Shorty Bulls 101

What began as a personal challenge to test my own breeding theories and to conquer the quest to custom build a bulldog became the Shorty Bull as we know it today.

By combining the traits I wanted to preserve and by using several established breeds the Shorty Bull is now it’s own breed and carries it’s own distinct traits and characteristics that sets it apart from the foundation breeds used in the process.

Adult Shorty Bull
Blue River’s Bullies Dirty Draws “Skidz”

The standard calls for a compact dog being of small stature and having a sturdy build. The Shorty Bulls weigh in at 40 pounds or less and measure 15” or less at the shoulder. The ideal Shorty Bull has defined muscle with thick bone, a wide frame and classic bulldog looks. The back should be short in comparison with the legs, so the dog resembles a box when viewed from the side. When you look at a Shorty Bull, you should get the impression of a little tank, wide for it’s height and very strong for it’s size. The Shorty Bull should always be stout and never appear fragile or fine boned.

Temperament is one of the breeds most important characteristics. Most of all, the Shorty Bull should be a naturally happy, outgoing dog exuding confidence. They should never show shyness or fearfulness and should never show aggression toward people. Shorty Bulls have a high play drive which tends to make life one big game for them. Their prey drive is strong and they love to chase things that move. Shorty Bulls tend to be very curious about their surroundings. They investigate everything, sometimes to the point of putting their own safety at risk– a sort of courageous curiosity. Because of their prey drive and curiosity, Shorty Bulls are active in many of the sports originally designed for their larger counterparts. We participate in some of the protection sports and it is strictly for “sport“….. The Shorty Bulls are, in reality, too small to do any “real” protection work but the desire is in them to play the game. Shorty Bulls have what I like to call “ability with limits”… meaning they can perform at high levels but given their phenotype, they can not sustain those levels of high performance for very long. In 2007, Isaac’s Moby Dick of Blue River received his IronDogIII title and completed the 12 mile run. Many of the Shorty Bulls are capable of running short distances, Moby and the 12 miles is the exception to the norm. Running 1-3 miles is much more realistic with a Shorty Bull. Shorties are very strong given the build and one of our foundation females, a weight pull contender, could consistently pull 2000 lbs, weighing in at only 40 lbs herself. Many Shorties compete in pulling events. Shorty Bulls also enjoy a good game of tug of war and they love to bounce and jump. A 4’ fence will not keep a Shorty enclosed.

Many of the Shorty Bulls have received their Canine Good Citizen Certifications over the years. Some of my personal Shorties have received their ATTS certifications from the American Temperament Testing Society. Stability and strong nerves are a high priority and I hope to continue to pass that on through the generations. Shorties should be balanced and well rounded, being able to adapt to many different situations and environments. Shorties should never be extremely shy or overly aggressive, although some may develop dominance issues as they age leading them to believe they are bigger than they actually are. Most shorties do well with other animals when raised together or introduced at a young age but problems can arise when dominant Shorties are introduced to members of the same sex that are also dominant.

The standard calls for the ears to be cropped close to the head. Shorty Bulls without cropped ears are not permitted in the show ring. Ear cropping should be performed by a veterinarian with the dog under anesthetic and should be done no later than four months of age. Tails that are longer than one inch at birth should be docked to one inch. Most Shorty Bulls are born with a naturally short tail which may be either kinked or screwed, but longer tails occasionally appear in the breed at this point and those must be docked. Shorty Bulls with tails will not be permitted in the show ring.

Developed as companion animals, Shorty Bulls are novelty dogs. They are strictly for enjoyment. Given their size, they meet many of the restrictions for city dwellings and adapt easily to a metropolitan lifestyle. Being durable, they are also at home on the farm in a rural setting living outside.

Shorty Bulls are economical to feed and as a whole are generally very healthy, putting the need for veterinary care at a minimum. Most Shorty Bulls breed and whelp on their own with litters ranging from four puppies to as many as ten with six being the average litter size. As with any breed, an occasional cesearean section may be needed if the breeding pair have large heads with wide shoulders, but natural whelping is the norm. Shorty Bulls can lead active lives in busy environments or can adapt to quieter lifestyles with short periods of daily exercise. They are suitable for any age and are particularly tolerant of children. Grooming is minimal and a good brushing once a week will keep them shiny and clean. Housebreaking is easily accomplished when a routine is followed for a period of time. Shorty Bulls are definitely creatures of habit. Crate training is also recommended to begin at a young age and again, routine is key to good crate habits.

The Shorty Bull is a big dog in a small package. All the things I enjoyed with my large dogs is possible to some extent with the Shorties. They have a comical personality which defines their individuality and a zest for life that makes owning a Shorty Bull an experience all it’s own.

If you have specific questions or would like more information on the breed, please feel free to email me at


Shorty Bull Founder