Breed Group: Terrier
Temperament and Behavior
Bull Terriers are fun-loving clowns that are “full of fire” and love to be the center of attention. These dogs fit well into an active family that doesn’t mind their home being turned into a racetrack when their dog has a burst of energy that sends him careening through the house, skidding around corners and bouncing off furniture. These outbursts are such a part of the breed’s behavior they have been named “Bully runs”. Bull Terriers become very attached to their owners and thrive on affection. They love to join family activities and are good playmates but only for older children because their hard-charging play will likely prove too much for pre-schoolers. Depending on the dog, visitors can be met with overwhelming exuberance or wariness. Most prefer the company of people to other animals, so care must be taken when introducing them to small pets. They may become aggressive with other dogs, especially when both are the same sex. Cats may or may not be safe in their company. They need vigorous exercise on a daily basis. If their exercise needs are not met, if left alone for long periods of time, or if their physical activity is restricted, they will likely bore then become destructive and their powerful jaws can destroy almost anything they can grab. Crating can prevent damage to both possessions and dog but must be used judiciously. On the barky side, Bull Terriers are great natural watchdogs who are quick to notify their owner if something is amiss. They will also back up that bark making them above average guard dogs.
Physical CharacteristicsStanding 15-22 inches and ranging from 35-80 pounds, Bull Terriers are an average size dog with a muscular body. Their short coat is solid white or white with colored markings; or colored fawn, brindle, or black-and-tan all of which can have white markings. Their coats usually need only occasional brushing which results in minimal shedding. Some people with sensitive skin may have an adverse reaction to the Bull Terrier’s somewhat prickly hair.
Trainer's NotesModest early socialization is advised to offset the possibility of aggression and timidity that exist in some lines. With their powerful bodies and independent minds, they can be a challenge to train. But you can not coerce a Bull Terrier to do anything. Trainers who use firmness, fairness, and who have a sense of humor will succeed best. Short sessions with frequent play breaks are important. Bull Terriers are not considered a good choice for a first-time dog owner.
Bull Terrier, white color
HealthMany Bull Terriers have skin allergies frequently brought on by flea bites but, can also be caused by mosquitoes or mites. White Bull Terriers are prone to deafness. Mostly white puppies should come with a BEAR printout showing normal hearing in both ears (bilateral hearing). With too few dogs tested to be certain, initial indications are that Elbow Dysplasia may be a health problem in the breed. Many recommend yearly screening for kidney disease. Some lines are prone to Luxating Patella and heart problems. Their life expectancy is around 12 years.
PopularityWith about 1,700 dogs registered per year by the American Kennel Club, the Bull Terrier ranks 62nd in popularity.
Breed HistoryDuring the 19th century when bull-baiting and dog fighting were popular among Europeans, enthusiasts tried to create the ultimate fighting dog by crossing the Bulldog with the Old English Terrier, then adding a bit of Spanish Pointer blood to the mix. Soon after becoming a success in the ring, white Bull Terriers become a fashionable pet of the gentry. Over the years this breed has been used as a guard dog, ratter, herder, and watchdog. Bull Terriers are sometimes confused with the American Pit Bull Terrier but they are separate, though related breeds.
Additional InformationBull Terriers were nicknamed the “White Cavalier,” when it was realized they seldom start a fight but defend themselves admirably. Bull Terriers have the potential to bring much joy to a household or wreak havoc upon it, depending upon the time and devotion their owners are willing to spend helping them develop their special character. There is a miniature version of the Bull Terrier that is less vocal and not as active as the standard. Famous individuals who owned Bull Terriers include Fred Astaire, Michael J. Fox, George Patton, Theodore Roosevelt, Sir Walter Scott, and John Steinbeck. The National (US) Breed Club is the Bull Terrier Club of America.