The English Bull Terrier – Find Out About This Little Gem.

Bull Terrier

A Clownish Gladiator.

Can the sweet bull terrier be equally mischievous and stubborn?  You bet it can, but in such a comical, playful way that it ‘s hard to stay mad at them for very long.  This breed has an imagination that will keep you on your toes, so be prepared ahead of time to assert your authority.

A white Bull Terrier with a red collar, sitting amongst green foliage beside a railway line
A Bull Terrier

This easily recognizable breed has a distinctive egg-shaped head, black nose, and small triangular shaped eyes, probably the only dog breed known to have this type of eyes. They are very sturdy and muscular with superb jaw strength typical of all bully type breeds.

Bull Terrier – Temperament

This breed is playful, sweet-natured, affectionate, and totally devoted to its family. Some dogs can be aggressive toward other dogs and small animals. 

Early socialization is important in any breed but especially those that have a tendency towards being aggressive, and in this case, the aggression is not directed to people, but rather dogs.  If not well socialized it can become aggressive with other dogs.

Two males may not get along well, so if you are considering adding a dog, it would be better to get one of the opposite sex. You might have a problem if you own a cat and small pets are definitely off limits for a dog with such a high prey drive.

Bullys do very well with children and will make an excellent choice for an active family that plans to make the dog part of the activities.  Their independent and stubborn tendencies make them a challenge for the first time or novice dog owners.

People who are interested in this breed must understand their personality and feel confident that they can provide the structure, training and socialization that these dogs need.  Obedience training is highly recommended starting early with puppy classes.

A brindle Bull Terrier sitting down on grass, looking up at the camera
Bull Terrier

They are adaptable and will do well in either a rural or urban setting. If they live in an apartment, they will need plenty of exercise outdoors.  A daily walk is just not enough for this active breed.

They are a highly active breed that will need plenty of outlets for all of this energy.  Frequent walks, games of fetch and most of all, plenty of time with his human family.

This is not a dog that will do well if left alone for extended periods of time and expected to stay inactive.  If he does not get his needs met, he is likely to become destructive either indoors or out.

 Digging outdoors to relieve boredom, or devouring the cushions on your favorite sofa may be two pursuits he’ll choose if neglected.

This breed has also been known to have some psychological problems such as spinning in circles or chasing their tails. These symptoms can be considered part of a obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Breed History

The history of this breed dates back to the nineteen century and James Hinks is credited with establishing the breed around 1835.  He mated the Bulldog (English Bulldog) with the now extinct white English Terrier then added in a little Spanish Pointer to increase the size of the new breed.

At first, it was called the bull and terrier dog. Like Bulldogs of the time, they were used to bait bulls.  When bull baiting was outlawed, they moved into the pits and became known as a fierce dog fighter.  He was strong, yet agile and determined if not downright tenacious.

Dog fighting was considered to be great entertainment by many Europeans, and participants were ever trying to create the perfect fighting dog. 

A white miniature Bull Terrier with a red collar, sitting in front of a vertical blue and white fence
A Miniature bull terrier

As dog fighting was abolished, some of these terrier owners turned to the show ring which was very popular in the late 1800s. 

They began to concentrate more on the dog’s appearance than his fighting skills.

Hicks then decided to add in a little Dalmatian genes to create an all-white dog.  He called them Bull Terriers and they became an immediate success.  Over time, the looks of the dog became more streamlined and the distinctive head evolved. 

Around the turn of the century, the dogs were crossed with Staffordshire Bull Terriers, which reintroduced color into the breed.  This was due to health problems associated with white dogs such as deafness.

Other breeds were used to increase the looks of the breed including the Borzoi, Whippet, and Collie.

The Borzoi and Collie were used to help define the nose until there was no “stop”, which is a characteristic of other bully breeds. 

Until 1913, Bull Terriers were all grouped together regardless of their size.  The standard size Bull Terriers were an official recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885 and the Miniature in 1991. 

The Standard ranks 56th in popularity and the Miniature 126th in popularity.

