Bull Terrier Guide

Terrier Dog Breeds

The bull terrier is the cavalier gladiator — a good-looking tough character. It is strongly built and muscular, longer than it is tall. Its muscle mass combined with its relatively low center of gravity make it difficult for opponents to knock it off its feet. Its distinctive head not only shows off its keen and determined expression, but also its great jaw strength. Its gait is smooth and easy. Its skin is tight, and its coat short, flat and harsh.

Exuberant, comical, playful, assertive and very mischievous describes the bull terrier. It is an imaginative breed that often sees things its own way and is stubborn to the end. It needs daily physical and mental exercise lest it exercise its powerful jaws on your home. For all its tough bravado, this is an extremely sweet-natured, affectionate and devoted breed. It can be aggressive with other dogs and small animals.

AKC RANKING 72

FAMILY terrier, mastiff (bull)

AREA OF ORIGIN England

DATE OF ORIGIN 1800s

ORIGINAL FUNCTION dog fighting

TODAY'S FUNCTION companion

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 21-22 Weight: 60-70

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 21-22 Weight: 50-60

OTHER NAME English bull terrier

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Energy level High energy

Exercise needs Medium

Playfullness Very playful

Affection level Moderately affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Shy

Friendliness toward other pets Friendly

Friendliness toward strangers Friendly

Ease of training Easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Very protective

Grooming needs Low maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

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The bull terrier needs to be entertained, either with a good exercise session or mental stimulation every day — preferably both. This is an active breed that enjoys a good run, but it is best to run it only in a safe area. It should not stay outdoors except in temperate weather, but it should live primarily as a house dog with access to a yard. Coat care is minimal.
• 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
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Bull-baiting and dog fighting were long considered great entertainment by many Europeans, and patrons were constantly trying crosses to achieve the ultimate fighting dog. Around 1835, a cross between a bulldog and the old English terrier produced a particularly adept pit dog known as the "bull and terrier." A later cross to the Spanish pointer added needed size, and the result was a tenacious, strong, yet agile dog that came to dominate the pits. As interest in the exhibition of dogs grew in England, little attention was paid to these dogs so long associated with the lower echelons of society. With the abolition of dog fighting, however, some bull terrier patrons turned to this new venue to compete with their dogs, and they began to breed for appearance. Around 1860 James Hinks crossed the bull and terrier with the White English terrier and the Dalmatian, producing an all-white strain he called bull terriers. The new all-white strain immediately succeeded in the ring and captured the attention of the public; they became a fashionable companion for young gentlemen who wanted a good-looking masculine dog at their sides. The dogs gained the reputation for defending themselves, but not provoking a fight, and were thus dubbed "the white cavalier." The dogs gradually became more streamlined, and the bull terrier's distinctive head evolved. Around 1900, crosses with Staffordshire bull terriers reintroduced color into the breed. It was not well-accepted at first, but it finally gained equal status as a separate AKC variety in 1936. The white variety still continues as the more popular variety, but both colors have enjoyed great popularity as show dogs and pets. Their comical nature and expression wins them many friends, and they have proven to be very successful in movies and advertising.
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