About the Breed
In the 1800s in England, Bulldogs were being crossed with terriers to create the ultimate strong dog: courageous, strong, confident, and tenacious. While the Bull and Terrier, as he was known, was used for more than one purpose, much of the intent was for fighting sports.
As these activities became less popular and the advent of dog shows began to be known, the Bull Terrier’s beginnings began to take a more defined turn. In the 1860s, one fellow, James Hinks, began to purposefully breed the Bull and Terrier dogs and mix in the now gone White English Terrier and his White Bulldog to create a more refined dog. These dogs were more true to type and became the Bull Terrier.
His dogs were known as White Cavaliers at the time because his dogs were all white. Towards the early 1900s, other breeders introduced the Staffordshire Bull Terrier to the mix, which produced colored versions of the Bull Terrier and colored patches on solid white dogs.
The Bull Terrier is a compact, medium-sized dog that stands 18-22 inches and weighs 50-80 pounds, with males being larger than females. He is thick appearing, muscled, and strong.
His coat is smooth, slick, and short; it lies tightly close to the body. The Bull Terrier comes in more than one color. The traditional color is white, but there is also a colored version of the breed. Any color is permissible there, with the preference being brindle.
Likely the most noticeable feature of the breed is his head shape. He has a large egg-shaped head. Additionally, his eyes appear small and almost squinty-like.
The Bull Terrier is a quirky, fun-loving dog that likes and needs to have attention. He can be a wonderful companion for an active family with the time and energy to spend with him. He does well with most all ages and can be a good companion for children, but it is likely best he be matched with older children. He is not expected to be tolerant of teasing or rough handling by a child that hasn’t been taught how to respect a dog.
Care should be taken with the Bull Terrier when the house is very active. He will want to join in on the action. If children are wrestling or rough playing, he is likely to jump into the mix, nipping and pushing around.
The Bull Terrier can be viewed almost like a small child: active, fun, playful, clownish, and even devilish. He is always up for a good time and insists upon it. But, just like a small child, he has to have outlets for his energy with lots of exercise and playtime. Without that, he will stir crazy and create his games.
He can do well with other dogs and can enjoy playing with other dogs, but it is best to match opposite sexes together for the best interaction. The breed can be jealous of affection given to other dogs, so when a Bull Terrier is mixed in a pair or group, one must be careful to pay equal attention to all dogs.
The Bull Terrier is a smart dog, but he requires dedicated training from puppy to adult age. The training should be positive based, but he must learn to listen and respect his human family. If he doesn’t receive this training, he may become unruly, unresponsive, or even harder to handle.
Exercise is a requirement for this dog. The breed is energetic and requires plenty of activities to wear him out each day. If it’s not provided, an owner may find a Bull Terrier with behavioral issues. These issues are hyperactivity, destructiveness, barking, tail chasing, or other undesirable behaviors.
The breed can be rough in play, and it is important not to encourage this playing with the human family.
Shedding & Grooming
The Bull Terrier is easy to take care of. His short coat does shed, but a light brush or glove brush can easily pull those loose hairs and keep it to a minimum. Bathing doesn’t need to be frequently done.
The only other grooming things that need to be done are regular nail trims, ear cleaning, and toothbrushing.
Health & Life Expectancy
The average lifespan for a Bull Terrier is about 11-12 years of age. There are several health issues to be aware of:
- Allergies and skin irritation
- Compulsive behaviors (behavioral health issue) such as spinning or tail-chasing
- Intestinal blockages (while not genetic, Bull Terriers try to ingest a lot, so it’s important to be aware of)
- Kidney disease
- Rage aggression (a neurologically related issue that is unresponsive to training)
- Heart problems
- Luxating patellas