English Bull Terrier: Breed Characteristics, Training, Care & Nutrition

The Bull Terrier is a courageous medium-sized dog breed from Great Britain. The Bull Terrier is recognized by the FCI as an independent breed and can be found in the FCI register in the FCI Group 3 Terriers, in Section 3 Bull Terriers without a working test with standard no. 11.

English Bull Terrier Dog Breed Information

Size: 45-55cm
Weight: 22-38kg
FCI Group: 3: Terriers
Section: 3: Bull Terriers
Country of origin: Great Britain
Colors: white, red-white, tricolor, fawn-white, brindle-white, white-black, brindle
Life expectancy: 11-14 years
Suitable as: family and companion dog
Sports: –
Personality: Active, Spirited, Keen, Caring, Trainable
Leaving requirements: high
Low drool potential
The thickness of hair medium
Maintenance effort: low
Coat structure: short, smooth, even
Child friendly: yes
Family dog: yes
Social: rather yes

Origin and Breed History

The Bull Terrier originated in Great Britain. In its native country, the breed was originally used as a bull and badger biter and was a good watchdog. The history of the bull terrier begins at the beginning of the 19th century when the widespread English bulldog was crossed with local terriers. The aim of breeding was to breed a strong and very courageous dog that is not too big in the physique. Brave and loyal, these dogs soon became well-known throughout Great Britain and were particularly valued by the middle class as guard dogs and protection against vermin. Unfortunately, the dogs were repeatedly used for dogfighting, which was not illegal in England at the time. It was bet on the animals winning or the time they spend in the ring. It was not until 1835 that the cruel fights were banned. After the ban, the Bullis lived again as normal family dogs, which were particularly appreciated in large families for their patience and friendly nature.

The Bull Terrier breed was not officially recognized until 1850. At that time, animal dealer James Hinks campaigned for the breed and tried to make the dogs better known abroad for the first time. This led to the white bull terrier becoming a status symbol among the English nobility. Even today there are members of the royal family who own white or at least very light-colored bull terriers and value them as family members. Towards the end of the 19th century, the breed was changed again by crossing pointers and Dalmatians. These should give the Bull Terrier a slightly slimmer appearance while still retaining the patient character with the low inhibition threshold. At that time, the breeding goal was still pure white bull terriers. It was only after the Second World War that color approval for breeding changed and spotted and dark Bullis were also approved for breeding. There was no exact size specification and two lines were bred, the large Standard Bull Terrier and the small Miniature Bull Terrier, which is now considered a separate breed.

How Dangerous is a Bull Terrier?

With a good upbringing and early socialization, the Bull Terrier is an absolutely family-friendly dog that does not pose a threat.

Nature and Temperament of the Bull Terrier

The Bull Terrier is known for its friendly and calm character. These strong-bodied dogs are hard to shake and bravely stand by their owner. As a typical terrier, the Bull Terrier can tend to be stubborn, but with a consistent and positive upbringing, this can be controlled very well.

The Bull Terrier is strongly attached to its caregiver and is described as being very affectionate in dealing with the family and especially the children. Most Bull Terriers are very playful and will enjoy interacting with people and other dogs once they have been socialized well. However, the Bull Terrier is not suitable for beginners, although he has an absolutely friendly nature, his slight stubbornness is a hurdle for beginners. The Bull Terrier owner must be familiar with dog language and how to get their dog to cooperate without applying pressure. Under pressure, the Bull Terrier usually switches completely to stubborn and can no longer be persuaded to train. Positive reinforcement and training with lots of play are just right for the working dog. The Bull Terrier loves long walks and can get enthusiastic about nose work and fetching.

The Bull Terrier has a hunting instinct, but this is not very pronounced and is easy for the owner to control. A protective instinct is also present, if the owner were attacked the Bull Terrier would be ready to defend and would bravely face any opponent, even a wild boar attack. Since he has a high stimulus threshold, he usually reacts calmly in stressful situations and weighs up his interactions carefully. This makes him an absolutely friendly and controllable dog with a good character and education, which is a good companion and family dog.

Is the Bull Terrier a Family Dog?

Yes! Bull Terriers are very good family dogs that are very friendly and patient with children. Because they love to play and are very attached, they are good companions, and their robust bodies can handle wild romping. Of course, you should always make sure that the dog is not overwhelmed with a situation.

