Bull Terrier Dog Breed
Nicknames: English Bull Terrier, Standard Bull Terrier
|Right Breed For You?||Bull Terriers become very attached to their owners and families and do not thrive when left alone. The breed loves children, but obedience training is necessary and care must be taken that they don’t get over stimulated around younger children. The Bull terrier can live in small spaces such as an apartment with enough exercise. Their short coats are easy to care for, but the breed requires daily exercise. They will do well with a small, fenced yard and regular walks.||Discount Pet Supply Recommendations|
|Life Span:||10-14 years|
|Litter Size:||1-9 puppies|
|Color:||white or any color with white markings. Brindle, fawn, brown and tan are common colors with or without white markings.|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR|
The Bull terrier is a strong, athletic and energetic dog that is capable of doing a multitude of tasks including watch dogging and protecting as well as agility and obedience events. They are also ideal family dogs with clownish personalities and a loving temperament when properly trained and socialized.
The Bull terrier has a very distinctive head and is rarely mistaken for any other breed by those that are familiar with their characteristics. The head is almost totally oval in profile from the skull through to the tip of the nose. The shape of the face should be full without any hollow areas or concavity to the profile. The eyes are very small and almond shaped, centered towards the middle of the head for a distinct appearance. In some literature the eyes are described as triangular in shape, and in some Bull terriers this is a very accurate description.
The eyes should be located closer to the ears than to the nose, adding to the appearance of length on the face below the eyes. The ears are very pointed and rather thin, placed close together on the top of the skull. They should be relaxed most of the time but can be held absolutely erect with the dog is attending to something.
The neck is thick and slightly arching and longer than that of most mastiff or bulldog types. The shoulders are heavy set and well developed with a very deep and wide chest. The front legs are stocky and short, well set to the outside of the deep chest. The brisket or bottom of the chest should be significantly deeper than the abdomen area. The back is short and strong looking with muscular loins and a well developed rib cage. Although the appearance is solid the body should not look overly heavy or disproportionate to the rest of the dog.
The legs of the Bull terrier should be strong with good bones and excellent conformation. They should neither turn out or in at the knees or hocks or at the feet. The feet are round and arched, similar to that of a cat. The dog should be light on his or her feet, and should not shuffle or drag the feet in any gait, although they do often appear to almost roll from side to side when in movement. The movement should appear smooth and fluid with a good length to the strides and a typical “I am in control” attitude present in the movement.
The tail of the Bull terrier is moderately long and set low on the hindquarters. It is usually carried horizontal with the ground and is tapered from the thick base to the tip at the end. The skin of the Bull terrier should be tight against the body without noticeable wrinkles or folds anywhere on the body.
The coat of the Bull terrier is extremely short, fine and harsh in texture and is very flat against the body. It is prone to shedding throughout the year with heavier shedding in the spring and summer as the coat changes. The Bull terrier should have a natural sheen to the coat regardless of the coloration.
The Bull terrier was originally developed in the early 1800\’s when bull baiting was considered a sport. The goal of the early breeders was to create the ideal bull baiting dog that would be strong, fearless and brave. They crossed the Old English Terrier with the Bulldog as well as a Spanish Pointer breed. The resulting typically white dog was unique in appearance as well as very strong, but was not ideal in the brutal bull baiting ring.
The temperament and unique appearance of the Bull terrier attracted many individuals at that time and they where quickly selected as a watchdog and companion breed of dog. At this time the breeders began to breed out the aggressive tendencies and this has continued.
The all white Bull terrier was originally known as the White Cavalier and was a favorite watchdog of royalty. It continues to be the most commonly known color of the Bull terrier although several other color varieties are common and desirable.
The Bull terrier is a fun loving, people loving and highly attentive type of dog. Their unique face shape often makes them appear very focused and attentive to their owners, and they are known to seem to understand what the owner is thinking and planning to do. As a breed they are often described as clownish despite their rather aggressive start in the dog world. Now the breed is known as a gentle, kind dog rather than the fighting dog it originally was intended as.
The Bull terrier requires human attention and interaction to be happy and secure. They absolutely love children and are energetic and sturdy enough to be wonderful companions for kids of all ages. Younger children may need time to get used to the affectionate and somewhat energetic play of the Bull terrier.
The Bull terrier, as with many terrier breeds, becomes rather possessive and jealous of both people and objects so needs to be taught to share. Teasing is also a problem with this breed and children and adults must learn not to engage in any type of play the dog may misinterpret as teasing. They are not considered appropriate for a home where they would be alone more than they are in the presence of the family or where they would be kept in a kennel.
The Bull terrier is a good watchdog and will bark to notify the family when a stranger approaches, however they are not likely to be highly protective or be an effective guard dog, it is simply not in their nature to be aggressive towards people.
With other dogs however the Bull terrier can be very dog aggressive if not socialized at a young age. Male Bull terriers that are intact are the most aggressive and are not recommended for homes with other intact males or even neutered males of dominant types of breeds. Males and females that are spayed and neutered can become good companions for each other, but slow introductions or raising them together from puppies is recommended.
