Bull Terrier – Everything You Need To Know

Bull Terrier Breed Overview

The Bull Terriers belong to the terrier group; feisty and energetic are their two prominent characteristics. These breeds are bred to be hunters, watchdogs and protect the livestock from the vermin. The Bull Terriers have been adapted to be family dogs that are friendly to kids, strangers, and other pets.

The Bull Terriers’ hallmark is a long, egg-shaped head with pointed and erect ears and triangular, small eyes. The coat is short and dense and comes in two types, white or any other color, either white markings or solid. The well-bred terrier looks muscular and well-balanced.

Bull Terrier Pros and Cons 

Good for families with older childrenLong puppy stage
Effective guard dogCan be stubborn if not properly trained
Minimal sheddingRequires a lot of exercises

Bull Terrier Highlights

  • Bull Terriers thrive for human companionship and love to stay indoors with their family
  • Bull Terriers don’t do well in cold weather. So plan accordingly to keep your dog warm during winters.
  • These Terriers are easy to groom with minimal maintenance
  • Bull Terriers need plenty of exercises (for about 30 to 60 minutes) to keep them physically and mentally fit.
  • Bull Terriers are restricted or banned in several cities, states and provinces. So do proper research on your local laws before adding one to your family.
  • Bull Terriers are aggressive towards other pets, so early socialization is required
  • Bull Terriers are challenging to train as they are strong-willed, so they aren’t recommended for timid or first-time owners.

Bull Terrier Basic Information

  • Name: Bull Terrier
  • Size: Small to medium
  • Height: 21-22 inches
  • Weight: 50-70 pounds
  • Coat: Short, dense
  • Lifespan: 10- 14 years
  • Color: White, fawn, brindle, black, red smut, red, and tricolor (red, black, and white mixture)
  • Energy: High
  • Origin: England
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Activities: Agility, Conformation, Obedience, and Weight pull
  • Barking Level: Frequent 
  • Shedding Level: Medium
  • Litter Size: 5 to 10 puppies 
  • Group: Terrier Group
  • Other Names: English Bull Terrier, Bully

Different Types of Bull Terriers

  1. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are medium-sized breeds at 14-16 inches tall, weighing around 24 to 38 pounds. They belong to the terrier group and are energetic, muscular, and rock solid. The head is broad and shot, with pronounced cheeks. The coat is short, tightly fitted, and comes in several colors.

Staffordshire Bull Terriers of today’s are family-oriented, sweet-natured dogs that are kind and patient with kids. They make an excellent loyal companion, but the fighting instinct is still present but not overwhelming. It is good to socialize them young.

  1. Miniature Bull Terrier

The Miniature Bull Terrier is a tiny version of the Bull Terrier at 10 to 14 inches, weighing around 18-28 pounds, and belongs to the terrier group. They are upbeat, mischievous, and comical but retain the fearless and energetic character of the Bull Terrier. 

The body is muscular, square, and strong. The head is large egg-shaped, and the eyes are dark, triangular, filled with mischief. The coat is pure white or white with predominant color markings. It is also called the “Clown Prince of Dogdom.”

  1. American Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The American Staffordshire Bull Terrier, also called AmStaffs, is 17 to 19 inches tall, weighing around 55-70 pounds belongs to the terrier group. They are confident, intelligent, and good-natured. The head is broad, cheekbones well pronounced, and the jaws well defined.

 The eyes are round, dark, and set wide apart. The movement is agile, springy, and graceful signifies the breed’s innate confidence. These breeds are alert, lovable personality dogs. AmStaffs can be trained easily and can be good show dogs.

Bull Terrier History

The Bull Terrier is an English breed dating back to 1835. It is created by crossing two breeds, the Bulldog with the now-extinct English Terrier. Bull Terriers were later crossed with Spanish Pointers to increase their size. In the dog-fighting ring, they were called Gladiators for their prowess. In 1860, James Hinks created an all-white dog named white cavalier because of their courtliness and fighting nature in the ring. The white Bull Terrier is still being called by that name, but their fighting nature is significantly decreased.

The American Kennel Club registered the first Bull Terrier named Nellie II in 1885. In 1936, the colored Bull Terrier was made a separate variety, and in 1992 the miniature Bull Terrier became a separate breed. The Bull Terriers are liked by world-famous celebrities and personalities, including President Woodrow Wilson. The Bull Terriers have appeared in Budweiser’s 1980’s era commercials starring Bull Terrier Spuds Mackenzie and films based on Sheila Burnford’s book “The Incredible Journey.” 

In 2006, Ch. Rocky Bull’s Sundance kid became the first colored Bull Terrier to win Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club show; earlier, it was the white Bull Terrier named Ch. Haymarket Faultless had won this prestigious event in 1918.

The Bull Terrier is ranked 61st in popularity by the American Kennel Club, up from 85th in 1996.

Bull Terrier Personality

The Bull Terrier is strong and protective, known for its prowess in the fighting ring. It is playful, animated, energetic, and loves to be around people. The Bull Terrier is intelligent and has a strong presence that reflects devotion and loyalty. Being timid or cautious is not in their genes.

