The Bull Terriers are mostly thought to be the real children of the dog world! They are very entertaining and energetic, and they also love to play the clown-role! Originally bred as fighting dogs, they soon became among the most fashionable companion dogs for the noble gentlemen, while later on very loving family companions as well as show dogs.
What makes them distinct in the dog breed world, are their elongated, egg-shaped head and their massive amounts of stamina!
Dog Breed: Bull Terrier
Breed Group: Terriers, Bull type Terriers /working dog
Breed Color: White, black, brindle, black-brindle, red, fawn and tri-colored with white markings.
History and Origin of the Bull Terrier
Bull Terrier’s origin dates back to 1800s when bull-baiting had become a very popular sport, and lovers of the game desired the creation of a dog that would have an even more fierce attack than the ones already present! Therefore, they started the journey to creating the Bull Terrier by mixing the Bulldog breed with the Old English Terriers and Spanish Pointers –and, the resulting dog was the Bull Terrier we know today.
Contrary to belief, the Bull Terrier did not turn out as a great fighter! Hence, the way Bull Terriers gained their popularity swayed the original plan!
James Hinks, an English dog dealer, is the man behind this adorable breed! He bred the “White Cavalier,” the name by which the Bull Terriers were known at the time, and rather quickly made them very fashionable pets for the nobles. But, later on, when crossed with brindle Staffordshires, also colored variations of Bull Terriers came to life and prominence.
In place of the supposedly original role that occurred upon the Bull Terriers, they started getting utilized in many more other realms: such as guarding, as watchdogs, herders, and ratters!
Soon after, the Miniature Bull Terriers were developed too! Although they are known as two separate breeds, there are comments on whether they should be recognized as two different breeds or instead be remembered as one same breed but of various sizes. As far as character, they are the same – energetic, daring, robust and cheerful dogs!
Dog Type Characteristics
Bull Terriers belong in the Terrier Group – a group comprised of energetic dogs and many various sizes: from a toy, too small, to medium and large dogs. Dogs in the Terrier group are typically intolerant towards other animals, including other dogs, also. Many of the Terrier group continue to project the attitude that they’re always eager for a spirited argument. Their ancestral hunting spirit is deeply imprinted into the group, and they usually hunt for smaller animals, known to disrupt crops, like foxes, rodents, and other similar animals. Their hunting abilities go even further, into the underground, in case of pests out of holes – as per their hunters’ requirements – which is also the reason they got the name Terriers in the first place! Terrier is coming from the word terra, meaning earth!
People familiar with this Group invariably comment on the distinctive Terrier personality. These are feisty, energetic dogs whose sizes range from relatively small, as in the Norfolk, Cairn or West Highland White Terrier, to the grand Airedale Terrier. Most Terriers have wiry coats that require special grooming known as stripping to maintain a characteristic appearance.
Terriers are further broken down into four sections based on the type of Terrier and breed origin and history! In overall, Terriers are very engaging with their pack and family, and they require high-energy owners and families!
Allergies in Bull Terriers
If you notice your Bull Terrier scratching or licking their paws, rubbing their face frequently and continuously, you should start thinking about doing an allergy test and consulting the veterinarian. Three main types of skin allergies are the most common among Bull Terrier, and they are usually a consequence of:
This is a skin allergy which occurs due to hypersensitivity towards dust, mites, and molds. Symptoms that may arise because of this specific allergy are excessive licking, chewing paws or abdomen as well as the rear legs. Additionally, your dog’s ears may become red, and if you touch their ears, you may feel a lot of heat being released.
Except for their ears, you must also check for other symptoms showing up in their armpits, groin, between their toes, and abdomen. Moreover, changes in skin color which usually resemble deep pink, red or black colors are indications of atopic dermatitis!
Inhalant Allergy and ‘Cherry Eye‘
This type of allergy usually arises due to inhalation of allergens like dust, pollen, mites, molds or other chemicals. You may notice your dog feeling itchier around the feet, groin, armpits, and abdomen. This allergy is also the main reason for your dog‘s ear infections!