The Bull terrier has a high prey drive and is not appropriate for homes with other pets. Sometimes, when raised together from a very young age, the Bull terrier will get along well with cats, however this does require a lot of care and supervision by the owner.
Like all dogs there are genetic and health problems found in the Bull terrier breed. Buying from a reputable breeder and checking the history of the bloodlines for any possible health problems is also advisable. The most common health conditions include:
- Patellar Luxation – dislocated kneecaps, common in most medium to small breeds.
- Skin Allergies – this breed is prone to flea and environmental allergies
- Zinc Deficiency – Lethal Acrodermatitis, seen by small birth weights and sizes, skeletal deformities, sores, fading of the coat and failure to grow. There are various treatments but most are unsuccessful.
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – prone to activities such as chronic tail chasing, scratching, chewing, anxiety type behaviors. Can be treated somewhat effectively with medications.
- Deafness – all white Bull terriers are prone to either being born deaf or going deaf very shortly after birth.
As with all breeds the Bull terrier will require regular health check ups and worming and flea treatments. Regular yearly vaccinations will also be essential for good health.
Grooming the Bull terrier is very simple and this makes it an ideal dog for those that don\’t have time for elaborate grooming routines. A weekly rub down with a rubber grooming mitt or stiff bristle brush is all that is required. Checking the ears and the eyes for any sign of irritation or discharge at this time is also important. While the breed is not prone to eye or ear infections it is always a great idea to check regularly to catch any potential problems before they become an issue.
A chamois cloth can be used after grooming to add a natural sheen to the hard, flat coat of the Bull terrier. These dogs are very clean and do not require regular bathing unless it is required. They do shed an average amount and grooming will help prevent loose hairs from showing up all over the furniture. The Bull terrier has two slightly heavier shedding times, one in the spring and once in the fall. During these periods additional grooming will help remove the dead hair.
The nails of the Bull terrier are very hard and typically will stay worn down if the dog is exercised on streets or sidewalks. If, however, the nails become long they can cause lameness and tenderness of the feet, so always check the length. The bottom of the nail should not be lower than the bottom of the pad or it will actually push the nail up and into the pad, just like a long toenail on a person pushes into the foot when in a shoe. A guillotine type dog nail clipper that slips over the end of the nail and then slices the nail off flat it is the best option. Care must be taken not to cut in the quick as this is very sensitive and will bleed profusely if cut. A vet or groomer can show you the correct way to trim the nails if you are not familiar with the process.
The Bull terrier is a very athletic dog that enjoys regular, extended exercise as much as possible. They can adapt to less exercise but are also prone to putting on weight, so care must be taken to provide a good balance between food intake and exercise. Without someone to exercise with or something structured to do the Bull terrier will often not self-exercise much and tend to become rather lazy. Taking the Bull terrier on regular walks is a great way to keep both the dog and the owner in shape and provide some outside time together. Since the Bull terrier is dog aggressive it is very important to keep these dogs on a leash as they may fight other dogs or even chase other animals with no regard towards traffic.
The Bull terrier makes a great jogging companion or hiking friend. They also love to get out in the yard or park and run and play with the kids, which they will do for hours given the chance. Exercising the Bull terrier is often very easy, as they will simply want to be with the family no matter what is happening. They can get exercise in the home as well by following people around the house provided they are allowed to roam throughout.
Without proper exercise or with long or even relatively short periods of confinement or inactivity the Bull terrier will start to develop very problematic habits. They are known to chew and destroy objects in the home as well as become problem barkers, tail chasers and even resort to messing in the house to display their displeasure with being alone. Before leaving the Bull terrier in the house or yard it is important to provide some type of structured exercise to help the dog cope with being alone.
Training the Bull terrier is critical to ensuring that the dog is well behaved and well mannered both in and outside of the home. They do need regular interaction and socialization with other dogs and people to minimize the risk that they will become highly dog aggressive and overly possessive of their home and family. As a dominant breed of dog they need firm and consistent yet positive and loving training, especially as puppies. Establishing that the humans are in control with these dogs is critical, as they will quickly develop bad habits if they think that they are in control.
The Bull terrier is a very intelligent dog and will learn who he or she needs to listen to and which family members they can ignore or respond in a limited way too. One person should initially work with the puppy until the commands are understood, then the others in the family should also work with the dog. The Bull terrier often will simply ignore the commands of those it seems as “below” it on the family hierarchy, so everyone must work with the dog.
As an energetic and active dog, especially as a puppy, the Bull terrier should never be engaged in games that pit strength of people against the strength of the dog. Wrestling or tug-of-war type games are likely to increase dominance type behaviors as well as possessiveness and territoriality. In addition they are often prone to jumping up with their front feet on people, something which is often frightening to kids and adults alike, so teaching them to sit for attention is important.
Lead or leash training is essential for the breed at an early age. A Bull terrier should always be controlled when outside of the yard, particularly intact males. Early leash training through an obedience program is important as with proper socialization these dogs can be taught to be off the leash.
Many people choose to use their Bull terriers in obedience and agility type events. This breed can excel at these competitions and are eager and willing to perform in front of crowds or groups. Their natural fearlessness and good humor is evident in their attitude towards the competition.