Critter Culture
Everything You Need to Know About the Bull Terrier

Everything You Need to Know About the Bull Terrier

Critter Culture Staff



Terriers are an innately independent breed with an abundance of personality, and the bull terrier is no exception. Playful, rambunctious, and agile, these affectionate terriers are also gentle, good-natured companions. Their unique physical appearance — a strong, compact body with an egg-shaped head — is an unmistakable trait of the breed. Experienced pet lovers seeking a loyal, extremely active dog should consider adding a bull terrier to their family.


This breed isn't for couch potatoes

English bull terrier running in a meadow Martin Ruegner / Getty Images

Some dogs are content to relax and chill out with their owners on the couch. Not the bull terrier. They need daily exercise, preferably alongside their human BFF. If you enjoy moderate walks or short runs, this dog will be the perfect companion. They also excel in coursing sports and competitions for obedience, agility, and tracking due to their strength, athleticism, and determination. Owners who enjoy competing won't feel disappointed. These dogs' fun-loving personalities make the experience even more enjoyable.


Bull terriers are medium-sized dogs

Bull Terrier f8grapher / Getty Images

Muscular and big-boned, the bull terrier is a broad-chested dog that will grow to a height of around 22 inches when they reach adulthood. Males and females weigh between 50 and 70 pounds when full-grown. Their dark eyes are small and triangular-shaped and sit high on their oval-shaped heads. They love running around and chasing critter intruders in the backyard. But, as long as they get their exercise, they make great apartment dogs, too. If you're seeking a smaller dog, consider the miniature bull terrier, which has much the same personality in a smaller package.


Bull terrier coats require minimal grooming

Bull terrier puppy dog on a wooden pier at a lake, copy space, detail with selected focus and narrow depth of field Vladimir Vinogradov / Getty Images

This breed isn't a heavy shedder, so grooming is simple. Use a hound glove or soft-bristle brush each week to remove any loose hair and bathe every three months or so. Their short, flat coats may be a solid white, red, brindle, or fawn color. But you'll also find variations such as tri-colored black, brindle, and white and other combinations. Smut is a unique coat color for the breed. It's a diluted sable with a fawn base and a heavy black overlay that may include a mixture of other coat colors like white, fawn, or red.


The breed has common health conditions

Young Bull terrier having an ultrasound examination at the veterinarian. mmpile / Getty Images

Food and environmental allergies are a problem for many bull terriers. They may experience skin reactions to parasites, foods, or products in the home, such as scent diffusers or cleaners. Some males and females develop a hereditary form of nephritis, a swelling of the nephrons in the kidneys which can lead to infections. Deafness is another concern. Before purchasing a bull terrier, make sure the breeder has health tested and certified them.


Training is important for the breed

Playful white bull terrier dog with pink toy, funny portrait grejak / Getty Images

An untrained bull terrier could likely become a troublemaker. They need guidance, socialization, and training. Their stubborn personality will intensify without proper training, so for this reason, experts say this is not a great choice for the novice pet owner. Negative behaviors like aggressiveness and destructiveness are the result. Bull terriers have a strong urge to chew, so make sure they have plenty of toys to keep their attention. These intelligent dogs respond best to training if it's fun.


Bull terriers are good with children

Two years old boy sleeping with his bull terrier dog. mmpile / Getty Images

Because they are so playful, bull terriers love being around children. But, they can be a bit too energetic and clumsy when in full-play mode, however. They may unintentionally harm very young children in the process. Owners should teach their pets to be gentle during playtime starting in puppyhood. The breed's super-protective instincts to watch over their humans is also an endearing quality, but can get out of hand in dogs without proper training and socialization.


Other pets are usually not a problem

Bull terrier playing with the stray dog in the park Anchiy / Getty Images

Although bull terriers have a strong innate drive to chase prey, they will get along with other cats and dogs in the house if you raise them together. Breed experts recommend opposite genders for multi-dog households. Bull terriers may become aggressive towards other males. If another dog attacks them, the bull terrier will most certainly fight back. Squirrels, rabbits, and other small animals are not safe if they enter the bull terrier's domain.


Bull terriers are super-smart

Woman doing exercises outdoors with her dog Pekic / Getty Images

Naturally inquisitive, the bull terrier is one of the smartest dog breeds and won't do well if left alone for long periods. They need human interaction to keep their brains engaged. Because they are so intelligent, they're also opinionated and stubborn. Bull terriers require a loving-but-strong leader to keep their behavior in check. They learn tasks quickly and easily. If they're having a good time, they'll learn even faster.


A healthy diet is essential

Bull terrier puppy Chely / Getty Images

Healthy bull terriers have a life expectancy of between 10 and 12 years, but if they don't get enough physical exercise, they tend to become overweight. This condition can shorten their lifespan. Vets recommend two cups of quality food each day, depending on the dog's weight and age. Bull terrier breeders say that a diet rich in calcium is essential, especially for younger dogs. They suggest adding healthy vegetables like fresh broccoli or occasional yogurt when puppies are going through growth spurts.


There are famous bull terriers

Dapper Dog Larry Williams / Getty Images

These alert, loveable dogs have become the face of huge marketing campaigns for companies like Target and Budweiser. Yet, the most famous bull terrier was the companion of World War II General George S. Patton, Jr. The dog originally belonged to a Royal Air Force pilot who never returned home from a mission. The pilot's wife sold the dog to Patton's staff. The two bonded instantly. The general named the dog "William the Conqueror," dubbing him Willie for short. After Patton died in an auto accident in Germany in 1945, Willie lived out the remaining 10 years of his life on the family property.


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