Often described as clownish and mischievous, the spirited Bull Terrier can be a wonderful family companion if provided with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. Its egg-shaped head is likely the most distinctive feature of the breed—its unusual appearance has earned the Bull Terrier top-dog status when it comes to film and advertisements. Though friendly and lovable, the Bull Terrier can be tenacious and is known to push boundaries and bend rules. Consistent training can help create a well-behaved companion, but owners must have a sense of humor to fully appreciate this goofy breed.
The Bull Terrier is also known as the English Bull Terrier, White Cavalier, and Bully.
Physical Description/Breed Standard
Coat - Bull Terriers have a short coat that grows flat to the body. The fur has a tough feel and glossy sheen. The coat comes in pure white or colored, which can be any color along with white markings. A white Bully may have markings on their head only.
50 to 70 pounds
Breed Standard and History
The Bull Terrier has a compact, muscular frame. They have broad shoulders, a thick neck, big-boned legs, and a rounded body. When in motion, the Bully's gait is free-flowing and powerful with a merry spring. They have a distinctive oval-shaped head, a broad muzzle, and thin ears that stand erect when engaged. Their dark eyes are curious and intelligent.
Bull Terriers are descendants of the bull-and-terrier breeds, which were crosses between bulldogs and terriers used in dog fighting in the early 1800s in Europe. These dogs were crossed with other breeds, including Spanish Pointers, to create a larger, more agile dog. This new combination dominated as a pit dog until the sport was banned in England.
When their fighting days were through, Bullys became popular as companions for dapper English gents, who would walk around town with the breed as an accessory. The dog's charm earned them the nickname 'The White Cavalier.' Before long they were popular across the Atlantic in the US, and the breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885.
AKC Breed Category
Training is of utmost importance with a Bully, to let their wonderful qualities shine and to manage traits that would be hard to live with. Though the Bull Terrier's ancestors were bred to be fearsome in a fight, when properly socialized, today's Bully is sweet-natured and silly. They must spend time with people, other dogs, and small animals early in life so they learn aggressive behavior is unacceptable. Bullys have a tendency to resource guard, and early training is critical so this doesn't become a problem behavior. Finally, train them to be well mannered on a leash or they will drag you around for every walk.
Are Bull Terriers Good with Kids?
(Note: Every dog has a unique personality and distinct life experiences that affect his disposition. As a rule, adults should always supervise playdates between kids and their four-legged friends.)
Are Bull Terriers Good with Other Pets?
Bull Terriers are very protective of their people, their food and toys, and their territory.
Are Bull Terriers Good Guard Dogs? Bull Terriers are excellent guard dogs. Their muscular frame and loud bark will intimidate would-be intruders. They will also become aggressive, if they feel anyone is threatening themselves or their family. The Bully's aggressive side will come out if necessary, but this trait should never be encouraged.
Bull Terriers are high-energy dogs and need a lot of exercise to ensure excess energy doesn't result in unwanted and destructive behaviors.
Indoor Bullys belong indoors with their families. They are not ideal apartment dogs unless they are taken outside to exercise frequently. The Bull Terrier's coat is not very protective against the elements and the breed is prone to separation anxiety when left alone. Their coats shed, but not excessively, so fur around the house is manageable. Early training will help your Bull Terrier become an easygoing housemate.
Outdoor Bull Terriers should be outside playing and exercising for several hours a day. Their coats are not very protective against the cold, so they shouldn't be left outside when it's chilly. During the winter they'll welcome a dog jacket for all outdoor excursions.
Exercise To keep the peace around the house and to prevent the destruction of furniture, Bullys need an hour or two of vigorous exercise every day.
Endurance These energetic dogs have the stamina for hours of play and agility training sessions.
Activity distance rating
Food Bull Terriers require approximately 2 to 4 cups of high-quality dry dog food each day over two meals. Adequate amounts can vary significantly based on your dog's size, age, and activity level, so be sure to talk to your veterinarian about the best diet for your Bully.
Alone Time Bull Terriers get bored quickly when alone, and they are notorious for chewing up furniture and digging up the garden. They also are prone to separation anxiety. It's preferable for someone to stay with your Bully all day and take him out for regular exercise. If you must leave this breed alone for an hour or two, it's best if they are crate trained so as to minimize damage.
Health and Grooming
12 - 13 years
This gentleman's dog is a naturally neat fellow. You need to brush him only once or twice a week, and he can go up to three months between baths. Gently clean his ears with a dog-friendly cleanser every week or two and clip his toenails about once each month to avoid snags and cracks.
Common Health Issues
Bull Terriers may present a number of health concerns—some serious—including:
You can minimize serious health concerns in a Bull Terrier by purchasing from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices, and through screening for common diseases and conditions.
Bull Terriers are intelligent and learn quickly—the question is whether they want to. It's important to train and socialize Bullys with patience and ample rewards.
The energetic Bull Terrier benefits from learning new skills and lifelong training, and his family is rewarded with a busy, well-behaved dog. Bullys will excel at advanced obedience training, agility training, and dog sports, such as flyball.
Sporting Dog Training
While all terriers have hunting in their blood, Bullys are not well known for their prowess as sporting dogs.
Are Bull Terriers Hypoallergenic?
Are Bull Terriers banned in some states?
Do Bull Terriers like water?
Sign up now to receive special offers and news via email, and save $10 on your next purchase of $50 or more. This offer is valid for new subscribers only and will be sent to your email address shortly.Submit
Trips & Schools
100% customer satisfaction has been our commitment since 1856. It's who we are. If you aren't happy with a product or service, we want to know about it. And we'll make it right.
THAT'S THE ORVIS WAY.
Orvis Commits 5% of pre-tax profits to protecting nature.
“If we are to benefit from the use of our natural resources, we must be willing to act to preserve them.”
– Perk Perkins, Orvis Company Owner & Board Member
Copyright 2021, The Orvis Company Inc. Since 1856.