Bull Terrier (English Bull Terrier)

Country of origin:
Great Britain
Height (cm):
Weight (kg):
Life span (years):
white, coloured (one colour predominates); black brindle, red, fawn and tricolour
Hair length:
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
Download standard:
Pros Cons

  • outgoing and affectionate

  • needs minimal grooming

  • wonderful family companion

  • excellent watcher and protector

  • independent and dominant

  • prone to display aggressiveness to other animals, especially dogs

  • needs sizeable amount of energetic exercise

  • not for a novice owner


The Bull Terrier is an extremely strong yet gentle and sociable dog whose creation dates back to the middle of the XIX century. This English breed differs from other Bull and Terrier mixes by its egg-shaped head, noble Roman nose and triangle eyes. Initially developed as a fighter and ratter, presently it thrives in the roles of a companion and show dog.


In 1835 English government imposed a ban on a bloody sport of bull- and bear-baiting. This fact forced organisers of this cruel entertainment to begin operating surreptitiously, fighting Bulldogs against Bulldogs in so-called pits. Obviously, the Bulldog lacked speed and agility to amuse the attendance so enthusiasts started resorting to crosses of this breed with various Terriers in order to develop a perfect fighting animal. The resulting hybrid was notable for a smaller size, great reflexes, irreproachable stamina and an indomitable determination. Moreover from its Bulldogs’ ancestors it inherited high pain threshold and incredible strength.

In 1850 a breeder called James Hinks of Birmingham, England, decided to standardise this newly-invented breed and began to selectively breed these Bull and Terrier crosses with such a canine variety as the now-extinct White English Terrier. Apart from unique elongated shape of a head his dog also had exclusively white coats and much less aggressive temperament. For their propensity to defend itself and its masters instead of initiating a confrontation it was nicknamed «the White Cavalier».

In 1862, Hinks exhibited one of his canines at the Cremorne Garden Dog Show that took place in Chelsea. The Bull Terrier received a very warm welcome and its development would proceed with involvement of several various breeds including the Dalmatian, the Greyhound, the Spanish Pointer, and the Foxhound. In order to enhance its sturdiness and gracefulness the Borzoi and the Whippet were also used in its breeding.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) formally recognised the Bull Terrier in 1885. Because of health concerns associated with the fact that Hinks wanted an entirely white dog, other breed’s lovers started to add to the mix the blood of the old-style Staffordshire Bull Terrier. The coloured variety of the Bull Terrier was approved by the AKC in 1936.

Today the Bull Terrier is valued mostly as a family companion although its specimens also do extremely well in the conformation ring.


The hallmarks of Bull Terriers are its boldness and authoritative nature so its keeping is rather a challenging task for an average family. An all-round and early socialisation bears the most vital importance for this breed since its under socialised member will demonstrate unpredictable behaviour around both unfamiliar humans and other animals. If you lack experience in handling such an independent, strong-minded and powerful dog, it’s better to think twice before adopting it. It’s relatively good with older children although its love of rough games makes it an improper playmate for too small kids.

For more than a century breeders did their utmost to totally eradicate any hint of human aggressiveness from this breed. That’s why the vast majority of well-bred Bull Terriers will behave themself reservedly but politely in the company of strangers. In general this dog exhibits too weak desire to guard its territory but it will always stand in defence of its masters in case of need. On the other part this observant breed makes a very sound watcher.

The Bull Terrier is notoriously famous for its hospitability towards other dogs. Over considerable period of time it was forced to fight against other canines to please its master so such an ancestry can by no means went without leaving a certain trace. The dog must wear a firm leash and preferably a muzzle while being walked. It also poses a mortal threat for all other species of animals especially street cats. In most cases though the Bull Terrier won’t pester those non-canine pets with which it has lived together since a very young age.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

· kidney problems;

· luxating patella;

· hypothyroidism;

· thyroid disorders;

· seizures;

· skin problems;

· allergies;

· umbilical hernia;

· acne;

· cerebellar abiotrophy;

· cerebellar hypoplasia;

· deafness

· eye problems;

· laryngeal paralysis;

· mitral valve disease.


The Bull Terrier needs very little grooming to always stay attractive and tidy. Weekly brushing will help to keep its short coat free of dead hair. This breed can be described as an average shedder.

The Bull Terrier is known for its cleanliness so its frequent bathing should be avoided. Actually it’s quite enough to occasionally remove superficial dirt by wiping the dogs’ body down with a wet towel. As with any dog its master should give proper consideration to the maintenance of the Bull Terrier’s nails, teeth and ears.


The Bull Terrier stands out for both quick mind and strong inclination to independent thinking so its training is commonly associated with serious complications. It must be based on a well-thought-out professional approach and begin as early as possible. Remember that this dog is prone to constantly challenge the alpha status of the handler who should always keep things under control.

Short attention span is a typical problem of all Bull Terriers and therefore it’s essential to stimulate the breeds’ interest with its favourite treats once it starts slipping away. This dog must never be corrected by a physical punishment because such treatment only makes it more intractable and self-willed.


The Bull Terrier has brawny and well-balanced body that absolutely craves for physical exercise. In spite its innate liveliness this breed can be equally successfully kept in a spacious mansions and small apartment if it’s provided with plentiful of opportunities to let off steam.

The Bull Terrier usually welcomes any type of activity but it would definitely give preference to playing and exploring freely in a securely enclosed area. Be mindful that this dog has nasty propensity to become destructive and unmanageable if it feels itself bored or abandoned by its masters.