The Appearance of the Bull Terrier

The Bull Terrier is a powerful, medium-sized dog that has a distinctive egg-shaped head. His body should be slim, with well-defined muscles and a secure stance. The Standard Bull Terrier is 45 to 55 cm tall on average. There is also the Miniature Bull Terrier, which is considered a separate breed and has a maximum size of 45 cm. Depending on how trained the Bull Terrier is, the weight can vary. However, there is little difference in weight or size between the sexes. As a rule, the Bull Terrier has a weight of 24 to 30 kilograms.

Since the all-white Bull Terrier was bred for a long time, the image of the white powerful dog is still firmly in people’s minds and the white Bull Terrier is often preferred. Nevertheless, there are now a large number of coat colors that are recognized in the breed standard. There are the colors white, brindle, black, red fawn, and tricolor. The Bull Terrier’s coat is short and smooth and should cover the body evenly. Longer fur is considered undesirable in breeding.

How Big Do Mini Bull Terriers Get?

There is no exact specification for the Miniature Bull Terrier, as it can also happen that a Miniature Bull Terrier is as large as its standard conspecifics. As a rule, the Miniature Bull Terrier should be under 45 cm.

Upbringing and Keeping of the Bull Terrier – This is Important to Consider

Training the Bull Terrier requires patience and a good understanding of dogs. It is best for the owners to contact a dog club with a puppy group at an early stage so that the dog gets to know good socialization right from the start and can start training right away. The Bull Terrier is a clever dog that likes to work with its owner, but must always be convinced of the meaning of its activity, otherwise, the terrier-typical stubbornness can get through. Experienced dog handlers will quickly appreciate the positive traits of this confident and calm breed. Ideally, training takes place with positive reinforcement in the form of treats, praise, and toys. This is a good way to motivate the Bull Terrier and the owner can deal with the dog’s stubbornness with a lot of motivation. It is important to show the Bull Terrier the world and other animals as a puppy. Everything the Bull Terrier gets to know early on will not faze him later. With good socialization, he gets along well with other dogs and can become a balanced companion in everyday life.

The Right Activities for a Bullie

A Bull Terrier is a very playful and active dog that, in addition to good training, also needs a lot of physical activity. He loves long walks with the whole family, and he orientates himself a lot towards his people when running free and always stays close to them. In order to meet the need for exercise, it makes sense to do one or more sporting activities with the Bull Terrier. Bike tours, jogging, or being accompanied on a bike are ideal for the Bull Terrier. The Bulli can also enjoy dog sports. However, the owners should be careful not to overwhelm the dog. All sports that keep the dog’s nose busy are ideal. Search games or track work suit the clever and persevering dog.

The Attitude of the Bull Terrier

Since the Bulli is very related to its people and enjoys and needs the company of the family, the bright dog is not suitable for kennel keeping. Due to his alert nature, he can be a good watchdog, reporting visitors. However, he should always live in the house and be an integral part of the family. Since he is a very even-tempered dog in the house that calms down well, the Bull Terrier would also be suitable as an office dog if the boss agrees. Children, other dogs, and small animals are no problem for the Bull Terrier. If he is introduced to all things from an early age, he will always act calmly and peacefully and will make a good playmate for the children.

How is a Bull Terrier Raised?

Consistent training that uses rewards and positive reinforcement is the best way to train a Bull Terrier, always bearing in mind that good dog training takes time and patience.

Diet of the Bull Terrier

Bull Terriers are good eaters and need a balanced diet that includes plenty of meat for their strong build. The owner should therefore rather charge a little more money for his dog’s food. Since the Bull Terrier has a stable stomach, he rarely suffers from intolerance.

When choosing the food, make sure that it contains a lot of meat and that the amount is adapted to the dog’s needs. Because the Bull Terrier tends to become overweight with too much food and a lack of exercise. Regular weight checks are therefore advisable. In addition, care must be taken to ensure that the feed corresponds to the age of the animal. A Bull Terrier puppy should be fed puppy food up to the age of 10 months, and from the age of 7 or 8, it makes sense to switch to senior food.
Both wet food and dry food are well suited to feeding the Bull Terrier. Which of the two feeding methods the owner chooses depends entirely on their needs, as the two methods have different advantages and disadvantages.

