The Bull Terrier is the cavalier gladiator— a good looking tough character. This breed is strongly built and muscular, longer than tall. These dogs’ muscle mass combined with their relatively low center of gravity make them sturdy and stable. Their distinctive head not only shows off their keen and determined expression, but also their great jaw strength. Their gait is smooth and easy. The skin is tight, and the coat short, flat, and harsh.
Around 1835, a mix between a Bulldog and the old English Terrier produced a dog known as the Bull and Terrier. A later mix to the Spanish Pointer added needed size, and the result was a tenacious, strong, yet agile dog.
Around 1860 James Hinks mixed the Bull and Terrier with the White English Terrier and the Dalmatian, producing an all-white strain he called Bull Terriers. The new all white strain immediately captured the attention of the public; they became a fashionable companion for young gentlemen who wanted a good-looking masculine dog at their sides. The dogs gained the reputation for defending themselves, but not provoking a fight, and were thus dubbed “the white cavalier.”
The dogs gradually became more streamlined, and the Bull Terrier’s distinctive head evolved. Around 1900, mixes with Staffordshire Bull Terriers reintroduced color into the breed. This mix was not well accepted at first, but finally gained equal status as a separate AKC variety in 1936. The white variety still continues as the more popular variety, but both colors have enjoyed great popularity as pets. Their comical nature and expression wins them many friends, and they have proven to be very successful in movies and advertising.
Exuberant, comical, playful, assertive, and very mischievous describes the Bull Terrier. These dogs are an imaginative breed that often sees things their own way and are stubborn to the end. For all their tough bravado, this is an extremely sweet-natured, affectionate, and devoted breed, but should be introduced carefully to other dogs and small animals. They are prone to compulsive behaviors such as tail-chasing or dot staring.
The Bull Terrier needs to be entertained, either with a good exercise session or mental stimulation every day—preferably both. This is an active breed that enjoys a good run, but it is best to run the Bull Terrier only in a safe area. Coat care is minimal.