Friendliness Overview 

Affection Level                            High 
Family-Friendly High 
Kid-Friendly Medium
Pet-Friendly Medium
Strangers-Friendly High

Adaptability Overview

Good for New Pet Owners Medium to High
Good for Apartment Living Medium
Sensitivity Level High
Tolerates being alone Low
Heat Tolerance Medium
Cold Tolerance Low

Trainability Overview

Easy to Train High
Intelligence Medium to High
Prey Drive Medium
Tendency to Chew, Nip & Play-bite Medium
Tendency to Bark or Howl Low
Wanderlust Ability High
Tendency to Dig Medium.
Tendency to Snore Low 
Attention/Social Needs Medium to High

Bull Terrier Physical Features

It is long, strong, and deep right to the end of the muzzle. The face is oval and egg-shaped devoid of any hollowness or indentations. There is a gentle curve downwards from the top of the skull to the nose tip.

The forehead looks flat from ear to ear. The distance from the eyes to the skull should be greater than the distance from the nose tip to the eyes. The underjaw is well defined and deep. Lips should be tight and clean. Teeth should meet in scissors or level bite. In a scissors bite, the lower teeth should fit in closely and in front of the upper teeth, and they should be strong, sound, and regular.

Ears are thin, small, and placed closely together; Ears should be stiffly erect when they are pointed upwards. Eyes are dark, sunken, small, triangular, and oblique. Both the eyes should be placed high up in the head. Blue eyes are a disqualification. The nose should be black, with nostrils well developed and bent downward at the tip. 

Neck, Topline, and Body

The Neck should be long, arched, muscular, and clean, tapering from the head to the shoulders, and should not have any loose skin.

The chest should be broad and deep from the brisket to the withers. The brisket should be nearer to the ground than the belly. The Body should be well rounded, deep ribbed, and the back should be strong and short.

The shoulders should be light, strong, and muscular. The shoulder blades should be flat and wide with a pronounced backward slope from the blade’s top edge to the bottom. The back of the shoulders should not be slack and dip at the withers.

Legs should have a big bone but should not be coarse; the forelegs should be perfectly straight, moderate in length, and the dog must be able to stand firmly upon them. The elbows must neither turn in nor out, and the pasterns should be upright and strong. The hind legs should be parallel from behind. The thighs should be muscular with the hocks downwards. The pasterns in the hind legs should be short and upright. The pasterns in the hind legs should be short and upright. The second thigh should be well developed, and the joint at the stifle should be well bent.

The Bull Terrier’s feet are compact, round, and well arched. 

It is short, fine, low, and carried horizontally. It should be thick at the body joint and taper at the free end.

The coat is short, flat, glossy, and a little harsh to touch. The skin of the dog should fit tightly. The coat color is white with markings on the head. The markings anywhere apart from the head are not allowed. The pigmentation of the skin should be penalized.

The dog’s movement is smooth, free with straightforward strides. The forelegs and hind legs should be parallel to each other. The dog should move compactly but with a typical jauntiness that signifies agility and power.

Bull Terrier Temperament

Bull Terriers were initially bred to be fighter dogs for centuries, so the general assumption is that they are dangerous, aggressive, ready to kill at once. Still, over a period of time, the Bull Terriers are trained in such a way to negate the negatives and be more self-controlled.  The present bull terrier has evolved into an intelligent breed, loving, affectionate, calm, collective, fearless, and stubborn but less aggressive.

Bull Terrier Exercise Needs

Bull Terriers are energetic and require a good amount of exercise to keep them fit. The exercise needs of Bull Terriers include walking- at least a minimum of 30 minutes two to three times a day, conditioning an essential exercise to keep them happy and under control, Bonding activity – Playing together and mutual exercise such as running, hiking, and biking. Toys-Agility puzzles to prevent boredom; Weights-If you want your Bull Terrier to be muscular, you can start with a harness. Gradually you can use cinder blocks, sleds, or improvised weights for better results.

Exercise Needs Overview 

Energy Level                                 Medium
Exercise Needs                            High
Playfulness                                   High
Intensity High

Bull Terrier Grooming

The Bull Terriers coat is short, flat, and sheds only moderately. The shedding is heavier during spring and fall when the grooming needs like brushing and bathing will be more. In other times it is enough to brush them once or twice a month using a grooming mitt. The teeth should be cleaned regularly using the canine paste to prevent foul odor, plaque, and tartar buildup. Ears have to be checked and cleaned regularly for dirt, debris, and signs of infection. Nails have to be trimmed once or twice a month, especially if it scratches the surface, but you should make sure not to trim them very short.

Grooming Overview 

Amount of Shedding    Medium
Tendency to Drool Low 
Easy to Groom High 

Bull Terrier Health

Bull Terriers are a healthy breed, but they suffer from various health conditions.

