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Pocket bully dog on the street.

Breed overview

  • Breed group — Hybrid
  • Height — 12-17 inches
  • Weight — 10-25 pounds
  • Coat length & texture — Short fur that may or may not have a wooly undercoat
  • Coat color —As there’s no strict breed standard, the pocket bully may display red, black, fawn, gray, or golden colors depending on the parents
  • Exercise needs — Moderate
  • Intelligence — Moderate
  • Barking — When necessary
  • Life span — 10-13 years
  • Temperament — Sweet, plucky, and confident
  • Hypoallergenic — No
  • Origin — United States

Pocket bully fun facts 

  • A pocket bully is also sometimes called a “micro bully” or “pocket pit bull”. They are among several increasingly popular pit bull crosses in recent decades.
  • The pocket bully is not a true purebred dog. Rather, an American bully crossed with the British Patterdale Terrier creates this exotic bully.
  • Organizations like the American Kennel Club and United Kennel Club have not yet recognized the pocket bully. Still, pocket bully owners and breeders continue to seek to expand these dogs’ visibility.

Pocket bully temperament and characteristics 

As a relatively new designer breed, they are still quite rare and puppies are usually expensive. The pocket bully is a pit bull-type dog that carries typical traits and characteristics, such as those seen in the American pit bull terrier, in a more compact package. Interestingly, their physical characteristics are very similar to French bulldogs, but they aren’t related. Like the Frenchie, this exotic bully’s small size makes them a great family companion dog.

The pocket bully can have the wiry coat of a rough coated Patterdale terrier, or the smooth single coat of the pit bull type, depending on their genetics. Usually, though, micro bully breeders will breed a smooth coated Patterdale terrier with the pit bull, resulting in a single coat type among litters. Micro bullies in all sorts of colors, from fawn to black. As per the UKC breed standard, white isn’t an acceptable primary color for the Patterdale terrier, including white markings except for on their chest and paws, so this color is especially rare for a micro bully. Aside from white marks on their chest, don’t expect to see this color represented much.

Patterdale terriers are  small dogs that weigh between 11 and 13 pounds, while the American bully is a medium sized breed at 35 to 75 pounds. Expect most pocket bullies to weigh towards the lighter end of the scale, usually between 10 to 25 pounds.  With short legs and a muscular build, these hybrid dogs share the physical traits of a standard bully in a smaller size.

Common pocket bully health problems 

Since they aren’t recognized by kennel clubs, there is a lack of breed-specific research on these dogs. However, as with other genetic conditions in canines, the pocket bully may share some of the health issues from their parent breeds. They might also have concerns that are found in other compact dogs, such as the French bulldog. Here are some conditions you might want to be aware of:

  1. Skin issues. Pit bulls are prone to skin issues such as eczema. The cause can stem from a variety of factors, from stress to food allergies.
  2. Brachycephalic airway syndrome . Like the Frenchie, pit bulls are a brachycephalic breed that has trouble breathing due to their narrowed nostrils and airways.
  3. Hip dysplasia. This condition is common among all canines, but in especially large or older dogs. When a dog has hip dysplasia, their hip socket doesn’t line up with their femur, which can create mobility issues if left untreated.
  4. Bloat. Also known as gastric torsion, bloat particularly affects deep chested dogs such as the pocket bully. When a dog bloats, their stomach distends and can twist, resulting in gastric torsion. This condition is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate medical care.

Cost of caring for a pocket bully

The pocket bully is considered an exotic breed that will cost you a pretty penny at the beginning. However, the upfront costs are still lower than a lifetime of medical bills. Pet health insurance can help you reduce out-of-pocket expenses by allowing you to pay a low monthly fee and annual deductible, instead of tackling an emergency vet bill all at once.  It’s important to note that pet insurance provides the greatest benefits to pet owners who sign up their pets early. Some companies may even restrict eligibility as your pet ages. If pet insurance doesn’t sound like something you’re interested in, you might try budgeting for a pet savings account instead.

History of the pocket bully

During the 1990s, the American bully emerged as the result of selectively breeding the American pit bull terrier and the English bulldog. This designer crossbreed was one of the first all-American mixes, but it has yet to be recognized by some major kennel associations such as the AKC.

