Bull Terrier

If you were alive during the 1980s, there's an excellent chance that you recognize the Bull Terrier and its unique appearance and personality. This is because of the famous Spuds Mackenzie, the advertising symbol for Budweiser Beer at the time. Whatever your opinion on using an adorable dog that could appeal to children in alcoholic beverage advertising, most can agree that Spuds the Bull Terrier represented exactly what the brand was trying to portray, that of a fun-loving, outgoing, and exciting lifestyle.

Bull Terrier
Original image by user Hasan Karagülmez on Flickr. CC BY-NC 2.0.
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This representation fits the Bull Terrier perfectly and this gregarious, charming, and hilarious dog is likely to work its way right into your heart with his affection and antics. Bull Terriers are known for being smart and easy to train, but the time you may save in training will be spent exercising your pal, who is likely to remain active and energetic well into adulthood. They absolutely love to play and are known for being one of the most playful breeds. In addition to plenty of exercise, you will need to commit to the early and correct socialization of your Bull Terrier. They can be aggressive towards other dogs, and proper socialization can help to curb this behavior. Finally, if you want to bring one of these charming and irresistible dogs into your home, it's important to research the laws in your area. Because they are included as "bully breeds", Bull Terriers can be subject to Breed Specific Legislation and outlawed in some areas. It's difficult to imagine why anyone would want to outlaw such wonderful, fun-loving breed!

Key Breed Stats

Alternative names: The Bull Terrier breed is also commonly known by the names English Bull Terrier,Bully,Gladiator.

Popularity: Moderately popular

Life expectancy: 11 - 14 years

Breed group: Terrier Dogs (AKC)

Size: Small

Male Female
Height 0 - 0 in 0 - 0 in
Weight 60 - 68 lbs 49 - 60 lbs


Colors: Black, Brindle, Tricolor, Brown, White

Key Breed Facts

Shedding: Average shedder

Grooming requirements: Minimal

Good with children: Definitely

Good with other pets: Not really

Intelligence / Trainability: High

Exercise needs: Very high

Tolerates being alone: Not really

Hunting drive: High

Suited as Guard dog: Average

Sensitivity: Extremely sensitive

Good for novice owners: Yes

Hypoallergenic breed: No

Drooling: Very low

Barking: Rare

General health: Good

Cost to keep: Average


Bull Terriers are not considered an ancient breed, and their lineage can be traced to the 1800s when "bull and terrier" breeds were popular for vermin control and various dog fighting sports. These dogs most likely resulted from the cross between an Old English Bulldog (different from the English Bulldog and now extinct) as well the Old English Terrier. The intention was to combine the tenacity and strength of the Bulldog with the agility of a terrier to broaden its fighting abilities. The "bull and terrier" breeds took on many forms and there was no standard type, but they eventually came to represent the early forms of two different breeds: the Bull Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

When "bull and terriers" were bred with English White Terriers in the mid-1800s, we came one step closer to the modern Bull Terriers we see today. However, they did not yet exhibit the egg-shaped head that makes them so recognizable. They were bred with the Borzoi and Rough Collie and the desired head shape was eventually achieved. James Hinks was the premier breeder of the time and in 18917 produced the first modern Bull Terrier with its distinctive head, named "Lord Gladiator". Hinks sought to breed all white dogs, but since this coloration is associated with many health problems, breeding to Staffordshire Terriers of different colors and coat pattern was introduced. Coloured Bull Terriers were recognized as a separate variety by the AKC in 1936.


The Bull Terrier is easy to recognize with its uniquely shaped head and playful, outgoing personality.
Typical characteristics are:

  • "Egg-shaped" head with a broad skull, small, erect ears, black nose, and dark, sunken eyes.

  • Bull Terriers are muscular but not coarse.

  • A short, low-set tail.

  • The coat is short, close, harsh to the touch, and glossy.

  • Colors: Pure white, or any color other than white, or any color with white markings.


Intelligence/ Trainability

Bull Terriers are intelligent and eager to please, so they are generally easy to train. They enjoy playful, positive training opportunities that fit well with their outgoing, enthusiastic personality. However, like many terriers, they can become possessive or jealous, and it is important to set boundaries.

As with all intelligent breeds, Bull Terriers require an outlet for their energy and intelligence. In short, they do best with plenty of exercise and a job, even if that job is simply chasing a ball or accompanying you on walks.


The Bull Terrier is always ready to go. They require a lot of exercise and will be very active dogs well into adulthood. 20 to 30 minutes of activity, twice a day, should keep your Bully happy and healthy.