When your dog rubs the abdomen with the outside world, they may come in contact with these allergens. Meanwhile, the ‘Cherry Eye‘ is caused by the inhalation of chemicals, which cause your dog’s eye to become cherry-colored. ‘Cherry Eye’predominantly occurs among puppies!
It may occur after having come in contact with certain allergens, such as flea collars, specific plants, grass, wood, dog shampoo, among others. It is essential to consult your vet and undertake the right actions towards finding out the particular allergens causing such reactions in your dog, and subsequently, avoid contact with these factors!
Usually, food allergies cause itchy skin and scratchy ears – similar as other allergies – and your dog may also turn to bite and to lick their paws, rubbing their faces in the carpet, coughing, diarrhea, flatulence, sneezing, gagging, seizures, ear inflammation, and other discomforting reactions.
The most frequent food allergens found among dogs are soy products, corn, wheat, chicken, beef, pork, fish, milk, eggs, whey, additives, preservatives, sugar, artificial flavorings – products that are usually found in commercial foods. Therefore, you should consult with your vet and go after identification of allergen ingredients – which may take weeks to find out – then change your dog’s diet accordingly!
The most likely foods to cause allergic reactions in dogs to include: Beef, Pork, Chicken, Rabbit, Lamb, Fish, Eggs, Wheat, Soy, Corn, Dairy
However, if you notice your dog having allergic reactions to one of the foods mentioned above, consider very much possible the rise of allergic reactions to the rest of the listed ingredients!
In dogs, fleas can cause allergic reactions through their saliva, not their ticking. If you cannot detect any insects in your dog, it is advisable to take your dog to the vet and perform the tick-allergy test which enables determining whether your dog has any fleas! If positive, routine removal of remaining insects must be done, and your vet may also prescribe necessary remedies like capsules, sprays or shampoos. Flea allergy, food allergy, parasitic allergy cause similar symptoms. Check for fleas or other parasites‘ presence as their salivas may be what causes the allergic reaction in your dog!
Flea shampoos, soaps, and other dedicated medications have proven helpful in eliminating such skin allergies in dogs! Always remain alert towards your pet dog’s health and behavior!
Physical Appearance of Bull Terriers
Bull Terriers have a healthy, muscular, well-rounded body. Their heads are long, oval-shaped – or egg-shaped as is most commonly referred to – with a slope towards their noses. They have robust shoulders while their ears are small and thin. Their tails are short and low while their coats are dense, short, flat, and harsh.
There are white Bull Terriers and colored Bull Terriers; the whites have color markings on their heads while their bodies remain white, whereas the colored Bull Terriers vary, they may either be black, brindle, black-brindle, red, fawn and tri-colored with white markings.
Height, Weight and Life Span
Height and weight variations between matured female and male Bull Terriers:
Standard Male and Female Height: 51-61 cm
Standard Male and Female Weight: 20-36 kg
Miniature Male and Female Height: 25-33 cm
Miniature Male and Female Weight: 11-15 kg
Life Span of Standard Bull Terriers: 10 to 12 years old
Life Span of Miniature Bull Terriers: 11 to 14 years old
Personality, Temperament, and Character of the Bull Terriers
Bull Terrier used to be very fierce and aggressive as they have fought gladiator wars back in the early days, but they have a gentler temperament nowadays. Despite their fierceness, these dogs are not bred to be guardian dogs! They are great defenders as far as their pack, but not as territorial. Very courageous, fun, active, and a bit on the clown-side, nonetheless, they are loyal, attached and obedient dogs to a firm, affectionate and consistent leader.
They are perfect for active families, and they thrive when they are engaged to do work that gives them a sense of purpose. Being as highly attached and affectionate towards their owners, they will not do good in a family where they could be left alone for long hours during the day!
If you have small children in your house, first and foremost, educate and teach your children how to act around dogs since Bull Terriers are robust by nature and may push or hurt them somehow, without any bad intentions!
Male Bull Terriers may not get along so well with other male dogs. They are known to not get along well with non-canines also, like cats, rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs that you may keep in your household as pets!
As far as training, Bull Terriers are a bit difficult to train, but they do learn and can become great watchdogs!
These dogs will do fine in apartments if they get sufficient, regular exercise. But, they will also be quite active indoors, therefore having a house with a small yard is the best environment for them!
