Bull Terrier


History & Origin

Originally known as the Bull and Terrier, the Bull Terrier is a breed with its origins in the pits of the dogfighting world. After bull baiting was outlawed, many breeders turned to dog fighting and sought to breed a dog that was agile, strong, intelligent, and which had loads of stamina and endurance.

The first Bull Terriers either resembled Bulldogs or Terriers with regards to their facial features. Although they were of different sizes and coloration they all had one thing in common: they had the strength, high pain threshold, and tenacity of the bulldog combined with the agility and alertness of the terrier. They were, in fact, the perfect fighting dogs and were referred to by some as ‘the gladiators of the ring’.

It was due to the efforts of a James Hinks who, during the 1850’s, started standardizing the Bull Terrier breed that the dog we know today came about. He interbred existing Bull Terriers with other breeds and the result was a white dog with a longer, flatter head with a strong, sturdy body and strong legs. Hinks only bred white dogs and called them Bull Terriers in order to distinguish them from the ‘Bull and Terrier’ which more closely resembles today’s Staffordshire Bull Terrier. His Bull Terriers were also often referred to as the Hinks Breed and the ‘White Cavalier’ because of their propensity to defend but not instigate fights.

The breed became more popular, but breeders decided to incorporate more colors due to the white dogs having problems with regards to deafness and albinism. Subsequently, it was another breeder, Ted Lyon, who is acknowledged as the person who developed new color strains and getting them accepted.

The Bull Terrier was acknowledged as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1885.

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As a breed, Bull Terriers tend to have sweet, loving temperaments. They have an inherent need to be part of their family, taking part in all family-related events. Keenly intelligent, they have a mischievous streak that will often see them playing the part of the goofball for their owners’ entertainment.

Strong, muscular and forceful, they have a high level of energy which shows itself on occasion. Exercise, playtime, and walks are thus essential in order for your new puppy to thrive. Boredom, for this breed, leads to all sorts of trouble, such as chewing whatever it is not supposed to, or even digging up the garden! This is not a breed that should be ignored nor left alone too long. They tend to develop separation anxiety.

Bull Terriers are extremely fond of children and have no problem playing or cuddling with them, nor with playing the part of ‘nanny’ by watching over them. Just be careful not to try disciplining your children in front of your Bull Terrier, though. He does not like it. Also, discourage any form of teasing!

Your new puppy might grow up to seem as if he is stupid. Do not be fooled. Bull Terriers are exceedingly intelligent yet also exceedingly obstinate. You may think he does not understand an instruction but he does. He just does not feel like carrying it out. So if he is playing the role of a couch potato and refuses to not hear you when you call him, try taking out a treat and then see how fast he moves! He is like a perpetual child – he has a will of his own but if you bring out a reward he will be there right away. They are, therefore, not stupid, but rather, excessively cunning so that they can get their own way. Do not forget this.

A Bull Terrier, however, although he gets along with other pets most of the time, does not get along with other male dogs and is preferably suitable for a ‘one pet household’. They do not like competing for affection. If you have cats, please forget about a Bull Terrier. They are not feline fanciers at all.

bull terrier


nutrition and feeding


Your easy-going, laid back puppy has a lifespan of between eleven and fourteen years. His grooming needs are few, although he needs constant love and affection.

All dogs are omnivores, meaning they eat both meat and vegetables or fruit. This is a historic fact, as dogs (like wolves), in their natural state, when having taken down their prey, eat the stomach which contains plant matter first. After this, they zone in on the organs and then the flesh. To this end, all dogs thrive on a raw food diet which incorporates raw protein (derived from red meat, fish, and poultry) as well as vegetables.

Many owners find it difficult to feed their pets a strictly raw food diet and opt for commercial brands of dog food. The Bull Terrier is a breed that actually thrives on a combination diet, i.e. a combination of commercial dog food and raw food which should include, for example, meaty bones. To this, one can add various vegetables etc. such as, for example, carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes and brown rice as well as fruit such as apples, if your puppy will eat it. Foods that are not recommended include avocados, chocolate, any sugary sweets, food containing caffeine, artificial sweeteners, or raw onion and garlic. These can make your puppy very ill.

While still a puppy, your Bull Terrier needs to be fed three or four meals a day for the first six months of its life. By the time it is about six months old, however, these meals should be down to two a day, once in the morning, and once in the evening. Free feeding whereby food is always available should be discouraged. It also makes for easier potty training. Always make sure, though, that your puppy has a plentiful supply of clean water available.

