Other names: English Bull Terrier, Standard Bull Terrier, Miniature Bull Terrier
A compact, muscular and energetic dog, the Bull Terrier isn’t dangerous, contrary to popular belief. This dog may be overly excitable at times, but remains an adorable, happy and extremely loyal dog. Modern breeding practices have softened the breed’s aggressive side. The Bull Terrier will need an experienced, active and available owner who can provide this big ball of energy with everything it needs.
Key facts about the Bull Terrier
Origins and history
The Bull Terrier originated from the Manchester Terrier and English White Terrier, the latter no longer existing. The Bull Terrier’s famous white coat was the only colour accepted by the breed’s official standards for a very long time, and it is still extremely common. James Hink, considered as the ‘father’ of the breed, added Dalmatians into the Bull Terrier’s bloodlines to create the dog we know today. His work was continued by his children Fred and James as well as his grandson Carleton, son of James Jr., who started breeding under the “Brum” name, the most famous in the world. It was he who created the “Roman nose” for the first time for his champion Lord Gladiator, who then passed this trait down to his descendants.
Physical characteristics of the Bull Terrier
Female : Between 14 and 20 in
Male : Between 14 and 20 in
Miniature Bull Terrier
Less than 14 inches
Less than 14 inches
Female : Between 44 and 88 lb
Male : Between 44 and 88 lb
Usually completely white, the Bull Terrier’s coat can also sport black markings or brindle. Fawn brindle and fawn tri colour also exist. Blue and brown Bull Terriers do not adhere to the breed’s official standards.
Type of coat
The coat is very short, even smooth.
The Bull Terrier’s coat is shiny, flat and hard to the touch. A soft undercoat appears during the winter.
Either brown or black, the eyes should always be very dark. Blue-eyed subjects are not recognised by the breed’s official standards.
It’s difficult to mistake this dog for anything other than a Bull Terrier, thanks to its unique egg-shaped head. This profile, known as the “Roman nose”, is one of a kind. The Bull Terrier’s physique is almost gladiator-like: robust, compact and muscular.
Good to know
The standard Bull Terrier and its miniature counterpart are not to be confused. They are considered as two completely different breeds and have differing official standards. Nevertheless, their size is their only differentiating factor, as they are the same behaviourally.
The Miniature Bull Terrier should not be more than 14 inches tall, and the standard breed no more than 20 inches.
Standard Bull Terrier
Miniature Bull Terrier
Despite its fiery personality and bad (and incorrect) reputation as an aggressive dog, this terrier is very attached to members of its social group and constantly needs attention from them. The Bull Terrier is forever seeking strokes and other signs of affection from its loved-ones, even strangers.
The Bull Terrier adores spending time and playing with members of its social group. Its abundant energy levels require physical and mental stimulation on a daily basis, which playtime can help to fulfill.
However, make sure that your dog is taught self-control at a very young age, so that playtime can be brought to a halt without the animal getting frustrated.
Terriers definitely aren’t known for their calmness, and the Bull Terrier is far from the exception to this rule. A real ball of energy, it’s necessary to dedicate a lot of time and effort to this dog to keep it happy.
This sturdy pup can cooperate, but prefers to avoid having to obey commands. This in itself is a remarkable sign of intelligence, even if this particular example doesn’t benefit the owner.
While this dog wasn’t initially bred to hunt, it is still fairly skilled in this area. However, it still isn’t suited to being trained as a hunting dog.
Fearful / wary of strangers
This muscular dog can sometimes try to scare people off, especially strangers, but most of the time is affectionate towards everyone. The Bull Terrier’s abundant energy means that it can often jump up at new people - people can find this a bit frightening, but it is usually a friendly greeting rather than a sign of aggression.
This pup is a real family dog - it does not value autonomy. Bull Terriers will never appreciate alone time, instead wanting to spend the most amount of time possible with members of their social group.
For these reasons, Bull Terriers can rapidly become overly attached to their owners. It is therefore important that the Bull Terrier puppy is trained to get used to separation and distance from its owners, in order to avoid the development of separation anxiety in its adult life.
Behaviour of the Bull Terrier
This terrier is far from an introvert; it therefore requires the constant presence of its owners to feel reassured. The Bull Terrier should never be isolated, and should instead always be included in family life.
Easy to train / obedience
Training Bull Terriers can be tricky as they’re naturally quite stubborn. Their unwavering energy also means that it can prove hard for them to concentrate. Training sessions should therefore be short, but regularly repeated until they obey the command.
Your Bull Terrier should receive basic training as young as possible to avoid picking up bad habits.
You will need a firm hand to train this dog while being careful not to show aggression, so as not to elicit the temper of this fighting dog. Kindness, patience, coherence and regularity are the keys to successfully training a Bull Terrier.
This dog is anything but discrete. Bull Terriers know how to remind people that they’re there, in order to stay the centre of attention. If they don’t get the outcome they want, they can resort to barking to get the attention they craves.