As far as temperatures, they do better and prefer warm climates, rather than older ones!
Their clownish, comedian and affectionate nature make them a joy to have around. A downside to this is their need for constant attention which may cause them to turn towards destructive behavior – such as chewing – to make you look and engage!
Bull Terrier Health Problems
Bull Terriers are prone to a few health conditions, such as: slipped patella or the dislocation of the kneecaps, heart defects, kidney failure and skin, and flea allergies.
They can suffer from zinc deficiency which can also cause death, so you should be very careful and feed your dog properly. But, do not overfeed them as they gain weight very quickly and you risk making them lazy!
The White Bull Terriers are more prone to deafness than the Colored Bull Terriers! Around 20% of the White Bull Terriers risk being born deaf!
Bull Terrier most frequent health conditions
Is a form of kidney disease that may be found in Bull Terriers at quite an early age. It is a result of small, underdeveloped kidneys or a malfunction of filters which cause high levels of protein in the urine. Usually, it is lethal, and the Bull Terrier may die before reaching the age of 3, although some have survived the condition until the age of 6 or 8 until kidney failure occurs. It is preferable to perform urine protein/creatinine tests annually from when the dog is 18 months old.
They may also get renal dysplasia, which is a disease the dog may be born with, where the kidneys do not mature as anticipated and consequently do not perform properly!
Is common in white Bull Terriers, either in one or both ears. Whereas, colored Bull Terriers usually can be deaf in one ear. That is the reason why all Bull Terrier puppies should undergo deafness screenings and tests to make sure that their hearing is good!
There can be defects found in the heart structure and function in Bull Terriers, but not at a large spread. Heart Diseases are detected by the presence of a heart murmur (noise). Depending on the severity of the problem, some may outlive it; some may continue living reasonably with it, while some may, unfortunately, develop heart failure. The severity of the problem also predicts whether your dog will receive treatment through medication or surgery!
Can be rashes, irritations, and sores. Usually, the white Bull Terriers get more of these problems because of having a more sensitive skin compared to colored Bull Terriers. Questions may also imply the presence of allergies, which can be from many substances, for which you need appropriate allergy tests done.
Is an obsessive-compulsive disorder in Bull Terriers where they chase their tails for hours on end. Spinning may begin since they are puppies, around six months old. It depends, sometimes spinning may be a mild obsession or even a strong one, and it may also indicate a type of seizure that requires proper treatment further on.
This condition may occur when the lens of your Bull Terrier’s eye is displaced because of a deteriorating ligament. Depending on its severity, it may be treated through medication, surgery or it may sometimes be necessary to remove the affected eye completely!
They need a lot of physical and mental activity – if not, they may become hyper-energetic and will not be a good companion, especially to small children as they will start overdoing everything! Make sure to give plenty or better yet vigorous exercise, including long walks!
Another factor imposing excessive exercises and solid pieces of training is the Bull Terrier’s tendency to become very protective, possessive and jealous when not completely tired and drained of energy. Socializing them from an early age with different environments, people and animals is a must to prevent later incidents from happening because they can get pretty aggressive towards unfamiliar circumstances, humans and animals!
They are at their best in the company of older children!
Having access to a fenced backyard where they can safely run and play is the best solution for the Bull Terrier dogs! On the contrary, living in an apartment with a Bull Terrier comes with more dedication to their regular walks and exercises! Also, be careful and do not let much clutter spread around your apartment if you live there with you Bull Terrier, since it may be very inviting for them to wreak havoc!
Bull Terriers reflect a rather bossy attitude, although they are very much up for pleasing owners and receiving rewards for good behavior. Therefore, approaching the training sessions with your Bull Terrier requires you to be able to keep your pack leader attitude. In this way, from an early age, your Bull Terrier will understand the position it has within the pack and act accordingly. Keep in mind that allowing your dog to have enough time for play will make them more focused during training sessions. And they are very energetic, which demands to release their energy through play that also involves mental challenges!
They can be a bit challenging, but with the right approach and knowledge and cautiously staying behind these rules, you will get one loving and obedient pet! They are willing to engage in any activity with their pack. So, start from an early age and set rules and boundaries in order not to be having any trouble later on when the dog gets bigger and enters adulthood!
