“Bully breeds” is a catch all term which refers to mastiff-type dogs and related terriers. All of these dogs shared a common ancestor in the Roman Molosser. Broadly speaking, they are stockily built with large heads and short snouts. While the Molosser was bred for war, subsequent bully dogs were primarily developed for guarding and blood sports, especially hunting, dog fighting, and bull baiting. All bully breeds have retained some of the characteristics required for these pursuits, but to varying degrees.
Common characteristics of bully breeds include very strong bonding with their families, generally being friendly with humans, being somewhat rough in their style of play, and orally fixated (enjoying chewing). Bully breeds also tend to develop and mature more slowly than other dogs, and can be very protective of the home. Compared to other types of dog, they often lean towards laziness and can be prone to obesity unless carefully fed and exercised regularly.
Some bully breeds have excelled at guarding and protection work. The Cane Corso, Fila Brasiliero, American Bulldog, and Dogo Argentino are all well-regarded, despite being illegal in certain countries. We have trained and placed many highly effective Cane Corsos with families around the world, and found it to be perhaps the best bully breed for family and personal protection.
Others are best suited as companions, despite their history of participating in blood sports. Bull Terriers of all types (especially Pitbulls and Staffordshire Bull Terriers) may have a reputation for ferocity, but in reality they are usually extremely friendly towards humans to the point of not being credible guardians. Such dogs make excellent family pets, but seldom good protectors.
The dog training industry is rapidly expanding, but almost totally unregulated. Functionally, there are no barriers to entry and anybody can claim to be a “dog trainer” without being appropriately qualified or vetted. Bad trainers often reinforce old behavioural problems while creating new ones which are particularly hard for owners…