Bull Terrier Breed Guide

Bull Terriers are muscular dogs with a symmetrical build. Their coat may be all white or colored and is short, thin, coarse, and shiny. Their ears are small and thin, and their eyes are dark, small, and triangular. These dogs are known for their intelligent expression and egg-shaped heads. Bull Terriers stand 18 to 22 inches tall at the shoulder and generally weigh 50 to 70 pounds. With proper care, these dogs live up to 12 years.

These dogs are very loyal and become attached to their families; they do not do well when left alone. Long periods of time alone can quickly lead to depression and behavioral problems. To thrive, Bull Terriers need a lot of love, attention, and affection.

Bull Terriers are incredibly friendly and fun-loving animals. They are an active breed that needs daily exercise and a lot of mental stimulation. Because of this, these dogs are not a good choice for sedentary families.

There's a miniature version of this breed available, called the Miniature Bull Terrier, that was accepted by the AKC in 1991. These dogs typically stand 10 to 14 inches tall at the shoulder. Miniature Bull Terriers and Bull Terriers are identical in all ways except size.

Bull Terriers are a playful, affectionate, clownish, and often mischievous breed with a remarkable sense of humor and imagination. These dogs love children and generally get along very well with them, but they have a tendency to become overstimulated when around small children. Because of this, interactions should always be supervised, even when everyone appears to be getting along perfectly. Bull Terriers are not the best choice for households with cats or other dogs.

These dogs are very loyal and become attached to their families; they do not do well when left alone. Long periods of time alone can quickly lead to depression and behavioral problems. To thrive, Bull Terriers need a lot of love, attention, and affection.

As an energetic breed, Bull Terriers are well-suited to active families. These dogs enjoy jogging, hiking, and playing outdoors with their human family members. They need daily activity to remain healthy and happy.

A generally healthy breed, Bull Terriers suffer from few serious health conditions. However, these dogs are more prone to certain conditions than some other breeds, and the health of the family line should be considered before purchasing or adopting one of these dogs.

Bull Terriers are at risk for certain kidney and heart problems, and they are prone to patellar luxation and deafness (in white Bull Terriers). A variety of eye problems are also known to affect this breed, including ectropion, keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye), and lens luxation, which is a dislocation of the lens in the eye. Lens luxation is usually seen in adult dogs. Additionally, Bull Terriers often have sensitive joints as puppies and the breed is at high risk for becoming overweight or obese.

Routine veterinary care, timely vaccinations, regular exercise, and proper nutrition help ensure Bull Terriers live a full life of 10 to 12 years. Weight management to prevent obesity can help these dogs maintain full mobility and health throughout life.

With proper training and socialization, Bull Terriers make excellent companion animals. Without training, however, these dogs can be stubborn, aggressive toward other dogs, and destructive. At the very least, this breed should undergo obedience training before being around younger children.

Fortunately, Bull Terriers are intelligent dogs that are amenable to discipline. Daily mental and physical stimulation will prevent this breed from chewing up the furniture. These dogs also benefit from a good run every day, and they need daily play time to remain healthy and happy. Regular walks can be enjoyable for everyone if the Bull Terrier is trained not to pull on the leash or chase every animal in sight.

These dogs can be very territorial, which can make them good watchdogs. Without training, however, this protectiveness and territorial behavior can turn into hostility. It is important not to encourage aggressive or guarding behavior.

Bull Terriers require very little maintenance. The coat should be brushed a few times each week with a natural bristle brush or rubber hound mitt. This will keep shedding under control. A conditioner is beneficial and can add shine to the coat.

This breed is naturally clean and has very little odor. Because of this, Bull Terriers require bathing only when they become dirty with something sticky or harmful. When bathing is needed, a mild canine shampoo will clean the coat and skin without causing dryness or irritation.

The nails should be trimmed about once per month, and the ears need cleaning every week. During grooming, the ears should be examined for redness, odor, discharge, pain, or other signs of infection. Bull Terriers that resist grooming may need to see a professional. To improve cooperation, grooming should be introduced as early in life as possible.

Bull Terriers got their start as fighting dogs in Europe, where they dominated the sport. They were developed by breeders who wanted to combine the strength of a bulldog with the alertness and intensity of a terrier.

The cross of these two breed types became popular sporting dogs during the early 1800s. An English dog dealer named James Hinks developed a refined version of the breed around 1860. This version was distinguished by its solid white coat, and these dogs quickly established themselves as a new breed and became known as the Bull Terrier. However, these dogs were often referred to as White Cavaliers.

In the early 1900s, the breed was back crossed with brindle Staffordshire dogs to produce Bull Terriers with a colored coat. Colored dogs were slow to gain acceptance. Now, though, both white and colored Bull Terriers are popular in show, obedience, and agility rings, and are also beloved companion animals.

The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Bull Terrier in 1885.