Health Overview

Basic Health Medium  
Weight Gain Possibilities High

Some of the Bull Terrier health ailments are:

  • Patellar Luxation: It is also known as “slipped stifles,” a common problem in small dog breeds that is caused when the patella, which has 3 parts-the femur (thigh bone), patella (knee cap), and tibia (calf) — is not correctly bounded. This leads to lameness in the leg or an abnormal gait, like a hop or a skip. This condition is caused by birth, although the actual misalignment or luxation does not always occur much later. The rubbing caused by patellar luxation leads to arthritis. There are 4 patellar luxation grades, ranging from phase I, an occasional luxation causing unstable lameness in the joint, to grade IV, where the turning of the tibia is heavy, and the patella cannot be realigned manually. This gives your dog a bow-legged appearance. Uphill grades of patellar luxation may require surgery.
  • Hereditary Nephritis: This disease mainly occurs at a young age. It is caused by undeveloped kidneys or malfunction of the kidney filters resulting in a high UP: UC (Urine protein: Urine creatinine) ratio and eventually kidney failure. Breeds with these symptoms should not be bred. 
  • Ectropion: Ectropion is a condition in which the eyelid rolls outward, causing irritation, dryness, and damage to the eyeball and conjunctiva (the tissues surrounding the eye). The treatment for this disease is surgical.
  • Deafness: The Bull Terriers become deaf in one or both ears. It is common in white Bull Terriers. The BAER (Brainstem auditory evoked response) testing is done to ensure that their hearing is normal.
  • Kidney Disease: Like deafness, kidney disease is quite common in Bull Terriers as it can affect at any time. As there is no cure for this disease, special veterinary diets could prolong your dog’s life. The mode of inheritance of this disease is still unknown.
  • Heart Disease: It is caused by defects in the heart structure and function. Symptoms include increased heart murmur. This disease is diagnosed by performing an echocardiogram (a cardiac ultrasound). Treatment includes surgery and medications.
  • Skin Problems: The Bull Terriers suffer from rashes, sores, and irritation caused by a reaction to airborne allergens such as dust, pollen, and mildew. To prevent this disease, provide soft, clean bedding in crates and sleeping areas.
  • Spinning: The dog becomes obsessed with tail-chasing. It decreases the dog’s appetite. This disease is a type of seizure that can be treated by giving medications such as phenobarbital, Prozac, or Anafranil and eliminating the dog’s boredom.
  • Lens luxation: The lens of the Bull Terrier eye gets deformed, and the ligament holding it in place deteriorates. Treatments include surgery, medications, or in severe cases removing the eye.

Note: Before buying the Bull Terrier puppies, it is advisable to get health clearances from the Orthopaedic Foundation for Animals for bones, heart, and thyroid; UP: UC (Urine Protein and Urine Creatinine) ratio for kidney function and BAER (Brainstem auditory evoked response) test for hearing.

Bull Terrier Diet and Nutrition

Bull Terriers have a high metabolic rate and burn more energy. The calorie requirement to their body weight may be higher. Since it is a low-maintenance dog with fewer energy needs, a regular diet balanced with necessary protein, fat, and limited carbohydrate would be enough. 

Feed 3-4 times a day until they are younger, and gradually you can reduce the servings as they mature

The following type of food is considered: 

  • A Kibble made with a quality animal protein as the first ingredient.
  • A product rich in animal fats like chicken fat and fish oil.
  • A dog food supplemented with beneficial additives like probiotics and chelated minerals.

The amount of calorie intake can be calculated using the general formula.

70+30xBody Weight(kgs)= Daily Calorie Intake

Bull Terrier Living Condition

Bull Terriers are an energetic and active breed, they love to be outdoors, but if exercised properly, they can live in apartments, stay indoors and be a loyal companion. The coat of the Bull Terrier is flat and short, which means they do not tolerate cold weather and are good in a warmer climate.

Did You Know?

  • Early records indicate that James Hinks employed an existing Bull Terrier by crossing his own white Bulldog Madman with the now-extinct white English Terrier.
  • The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Bull Terrier dog breed in the year 1885 as its 13th breed.
  • Usually, Bull Terriers don’t bark but when he does, pay attention.
  • Bull Terrier crosses of various colors and sizes became popular in the early 1800s as sporting dogs.
  • The Bull Terriers were crossed with brindle Staffordshires to produce a colored variety in the early 1900s.
  • Bull Terriers love playing games and outdoor activities

Bull Terrier Club Recognition

  • ACA = American Canine Association Inc.
  • ACR = American Canine Registry
  • AKC = American Kennel Club
  • ANKC = Australian National Kennel Club
  • APRI = American Pet Registry, Inc.
  • CKC = Canadian Kennel Club
  • CKC = Continental Kennel Club
  • DRA = Dog Registry of America, Inc.
  • FCI = Federation Cynologique Internationale
  • KCGB = Kennel Club of Great Britain
  • NAPR = North American Purebred Registry, Inc.
  • NKC = National Kennel Club
  • NZKC = New Zealand Kennel Club
  • UKC = United Kennel Club

Adding a Bull Terrier to Your Family

Bull Terrier Rescue Groups

There are countless Bull Terriers in need of adoption and/or nursing, and there are several breed-specific rescue associations across the country that are listed below:

  1. Bull Terrier Rescue
  2. Recycla – Bull Terrier Rescue
  3. Blue Terrier Club of America
  4. Bull Terrier HQ
  5. Blue Ridge Bull Terrier Rescue

To Buy a Bull Terrier Online

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