BBS Breed Spotlight: Bull Terrier
Known for their uniquely shaped head and small triangular eyes, the Bull Terrier holds a very unique place in the world of dogs. With a proud and almost intimidating stance, many people mistake this happy dog’s protective demeanor as an overtly aggressive attitude. Despite appearances, the Bull Terrier is a tremendously playful and people-oriented breed well suited for family life.
The product of Bulldogs and a mix of terrier breeds, the unfortunate circumstances for this dog’s rise has luckily been left behind. During a time when dog fighting was far less frowned upon by Western societies, breeds like the Bull Terrier were high demand. By the 1830s, the “sport” of dog fighting in England was centered around two breeds — the bulldog and the terrier. The unsavory practitioners of dog fighting mixed these breeds in an attempt to create a tougher and more agile dog.
However, as luck would have it the Bull Terrier wasn’t the champion fighter they were looking for. Instead, this breed found its fate in the hands of an English breeder by the name of James Hinks.
By 1860, the breed — with its all white coat — became known as the “White Cavalier” whose demand became strictly fashion over function. Hinks’ involvement with the breed was instrumental to creating the family oriented dog we know today.
The Bull Terrier would become a trendy fashion symbol for the wealthy and encouraged Hinks to introduce more variety into the breed’s coat by crossing them with brindle Staffordshires. Sure enough, popularity soared and by 1885, the Bull Terrier had hopped the pond and made its way into the American Kennel Club!
While the physical appearance of this breed hasn’t changed much over the years, the aggressive attitudes have been completely bred out of the Bull Terrier. Even still, competitive at heart and scrappy by nature, the breed still retains its rough and tumble personality.
Quite the Gentleman
Extremely affectionate with a firm dedication to family, this playful breed is a pleasure to be around. Loyal and trainable, the Bull Terrier is a great addition to any family. Often described as a kid dressed up like a dog, the high-energy and nature of this breed makes them rambunctious at times but also reserved and well-behaved at others.
When properly socialized at a young age this breed should have no problems around children. It does however requires a firm owner who isn’t timid. Bull Terriers don’t get along with other dogs very well unless reared together. This is especially true for newly introduced dogs of the same sex. Cats in particular should not be socialized with this breed at a late age. Terriers tend to have strong prey instincts and smaller animals, like cats, are targeted more often than other dogs.
The breed’s terrier history begets stubborn behavior and if left unchecked, they may become assertive and unresponsive to commands. But as with most breeds, consistency is key when training. So start young and keep it up!
Because of their copious amounts of energy, this breed requires quite a bit of regular exercise. This isn’t just for peace of mind, though. Weight gain is a common health concern and it’s very important to keep this breed regularly active remain conscious of overfeeding.
Health and Physical Characteristics
One of few breeds to have no height or weight standards set by the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Bull Terrier can range from 20 – 24 inches tall and weigh between 45 – 80 pounds. Short and stocky indeed!
The breed is also susceptible to slipped patellas (kneecap dislocation), skin allergies and zinc deficiencies. As with all breeds, make sure you keep your dog on a well-balanced diet by feeding them nutritious dog foods. This can not only help provide complete nutrition but also alleviate many skin and coat problems. You can even look into the possibility of making dog food from scratch! There are also many healthy people foods for dogs! Just make sure you talk to your vet before making any drastic changes to your dog’s diet.
A Proper Fit
Not recommended for first time dog owners, the Bull Terrier’s stubborn demeanor can sometimes make training a challenge and frustrate the inexperienced.
The dog’s compact size makes them well suited for apartment life. Even still, the breed doesn’t do well locked up for eight hours a day and should be given ample attention. This, plus the dog’s higher need for exercise makes it well suited for life with a family where ample attention might be found — a small feat for a clownish Bull Terrier.