They are a little more on the aggressive side of the chart, therefore channel their energy properly and get them accustomed to different environments! It is a great idea to socialize them and get them familiar with other animals and other humans so that they do not get overly defensive and become unmanageable later on!
The recommended daily amount of food for your adult Bull Terrier varies from 1 5/8 to 4 ¼ cups of high-quality dry food, which should further be divided into two meals daily.
Your dog’s meals should be given at regular times as dogs love routine! Concerning your Bull Terrier puppy, you will have the chance to consult with your breeder to understand in detail how often to feed your newly adopted puppy and the amount you should give within a day!
Depending on the discussions you have with the breeder and the vet, you should be able to determine what exactly to feed your dog as well as the exact amounts! It is good to add raw fruits and vegetables to their diet, from time to time! Although, you must consult your vet regarding this issue, to understand specific fruits and vegetables that are allowed to be included in your dog’s diet!
Other than that, be careful and avoid overfeeding at any cost. You may influence health problems in your dog if not careful! Do not leave food in their bowl the whole time! Their joints are vulnerable until a certain age, either way, so do not increase the pressure by unnecessary extra pounds!
As Bull Terrier grow rapidly during the first four to seven months, you must be careful regarding feeding and exercising as they are highly vulnerable to developing bone disorders. During these specific months, balancing protein and fat intake is an excellent idea to prevent a very rapid growth that can result damaging for them!
*Sidenote: The amount of food your adult Bull Terrier eats also depends on the activity level they engage in, their metabolism, age and built!
If you notice any excessive weight in your Bull Terrier, you should attend quickly to the matter! You need to keep your Bull Terrier fit and in good shape to avoid health problems and mood problems that may arise due to their lowering of energy levels!
Bull Terriers are easy to groom and maintain as they have short and thin coats, with no undercoat. Occasional brushing is sufficient for the Bull Terriers as they are average shedders, with more shedding noticed during the coat changing periods – spring and fall. A rubber glove is a great way to collect their loose, falling hair!
Although, it is highly recommended that you brush your dog’s coat often to avoid excessive shedding as well as coat matting and to make possible the removal of dead hair. You should commit to brushing at least once a week.
Their teeth need to get brushed two to three times a week, at the least – to remove tartar and other bacteria. If you can commit to daily teeth cleaning, you will prevent a lot of teeth problems and gum diseases, as well as bad breath odor!
Their nails should also get regular trimming – once or twice a month depending on their increasing pace. Also, dogs tend to wear them out naturally, but it is recommended to check from time to time in case trimming is needed. It is best to start trimming your dog’s nails at an early age so that they get familiar with the procedures and do not cause problems when the time comes. If you are inexperienced in trimming dog’s nails, ask for help from your vet and ask for a good pair of pointers to prevent hurting or causing your dog to bleed!
Their ears require regular checking for possible infections. Infection symptoms include redness and bad odor. It is a good idea to clean your dog’s outer ears with a dampened cotton ball from time to time.
Always, when grooming your dog, be mindful towards any noticeable rashes, sores, redness, tenderness, inflammation of mouth, nose, skin, eyes, and feet. Also, check their eyes for redness or discharge!
Make your dog’s grooming experience as positive as possible, so that they can stay calm and endure the whole procedures anytime!
*Note: Their thin coat and skin makes them extremely vulnerable to cold weather – so, keep in mind to put a coat on your Bull Terrier whenever it is cold outside as they are overly sensitive!
Bull Terrier Highlights
- Early training and socialization is a must for Bull Terriers, otherwise, they can get aggressive and may even scare you away.
- Not the most appropriate dog for amateur owners.
- Bull Terriers are not high-maintenance dogs. Brushing them weekly and occasionally wiping with a damp cloth will do wonders for you and your dog.
- They need mental stimulation, play and exercises up to an hour, daily.
- In some cities, states, and provinces their ownership is restricted or banned. Make sure you find out about any such circumstances before bringing your Bull Terrier puppy at home!
- Bull Terriers are great with older kids who know how to handle and act around dogs, whereas with young children they may be too harsh, therefore not highly recommended.