The much smaller Patterdale terrier is a well-known breed in the United Kingdom, but isn’t as popular in the United States. These small terriers were bred for ratting. Although they’re not yet recognized by the AKC, the Patterdale terrier is in good standing with several other registries such as the United Kennel Club and the National Kennel Club.

The term pocket bully most often refers to American bully/Patterdale terrier crosses. However, some breeders use the term to refer to smaller than average, “pocket-sized” American bullies.

Caring for your pocket bully

After you adopt your pocket bully, you’ll need to take them on their first trip to the vet and schedule all of their vaccinations. As your pocket bully grows, we can give you tips on how to puppy-proof your home and prepare for teething. No one likes to think about losing their new best friend, but FidoAlert provides a free Fido ID and tag so you’re covered just in case.


The micro bully doesn’t require as much exercise as a high energy breed such as the Australian cattle dog. Even so, you should make sure you have at least 30 minutes to an hour in your daily schedule to walk your pocket bully before committing to pet parenthood. Physical activity keeps your pocket bully in healthy condition and also alleviates boredom and stress, two negative emotions that can result in a rebellious or mischievous pup.


Pocket bullies will usually have a smooth single coat with minimal grooming requirements. You’ll want to brush your micro bully at least once a week in order to distribute their natural lols across their coat, which keeps it shiny and nourished. Bathe them approximately once a month or when necessary with a gentle dog-friendly shampoo that won’t strip their coat.

Did you know that 80% of dogs show signs of periodontal disease by age 3? Brushing your dog’s teeth daily and scheduling routine dental cleanings as recommended by your veterinarian can lower their risks of developing this disease. You should also trim their nails as needed.

Diet and nutrition

A well-balanced diet can help prevent obesity and other health problems that can affect your pocket bully. Deep-chested breeds are more susceptible to bloat, so you might want to divide their daily portion into two meals instead of feeding them all at once. Always consult your vet to find the most healthy diet that takes into account factors such as their individual needs, life stage, and common health issues. Since the pocket bully is a mixed breed, how much food you need to feed them per day is largely up to the individual dog. Your vet will be able to give you guidance on this as well.

Training your pocket bully

As with all dogs regardless of breed, you’ll want to begin training your pocket bully as soon as you can for best results. Pit bull breeds sometimes receive a bad reputation for being aggressive dogs, but most have sweet temperaments and hearts of gold. Proper training and early socialization can positively reinforce those traits, which will lower their risk of getting out of line later on.

Breeds similar to the pocket bully

Are you still thinking about the pocket bully? Adopting a dog is a lifetime investment, so it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:

  1. American bully. The parent breed of the pocket bully, the American bully recently emerged in the 90s as the perfect cross between a companion and guardian. These gentle pups possess a sweet temperament that’s well suited for family life, but still retain their guarding instincts and will loyally defend the home if the need arises.
  2. American Staffordshire terrier. A pit bull breed recognized by the AKC, the American staffordshire terrier carries the signature white mark on their chests. At 40 to 70 pounds, they’re lighter than the American bully, but much bigger than the pocket bully.
  3. French bulldog. Although they’re not related, the compact French bulldog bears a remarkable resemblance to the pocket bully. The Frenchie is one of the most popular breeds in the United States, so they’re easier to find than the exotic micro bully.

Frequently asked questions

Is the pocket bully a pit bull breed?

Although they’re not considered a breed by any major kennel associations, the pocket bully is understood to be a cross between the Patterdale terrier from the United Kingdom and American bully, or a smaller version of the latter. The American bully is a fully UKC-recognized breed that recently appeared in the 1990s. It’s a cross between the American pit bull terrier and the English bulldog. The American Staffordshire terrier, American bully, and American pit bull terrier are all pit bull type breeds, including any varieties such as the pocket bully.

Are pit bulls aggressive?

Despite the stigma believed by the general public, pit bull breeds aren’t inherently aggressive. Their temperament depends more on how they were raised than any genetic influences. If they were properly socialized around people from a young age, bully breeds aren’t likely to become aggressive unless they perceive a threat.

What size are pocket bullies?

Depending on the breeder, a pocket bully is either a cross between the American bully and the Patterdale terrier, or simply a smaller American bully that’s produced by breeding two runts. Their height ranges between 10 and 22 inches, with most probably closer to the middle of the scale. The parent breeds weigh anywhere between 11 and 75 pounds, but this hybrid dog tends to hover between 10 and 25 pounds.