With their iconic egg-shaped head, pointed ears, and triangular eyes, these dogs have an incredibly unique look to them. While Bull Terriers may seem intimidating to some, they can actually be goofy, loyal, polite dogs and are great for active homes. They are muscular and study dogs that are often described as a “kid in a dog suit” because of their personalities while the Miniature Bull Terrier was similarly described as the “clown prince of dogdom”.
A big reason why Bull Terriers look so intimidating is how and why they were originally developed. James Hinks is credited with the development of the breed in 19th century England during a time when dogfighting was both popular and legal. Ancestors of Bull Terriers include the Bulldog, English Terrier, and Dalmation, with the now-extinct Bull and Terrier breed playing a big role in this breed’s development. It wasn’t long before Bull Terriers gained a reputation for defending themselves but not provoking a fight, a trait that caused some to call the breed “the white cavalier”.
DID YOU KNOW? There have been a few famous Bull Terriers over the last century or so. Spuds Mackenzie, for example, starred in Bud Light commercials in the late 1980s while Target’s mascot, Bullseye, is a white Bull Terrier that was introduced in 1999. Nancy Drew had a bully named Togo in a few of her books while General George S Patton had many, including one named after William the Conqueror. (That Bull Terrier went by Willie and was Patton’s last dog before his sudden death at the end of 1945.) Theodore Roosevelt also had a Bull Terrier named Pete, who both bit a naval clerk and chased/bit the Frech ambassador.
Bull Terriers are medium in size, often standing 21-22 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing 50-70 pounds. Their short coats were initially all white but nowadays, Bull Terriers also have coats that are red, fawn, black, blue, brindle, or some combination. A basic grooming routine is all that’s needed with these dogs and weekly or bimonthly brushing and occasional bath should help keep their coats healthy. While they are moderately low shedders, Bull Terriers do shed heavily during the spring and fall and will likely need more attention paid to their grooming needs. And like any dog, Bull Terriers will need regular nail trims, dental care, ear checks, and vet visits to be happy and healthy.
As far as temperament goes, Bull Terriers are goofy, active dogs that can also be stubborn and independent. Unfortunately, because of continued ignorance and the breed’s history and look, Bull Terriers are considered dangerous by some and are included in breed-specific legislation. However, these dogs are no more dangerous than any other breed and the phrase “there are no bad dogs, only bad owners” definitely seems to apply to the average Bull Terrier. With training, proper socialization, and enrichment, these dogs can be wonderful companions and will likely keep you entertained for hours on end with their eccentric and clownish behavior.
There is a miniature size of this breed! Miniature Bull Terriers are roughly half the size of their larger counterparts, weighing 25-33 pounds and standing 12-13 inches at the shoulder. At one point, they were called Coverwood Terriers before being accepted by the English Kennel Club as Miniature Bull Terriers in 1943 and by the American Kennel Club in 1991. These dogs are also inquisitive and entertaining; with the right routine and activities, they can be great dogs to have around. Like the larger Bull Terrier, training for the Miniature Bull Terrier will likely be an adventure and turning obedience into a game will be vital to keeping these dogs engaged.
While Bull Terriers are wonderful dogs, they are not for everyone. They are relatively small in stature, with the minis even smaller, but still manage to pack a punch because of their muscular statures. They could easily pull most people along, making leash training important! Generally speaking, Bull Terriers are also not for first-time dog owners or folks looking for a full-time cuddlebug. While they are affectionate and loving, these dogs also love to play and keep active. They can make great watchdogs (in their own way) but they’re definitely not guard dogs and shouldn’t be kept outdoors all the time. Ultimately, Bull Terriers can make wonderful companions for dog experienced people willing to put the time and effort into keeping them entertained and active!
Have you ever met a Bull Terrier before? Let me know in the comments!!