Meet the Breed: The Bull Terrier



  • Height: 20"- 24” (standard), 10"-14" (miniature)
  • Weight: 45-80 pounds (standard), 24-33 pounds (miniature)
  • Historical function: Guard, ratter, herder, fighting.
  • Modern function: Companion
  • AKC classification: Terrier

Physical Characteristics:

The Bull Terrier's most obvious trait is their egg-shaped head. They also have small, triangular-shaped eyes. Pound for pound, Bull Terriers are the most muscularly dense dog of all breeds. Their coats are short and hard and available either in white or colored varieties including brindle, black, black-brindle, red, fawn and tricolor with white markings.

History of the Breed:

The Bull Terrier was developed by crossing bulldogs with English terriers for vermin control and for blood sports. These dogs did not prove to be very effective in the fight ring, but did gain popularity as pets with the English nobility. Various breeds were combined to refine the look and white was the most prized color; however, in an effort to reduce the deafness often associated with white breeds, colored Staffordshire Terriers were crossed back into the breed, introducing more color.


The Bull Terrier is known for their clownish antics and courage. They love people and may be overly boisterous in their expression of this affection. Consequently, this breed is not advised for the elderly or for young children. This muscular dog requires firm handling not to inherent aggression, but due to them often not realizing their own strength. These fearless furry friends are loyal and become quite attached to their owners. These active dogs require a lot of daily exercise to keep them in good spirits and well behaved. They may join in family roughhousing, bringing new meaning to the term "dog pile." They have a strong prey drive so are not to be trusted with cats they haven't been brought up with. Two unaltered male dogs will not get along.

  • Best suited for: Adaptable to most living situations, but must be vigorously exercised when kept in an apartment.
  • Preferred living conditions: These dogs thrive on time with their people and prefer warm climates.  

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Easy-care short coat. Medium shedding.
  • Exercise needs: Daily vigorous walk.
  • Life expectancy: 10-12 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to deafness (in 20% of white puppies.) Also prone to OCD (like chronic tail-chasing.) Other problems include knee and heart issues, as well as zinc deficiency, which can be fatal. Prone to being overweight, so monitor feedings carefully.

Breed Club Links: Bull Terrier Club of America Perfect Pairings: Zoom Groom Natural Rubber Dog Grooming Brush,  No-Pull Dog Harness

Have any stories about a Bull Terrier? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Robert Tadlock.

This entry was posted by Mary.
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