Bull Terriers are the only breed known to have triangular-shaped eyes.
Other Names: English Bull Terrier, Bully, Varkhond
Country Of Origin: England
Dog Group: Terrier
Recommended For: Families, couples, single owners
Maintenance Level: Easy/moderate
Lifespan: 10-14 years
Temperament: Loyal, independent, friendly
Good For the First-Time Owner: No
Good With Children: Yes
Good With Other Animals: Sometimes
Good With Strangers: Sometimes
Good For Apartments: Yes
Exercise Requirements: Daily walking
Can Live In Hot Weather: Yes
Can Live In Cold Weather: Yes
Can Tolerate Being Left Alone: Yes
The Bull Terrier has a long and sometimes unfortunate, and has developed a reputation for being an aggressive dog breed.
However, much of this behavior is down to how the dog is raised, and Bull terriers don’t necessarily have a naturally dangerous temperament.
Like many other Bull Terrier breeds, they were originally bred for use in blood sports, which is another reason for its aggressive reputation.
However, with the right kind of socialization, a Bull Terrier can make an excellent and loyal family dog.
Color: White, fawn, brindle, red, black, or tri-color
Height: 18-22 inches (both males and females)
Weight: Males – 55-65lbs, Females – 45-55lbs
Personality and Temperament:
Bull Terriers are a moderately intelligent breed and are very sociable.
However, with incorrect training, the breed can easily develop a stubborn streak, so it’s best to start proper nurturing early.
Bull Terriers can be very independent, and so are known sometimes to ignore their owners.
For this reason, it’s best for them to be trained by an experienced dog owner.
Training isn’t hard if done with confidence, and the breed is capable of learning a range of complex commands.
It’s a good idea to take Bull Terrier puppies to obedience classes as soon as possible so they can socialize with other dogs and learn the importance of obedience.
When it comes to other dogs, Bull Terriers will generally be fine, providing they’re socialized correctly.
Their reputation for aggression means that other dog owners can be very wary around them, so it’s vital to train your Bull Terrier how to act around other animals.
Bull terriers love attention from other dogs, so it helps them to learn how to control their excitement.
Even though the breed isn’t dangerous, owners should be wary about keeping them around small pets, such as rabbits or guinea pigs.
Bull Terriers still have a very strong prey drive, which can sometimes lead to accidents.
It can also be potentially dangerous to keep them in a house with cats considering the breed’s prey drive, so Bull Terriers are best if kept as an only pet unless you’re confident in your training ability.
Bull Terriers can make a great choice as a family pet if they’re socialized correctly. They generally love playing with children but should be introduced to them from a young age.
If you’re looking to adopt an adult Bull Terrier just make sure it’s been raised around children.
They are a very sociable breed when given the right upbringing, and can make a great addition to the family.
However, due to the importance of training with Bull Terriers, and the need for a confident and experienced handler, the breed isn’t suitable for first-time owners.
Bull Terriers are known for being strong and confident dogs that can be very independent, which isn’t what an inexperienced owner should choose.
However, if you’ve got enough confidence and dog handling skill, a Bull Terrier can be a good choice.
Bull Terriers are a reasonably energetic breed, and their use as a fighting dog means they’ve got pretty good stamina.
As a result, they need quite a bit of daily exercise.
A Bull Terrier should be walked for between 30 minutes and an hour every day, but will happily take as much exercise as you want to give them.
They can be a great companion for long walks, as long as it’s not too hot.
Their size means that they can be a good choice for apartment living, but owners will need to make adjustments to their care routine.
For example, it would be helpful to give the dog more exercise to compensate for living indoors.
Similarly, you should spend plenty of time playing with them around the apartment to keep them happy and engaged.
Bull Terriers are affectionate and enjoy human attention but can be very defensive and protective if they think they’re under threat.
Again, the right kind of socialization from an early age is essential if you want your Bully to be good around strangers.
Bull Terriers do tend to bark a lot if they feel threatened, and it’s very difficult to train this behavior out of them.
Although they are quite sociable, they can tolerate being left alone. This makes them the right choice for working owners, but it does mean that they need plenty of attention and stimulation while you are in the house.
It’s helpful to establish a clear routine and provide the dog with toys or chews during the day to keep them entertained.
They were bred in England, but their short coat means they can happily live in hot climates without too many problems.
In cold climates, it can be helpful to give them a coat in the winter to keep them warm.
Their coat and muscle structure mean that they’re not suitable for outdoor living.
Bull Terriers have a short, shiny coat that’s quite hard and coarse. They shed reasonably consistently throughout the year, and this can be controlled with weekly grooming.
This is best done with a grooming mitt or soft brush.
Owners should brush their dog’s teeth several times a week to avoid dental problems.
Similarly, their ears should be checked every few days for wax or debris. Trim their nails when needed, which will be more often if living in an apartment.
Common Diseases and Conditions:
One of the most common conditions that Bull Terriers suffer from is deafness.
All puppies are checked at birth for deafness, although it can be hard to tell until the dog is slightly older.
Deafness occurs around 20% of pure white Bull Terriers and about 1.3% of colored dogs.
Another common condition is skin allergies. These can develop at any point in the dog’s life, and usually occur as itchiness or a rash.
Flea and tick bites can often trigger an allergic reaction in Bull Terriers, and owners usually won’t be aware until it happens for the first time.
Reactions often don’t go further than hives and itchiness, so it’s not too difficult to manage.
Other than that, Bull Terriers can also suffer from common purebred conditions, including luxating patellar, heart disease, and hip dysplasia.
The breed is also prone to problems with their eyes, nose, and mouth due to the shape of their head.
The Bull Terrier was one of several breeds to come from the Bull and Terrier breed, which was developed as a rat-catcher and fighter.
It was bred by crossing a Bulldog, which was fast, with a Terrier, which was strong and aggressive.
The resulting dog was much better at fighting and could be trained to be much more dangerous.
“Bull and Terrier” breeds eventually divided into the ancestors of:
- Bull Terriers
- Staffordshire Bull Terriers
- American Pit Bull Terriers
- American Staffordshire Terriers
A man named James Hinks then decided to breed a Bull and Terrier with an English White Terrier, looking for a dog with a nicer head and better legs. (image source)
While Bull Terriers didn’t look how we know them today, they did start to develop the characteristic head shape early on.
The breed was immediately popular, and other breeds were introduced to avoid the problems with deafness.
Bull Terriers continued to be used for blood sports long into the 20th century, and it’s only been in the last 40 years or so that people chose them as family pets.
The breed has now developed to include a miniature Bull Terrier too, which is also popular as a companion pet.
The only real difference with the mini Bull terrier is the size.
Breed standards expect a maximum weight of 14lbs, which is considerably lighter than the standard size.
Now that the breed’s reputation is starting to die off, they’re becoming more popular in shows and as companion animals because people realize how friendly and loyal Bully terries can be.
Bull Terrier Facts & Figures:
- There are quite a few famous Bull Terriers. For example, one appears in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, another in Toy Story, another in Babe, and many more.
- Nancy Drew has a pet Bully throughout the book series, written by Carolyn Keene. The dog’s name is Togo.
- Interestingly, Bull Terriers are known as one of the few dog breeds that suffer from OCD. This commonly manifests as tail chasing and digging.
- Juneau, in Canada, used a Bull Terrier as their official greeter. Patsy Ann, the Bull terrier, could tell when ships were approaching, even though she was deaf. She would then meet them at the docks.