If you purchase via links on our site, we may receive commissions. However, our experts carefully research and evaluate each product or service, ensuring it meets our quality standards.

Pet Insurance Considerations for Bully Breeds

Looking for pet insurance for your bully breed? Many different dog breeds fall under the umbrella of bully breeds, and they can all have unique needs. Let’s explore what dogs make up the bully breed category, what health conditions they can be prone to, and how to find the best pet insurance for bully breeds.

Get your pet insured
On Lemonade's Website

What is a bully breed?

Bully breed is an unofficial term to describe a group of dog breeds with similar characteristics, including a broad muscular body, a 'blocky' shaped head, and strong jaws. Some even have the word 'bull' in their name, like Bulldogs and Bull Mastiffs, named for their ancestral ties to bull-baiting, a popular, albeit cruel, bloodsport of the past.

While bully breeds have a complex reputation due to their past use and sometimes current ties to illegal dog fighting, most are known to be loving and loyal companions. Some larger bully breeds, like the Cane Corso, are also often used for protection. As with all large, strong dogs, breed education, proper training, and responsible ownership are critical.

There are many dog breeds that can fall under the umbrella of bully breeds. Some are official AKC-recognized dog breeds, and some are not. And since the term bully breed isn’t an official term, what breeds are considered 'bullies' can differ, depending on who you ask. Some people consider French Bulldogs under the bully breed category because they are related to Bulldogs, and others do not.

The most common dogs considered bully breeds are:

  • American Bulldog
  • American Bully*
  • American Pit Bull Terrier*
  • American Staffordshire Terrier*
  • Bulldog (English Bulldog)
  • Bullmastiff
  • Bull Terrier
  • Cane Corso
  • Dogue de Bordeaux (French Mastiff)
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Mastiff
  • Presa Canerio

*Not an AKC-recognized dog breed

You’ll also find cross-mixes of these breeds being marketed as exotic bullies in the 'exotic' or 'designer' dog breed sector. Breeds such as the XL Bully, Pocket Bully, and Micro Bully are all relatively new breeds created by mixing different variations of other bully breeds. These exotic bullies are not AKC-recognized and can come with a higher price tag and a lot more potential health problems than some of the more 'traditional' bully breeds.

What health conditions are common among bully breeds?

While each individual breed can have its own list of potential health problems, in general, there are a few health conditions nearly all bully breeds can be prone to. These include:

  • Allergies and skin conditions
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Cruciate ligament tears
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Arthritis
  • Eye problems

In addition, bully breeds that are brachycephalic (flat-faced with shortened airways), like Bulldogs, Bullmastiffs, and some exotic bully mixes, can also have brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS). This refers to conditions affecting a brachycephalic dog’s ability to breathe normally. Many end up needing surgery to improve their breathing and quality of life.

Larger bully breeds, especially those that are Mastiffs or Mastiff-mixes (like the XL Bully), can also be at an increased risk for gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). This condition, commonly known as 'bloat,' occurs when a dog’s stomach becomes overextended with gas and/or food and creates a gastric torsion (twisted stomach). It is a life-threatening condition that requires emergency veterinary treatment.

Does pet insurance cover bully breeds?

Pet insurance covers bully breeds, though some may restrict coverage for certain hereditary health conditions. But this is true of all dog breeds and pet insurance. In bully breeds, some common breed-specific exclusions you might find are prolapsed urethra in Bulldogs, hereditary nephritis (an inherited kidney disorder) in Bull Terriers, and neuroaxonal dystrophy (a degenerative neurological disease) in Tibetan Mastiffs. As with all pet insurance, you'll also find exclusions for pre-existing conditions and waiting periods that might apply.

How much does pet insurance cost for bully breeds?

Pet insurance costs can vary depending on several factors, such as your location and your pet’s breed, age, and sex. The plan you choose and your deductible, reimbursement rate, and annual limit will also affect your overall costs.

Some dog owners can find plans for as low as $20 a month, while others can be well over $100. Here’s a look at some average costs for a few different common bully breeds at different life stages.

BreedPuppy 6-month-oldAdult 5-year-oldSenior 8-year-old
American Bulldog$48$65$130
American Pit Bull Terrier$42$70$90
American Staffordshire Terrier$40$60$82
Bull Terrier$55$68$76
English Bulldog$56$88$155

Compiled with data from Pawlicy Advisor. Figures based on average policies with a $500 deductible, 80% reimbursement rate, and $10,000 to unlimited annual coverage.

When it comes to pet insurance for bully breeds, keep in mind that sometimes the larger the dog, the higher your monthly premiums might be. So insuring XL Bullies, Mastiffs, and the other larger bully breeds, will typically be more than some of the smaller bully breeds like Staffordshire or Bull Terriers. Insuring your bully breed early in life is often the best way to get the most comprehensive and affordable coverage.

What type of pet insurance is best for a bully breed?

Since most bully breeds tend to be fairly energetic dogs that love to run and play, and they have some health conditions in their lineage — an accident and illness plan can offer a good level of protection.

Accident and illness plans cover most medical conditions that are not pre-existing, such as allergies, gastrointestinal issues, diabetes, respiratory illnesses, infections, cancer, arthritis, and more. They also cover accidents like broken bones, foreign body ingestions, cuts, burns, sprains, and other injuries.

For pet owners looking for the highest level of coverage, some accident and illness policies also offer the option to add on a wellness plan. Wellness plans can help cover your pet’s preventative care, like veterinary check-ups, vaccines, routine health screenings, parasite prevention, and more.

Final tips on picking the best plan for your bully breed

Like most insurance, pet insurance is never one-size-fits-all. It may take some time and research to find the best option that fits your dog’s needs and your monthly budget. Here are some final things to consider as you pick your plan.

  • Break it down by breed. Bully breeds encompass many different dog breeds. The best pet insurance for a Pit Bull might not be the same for a Bulldog. Consider all the potential health conditions for your specific bully breed and cross-check policies for coverage. For example, if you have a Bulldog, you’ll want to ensure BOAS is covered; if you have a Mastiff, hip dysplasia coverage might be the most important thing on your list.
  • Talk to your vet. Your veterinarian can offer valuable insight into your dog’s breed and what type of coverage you should consider. Some vet clinics also offer special promotions for new pets or 'exam day' offers that waive waiting periods.
  • Get customized quotes. Get customized quotes from a few different insurers to ensure you have the most accurate information on which to base your decision. An online comparison tool like Pawlicy Advisor or Pet Insurer can help.


Key takeaways:
4 resources

Leave a reply

Your email will not be published. All fields are required.