Country of Origin: The Bull Terrier (also known as an ‘English Bull Terrier’) was bred in England in the 1830’s by crossing a Bulldog with an English Terrier in an effort to build the ultimate fighting dog. The ‘Bull’ in ‘Bull Terrier’ derives from the popular practice of ‘bull-baiting’, in which several dogs were matched up against a chained bull. The Bull Terrier was later bred with the Spanish Pointer to increase its size, resulting in a highly successful, powerful, persistent fighter. After dog fighting was abolished, Bull Terriers were bred with the Dalmatian to produce a white colored strain, then again with the Staffordshire Bull Terrier to reintroduce color. Both the white and colored types increased in popularity as pets, and both strains remain today. Famous Bull Terriers include the Target mascot ‘Bullseye’, Spuds MacKenzie, who was used in Bud Light commercials (and later discovered to secretly be a female!), and Patsy Ann, a Bull Terrier from Juneau, Alaska famous for unfailingly predicting the impending arrival of ships to port.
Size: The Bull Terrier has a shoulder height of 53-56 cm (21-22 in) and weighs 20-27 kg (45-60 lbs). The Bull Terrier’s head and muzzle are very distinct in appearance--ovular from the profile, with a long skull curving deeply down to the nose with no discernable stop (point at which forehead and muzzle meet). Bull Terriers have small, deeply set eyes, positioned near the middle. Their ears are small, triangular, and erect. They have short, powerful backs, flat tails and small, round ‘cat feet’.
Coat: The Bull Terrier has a dense, short-haired coat. It can be all white (with possible markings on the head), or a solid color with highlights. Acceptable colors are solid black or a mix of tan with either white, red, broken black, or fawn. Bull Terriers are average shedders, shedding twice a year.
Character: Bull Terriers are happy, comical, and playful, but they are also very stubborn and strong-willed when the mood strikes them. The Bull Terrier is scrappy, loyal, and eager to defend its owner, but isn’t a bully and will not provoke a fight. Bull Terriers are lively, brave, tough, and likable. They are strong, but not bred to be guard dogs.
Temperament: The Bull Terrier gets along well with children. Provided proper social training has taken place, it can make friends with cats or other household pets. The Bull Terrier may try to dominate other dogs depending on its individual nature and upbringing. It may be an unwise purchase for those who already own a dog. Bull Terriers should not be encouraged to participate in rough play, and may be too hyper to play with young children. They may become destructive when left alone or unexercised.
Care: The Bull Terrier’s coat should be brushed periodically with a rubber brush to remove dead hairs. The ears need to be cleaned on a regular basis. Bull Terriers should be given a soft place to lie down. They have a life span of 10-12 years and litters of 4-7 pups. White Bull Terriers should be tested for deafness.
Training: The Bull Terrier should be given an obedience course when young. Bull Terriers are very strong when fully grown, which makes them difficult to train as adults. Handlers must be patient and understanding, as the Bull Terrier learns quickly but has a stubborn streak.
Activity: The Bull Terrier loves long walks and running off the leash, but should be watched carefully around other dogs. Bull Terriers can live happily in an apartment if sufficient exercise is provided.
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