Bull Terrier

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Bull Terrier
Bull terrier 2.jpg
Bull Terrier
Other names
Bully, Gladiator, English Bull Terrier
Country of origin England
Weight Male 22–38 kg (50–85 lbs)
Height Male 45–55 cm (18–22 in)
Coat Short, dense
Color white,brindle and white,fawn,and black and white
Life span 10–15 years
Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

The Bull Terrier is a breed of dog in the terrier family. There is also a miniature version of this breed which is officially known as the Miniature Bull Terrier.


A white Bull Terrier showing head profile, triangular eyes, robust and very muscular body

The Bull Terrier's most recognizable feature is its head, described as 'egg-shaped' when viewed from the front; the top of the skull is almost flat. The profile curves gently downwards from the top of the skull to the tip of the nose, which is black and bent downwards at the tip, with well developed nostrils. The under-jaw is deep and strong. The unique triangular eyes are small, dark, and deep-set. The body is full and round, with strong, muscular shoulders. The tail is carried horizontally. They are generally white in colour, walk with a jaunty gait, and are popularly known as the 'Gladiator of the canine race'.[1]


Bull Terriers can be both independent and stubborn[2] and for this reason are not considered suitable for an inexperienced dog owner. They are protective of their family, although comprehensive socialization when they are puppies will prevent them from becoming over-protective and neurotic. They have a strong prey instinct[3] and when unduly challenged may injure or kill other animals,[4][5] especially cats.[4] However, puppies brought up with cats and other animals get on well with the animals they know.[4][5] Early socialisation will ensure that the dogs will get along with other dogs and animals.


All puppies should be checked for deafness, which occurs in 20.4% of pure white Bull Terriers and 1.3% of colored Bull Terriers[6] and is difficult to notice, especially in a relatively young puppy. Many Bull Terriers have a tendency to develop skin allergies.[7] Insect bites, such as those from fleas, and sometimes mosquitoes and mites, can produce a generalised allergic response of hives, rash, and itching. This problem can be stopped by keeping the dog free of contact from these insects, but this is definitely a consideration in climates or circumstances where exposure to these insects is inevitable. A UK breed survey puts their median lifespan at 10 years and their mean at 9 years (1 s.f., RSE = 13.87% 2 d. p.), with a good number of dogs living to 10–15 years.[8]


James Hinks Bullterrier
Bull Terrier circa 1915.
An example of a modern colored Bull Terrier.

Early in the mid-19th century the "Bull and Terrier" breeds were developed to satisfy the needs for vermin control and animal-based blood sports. The "Bull and Terriers" were based on the Old English Bulldog and one or more of Old English Terrier (now extinct) and "Black and tan terrier", now known as Manchester Terrier. This new breed combined the speed and dexterity of lightly built terriers with the dour tenacity of the Bulldog, which was a poor performer in most combat situations, having been bred almost exclusively for fighting bulls and bears tied to a post. Many breeders began to breed bulldogs with terriers, arguing that such a mixture enhances the quality of fighting. Despite the fact that a cross between a bulldog and a terrier was of high value, very little or nothing was done to preserve the breed in its original form. Due to the lack of breed standards—breeding was for performance, not appearance—the "Bull and Terrier" eventually divided into the ancestors of "Bull Terriers" and "Staffordshire Bull Terriers", both smaller and easier to handle than the progenitor.[9][10][11][12]

About 1850, James Hinks started breeding "Bull and Terriers" with "English White Terriers" (now extinct), looking for a cleaner appearance with better legs and nicer head. In 1862, Hinks entered a bitch called "Puss" sired by his white Bulldog called "Madman" into the Bull Terrier Class at the dog show held at the Cremorne Gardens in Chelsea. Originally known as the "Hinks Breed" and "The White Cavalier", these dogs did not yet have the now-familiar "egg face", but kept the stop in the skull profile.[13][14][15] The dog was immediately popular and breeding continued, using Dalmatian, Greyhound, Spanish Pointer, Foxhound and Whippet to increase elegance and agility; and Borzoi and Collie to reduce the stop. Hinks wanted his dogs white, and bred specifically for this. Generally, however, breeding was aimed at increasing sturdiness: three "subtypes" were recognised by judges, Bulldog, Terrier and Dalmatian, each with its specific conformation, and a balance is now sought between the three. The first modern Bull Terrier is now recognised as "Lord Gladiator", from 1917, being the first dog with no stop at all.[9][13][14][16][17]

Due to medical problems associated with all-white breeding, Ted Lyon among others began introducing colour, using Staffordshire Bull Terriers in the early 20th century. Coloured Bull Terriers were recognised as a separate variety (at least by the AKC) in 1936. Brindle is the preferred colour, but other colours are welcome.[15][18]

Along with conformation, specific behaviour traits were sought. The epithet "White cavalier", harking back to an age of chivalry, was bestowed on a breed which while never seeking to start a fight was well able to finish one, while socialising well with its "pack", including children and pups. Hinks himself had always aimed at a "gentleman's companion" dog rather than a pit-fighter—though Bullies were often entered in the pits, with some success.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ CKC Breed Standards, ckc.ca, archived at the Wayback Machine, 20 February 2008.
  2. ^ Breeder Retriever. "Bull Terrier Temperament". 
  3. ^ TerrificPets.com. "Bull Terrier (English Bull Terrier, Standard Bull Terrier)". 
  4. ^ a b c Bull Terrier Club. "Is a Bull Terrier for you". 
  5. ^ a b Welton, Michele. "English Bull Terrier Temperament What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em". Your Pure Bred Puppy. 
  6. ^ Breed-Specific Deafness Prevalence In Dogs (percent). LSU.edu
  7. ^ Richards, Michael. Skin Disorders and Problems of Dogs, vetinfo4dogs.com
  8. ^ "Individual Breed Results for Purebred Dog Health Survey". 
  9. ^ a b Canterbury Bull Terrier Club
  10. ^ The Bull Terrier Ring, ringsurf.com
  11. ^ The Bulldog & Terrier crosses, moloss.com
  12. ^ The Canine Information Library:Bull and Terrier Breeds, bulldoginformation.com
  13. ^ a b The Canine Information Library:Bull and Terrier Breeds:Bull Terrier, bulldoginformation.com
  14. ^ a b (Bull Terrier) The History of the breed, molossermania.com
  15. ^ a b American Kennel Club:Bull Terrier History, akc.org
  16. ^ ANKC: Extended Breed Standard of The Bull Terrier & Bull Terrier (Miniature), ankc.org.au
  17. ^ South African Bull Terrier Club: Are We Breeding Wimps Or Gladiators?, sabullterriers.com
  18. ^ T.W. Hogarth published The Coloured and Colour Breeding, Galashiels: A Walker & Son in 1932, which included chapters – 'Colour Breeding in Bull Terriers' by Major T Grahame and Captain J.N. Ritchie and 'Colour Inheritance in Bull-terriers' by Dr F Fraser Darling

External links[edit]