A Bull Terrier may have the egg head and gladiator stigma that sometimes scares people who don’t know enough about this breed, but in reality, this dog is loyal, sweet and a house comedian.
Their vibrant and goofy personality serves them well as a great family companion. It is their appearance that captivates the imaginations of dog lovers and photographers.
But what else makes this breed a popular choice amongst the canine community?
Here is what you need to know about the Bull Terrier.
The Bull Terrier first started off as a dog fighting breed in England around the early 1800’s. When ‘Bull Baiting’ was outlawed in the country during 1835, organizers and breeders still continued the blood sport, which they decided to create a dog that was small enough to hide under their coats if a police raid took place.
Breeders also imagined a dog that was agile yet light. The Bull Terrier proved to be everything that the Bulldog wasn’t, which was too slow to be exciting, and the breed lived up to their expectations as a dog that would fight to its death. Some called the dog a canine gladiator
The Bully is a cross between the old English Terrier and the Bulldog. Some believe that the Bull Terrier may have some Spanish Pointer, Foxhound, Greyhound, and Dalmatian in its bloodline to give it that sheer look of elegance.
Many credit James Hinks as the man behind the Bull Terrier breeding standards. It was Hinks who standardized the breed.
Hinks also revolutionized a different role for the dog, instead of the insidious ritual of dog fighting. Bull Terriers were to be known as a gentleman’s companion, one who wasn’t overtly aggressive, but could defend their family if a situation called for it. Hinks also wanted to breed exclusively all white Bullies.
The first Bull Terrier to appear was at a dog show around the early 1860’s in Birmingham. Shortly after, in 1887, the Bull Terrier Club was founded.
The American Kennel Club first recognized the breed in 1895. Until 1992, the American Kennel Club classified the Miniature Bull Terrier and the standard version as one breed. Today, the two are considered basically the same dog but different registered breeds.
Things changed dramatically for the breed, as today the Bully is used more for family life and companion purposes. While they certainly can hold their own in obedience and command training, their main purpose is companionship. The Bull Terrier is the 57th most popular breed, according to the American Kennel Club.
According to the American Kennel Club, the Bull Terrier is a medium sized dog that should stand between 21 and 22 inches.
The weight of a Bully should fall between 50 and 70 pounds.
* It’s important to note, that the Miniature version of Bull Terrier is separately recognized, even if the two types share many of the same characteristics.
If your exerts aggressive behavior, then most likely they weren’t socialized properly or trained in the right atmosphere. Proper reinforcement and early socialization as a puppy should result in a mild mannered dog. That said, they may become food aggressive, which is why it’s important to train the dog early on.
Once a fighting dog, for over a hundred years, many breeders and fellow Bull Terrier enthusiasts have worked hard to break that negative connotation about the breed. In fact, under the right tutelage, your Bully should be a loving companion that is friendly with everyone including the cat.
A Bully may have a short attention span, which makes for interesting training. You’ll certainly need some patience and positive reinforcement with this breed. Don’t overstate their patience capacity with intelligence. This dog is very capable at obedience and training commands.
Fearless and tenacious, just as the British intended for this breed, your Bully shouldn’t be aggressive but protective of its family.
This is a high energy dog, who loves to go for walks around the neighborhood, where it can be curious and test its nose. Exercise is crucial along with companionship for the Bull Terrier. They aren’t a breed that should be left alone at home all day.
Finally, one of the most noticeable traits of a Bully is their sense of humor. Near comedic. Prepare to deal with quite the class clown. It’s not beneath this breed to grab their master’s attention even if it means goofing off.
The Bull Terrier has an average life span of 12-13 years. The breed’s club states that this dog rarely suffers from major hereditary health concerns.
Like any other breed, you should buy from a reputable breeder with a well decorated reputation, who can provide you the proper health clearances. It is frowned upon that dogs are bred if the parents have known health complications. Regular veterinarian checkups will ensure your Bull Terrier maintains good health.
Some common concerns with most breeds to watch for, but not necessarily a huge red flag within the Bull Terrier is Hip and Elbow Dysplasia. This can be found in the Bully but isn’t common.
Patellar Luxation is one of the listed health risks for the Bully. This is when the knee is dislodged from the femur.
Issues affecting the eyes such as Ectropion, a common condition found in dog, where the eyelid rolls outward. This is also referred to as droopy eye. The opposite of that is called Entropion, which affects the dog’s eyelid by rolling inward. Both conditions are painful for the Bully and can cause irritation or infection based on the fact that the hair rubs against the skin inviting scarring and other irritable issues.
