Pocket Bully: Essential Breed Insights and Care Tips

image of a Pocket Bully dog in a natural, outdoor setting

Are you considering the Pocket Bully as your next pet? Compact, muscular, and family-friendly, Pocket Bullies distil the strength of bull terriers into a smaller, manageable size for enthusiasts of the breed seeking a dog that fits into various living situations. This article unpacks everything from their characteristic traits and care needs to their temperament and health considerations — all designed to answer the pressing questions circulating around this distinctive breed.

Key Takeaways

  • Pocket Bullies originated through crossbreeding American Pit Bull Terrier and Patterdale Terrier to create a small, muscular companion dog, recognized by the American Bully Kennel Club.
  • They have a gentle and affectionate temperament despite their muscular build, making them great family pets that get along well with children and other animals.
  • Pocket Bullies require regular vet check-ups to manage health issues common to the breed and need moderate exercise daily along with easy-to-maintain grooming.
  • If you are concerned your dog meets the breed-specific legislation surrounding the XL Bully ban in the UK or wish to check if your dog meets the specifications, check out our article on the ban. If your dog does meet the requirements, you can apply for an exemption certificate.

If you enjoyed this breed guide, checkout our others on Patterdale Terriers, American XL Bully’sBedlington Terriers and Fox Red Labradors.

The Origin and Development of Pocket Bullies

Pocket Bully Kennel Club image

The Pocket Bully breed came about in the 1990s in the United States, through selective breeding of the American Pit Bull Terrier and the Patterdale Terrier. The goal was to create a small but muscular dog that would be a great companion among dog breeds. As a result, we got the Pocket Bully.

The American Bully Kennel Club (ABKC) set the modern breed standards for Pocket Bullies, recognizing them for their heavily muscled, bulky body type. Over the years, the American Bully dog breed, including American Bully dogs, has evolved with different breeders bringing in their own variations, adding to the rich diversity within the breed.

Physical Appearance and Attributes

Muscular Pocket Bully standing on grass

One glance at a Pocket Bully and you’re bound to be taken in by their distinct physical characteristics. They have:

  • A compact and muscular build
  • A broad chest
  • Sturdy legs
  • A thick neck

These physical attributes exude strength and tenacity, yet they are also a testament to their gentle nature, making them a perfect blend of power and gentleness.

Size and Proportions

When it comes to their size, Pocket Bullies are a medium-sized dog breed, standing at around 16 to 19 inches tall and weighing between 30 to 50 pounds. Compared to other bully breeds, they stands out with its slightly wider head and overall compact and shorter stature.

The size does not affect their proportions, though. In fact, their height and weight blend seamlessly to give them a stocky, muscular appearance. Their broad appearance is often a point of fascination, and rightly so. It’s what makes Pocket Bullies the beloved breed they are today.

Coat Type and Colours

Pocket Bully with a glossy blue coat

The Pocket Bully is adorned with a short, sleek coat that may or may not have a woolly undercoat. Regular brushing is necessary to maintain the glossiness of their coat and to spread around the natural oils since pocket bullies tend to shed moderately.

But it’s not just the texture of the coat that’s interesting. The Pocket Bully can sport a variety of colours, including:

  • white
  • red
  • fawn
  • brindle
  • black
  • blue

Some even have unique patterns like brindle with stripes of brown, black, and gray, adding to their visual appeal, which can be attributed to their parent breeds.

Pocket Bully Temperament and Personality

Pocket Bully playing with children in a park

Contrary to their muscular build and robust physical traits, American Bullies, especially the Pocket Bullies, possess an incredibly gentle and affectionate nature. Their loyalty knows no bounds and they are constantly eager to bring joy to their owners. This results in them being excellent family pets as they blend in effortlessly with both children and adults, thanks to their playful, energetic, and obedient demeanour.

Their intelligence is another notable trait that makes them a pleasure to have around. Pocket Bullies quickly grasp new concepts, making them highly trainable and adaptable to different environments.

Socialization and Training Needs

Early socialization and proper training take on a significant role for breeds like Pocket Bullies. Introducing them to various people, environments, and situations from a young age aids in their understanding that not everyone poses a threat, leading to well-adjusted adult dogs with balanced temperaments.

Training, on the other hand, can help correct common behavioural issues that Pocket Bullies may exhibit. Using positive reinforcement techniques, such as praise, treats, or playtime, can be effective in training them. For serious issues like aggression towards other dogs, the expertise of a professional dog trainer or behaviourist might be needed.

Compatibility with Children and Other Pets

Pocket Bullies are ideally suited to children due to their patient, playful, and reliable nature, making them a perfect companion for families. They are adept at managing the energetic behaviour typically exhibited by young kids in households.

Their compatibility extends to other pets as well. With proper socialization, Pocket Bullies can coexist in harmony with other animals, including cats and small pets. Their lack of a strong prey drive prevents them from chasing after other pets, ensuring a peaceful cohabitation.

Health Considerations and Common Issues

As with any breed, Pocket Bullies have certain predispositions towards specific health issues. Common concerns include:

  • Skin problems, such as eczema, yeast infections, and demodicosis mites
  • Breathing issues
  • Joint problems
  • Eye conditions

Skin problems are particularly frequent, often exacerbated by allergies to common foods like chicken, beef, wheat, corn, soy, or dairy.

Regular veterinary care is therefore crucial to manage these health issues effectively. Regular check-ups every six months can help catch any serious health problems or issues early and provide timely treatment, ensuring the overall well-being of your dog.

Exercise and Activity Requirements

Contrary to their robust appearance, Pocket Bullies possess moderate energy levels. Adult Pocket Bullies need at least 30 minutes of daily exercise, which could include activities such as walking, running, or swimming. More energetic puppies require approximately 60 minutes of exercise each day.

