All About: Bull Terriers


Similar to the Bulldog, Bull Terriers get their name from going nose-to-nose with bulls. Bullfighting was popular during much of the nineteenth century, and those who wanted to make the events more exciting bred Bulldogs with Old English Terriers. When bullfighting became illegal, the Bull Terrier was remodeled as a companion dog for high-society gentlemen and ladies, pulled into the world of show dogs. They were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1885 and have been competing for “Best in Show” ever since. Don’t let the muscles fool you—this dog is a sweetheart with a protective streak.

Bull Terriers are known for being friendly and active. They make great family pets as they have a high tolerance for noise and commotion. Children and other pets should not pose too much of a problem if the Bull Terrier is given proper socialization and training. These dogs are highly receptive to training and pick up commands and cues quickly, but they can be stubborn if proper behavior is not enforced regularly. They are also less likely to bark or howl than many other breeds, which can be a blessing in an otherwise noisy household. Energy levels are high in these breed, meaning they need frequent and intense walks to blow off steam. Without the proper amount of exercise, they can resort to chewing and other bad habits. They can be protective or territorial without a firm owner who can stick to a schedule and reward proper behavior. With strong training and plenty of socialization and exercise, Bull Terriers can make a loving, goofy companion.

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Known for their oddly shaped egg-head, Bull Terriers are quite distinctive. They are short, muscular dogs weighing in between 35 and 80 pounds. Life expectancy is 11 to 15 years and litters average about five puppies. They have elongated snouts, almond-shaped eyes, and pointy ears. Bodies are stocky with a small tail and short legs. Fur is prickly and can come in white, brown, tan, black, brindle, or any combination of these. They are relatively healthy, but can fall victim to a variety of problems such as deafness, skin diseases and allergies, patella luxation (slipped knee cap), and heart disease. Bull Terriers are more prone to gaining weight than some other breeds, especially if not receiving enough exercise, which can lead to a variety of other health problems.

Is a Bull Terrier right for you? These dogs are goofy and playful, but need a firm hand on the leash. Most owners who have raised a dog before find faster results in training Bull Terriers. Even if properly socialized and trained, these active dogs will need plenty of daily exercise to keep bad habits in check. Like all dogs, Bull Terriers require plenty of time, commitment, patience, and love in order to be a happy member of your household.

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