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Bull Terrier

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Bull Terrier
The Bull Terrier's triangular-shaped eyes are unique to this breed
The Bull Terrier's triangular-shaped eyes are unique to this breed
Alternative names
Country of origin
Common nicknames
Classification and breed standards
FCI: Group 3 Section 3 #153  
AKC: Terrier  
ANKC: Group 2 (Terriers)  
CKC: Group 4 - Terriers  
KC (UK): Terrier  
NZKC: Terrier  
UKC: Terriers  
Not recognized by any major kennel club
This breed of dog is extinct

The Bull Terrier is a breed of dog in the terrier family.


Bull Terriers are thick-set and muscular with a short, dense coat. Acceptable colours are pure white (a dog that is mostly white must be disqualified in the show ring, although dark markings on the head only are permissible) and coloured, which is any colour other than white or any colour with white markings. The AKC specifies that if all other things are equal, the brindle coat is preferred.

This terrier's most distinctive feature is its head, described as 'egg shaped' when viewed from the front, almost flat at the top, with a Roman muzzle sloping evenly down to the end of the nose with no stop. The unique triangular eyes are small, dark, and closely set. The body is full and round, while the shoulders are robust and muscular and the tail is carried horizontally. It walks with a jaunty gait, and is popularly known as the 'gladiator of the canine race'.


Typically the Bull Terrier is an active, interesting, playful, and clownish breed. It can also become very attached to certain family members. The breed is usually amenable for obedience training but can be stubborn and hard to train. If raised in a stable environment, the Bull Terrier will become a well rounded dog, but correct upbringing is essential with this breed, as their stubborness needs to be kept under control, and any aggressiveness must be dealt with as early as possible to prevent future problems. Bull Terriers are very focused on their goals, and will do anything to get what they want. Be sure to keep unsafe items out of their reach, as they can choke, and make sure foods stay out of their reach, or they will quite happily eat as much as they can. Bull Terriers can also jump a fair height, and are quite curious creatures, so be sure to make your house secure. They also need a lot of mental stimulation, and they enjoy games such as tugging and fetching, although they may be reluctant to bring back the toy!


Bull Terriers are generally free of disabling genetic diseases. All puppies should be checked for deafness, as this sometimes occurs (most commonly in pure white dogs) and is difficult to notice, especially in a relatively young puppy. A common problem to many Bull Terriers is a tendency to develop skin allergies. Insect bites, such as fleas, and sometimes mosquitoes and mites, can produce a generalized allergic response of hives, rash, and itching. This condition 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. Their lifespan is somewhere between 11 and 14 years. The Bullterrier's coat is easy to maintain, but grooming can keep it is near perfect conditions. Adding oils to their meals can also vastly improve the quality of their coat. The Bull Terrier requires a fair amount of exercise, but overworking the dog at a young age will cause strained muscles. Older dogs do require exercise, but in small doses, whereas younger ones will be happy to play for hours on end. The breed is reknown for being extremely greedy; be sure to maintain a good balance of exercise and food, or the dog can become overweight. Also, be sure to check ears, eyes, nose and mouth everyday for signs of infection.

Although Bull Terriers will be happy to eat anything, it is best to feed them a homemade meal, consisting of brown rice and pasta, fresh vegetables, eggs and a small amount of olive oil. Feeding the dog a wholesome meal will greatly improve their appearance, and combined with exercise and a warm bed, you will find yourself in the company of an extremely happy dog.


Bull Terrier Bull Terrier

The now extinct breeds Old English Bulldog and Old English Terrier were crossed to form a new breed of dog called the Bull and Terrier. It is also known that Dalmation comes into their genetics, and this can be seen by looking on the stomach area, where dark, spotted pigment can be seen on the skin. Around 1860, the Bull and Terrier breed split into two branches, the pure white Bull Terrier and the coloured forms that lived on for another seventy years in the dog fighting pits until they finally were recognized as a legitimate dog breed called the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Pedigrees of Bull Terriers date from the period during which the English Stud books were first written (circa 1874-6). Although the breed was developed from fighting dogs, the Bull Terrier was intended to be a showdog and companion.


Rick Springfield's dog Ronnie, a bull terrier/Great Dane mix appeared on several of his album covers. Rick Springfield's dog Ronnie, a bull terrier/Great Dane mix appeared on several of his album covers.

  • Bull Terriers feature in several movies, including "Oliver!", "The Incredible Journey", "Patton", and "Babe: Pig in the City".
  • Bull Terriers have also featured in television shows such as the 1970s television show "Baa Baa Black Sheep", in the opening credits of the British television show "Barking Mad", and in the short lived Fox series "Keen Eddie".
  • The Bull Terrier is one of several breeds in which the dog (male) and bitch (female) must have distinctly different appearances.

Famous Bull Terriers

  • Blue
  • Bullseye
  • Patsy Ann
  • Spuds McKenzie
  • Willie (William the Conqueror), owned by General George S. Patton.

See also

Rat baiting

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