When deciding on commercial dog food, always pick a brand that is age and size appropriate for you dog. Also, ensure that the brand you pick fulfills all your puppy’s nutritional requirements, as the majority of the cheaper, more popular brands of dog food contain fillers that do nothing for your puppy except make him feel ‘full’. They provide no nutritional value whatsoever.

coat and grooming


There is no real set size for the breed, which comes in a miniature version as well. A miniature Bull Terrier can stand approximately 10” to 14” inches when measured from the shoulder to the ground and weigh between 25 pounds and 33 pounds.

‘Normal’ Bull Terriers, on the other hand, stand at about 21” to 22” inches and the males weigh anything between 55 pounds to 65 pounds. Females are a little smaller and weigh between 45 pounds and 55 pounds.

Their coat is short, stiff, and flat, and comes in two variations, i.e. white, and colored. The colored varieties are black and white, red and white, brindle and white, fawn and white, and tri-color.

Bull Terriers shed throughout the year, and regularly brushing with either a bristle brush or glove will make things easier in this department. Your puppy is part of a relatively clean breed of dog, so bathing is advised when he either becomes dirty (which they often do with their love or romping around in the yard) or when he starts to develop a distinct ‘doggy smell’. A good quality hypoallergenic shampoo is advised, though, as many Bull Terriers tend to be allergic to certain products in many dog shampoos.

Besides the occasional bath and regular brushing, your new puppy’s ears need to be checked and cleaned regularly. A damp cotton wool ball is ideal for this. If, however, you happen to notice a discharge or discoloration, he should be taken to the veterinarian as these are both signs of a possible ear infection.

A breed that is active, such as the Bull Terrier, seldom need to have their nails clipped as they tend to file down naturally. If, however, they get too long, they can tear and your puppy will be in agony! For those who do not wish to cut their dog’s nails themselves, a quick trip to the veterinarian or doggy parlor will get the job done and not cost a fortune.



A breed that needs a lot of physical exercise, the muscular Bull Terrier will think nothing of playing ball for hours. Because of their great strength, they are a breed that enjoys being active, so long walks and romps are a perfect way of keeping them healthy, their mind working, and out of mischief.

The first step to training your new puppy is proper socialization. This means not only socialization with those at home but by meeting a variety of different people (and their pets) so that your Bull Terrier puppy grows up to be a well-rounded individual.

Of course, potty training is high on the list as well. A puppy, typically, needs to heed the call of nature approximately fifteen minutes after it has eaten. By taking him to his designated potty area, he soon realizes that this is the place to ‘go’. He would also need to be taken outside first thing in the morning and the last thing at night, as well as every thirty minutes to an hour, until his bladder becomes more mature. By being consistent with regards to this, he will, pretty soon, know exactly where he needs to go to do his potty ‘business’.

As for sleeping, your Bull Terrier puppy will, at first, sleep for sixteen to twenty hours a day. This is nothing unusual, and he should sleep less as he grows. However, this is a breed that can sleep anywhere, at any time, in any position, so make sure to always keep a camera handy, because nobody else will believe you!



As with all breeds of dogs, Bull Terriers also have their list of health issues that they are more susceptible to. It is therefore always advised that you purchase your puppy with a registered breeder that can give you the full relevant history of your dog’s ancestry.

Patellar luxation is one of the most common problems with Bull Terriers. It is a problem that occurs whereby the kneecap dislocates or moves from its regular position. It could be a genetic problem or as the result of an injury. Surgery is not always necessary though to fix the problem.

The breed is prone to deafness, especially those who are totally white. It may not be apparent right at the outset but rather develop over time.

The Bull Terrier is a breed that also tends towards developing allergies, especially skin allergies as well as skin disorders. Alarmingly enough, up to 80% of these are the result of the dog’s diet and are usually easily treatable.

They are prone to minor heart problems as well, which are usually developed later in life, while kidney failure, which is a more life-threatening problem, could develop at any time. A constant supply of fresh water and a good, balanced diet are thus essential to this breed of dog.

Also, never allow your Bull Terrier to get obese. Not only is it bad for its heart health, but could possibly lead to other conditions such as diabetes. A regular yearly checkup is also advised, as it is with most dog breeds, in order to see that your dog is always in peak condition.

A healthy breed with few health problems, the quirky, intelligent, obstinate, friendly Bull Terrier makes an amazing pet for people with children and who have an active lifestyle. Not particularly pet-friendly, the Bull Terrier does best in a home that has no other pets against whom it needs to compete for you unconditional love and affection.

A great watch dog and childminder, your Bull Terrier puppy makes a great companion and family member. Just remember, he has the mindset of a three-year-old and is sure to get up to all kinds of trouble if left to his own devices for long periods of time. A Bull Terrier is, however, not advised as the dog of choice for those living in an apartment as he needs his own, private yard in which to romp about and play in.

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