Pocket Bullies enjoy a variety of exercises and play activities, including:

  • Walking, running, and swimming
  • Playing fetch and games like hide and seek, tug of war, finding treats, and hiking
  • Participating in strength-demanding dog sports like weight pull (with careful monitoring to prevent heat exhaustion)

They love it all!

Grooming and Maintenance Needs

In terms of grooming, Pocket Bullies are relatively easy to maintain. Their short coat requires brushing 1-2 times a week using a firm bristle brush. This regular grooming routine helps maintain their coat’s glossiness and minimizes shedding by removing loose fur and dirt.

Apart from coat care, Pocket Bullies also need their nails trimmed regularly and their teeth brushed for overall hygiene. This routine care, coupled with a balanced diet, sufficient hydration, regular exercise, and veterinary check-ups, helps ensure that your Pocket Bully remains healthy and happy.

The Pocket Bully as a Companion and Family Pet

Loyal Pocket Bully sitting beside a family

Undoubtedly, Pocket Bullies serve as excellent companions and family pets. Known for their incredible qualities, they:

  • Form strong bonds with their human families
  • Show unwavering loyalty
  • Display intelligence
  • Are eager to please

These qualities make them a perfect fit for family environments.

Pocket Bullies are:

  • Great with kids
  • Adaptable to various living situations
  • Can comfortably live in an apartment, although they do appreciate having a backyard to run around and play
  • Their protective instincts coupled with their friendly nature make them a wonderful addition to any home.

Choosing a Reputable Breeder or Rescue Organization

Opting for a Pocket Bully as a pet is a significant decision, making it equally important to select a reputable breeder or rescue organization. A responsible breeder or rescue guarantees the well-being of the animals and ensures they possess the right temperament for you, laying the foundation for a wonderful relationship.

When choosing a Pocket Bully breeder, look out for reputable practices such as:

  • Breeding dogs with well-defined characteristics
  • Having a visible online presence
  • Demonstrating knowledge about the breed
  • Properly vetting buyers
  • Being open to visits to see the breeding facility.

If you’re looking at rescue groups, research their reputation and reviews, and check their transparency about adoption processes and medical and behavioral care.

Are Pocket Bullies Banned in the UK?

Breed-specific legislation is a contentious issue in many countries, and the UK is no exception. The Dangerous Dogs Act has led to new regulations starting from December 2023, where owners are required to keep XL Bully dogs on a lead and muzzled in public, and breeding, selling, or advertising XL Bully dogs is illegal.

From February 1, 2024, it will be a criminal offense to own an XL Bully dog across the UK without a Certificate of Exemption. However, this ban currently does not apply in Scotland. The consequences of owning a banned breed in the UK are severe, including fines, imprisonment, and the dog being put down. This is highly debated and controversial with criticism coming from welfare charities.

Is a pocket bully a Recognised breed?

Although not universally accepted by all kennel clubs, the Pocket Bully is indeed a recognized breed. The American Bully Kennel Club acknowledges the Pocket Bully as a distinct breed, while the American Kennel Club does not. According to the United Kennel Club, the Pocket Bully is classified as one of the three distinct sizes of the American Bully breed.

Recognition by kennel clubs and organizations can be important to some owners, as it provides an assurance of the breed’s pedigree and lineage. However, the love and companionship that Pocket Bullies offer go beyond any official recognition.

Do I need to register my pocket bully?

Registering your Pocket Bully offers numerous advantages, such as tracking its pedigree, verifying a legal and well-established lineage, and contributing to local animal control and shelters through the registration fee. You have the option to register your Pocket Bully with either the UK Bully Kennel Club (UKBKC) or the American Bully Kennel Club (ABKC).

The process of registration involves filling out a form and submitting it with required documents and payment. The exact documents required might vary depending on the registration organization, so it’s advisable to check their specific requirements. The process may take around 3-4 weeks.


Through this journey of exploring the world of Pocket Bullies, we’ve learned about their origin, physical attributes, temperament, health considerations, grooming needs, and more. We’ve delved into their suitability as family pets, their compatibility with children and other pets, and their status in the UK. But most importantly, we’ve seen how these incredibly gentle, affectionate, and loyal dogs can bring joy and companionship into any home.

Whether you’re considering adding a Pocket Bully to your family or simply wanting to learn more about this fascinating breed, we hope this guide has provided valuable insights. Remember, every Pocket Bully deserves a loving home, and in return, they will shower you with unconditional love and loyalty.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a pocket bully?

A mixed dog breed that combines American Pit Bull Terrier and Patterdale Terrier, resulting in a smaller version of the American Bully breed. Despite their name, they are affectionate and loyal pets eager to please their humans.

Are American pocket bullies aggressive?

Like any other dog, they can develop issues, including aggression, if not socialized, but with proper training, they can become well adjusted dogs. So, socialization and ongoing training are important to prevent aggression in pocket bullies.

Is the Pocket bully breed banned?

The government has announced a ban specifically on American XL Bully dogs in England and Wales, which will come into force on 31 December 2023, in response to increased reports of injuries and deaths caused by dogs, some of which have been linked to XL Bully dogs. The ban is now in force in Scotland too.

Is a pocket bully the same as a pitbull?

No, they are not the same as a Pitbull. Pocket bullies are smaller in size, typically weighing between 30-50 pounds and averaging about 12-16 inches in height, whereas standard pit bulls can weigh up to 75 pounds and be up to 22 inches in height.

Are pocket bully good dogs?

Yes, most are good dogs as they have a sweet temperament, are extremely loyal, and make for great family pets, especially for small to medium-sized homes.

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