Heartwarming Photos and Stories of “Bully” Breeds That Dispel the Bad Dog Myth


From the boxer to the Boston terrier, “bully” dog breeds come in all shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, many people associate the word “bully” with the dog’s temperament. Dogs such as the pit bull are instantly labeled as violent and aggressive, when in reality they make for loyal and loving pets. Photographer Douglas Sonders, whose work we discovered on Beautiful/Decay, started the Not a Bully series to draw attention to the unfair treatment of “bully” breeds and share successful adoption stories to help dispel the myths. Sonders’ own dog Emma, a pit bull mix, inspired the photo campaign. She spent nearly a year in foster care, shunned due to her appearance, and came close to being euthanized. Through adoption, Sonders saved her life and discovered what a gentle soul she was. For more heart-warming stories of “bully” breed rescues, visit our gallery. Support Sonders’ cause by visiting the official Not a Bully website.

London (aka London Freckles) was rescued from the streets of Baltimore in rough shape. Good samaritans at Good Doggie Daycare nursed her back to health. Her adoptive mother, Carolyn, discovered that London, her first Pitbull, was naturally gentle, smart, and great with all other living beings.

Kind Maxine.

Junior focused and perfectly behaved.

Marley is as sweet as he looks.

Winnie, a pit mix, was adopted by a shy 10-year-old girl, Gillie. Winnie helped to get Gillie to break out of her shell as they began to compete in dog training competitions together.

Emma, the inspiration for Not A Bully. Emma was rescued by NAB founder Douglas Sonders. She came from a high-kill shelter and was in foster care for 9 months because nobody wanted her due to her appearance (aka pit-mix with black fur). She is naturally gentle, great with kids and other dogs, and an excellent running partner.

Emma holding a milk bone in her mouth to save for later.

Porter was found on the street with his legs crushed and jaw smashed by a cruel human. Despite his cruel treatment, Porter was determined to lick and love on his rescuers through his broken jaw. They were going to put him to sleep, but his warm heart and strength compelled Humane Society employee Julie Conway to pay out of her own pocket to save him. He serves as an excellent poster pup for the Humane Society of DC.

Handsome and happy Rocket.

Lila and her adopted brother “Gentleman Jim.”