When feeding with wet food, there is often no wear on the teeth, which can be remedied by chewing bones. A bigger problem for many owners is the amount of garbage. Canned food generates much more waste than feeding dry food, but the canned mass is much closer to the dogs’ natural diet. Dry food, on the other hand, is easy to take with you and can also be used as a reward in between meals. However, with dry food, care must be taken to ensure that the dog drinks enough.

Healthy – Life Expectancy & Common Diseases

In general, the Bull Terrier is a stable and healthy breed, but there are a few things to consider before buying the dog. For example, pure white bull terriers can be genetically deaf. There are special tests for this that can test the hearing ability of the animals very early on in puppyhood. In the case of very overbred Bull Terriers, breathing problems can also occur due to the special shape of the muzzle, the so-called down face, if the animals do too much sport in summer. Otherwise, a buyer should pay attention to healthy parents and good breeding and will be rewarded with a healthy and agile dog.

On average, Bull Terriers can live ten to twelve years and are playful and affectionate well into old age. Of course, you should adapt the activities for the dog a little as you get older so that you don’t overwhelm it.

A very important issue in dog health is its weight. Bull Terriers tend to become overweight if they don’t get enough exercise. An adjusted amount of food for the animal and daily exercise keeps the dog slim and fit.

Since the Bull Terrier originally comes from England, bad weather or cold doesn’t bother him despite his short fur. When it is hot, there should be enough water available and the activities should take place more in the shade, otherwise, there is a risk of the dog overheating.

How Much Does a Bull Terrier Cost?

The cost of a Bull Terrier depends on the breeder, of course, but a good breeder with healthy parents will charge between $1200 and $1600 for a puppy.

Grooming the Bull Terrier

The robust Bull Terriers are very easy to care for. The short coat should be brushed regularly to keep dust and dirt out. The Bull Terrier naturally sheds more hair during the change of coat, but this is also limited compared to long-haired dogs. The ears should also be checked regularly to prevent ear infections and the claws should be a comfortable length for the dog.

Bull Terrier Activities and Training

Since the Bull Terrier is a very active and agile dog, it needs a lot of workload and activity. The Bull Terrier should go for a walk at least three times a day and for at least 45 minutes. Dog sports or sporting activities such as jogging or horseback riding are also ideal for keeping active dogs busy. Only if the Bull Terrier gets enough exercise will he be a calm partner in the house who acts well with his environment.

Search games are particularly suitable for clever dogs, tracking work but also retrieval games can inspire bright dogs. Lunging and light agility can also be a lot of fun for the Bull Terrier, although care should be taken not to overload the animal.

Good to Know: Peculiarities of the Bull Terrier

Unfortunately, the Bull Terrier in Germany is one of the listed dogs in many federal states, and keeping them is only permitted under strict conditions. The husbandry conditions differ depending on the federal state and it is important to find out about the respective regulations before buying. The import of the Bull Terrier from abroad is prohibited throughout Germany. Breeding is also only possible to a limited extent. The Miniature Bull Terrier is allowed in most countries without restrictions.

Despite the bad reputation, fans of the breed appreciate its good-natured character and lively nature and describe the dog as a family-friendly companion. The reputation of the Bull Terrier is much better abroad, especially in England and America the breed is very popular and is kept by members of the royal family and celebrities.

Is a Bull Terrier a Fighting Dog?

In Germany, it is considered a list dog in most federal states and has unfortunately been abused for dog fights in its history. However, it was never the breeding goal to create a fighting dog and there is no greater danger from keeping this breed than from any other breed of dog. On the contrary, the Bull Terrier has a high threshold and is a friendly dog that still needs good training.

Cons of the Bull Terrier

In addition to the stubbornness that is typical of a terrier, people’s reaction to the Bull Terrier is often negative. Many people have a bad image of bull terriers and think they are aggressive and dangerous animals. There can therefore be hostilities in the environment, although most bull terriers are absolutely peaceful dogs. There have even been studies on the bull terrier’s aggressive behavior that have shown that the animals react just like other dog breeds and even have a very high threshold.

Is the Bull Terrier Right for Me?

The Bull Terrier is a character dog. He needs an experienced handler who can meet his needs and provide him with good socialization and training. Training a dog takes time. He is not a casual dog and needs a lot of attention and affection from his family. If you want to keep such a dog, you need time and the necessary will. In terms of utilization, a Bulli is a dog that wants to be encouraged. With enough activity, he is a quiet fellow in the house and an absolutely friendly family dog.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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