Among the most comical and mischievous citizens of dogdom, the Bull Terrier is playful and endearing, sometimes stubborn, but always devoted. These unique “eggheads” are exuberant, muscular companions who thrive on affection and exercise.
Friendliness towards other pets
Friendliness towards strangers
Once upon a time Bull Terriers were bred to fight. Crossing a terrier and a bulldog produced a breed with fearlessness, tenacity and strength that made them natural gladiators. The fighting branches of the Bull Terrier's family tree have since withered away, and the modern breed is a loving, loyal, clown of a dog who makes an excellent family companion for those with active lifestyles. They love being with people and want to be included in all family activities whether it's a ride in the car, a neighborhood stroll or a romp in the park.
Care - Nutrition
The Bull Terrier should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Bull Terriers need a good diet that includes natural calcium, especially when they are youngsters. One expert breeder gives the dogs a little yogurt or whole milk in the morning and in the evening before bed. She also recommends adding some naturally high-calcium food like broccoli to their diet when they are going through periods of rapid growth and bone development.
Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
Care - Grooming Needs
The Bull Terrier’s short, flat, harsh, and glossy coat requires minimal maintenance. A weekly brushing with a soft-bristle brush or a hound glove will help to remove dirt and loose hair and keep the dog looking his best. The ears should be regularly inspected and cleaned if needed. The nails should be trimmed often, as overly long nails can cause the dog discomfort and problems walking and running.
Care - Exercise
The Bull Terrier needs someone at home during the day. Leaving a Bull Terrier to entertain himself is about as smart as leaving a creative and intelligent child unsupervised in a room full of explosives. For one thing, they'll eat just about anything, and many die from gastrointestinal blockages that aren't discovered until it's too late. Rawhide toys can be especially problematic. Bull Terrier-proof your home!
A Bull Terrier needs half an hour to an hour of physical and mental exercise daily. He'll enjoy going for walks, chasing a ball, or testing his wits against an interactive toy. He's also capable of competing in agility and obedience trials. Be sure to always walk him on leash so he won't run after other animals or go off exploring on his own.
Bull Terrier puppies are bouncy and into everything. High-impact exercise can damage growing bones, so until your puppy's full grown, at 12 to 18 months of age, beware of bone-jarring activities such as jumping on and off the furniture, playing Frisbee, or running on slick wood or tile floors. These can all stress or injure the still-developing joints and ligaments.
Early and consistent training is essential. You must be able to provide leadership without resorting to physical force or harsh words. A Bull Terrier isn't the easiest breed to train, and you'll be most successful if you appeal to his love of play with positive reinforcement techniques while still remaining firm and consistent in what you expect.
Bull Terriers can be difficult to housetrain. Follow the housetraining program closely; the crate method is best. A crate will also prevent your Bull Terrier from destroying your belongings or otherwise getting into trouble.
Bull Terriers are suspicious of strangers and can be aggressive toward other animals (especially dogs of the same sex) and people. Take him to puppy socialization classes as early as possible, as well as to dog-friendly public places so he can get used to many different situations, people, and dogs. He should also learn to welcome visitors to your home.
Major concerns: deafness (whites), kidney problems Minor concerns: heart problems, patellar luxation Occasionally seen: lens luxation Suggested tests: hearing (whites), UP:UC ratio for kidney function, cardiac, (eye) Life span: 11-14 years
Breed Fun Facts/History
The Bull Terrier dates to approximately 1835 and was probably created by crossing a Bulldog with the now-extinct white English Terrier. These "bull and terrier" dogs were later crossed with Spanish Pointers to increase their size. They were known as gladiators for their prowess in the dog-fighting ring.
In 1860, fanciers of the bull and terrier, in particular a man named James Hinks, set about creating an all-white dog. The striking animals became fashionable companions for gentlemen and were nicknamed "White Cavalier" because of their courage in the dog-fighting ring and their courtliness toward people. While they're no longer used for fighting, white Bull Terriers still go by that sobriquet to this day, a tribute to their sweet disposition (which of course is shared by colored Bull Terriers).
The first Bull Terrier registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC) was Nellie II in 1885. Twelve years later, in 1897, the Bull Terrier Club of America was formed. The colored Bull Terrier was made a separate variety in 1936, and the Miniature Bull Terrier became a separate breed in 1992.
Well-known fans of Bull Terriers include General George S. Patton, whose white Bull Terrier Willie followed him everywhere; actress Dolores Del Rio; author John Steinbeck; and President Woodrow Wilson. One well-known Bull Terrier is Patsy Ann, who greeted each ship that docked in Juneau, Alaska during the 1930s. Beloved by tourists, she was photographed more often than Rin Tin Tin, and in 1934 she was named the official greeter of Juneau. Today, Patsy Ann's spirit lives on in a bronze statue that was commissioned and placed on the Juneau wharf in 1992.
A Bull Terrier appeared in Sheila Burnford's book "The Incredible Journey," as well as the first film version of it, but that film didn't have the same effect on the breed as Budweiser's 1980-era commercials starring Bull Terrier Spuds Mackenzie. When the ad campaign aired, the breed's popularity soared.
A colored Bull Terrier made history in 2006, when Ch. Rocky Top's Sundance Kid (Rufus to his friends) became the first colored Bull Terrier to win Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. The only white Bull Terrier to win the prestigious event was Ch. Haymarket Faultless in 1918. The breed's appearance has changed quite a bit — for the better, breeders say — since then.
Today, Bull Terriers rank 61st in popularity among the breeds and varieties registered by the American Kennel Club, up from 85th in 1996. Miniature Bull Terriers rank 129th.