Bull Terrier

Vital Statistics

Standard Bull Terrier
Height: 20 – 24 inches (51 – 61 cm) Weight: 45 – 80 pounds (20 – 36 kg)

Miniature Bull Terrier
Height: 10 – 14 inches (25 – 33 cm) Weight: up to 24 – 33 pounds (11 – 15 kg)

Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Country of Origin:   England

Other Names Used:  English Bull Terrier

Standard Bull Terrier

Mini Bull Terrier

English Standard Bull Terrier

English Miniature Bull Terrier



White Cavalier


Colors:  13 official colors

  • Black & Tan
  • Black Brindle
  • Black Brindle & White
  • Black Tan & White
  • Brindle
  • Brindle & White
  • Red
  • Red & White
  • White
  • White & Black Brindle
  • White & Brindle
  • White & Red
  • White Black & Tan
  • Fawn
  • Fawn & White
  • Fawn Smut
  • Fawn Smut & White
  • Red Smut
  • Red Smut & White
  • White & Fawn
  • White & Fawn Smut
  • White & Red Smut

Ease of Training

An English Bull Terrier sitting down looking at the camera
English Bull Terrier

This is a very devoted breed, but independent and stubborn.  They respond very well to positive training approaches that use a reward system such as food or toys.

They need a consistent, patient owner willing to take the time and effort to train and socialize.  Obedience training is highly recommended. 

If formal training is not available, it is still necessary to train these dogs.  They have a very high energy level and with their strength and agility abilities, an untrained Bully is a ticking time bomb ready to explode.

It is important to deal with any behavioral problems that might arise.  Training should begin the day you bring your puppy home.

Potty training is the first order of business, followed by teaching how to walk on the leash and basic manners.

They are famous for their ability to tug on the leash and may prefer to take off at every squirrel or dog that crosses his path. 

This breed does seem to have an issue with resource guarding and may tend to get aggressive if some person or other pet gets too close to their food bowl. This is something that needs to be addressed and dealt with from day one.


Bullys have all the attributes to make an excellent guard dog:  Dominant nature, self-confidence, strength, and size. Most Bull Terriers love everyone, and will let you know this by enjoying attention and cuddles.

But they also have some protective instincts and may react if they perceive problems with a stranger. Early socialization is imperative and will help the Bully learn what to expect from a wide range of people.

They need to learn what is normal behavior in people, so they identify if someone is acting odd. They are not considered a yappy breed or one that barks excessively, but they will alert you if someone comes to the door, so they do make an excellent watch dog. 


If grooming is not your thing, you are in luck with this breed.  Their coat is very short and glossy and needs little in the way of care.

An occasional brushing and combing will help keep shedding down to a manageable level.  They tend to be seasonal shedders, but you are likely to see hair on the floor, furniture and on your clothing throughout the year.

A weekly brushing with a curry brush or rubber mitt will remove stray hair and keep the coat looking shiny.

This is unlikely to be the best choice for people suffering from allergies. Hair is usually floating around, but it is the dander that causes most allergies. 

In this breed, they have a harsher coat than some bully breeds.  People with severe allergies may find that the sharp hairs tend to poke and produce a small red rash on their exposed skin.

They are clean dogs and will need a bath occasional but not too often.  Frequently bathing tends to deplete the natural oils that these dogs produce.  Instead of a bath, a great alternative to making your bully smelling beautiful is a dry wash shampoo.

Other than that, the grooming tasks you will need to include teeth brushing and nail clipping.

Ears should be checked periodically and cleaned as needed with a mild ear cleaner.

Even if your Bully does not require a significant amount of grooming, it is still a good idea to prepare a puppy for future grooming but teaching them how to stand on a table while you examine and touch different parts of their body including their paws, mouth, ears, and around their eyes.

Health Considerations

I would like to report that the Bull Terrier is very healthy with few problems, but sadly, this is not true. 

They have many known genetic disorders that have been identified in this breed.

Some genetic problems occur because of poor breeding practices.  The best way to assure that you get a healthy puppy is to search for a breeder who consistently tests their breeding stock and can show clearances for standard conditions.

Here is the list of possible problems that have been identified.  Be sure that you are ready to deal with any of this issues before making the final decision to adopt a member of this breed.

Heart disease including Mitral Valve Disease & Subaortic Stenosis

Kidney Disease

Neurological Problems Including epilepsy, compulsive spinning, sudden-onset aggression (rage syndrome

Primary Lens Luxation which leads to Glaucoma

Dry Eye

Eyelid abnormalities such as Ectropion and Entropion

Inherited deafness especially in the White Bull Terriers

Orthopedic problems include Patellar Luxation, Hip Dysplasia, Osteochondritis, and Cruciate Ligament Rupture

Skin allergies

Lethal Acrodermatitis (zinc deficiency)


Remember that all dogs are susceptible to infections diseases and problems that arise in their environments such as external and internal parasites, toxins and injuries

Famous Bullys

The department store, Target, has a mascot named “Bullseye,” who is a bull terrier.

World War II, General Patton owned one and it is featured in the 1970 movie Patton.

The 1995 film Toy Story features a mean bull terrier named “Scud”.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *