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Are Bull Terriers Affectionate?

The Bull Terrier has an aggressive, rugged appearance that is anything but friendly and affectionate looking.

But as we all know, we should “never judge a book by it’s cover”.

I’ve interacted with lots of bull terriers during my life, and I am extremely confident in saying that the outer layer of the Bull Terrier does not match the inner layer.

But for those who have not interacted with a Bull Terrier before, their appearance can be quite intimidating.

So today I’m here to enlighten you about Bull Terriers, and answer the famous question,

“Are Bull Terriers Affectionate?”

Bull terriers are affectionate, friendly, outgoing, and extroverted and playful especially with family members. They are also very loyal and protective to all the members of their household.

Among the most comical and mischievous citizens of dogdom, the Bull Terrier is playful and endearing, sometimes stubborn, but always devoted.

American Kennel Club

Bull terrier responding to a dog command

Bull terriers are a fun-loving breed, who are loyal and obedient to their owner.

Having said that, Bull Terriers do require plenty of training and structure, as their extreme levels of loyalty can lead to jealousy and possessive behaviors.

In return, the Bull Terrier isn’t for everyone.

So how do you know if a Bull Terrier is the right breed for you? Well, hopefully by the end of this post, you’ll have a better idea.

Today  I hope to educate you more about:

  • the history of the Bull Terrier (to help you better understand their disposition)
  • the temperament of the Bull Terrier, and
  • how Bull Terriers are around children and other dogs

By the end, I hope to give you more insight into whether the Bull Terrier is the right fit for you and your family.

The History of the Bull Terrier

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the Bull Terrier was originally a cross between a Bulldog and an English Terrier.

Unfortunately, however, the breed wasn’t bred for positive reasons. In the 1800s when the sport of Bull Baiting was outlawed, the new sport of dog fighting took over.

To create the “perfect” dog for the sport, Bulldogs and Terriers were crossed.

This gave them the alertness and agility of the Terrier, along with the tenacity, power, and pain threshold of the Bulldog.

The dog was referred to as a Bull-and-Terrier.

As time passed and dog fighting became outlawed, however, interbreeding eventually started to take place with other breeds like the Spanish Pointer.

The result was a strong, agile, tenacious dog that eventually became known more for their looks than their bite.

Through selective breeding the Bull Terrier that we know today has become an extremely affectionate companion that makes a great family pet.

The Bull Terrier TemperamentWhite bull terrier playing with a child in a park sorrounded by green plants and bushes

The Bull Terrier is commonly referred to as the “clown” of the dog world.

They can be classified as a silly, rowdy, active, and extremely energetic breed.

Bull Terriers are also sweet and affectionate, and require plenty of love, attention, and companionship.

With that being said, it’s important to remember that Bull Terriers were originally bred for fighting.

As such, they can showcase displays of aggression at times.

Bull Terriers can be extremely territorial and protective of their family members, especially when strangers enter their space.

Because of their aggressive history, many people are concerned that Bull Terriers won’t fit into a family with small children.

I’d like to put this misconception to rest. Bull Terriers are excellent with children.

They have plenty of energy, which means they can keep up with even the most rambunctious of children.

The only problem you might run into between a Bull Terrier and a small child is roughness.

A Bull Terrier won’t mean any harm, but often forgets their strength.

When playing with a small child, it wouldn’t be uncommon for a Bull Terrier to accidentally knock them over.

They may however, display some aggression towards strangers (if not socialized properly) and other dogs.

Bull Terriers generally do best when they are the only animal in the house, so if you have other pets, you may want to consider a different breed.

The Owner’s PersonalityBull Terrier fetching a Chew Toy in a Park

Bull Terriers are extremely affectionate and loving dogs, but because they can also be very dominant, they require dominant owners.

In other words, they need an owner who can be a pack leader.

With confident and assertive leadership, an owner can turn a Bull Terrier into the best pet and companion around.

But if the owner is not assertive, the Bull Terrier will take on the dominant role, and may become aggressive and domineering.

The owner of a Bull Terrier must also be willing and ready to socialize their dog as a puppy.

With proper and regular socialization when young, overprotective and territorial behavior can be kept to a minimum.

Famous Bull Terriers

Bullseye, the official mascot of Target Corporation

David Weekly from Cupertino, CA, USA [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Bullseye– If you have ever watched TV, chances are you have seen the “Target” dog, famously known for the large bullseye painted over her left eye.

The Target Mascot, appropriately named “Bullseye”, has worked in close proximity with many celebrities over the years, including Michael Buble, Cameron Diaz, and Selma Hayek to name a few.

The pampered pooch has appeared in Target commercials since 1999, and is rumored to have a closet larger than most people!

Of course, a dog’s working life isn’t as long as we would hope, so while Bullseye always look the same on TV, she has actually been played by a few different Bull Terriers over time – but that doesn’t change how much we love each and every one of them!

Blockbuster Movies Starring Bull Terriers:

Scud, the bull terrier in the Toy Story movie

Bull Terrier named Chico in “Next Friday” and “the Friday after That” movies

The Bull Terrier in the famous 1998 movie “Babe

But if you thought that television, movies, and celebrities were the extent of it, you’d be very mistaken.

Famous Bull Terrier Owners:

It seems that as of late, Bull Terriers have also made a huge splash into the world of Social Media and fashion.

Neville, the Bull terrier wearing wearing orange with blue shirtMarc Jacob‘s pup, Neville, currently boasts over 147, 000 Instagram followers and is regularly seen flaunting the newest in Marc Jacob designs.

Jimmy Choo, another Bull Terrier owned by Rafael Mantesso, has over 259,000 followers who watch to see what accessories the dog will be rocking next.

According to fashion models and photographers, Bull Terriers make excellent models because they are eager and willing to please their owners.

This means that they will sit still for long periods of time just for the hope of a small treat.

Bull Terriers are also known for their signature walk, which makes them great for fashion runways.

Just look at their faces – who couldn’t love the odd egg-shaped, unique and elongated facial structure of the Bull Terrier?

As it turns out, not many people can resist their signature look.

Anyone who owns a Bull Terrier will tell you, they are a breed of dog that puts a smile on people’s faces just simply by looking at them.

Check Out: Bull Terrier vs Pitbull Comparison


Bull Terriers are extremely affectionate dogs – with their own families.

When trained properly, they can also be very loving towards strangers, but they may display aggressive tendencies towards other dogs or smaller animals.

They are recommended for:

  • families who have a lot of time for socialization
  • an owner who has a dominant leader,
  • an owner who can provide them with all of the love and affection that they deserve

Is your Bull Terrier affectionate?

Check Out More:  British Dog Breeds

Related Questions:

Do Bull Terriers Require A Lot Of Exercises?

Yes. Bull Terriers are an extremely playful and energetic breed that requires regular exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.

Generally speaking, Bull Terriers need at least one hour of exercise per day to keep them from getting bored and destructive.

Are There Any Health Concerns Associated With The Breed?

Like most breeds, Bull Terriers have some health issues that are larger concerns than others. Common health problems among Bull Terriers include:

  • Kidney Issues
  • Heart Issues
  • Deafness
  • Kneecap issues
  • Hypersensitivity to allergens
  • Dry Eye

Having said that, proper nutrition and health care, coupled with regular visits to the veterinarian can help to reduce the likelihood of such issues arising.

Do Bull Terriers Shed A Lot?

While Terriers have very short hair, they have been known to shed a great deal.

When you own a Bull Terrier, it’s not uncommon to find short hairs stuck to all of your clothing and furnishings.

The harshness of their hair can also make it a concern for people with sensitive skin or allergies.

Check Out Other: Bull Terrier FAQs

About the author: Driven by his lifelong passion for dogs and an insatiable curiosity about their diverse breeds, Pablo Pascua founded dogbreedsfaq.com. Through this website, he seeks to expand his knowledge and share his findings with fellow dog enthusiasts. Having owned several dogs throughout his life, Pablo’s experiences have fueled his interest in learning more about these beloved animals. His mission is to provide accurate and comprehensive information to help pet owners make informed decisions about their furry companion.

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