The spunky and unique Bull Terrier was developed in the early 1800s by crossing the Bulldog and terriers to create a strong but agile fighting dog. The Bull Terrier that is known today traces back to the 1850s when a breeder by the name of James Hinks crossed the Bull and Terrier dog popular in those days with the now extinct White English Terrier. The Hinks’ dogs gained favor in 1862 when one of Hinks’ dogs was victorious against a dog of the old type and went on the next day to win several prizes at the dog show. This proved to the world that Hinks’s Bull Terriers had lost none of the fighting spirit of their ancestors. As a result his dogs became very popular.
Over the years, the Bull Terrier changed in build and temperament. Gradually they became more sturdy in build and their head lost any definition of a stop, developing into the well known head shape seen on the present day Bull Terrier. The breed founders felt that temperament was important enough to place it in the opening paragraph of the breed standard. They state that the Bull Terrier is “full of fire but of sweet disposition and amendable to discipline.” The Bull Terrier loves to be with their people, the closer the better. It is not uncommon to have a puppy sitting on your feet if you happen to stand still for just a moment. Many of them consider themselves lap dogs, even when they reach fifty to sixty pounds. This breed demands affection and quality time, needing to be with their people as much as possible. They are very affectionate and sensitive, thriving on love, attention and praise. Because of this close bond to people, it is imperative that any prospective owner be willing to spend quality time and energy with their Bull Terrier.
Other common traits of the Bull Terrier include enjoying a good game of fetch. While some Bullies prefer smaller balls, others seem to enjoy Kong toys or larger balls like beach balls. It is not unusual to see a Bull Terrier pushing and chasing a big ball around the yard with enthusiasm. While not as common, there are some Bull Terriers who enjoy a good hardy game of Frisbee and show off their speed and athleticism in chasing and catching one. Tug games are also popular with the Bull Terrier. They enjoy grabbing a hold of the end of a knotted rope and swinging from it when possible.
Their personalities come out in their very expressive faces. When being talked to, they may only roll their eyes sideways to look at you without actually having to turn their heads. They also frequently curl up with his head on one paw, and the other paw over his head. They also may make a grumbling sound as though they are trying to talk with you. This can be accompanied by a wagging tail, puffed out lips and flattened ears. While this may be intimidating to some, it is the Bullies way of talking to his people and can be quite endearing.
They are an intelligent breed, although some may be a bit more dim. There does appear to be a strong correlation between the time and energy put into the dog and how smart they seem to be. Which makes perfect sense. As they are being encouraged to learn and grow and spend time with the owner, they have a good reason to show off their inherent brain power. But be aware that they may also show their stubborn streak
As a whole, the Bull Terrier breed should be a good-natured, fun-loving, mischievous, and friendly dog. While they may look tough on the outside, in actuality, they are a very sensitive breed that requires nurturing, love, praise and quality time.
To learn more about this charming breed, pick up a copy of All About the Bull Terriers and Miniature Bull Terriers by Marilyn Drewes.