a general term used to define several bulldog and terrier mixes, including the American pit bull terrier and Staffordshire bull terrier.


Therefore, each dog under the “pit bull” umbrella comes with it own size.

The American bully comes in four different sizes, including pocket, standard, classic and XL.

Although their height and weight can vary as per their category, male American XL bullies stand over 20 to 23 inches tall at the withers while females have a height of over 19 to 22 inches at the withers, per the National Kennel Club.

According to a chart provided by My American Bully, the XL categories of the dog breed usually weighs between 80lbs to 140lbs.


While every dog breed requires appropriate diet and nutrition, pit bulls reportedly need a comparatively smaller portion of food than American bullies due to the differences in their respective size, per A-Z Animals.


According to Love Your Dog, pit bulls usually consume two to three cups of food each day while an American bully can have between one-and-a-half to five cups of food a day.

However, it is to be noted that the amount of food and nutritional needs of each dog from either breed depends on their age and size.



Both pit bulls and American bullies require proper training. However, there are differences between their training needs and requirements.

As per Love Your Dog, pit bulls are highly intelligent and often eager to please, making them very trainable dogs.

The lineage of an American bully makes it slightly stubborn and independent in nature, requiring a more experienced and responsible dog owner who can provide them with proper training.

Both the dog breeds reportedly respond well to positive reinforcement technique and should be socialized from the very beginning.


According to A-Z Animals, American bullies are more prone to facing health issues such as hip dysplasia, joint complications and obesity as they are larger as compared to pit bulls.


Pit bulls experiences lesser health problems than American bullies do as they are smaller in size.

As per Love Your Dog, bullies are prone to eye conditions such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataracts and cherry eye.

American bullies also face difficulty in adjusting to warm weather as compared to pit bulls due to their short muzzle.


As per Bubbly Pet, American XL bullies have an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years, which is slightly less than the average lifespan of a pit bulls, which ranges between 12 and 16 years, per A-Z Animals.



An American bully is reportedly more expensive than a pit bull.

According to A-Z Animals, an American bully puppy may cost around $1,200 or more while a pit bull puppy may be worth approximately $1,000, in case of a reputable breed.

What did PM Rishi Sunak say about American XL bully dog breed?

UK Prime Minister's address regarding American XL Bully ban (@RishiSunak/Twitter)
UK Prime Minister’s address regarding American XL Bully ban (@RishiSunak/X)


In a video posted on X Sunak cited two recent alleged attacks by dogs suspected to be the American XL bully, in Staffordshire and Birmingham, respectively.

“The American XL Bully dog is a danger to our communities, particularly our children,” Sunak stated.

“I share the nation’s horror at the recent videos we’ve all seen. Yesterday we saw another suspected XL Bully dog attack, which has tragically led to a fatality,” he continued.


“It’s clear this is not about a handful of badly trained dogs: it’s a pattern of behaviour and it cannot go on,” the PM mentioned.

“While owners already have a responsibility to keep their dogs under control, I want to reassure people that we are urgently working on ways to stop these attacks and protect the public,” Sunak said.

“Today, I have tasked ministers to bring together police and experts to firstly define the breed of dog behind these attacks with a view to then outlawing it,” he added.


“It is not currently a breed defined in law so this vital first step must happen fast,” Sunak mentioned.

“We will then ban the breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act and new laws will be in place by the end of the year,” he added.

“These dogs are dangerous. I want to reassure the public that we will take all necessary steps to keep people safe,” the PM assured.

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