- It may be difficult to train them if you are a first-time dog owner, as they are strong-willed and energetic.
- Always order your Bull Terrier puppy from a well-known breeder to avoid inherited diseases!
Famous Bull Terriers
Spuds MacKenzie is one of the most famous Bull Terrier dogs. His rise to fame began in 1987 when chosen for the Bud Light beer commercial that gained immediate prominence as soon as published. The first appearance of the commercial with Spud MacKenzie in it happened during the SuperBowl weekend and it became very well-known for everyone watching! It became a very famous commercial and Spuc MacKenzie a very famous Bull Terrier, gaining a lot of fans while the Bud Light beer gained a high boost in sales!
After a few years, Spud MacKenzie and the whole commercial dropped because of parents complaining that the message is not well accepted to be shown to kids that would disturb their idea on dogs. Dogs and alcohol should not be mixed! To not go to court with the group of people that were against using a dog in such commercials!
Other famous Bull Terriers are the dogs that appeared in the movie ‘It’s a Dog’s Life,’ released in 1955. This was a comedy, full of adventure movie where the life of a Bull Terrier is portrayed, through a few different Bull Terrier dogs that were used for the part! They had to look similar, though, to fulfill the role! The oldest film that includes a Bull Terrier in it!
Also, very famous has become the Bull Terrier featured in the Target commercial and logo – the Bullseye!
General Patton was well known for being in the United States military as well as for his love of animals! Willie, his Bull Terrier was one of the many pets he had, and from all the photos he is seen with Willie, one can easily presume that he was his favorite pet!
There are also many other very famous Bull Terriers that have appeared in other movies, cartoons, commercials, and such.
Famous are also Bull Terriers belonging to celebrities, like: Eric Clapton, Marc Jacobs, Princess Anne, Tom Hardy, Jane Birkin, General Patton, Lily Allen, Theodore Roosevelt’s (the American President owned two Bull Terriers named Pete and Mike who lived for a while in the White House, as well as President Woodrow Wilson’s Bull Terrier, Bruce! These are some among the many other famous Bull Terriers.
Bull Terrier Stories
Patsy Ann – the Official Greeter of Juneau
A very famous story is that of the abandoned, deaf Bull Terrier puppy, whose trials and tribulations of surveying in the streets of Portland, Oregon and later on in Juneau, Alaska were endless. Until eventually, she was noticed for her extraordinary capabilities and was rescued and named as Patsy Ann. She had the great ability to tell which docks would be the ship’s berths while she stood in the pier by the shore. Gradually, the residents started noticing her exceptional talent and they began welcoming her for her work, also offering her treats and meals. Patsy Ann did not stay with anyone in particular; she remained at the pier where she truly enjoyed staying.
In 1934, Patsy Ann received the honor of being titled as the Official Greeter of Juneau, by the mayor of Juneau at the time.
Around 50 years later, the artist Anna Burke Harris made a bronze statue of Patsy Ann and put it at the pier in her honor and to offer a loving greeting for all visitors coming to Juneau, just like Patsy Ann always had done!
Peggy – the rare Bull Terrier swimmer
A very famous story is that of Peggy the Bull Terrier because of the way she had rescued her family members!
Bull Terriers are not so fond of the water, but still, some of them do swim compared to many others that genuinely detest water and would drown immediately if in touch with it!
But, Peggy has saved the life of the boy of her family while he was drowning, and brought him back alive at the shore! This shows how determined and how far Bull Terriers will go for the well-being of the family!
Another time Peggy intervened was to save her family from a fire which started burning because of unattended clothes left close to the fireplace. Peggy’s consistent bark stirred a reaction from the family and served to save their lives!
Military Service Bull Terriers
There are also military hero stories that include Bull Terriers, such as the ones that have served during the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. Below are listed some of the famous military Bull Terrier dog names among many:
- Nelson, the Bull Terrier that served with Vice Admiral Gordon Campbell, from 1906 until 1919.
- Jake, the Bull Terrier that served with Captain Edward Hazlett on the U.S. submarine.
- Tank – General George S. Patton’s deaf Bull Terrier.