About Bull Terriers

The Bull Terrier is affectionately known as the Gladiator of the canine race and is one of the oldest terrier breeds indigenous to England. He was originally bred for combat with other dogs, a sport which was permissible in England up until the mid 1800’s.  A mixture of quick, agile, native terriers and the cumbersome but strong bull baiting dogs (old variations of the modern Bull Dog) were used to create the perfect “bull and terrier” a name later shortened to bull terrier.  When the sport of dog fighting was outlawed, bull terriers were utilised to eradicate rodents and many still have a strong prey drive today.  Towards the end of the bull baiting era, the sport of dog showing became very popular.  To capitalise on this new interest, a man named James Hinks, a dog breeder from Birmingham, began to establish a new refined version of the bull terrier for the show ring and is considered the father of the modern type. He used the now extinct, White English Terrier and the elegant Dalmation to produce a white dog that had cleaner more classical lines but still retained the fiery characteristics of its forebears.  Over time, the stop in the face was reduced to produce the classic egg shaped head and unbroken convex profile that has become the Bull Terriers most famous trait. 

Even today, the bull terrier displays all the characteristics of a terrier, including its independence, courage, speed, and gameness, but also has the power and robustness of the big lugging bull dog.  Today’s bull terrier is a combination of balanced power, grace and agility.

Whilst great emphasis is put into breeding bull terriers with the best temperaments, they do still retain the instincts of their forebears and it is for this reason that anyone who chooses to own a Bull Terrier should always exercise great care and responsibility that they are well socialised and under control at all times. 

The modern Bull Terrier’s appearance is what first sets him apart from other breeds. He retains the compact muscular body of his predecessors, but his head is egg shaped when viewed from the front, and from the side the profile slopes down in a convex manner to the tip of the nose (often called a roman nose). They are also the only breed of dog with triangular eyes, sunk deep into the head (a trait that helped them avoid eye damage in the pits).  Whilst this appearance can be intimidating to those who don’t know the breed well, people are often surprised at just how affectionate Bull Terriers are.  They are truly at home on the couch and will absolutely not tolerate being left out of the family.  Their obstinate nature should not be mistaken for stupidity. They are highly intelligent, bred to work independently of the master and so obedience is not one of their strong points.  However with firm and consistent training and leadership, they thrive.  They have a great sense of humour, imagination and personality, and simply like to do things on their terms.

Bull terriers are wonderful companions and family dogs but they are not for everyone. Bull terriers must be socialised from a puppy with other dogs and animals. They should be on a lead when in areas where they may encounter dogs, animals or children.  Not all dogs (or people) appreciate the bull terriers rough and tumble style of play, and take offense. Whilst you may trust your bully, you can never trust other dogs and if an altercation erupts, the bull terrier will usually be blamed regardless of who started it.

Bull Terriers are active and must be entertained; they cannot be left alone all day. Often likened to a three year old child in a dog suit and they can be extremely destructive if not properly stimulated. This behaviour, whilst often expected of puppies, can continue into adulthood as a form of protest when they are ignored. And beware, nothing is safe! The can chew through objects that you would have trouble using a hacksaw on!  The new puppy must be supervised and any object lying around (rubber, clothing, plastic) must be well out of reach as a bully will eat and ingest things that may need to be surgically removed a few days later. The bull terrier has an incredible pain threshold  and this can spell death if the owner is not vigilant. Often by the time you have noticed something is wrong, it is nearly too late.

Bull terriers make excellent indoor dogs and generally consider it an insult if separated from the rest of the pack.  They love luxury and will want to sit on your knee on the couch (despite many of them being far too big to be lap dogs).  They are also heater hogs, and will get in the heater if you let them.  They also do well as outside dogs as long as they get to spend lots of time with you and your family.  Outside, they require protection from the summer heat and sun (they are notorious sunbathers) and also from the winter cold.  If you decide to put a coat on your bully, you may want to start with a cheap one until they are used to wearing it, a coat can be just something else to chew on.

All in all, bull terriers are playful, clownish, witty, silly, humorous, stubborn and conniving all in one. And a warning, once you have met or owned a bully, you will be hooked for life. Their charm lasts forever. Many people who enquire about buying a bully for the first time remember growing up with one. It is also not uncommon to for people who have an ageing bull terrier, to purchase a replacement pup. They cannot bear to not have a bully in their life!

See attached documents for more information...

http://oz.dogs.net.au/btcv/uploads/documents/BTCV_VICDOG_MAY_V9_p2-4.pdf

http://oz.dogs.net.au/btcv/uploads/documents/English_Bull_Terrier_Temperament.docx

 

 


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