By Sarah Grace McCandless, Animal Planet
When someone says “pit bull,” you may picture a particular pooch — one with a stocky build, short coat and strong head, for example. But the breed is one of several dogs that fall under the umbrella of bully breeds. Unfortunately, dogs in this group have fallen victim to inaccurate stereotypes, and many people believe they’re naturally aggressive. In reality, though, the bully breed category offers a number of wonderful choices for potential owners — including those who are in search of a loyal, obedient, playful companion for their kids.
In fact, the American Temperament Test Society, Inc. (ATTS), a professional organization that independently tests the temperaments of over 25,000 dogs across 200 breeds, concluded that bully breeds such as the American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier and Staffordshire bull terrier all rank in the mid-80th to low-90th percentile in terms of friendly disposition — on par with dogs such as the beagle and the Australian shepherd.
A good attitude is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the positive attributes the bully breeds have to offer. Read on to learn more about the history of various bully breeds and what makes them tick, and see which one might make the perfect match for your lifestyle.
14. Boxer (above)
According to the American Kennel Club, the development of boxers traces back to at least the 19th century, when German breeders created the line by crossing different types of bulldogs with other breeds, including terriers and perhaps even mastiffs. Boxers are strong, smart and alert, with protective yet friendly temperaments. They are known to stand up on their hind legs and bat with their front paws when playing or engaging with an opponent — that’s where the name “boxer” comes from. Beyond providing companionship as a pet, these dogs have served in a number of other ways, including assisting the blind and acting as couriers during World War I. Boxers made their way to the U.S. shortly after World War I ended and now rank as one of the most popular breeds in the country, according to AKC registration statistics.
13. Alapaha Blue Blood
Named after the region of Georgia where it was first bred in the late 1970s, the Alapaha blue blood actually has roots that trace back to a now-extinct group of dogs — including the mountain bulldog, old southern white and old country (big) bulldog — that first arrived in America during the 18th century. A working dog at heart with natural herding instincts and capabilities, the Alapaha is also a loyal companion that’s particularly protective of its owner and friendly with children. With a medium, athletic build supporting a broad head, loose upper lip and wide set eyes, this dog needs a lot of daily exercise, which makes it a great choice for families that have plenty of backyard space.