Bull Terrier

Courageous, peppy and full of spirit.


75 th

Most popular breed


United Kingdom





Working dog


No hair




44 to 66lbs

Origins of the Bull Terrier

A breed resulting from many crossbreeds

The “Bull and Terrier” breeds were created in England in the early nineteenth century through crossbreeding the English Bulldog and the White English Terrier, a type of greyhound hunting dog which has today disappeared. These first crosses resulted in the appearance of the White Cavalier, an ancestor of the Bull Terrier that did not yet have the “egg-shaped face” which is characteristic of the breed.

In order to improve its appearance, the White Cavalier was crossed with the Dalmatian, the Greyhound, the Spanish Pointer, the Foxhound and the Whippet to improve its elegance and agility. It was then crossed with the Borzoi and the Collie to reduce its stop and to give its face its unique shape.

James Hinks, who was at the origin of all of these crossbreeds, created the breed with the specific purpose of obtaining a Terrier with a white coat. However, due to the health problems (including deafness) associated with fully white breeds, Ted Lyons was almost forced to introduce color. To do this, he used Staffordshire Bull Terriers in the late twentieth century. Colored Bull Terriers have been recognized as a breed in their own right since 1936.

A fighting dog

Originally developed to control pests, the Bull Terrier mostly began its career as a fighting dog. The breed is known for its speed, its dexterity derived from its comparatively slight body, and the high endurance of the Bulldog.


The Bulldog was a poor fighter, having been trained to fight bulls and bears tied to a pole. Many farmers then started crossing Bulldogs with Terriers, claiming that such interbreeding improved their performance in combat. Despite the high value of such crossbreeding, nothing was done to preserve the breed in its original form. This is why the “Bull and Terrier” breeds were divided into two categories: the Bull Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, smaller and easier to handle than its progenitor.

In 1835, the British Parliament banned fights between animals, which marked the decline of the Bull Terrier breed. However, in the same year, clandestine fights pitting dogs against other dogs continued to take place and contributed to the official recognition of the breed in England. In France, the Bull Terrier was only officially recognized in 1943.

Characteristics of the Bull Terrier

bull terrier puppy

The Bull Terrier is one of the most loyal and affectionate breeds!

The Bull Terrier’s qualities

Full of enthusiasm but also with a quiet nature, it easily submits to orders. It is often described as courageous, witty, and with a loving and peppy attitude. Extremely intelligent and affectionate, especially with children, socialization at a young age will ensure that it has a good relationship with other dogs and animals.

The Bull Terrier is very courageous and totally reliable, with a natural instinct as a watchdog.

A Germany study conducted in 2008 shows that the temperament of Bull Terriers has no significant difference with that of the Golden Retriever.

The Bull Terrier’s shortcomings

Its independent and stubborn nature make it a dog not to be put in inexperienced hands. It gives its master boundless admiration but this strong attachment to humans in general sometimes prevent it from being a good guard-dog.

It does not deal well with inactivity, boredom and solitude, all of which make it destructive. However, if you follow the tips below, your Bull Terrier will no longer feel the need to be destructive.

Living with a Bull Terrier

Whether it lives in town or in the countryside, the Bull Terrier is very playful and prefers walks with its master rather than being abandoned in a garden, no matter how big.

If it lives in an apartment, it will need a daily 1-hour walk, with an additional short walk or two during the day. Playing sports is best to help it maintain its fitness. After spending its energy, it loves spending long hours resting in a comfortable place.

Physical Characteristics of the Bull Terrier

General Aspects of the Bull Terrier

The Bull Terrier has a unique kind of beauty. It should be strongly built, muscular, agile and active. It has great strength for its size. Its structure is symmetrical and its expression is determined and intelligent. Its movements are clear, powerful and flexible.


Long and strong, it is not coarse. Seen from the front, it is oval and perfectly filled.

Bull Terrier on a bench
  • Skull: upper part nearly flat from one ear to the other.
  • Profile: gently curved downward from the top of the skull to the nose.
  • Stop : none.
  • Nose: black and inclined downwards near the end; well-developed nostrils.
  • Jaw: strong and thick lower jaw.
  • Teeth: healthy, clean, strong, of good size and perfectly located.
  • Eyes: narrow, obliquely placed and triangular, well-sunken, black or brown, they have a piercing brightness.
  • Ears: small, thin and close together, very straight and erect vertically.


Very muscular, long, with a curved upper profile. It gradually slims down from the shoulders to the head.


  • Back: short and strong.
  • Chest: high, well-rounded, with well-sprung ribs.
  • Belly: well tucked up.
  • Tail: short, set low, carried horizontally. Thick at the base, tapering up to a fine point.
  • Shoulders: strong and muscular without being too broad.
  • Elbows: kept straight and solid.
  • Shoulder blades: large and well-laid against the chest wall.
  • Thighs: well-muscled.
  • Legs: well-developed.
  • Hock: well-developed.
  • Feet: round and compact, with well-arched fingers.


Any discrepancy from the above will be considered a defect which will be penalized according to their seriousness.
Males should have two normal-looking, well-descended testes in the scrotum.

Genetic diseases in the Bull Terrier

Following the numerous crossbreeds of which it has been the object, the Bull Terrier is more prone to certain hereditary diseases.

White Bull Terriers are often prone to genetic defects.


Problems of deafness are seen in 20.4% of white Bull Terriers against 1.3% in colored Bull Terriers. It is therefore advisable to have your puppy undergo a BAER screening test in order to detect any impairment.


Skin problems are also common among the white breeds and can range from allergies to insect bites (flies, mosquitoes, moths, etc.) to demodectic or atopic dermatitis.


Other health problems affect Bull Terriers of all colors. Joint problems are detectable by palpation, while heart and kidney problems can be detected by ultrasound.

The Miniature Bull Terrier, for its part, is usually affected by an autosomal recessive disease called “lens dislocation.” This disease affects its sight and causes blindness by the age of 9 in affected individuals.

To prevent genetic diseases, having your dog regularly examined by a veterinarian from a very young age is highly advisable.

Bull Terrier at the lake

He always needs me to be around, otherwise he becomes extremely destructive.


Coat, color and maintenance of the Bull Terrier

Coat of the Bull Terrier

Its hair is short, flat, plain, thick to the touch and slightly shiny. The dog may have a soft-textured undercoat in winter.

Color of the Bull Terrier

While brindle hues are a favorite, the red, fawn, white, black or blue colors are also highly prized and can be variegated with white. Black and tan or brown, however, should be avoided.

Maintenance of the Bull Terrier

Its short coat is easy to maintain. Running a special glove on its coat during the shedding season to rid it of dead skin and hair is enough to keep it healthy.

A bath once in a while would be a plus.

Bull Terrier in the garden

The Bull Terrier also exists in a “miniature” form, better known as the Miniature Bull Terrier, which has the same attributes as its big brother.

Size and weight of the Bull Terrier

Size: 35 to 61 cm at the withers
Weight : 20 - 40kg

Life expectancy

10 - 15 years

A dog for kids?

It can be rough because of its powerful musculature. However, it is an excellent companion for children when it has been socialized and trained from a young age.

Is Bull Terrier easy to train?

It is an adorable companion dog. Intelligent, affectionate and trustworthy, it easily submits to orders given by a sufficiently authoritative master.

Pictures of Bull Terrier

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1 Questions about this breed


My dog' surgery

ryth T. | 15/07/2022
Last reply 2 years ago
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