Details and Reasons for Customization
The major reason collectors create and continue to create boy dolls is that until 2017, it was highly unlikely given the target of the company (and the very name "American Girl"), that the company would ever release wide scale male characters of any kind. This included characters such as Kit Kittredge's close friend Stirling Howard, Julie Albright's friend T.J., or Maryellen Larkin's best friend Davy Fenstermacher. Thus, collectors who wished to add male dolls to a collection could only customize dolls or have others do it for them. However, because the doll anatomy is very gender-neutral in shape for a prepubescent child, practically any female-focused doll can be modified to another gender presentation.
Initially, the only official boy dolls sold by American Girl were boy Bitty Twins, though initially Our New Baby dolls were sold with the option to purchase either masculine or feminine infant clothing.
In 2017, American released the first and currently only boy doll, Logan.
Methods of Customization
The easiest way to modify a doll to present masculine is to trim a long wig short, as many boys in modern Western society are assumed to keep their hair shorter than a girl's. However, since the original wigs are draped and designed for longer hair, there will likely be prominent bald spots on the back of the head or around the bangs. Rewigging is slightly more complex, but a short-haired wig will appear more natural on the doll's head.
A head swap to place a boy Bitty Twin's head on a full 18" body was possible through the life of the Bitty Twin line (and after, with the secondary market). However, this will likely appear misaligned or out of proportion as a Bitty Twin's face mold is designed with the face of a toddler; older children do not have the same round cheeks, level of "baby fat" and larger-appearing eyes of a toddler.
Most outfits are designed to be very feminine and a collector may prefer their male dolls to appear in more masculine clothing, such as t-shirts and jeans or shorts. Many collectors choose to purchase off-brand or specially commissioned outfits. However, some older My American Girl outfits are considered gender-neutral enough to present on a male-presenting doll, such as the Cargo Outfit or either set of the Blue Jeans Basics.
Bitty Twin outfits are an option but pants will appear cuffed on the longer legs.
With the release of Logan, options for more masculine dolls was made available.
Boy Dolls and the American Girl Hospital
Logan, as an official released character, can be repaired through the hospital. A doll with a hair cut on their original wig can be sent in to the hospital, but if any repairs are needed that require full head replacement, the head will most likely return with long hair.
As with any other heavily customized doll, a rewigged or head swapped male doll will not be repaired by American Girl.