The Bull Terrier Club considers kidney failure and deafness as two the leading major concerns that exist with this breed. According to the club, 18 percent of Bully’s suffer from “less than ideal” vision. Although testing for kidney failure isn’t conclusive, it can, however, show likelihood of your dog encountering a problem with its kindey.
Heart complications such as narrowing arteries that lead to strokes or heart attacks should also be monitored.
If you’re a first time dog owner, then the Bull Terrier is an okay breed to begin with, just as long as you practice patience, and positive reinforcement during socialization and training.
Speaking of which, early training and interaction with other dogs is essential for a friendly and peaceable Bully. Inviting and integrating with fellow canines will help this dog intermingle well with others.
It’s quite possible you’ll need to crate train your puppy Bull Terrier. They can become destructive when left along for long periods of time, especially towards furniture.
A spacious environment is nice but not a requirement for this breed. They certainly will need exercise and daily activity. Long walks, runs, fetch, games, and trips to the dog park will keep a Bully happy.
- Bull Terriers thrive better with a friend or fellow dog especially if left home for long periods of time.
The breed is fine with children, but it is better to supervise smaller children, who can sometimes be rough with pets. If a Bully believes that it’s playing they may become rough themselves which could result in injury for a smaller child.
Clipping or trimming the nails of your Bully is a good idea to avoid nails splitting or overgrowth. Bathe as needed, the Bull Terrier is a low maintenance breed, which means that you shouldn’t need to regularly groom the dog. Check their ears and folds for bacterial build up and with a damp cloth or pet wipe clean it out.
Your Bull Terrier may not require the recommended diet depending on age, metabolism, and whether or not your dog is spayed or neutered. Of course, how active your dog is will also affect how much he or she eats.
For a Bully that weighs between 60 to 80 pounds, the recommended amount of dry food required for the breed is 3 to 3 3/4 cups per day. It’s best to split that up into separate meals. You can feed the dog once in the morning and again in the evening. This nutritional balance reduces the chances of a dog suffering bloat.
A dog of this caliber should be eating meat as the first ingredient. Most Bull Terrier owners claim their dogs enjoy lamb, rice, salmon, chicken, beef, and veggies.
The daily protein rate for a Bull Terrier will depend on activity rate. Active dogs can consume 22-32 percent of protein, while a less active dog may consume as little as 18 to 22 percent protein.
As always, your Bull Terrier should have fresh and clean drinking water.
Bull Terriers have a nice short and shiny coat, that has a flat surface and coarse to the touch. This makes for an easy to groom breed, that has two varieties, white and colored.
The American Kennel Club accepts thirteen colors and no markings.
These colors are: Black and Tan, Black Brindle, Black Brindle and White, Black Tan and White, Brindle, Brindle and White, Red, Red and White, White, White and Black Brindle, White and Brindle, White and Red, White Black and Tan.
Fun Bull Terrier Facts
- Dogo Argentino’s are a cross of Bull Terriers and several other breeds.
- President Theodore Roosevelt owned a Bully.
- If a standard Bull Terrier is too big for your liking, then you could always get a “Miniature” version.
- Bully’s are said to be one of the more obsessively compulsive. One of the common traits of their OCD is chasing their tail.
- Spuds MacKenzie, a Bull Terrier, was a Bud Light spokesman in the 1980’s. This didn’t come without controversy, however, Senator Strom Thurmond began a campaign accusing the beer company of baiting younger children into liking the alcoholic beverage.
- This breed was featured in the famous story, “Oliver Twist” by Charles Dickens. The dog featured in the book was named Bullseye.
- Director Tim Burton is a big fan of the breed, he featured a Bully in his movie, “Frankenweenie.”
- You may have seen the breed in the movies, “Babe,” “Next Friday,” “Toy Story,” and the popular Nickelodeon cartoon, “Rocko’s Modern Life,” proving the Bull Terrier is plenty photogenic and charming.
- General George Patton famously owned a Bully named Willie.
- Eric Clapton, Taylor Swift, Metallica’s Kirk Hammet and action star, Tom Hardy, each are fans and owners of the breed.
Although the breed began with unfortunate circumstances as a fight dog, one man saw a bigger and better role for the breed.
James Hinks saw a pedigree of bravery, loyalty, and charm within the Bull Terrier and he was right.
Despite a barbaric past, the breed has flourished as a loving and dedicated dog, that with the proper prescription of love and care, can thrive as a great companion and a treasure to anyone’s family.