Details and Reasons for Customization
The major reason collectors create boy dolls is that it is highly unlikely, given the target of the company (and the very name "American Girl"), that the company will ever release wide scale male characters of any kind (such as Kit Kittredge's close friend Stirling Howard, Julie Albright's friend T.J., or Maryellen Larkin's best friend Davy Fenstermacher). Currently the only official boy dolls sold by American Girl are boy Bitty Twins, though initially Our New Baby dolls were sold with the option to purchase either boy or girl clothing.
Thus, collectors who wish to add male dolls to a collection will have to customize dolls or have others do it for them. However, because the dolls are very gender-neutral in shape for a prepubescent child, practically any female doll can be modified to another gender presentation.
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 is possible. 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.
Boy Dolls and the American Girl 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 then return with long hair.
As with any other highly customized doll, a rewigged male doll will not be repaired by American Girl.