Bull Terriers are susceptible to certain bone disorders like hip dysplasia. Keep your puppy on soft surfaces like grass and keep play on hard surfaces to a bare minimum until your puppy is at least two years old.


Bull Terriers develop strong bonds with their humans. It's important to remember that they are loving, affectionate dogs who appreciate being near their family members and don't like being left alone for long periods of time.


Bull Terriers are outgoing and friendly, so they do not make good guard dogs. A Bull Terrier should never be fearful or shy.

As with all dogs, early, consistent, and positive socialization with people and other pets will ensure that your Bull Terrier will get along well with other pets and people in the future.

Living Conditions

Bull Terriers have high exercise requirements and love to run and play, so ideally they have a home with a securely fenced yard. However, with an owner who is willing to spend time leash-walking, a Bull Terrier could live in an apartment. Be prepared to walk your dog rain or shine.

Children and Other Pets

Bull Terriers are active and rambunctious and are not generally recommended for homes with young children. However, they are excellent playmates for older kids. Keep in mind that all children must learn to correctly and kindly interact with Bull Terriers and any dog. Special consideration should be taken with young children (under the age of 6):

  • Young children may unintentionally invade the personal space of your dog and are unable to interpret the warning signals of your dog.

  • Dogs consider the family as a pack, and may consider the younger children as subordinates and may try to correct them.

  • Young children are very time-consuming. They may take away from the time you have to spend with your dog and he may become bored or frustrated.

All children should be taught how to interact correctly with ANY dog and should never be left unsupervised.

Like many terrier type dogs, Bull Terriers can be aggressive towards other dogs, especially of the same sex. Early, correct socialization is extremely important if they are to get along well with other dogs. They have a relatively high prey drive and may chase other pets.


The average life expectancy of a Bull Terrier is between 11 - 14 years. Like all breeds, the Bull Terrier is prone to certain hereditary health conditions. A responsible breeder will only breed with dogs that have been cleared for these conditions. A Bull Terrier is prone to these diseases:
  • Heart Disease (hereditary)
  • Hereditary Nephritis (hereditary)
  • Deafness (hereditary)
  • Skin Problems (hereditary)
  • Spinning (hereditary)
  • Lens luxation (hereditary)


Bull Terriers have a short, flat coat that requires minimal grooming, a good brushing once per week will suffice. They also don't have a "doggy" smell. They are fairly clean dogs and don't need regular baths. When you bathe them, make sure to use a dog-specific shampoo that maintains the skin's natural PH balance.

Ears should be checked regularly for dirt, redness or a bad smell that could indicate an infection. Clean your dog's ears when needed with an ear cleaner made specifically for dogs.

Nail trimming is an important part of grooming if your dog doesn't wear them down naturally. Once or twice a month should suffice. Trimming a dog's nails too close can cause bleeding and pain, so it is important to trim carefully or seek the help of a vet or groomer.

Consider brushing their teeth with a soft toothbrush and dog toothpaste two or three times a week. Daily is even better. This helps prevent tartar build up and teeth problems. All puppies should become accustomed to having their mouths and teeth checked regularly.

All puppies and dogs should be groomed regularly (preferably weekly) and have their paws, ears, and mouth handled and examined frequently so that they become comfortable with the process. This way, you will quickly become aware of any problems that arise and your dog will be easy to handle for the vet, groomer, and any treatments that are required throughout its lifetime.


Feeding Recommendations: 2-4 cups of high-quality, dry dog food fed in two daily meals is a good starting point, but other factors need to be taken into consideration. Higher quality dog foods may require less food, as more of the food is digested properly. In addition, higher energy dogs will require more food, while more sedentary dogs may require less. Special attention should be paid to ensure that your dog doesn't become overweight, which can cause health issues in both the short and long-term.

Puppies have special feeding requirements. Use food specifically designed for large breed puppies. Adult dog food contains too much calcium, which will increase the risk for hip and elbow dysplasia. Don’t overfeed your puppy, as overweight puppies also have an increased risk for dysplasia. Puppies need to be fed 3 to 4 times a day. This might seem like a hassle, but it will help when it comes to housebreaking. A puppy’s digestive system works very fast. Five to 30 minutes after his meal, he will need to go out to do his business.

Just like any other breed, they need to have free access to fresh, clean water at all times.

Older dogs, like puppies, might need a diet adapted to their needs. In some cases, it is advisable to feed them smaller portions 3 to 4 times a day.

When changing your dog’s diet, it’s recommended to do it gradually over a period of a few days to avoid stomach problems.

Avoid exercise 1 hour before and after the meal, to reduce the risk of gastric torsion (bloat).

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