The Bull Terrier has a VERY distinctive look. There is no confusing this unique terrier with any other breed! The head is large, egg-shaped with small triangular eyes. This oval head allows for greater jaw strength and a powerful bite. Bull Terriers carry themselves with an abundance of swagger and were often called the Cavalier Gladiator. Built with a low center of gravity, which harkens back to their fighting heritage, the Bull Terrier is muscle on top of muscle.
This is not a breed for a soft or inexperienced dog owner. Take a stubborn, high-energy dog, add incredible tenacity and immense jaw power and you have a dog that needs to be respected, understood and raised properly. On the plus side, they are comical, playful, loving and brave. Just remember, they do not always play well with others, especially dogs of the same sex.
The Bull Terrier is divided into two varieties, viewed as different breeds by some registries, the Standard and the Miniature Bull Terrier. The Mini-Bull was bred to allow for a more manageable sized Bull Terrier.
History of the Bull Terrier
Bulldog and terrier crosses were popular in the UK in the early 1800s. This combination of sheer strength and terrier tenacity created what was considered the perfect fighting dog or bull-baiting dog. During the height of this so-called sport decided to breed for a more agile dog. Around 1830 the Old English Terrier, Bulldog and Spanish Pointer were crossed and from this combination sprang the early Bull Terrier. Luckily for the Bull Terrier, they were not the most effective fighting dog and interest waned in using them in the ring.
James Hinks began breeding the White Cavalier around 1860 and they became an in demand pet for British nobility and the wealthy. A dash of brindle Staffordshire Terrier blood was used to introduce another coloration and reduce the incidence of deafness.
The Standard Bull Terrier was recognized by the AKC in 1885 and the Miniature Bull Terrier in 1991. They are considered separate breeds by the AKC, but the standards are the exact same except for the size. The FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale) registers both breeds as Bull Terriers, with Standard and Miniature varieties.
Famous Bull Terriers
William the Conqueror: “Willie” was General George Patton’s Bull Terrier. When General Patton bought Willie, he wrote in his diary, “My bull pup…took to me like a duck to water. He is 15 months old, pure white except for a little lemin [sic] on his tail which to a cursory glance would seem to indicate that he had not used toilet paper.” Willie was always by General Patton’s side.
Spudz MacKenzie: Spuds, that party animal, was the official Bug Light spokes dog in the late 1980s. Party On, Spudz, party on!
Target Dog: Bullseye is Target corporation’s spokes dog and is seen in advertising and at events sporting his trademark red Target bullseye.
Bodger: A white Bull Terrier, was one of the three main characters in the children’s book and movie The Incredible Journey.
P.B. The 1996 Disney movie, Babe A Pig in the City, had a White Bull Terrier with a dark eye patch as the “Bad Dog Gone Good.” He was incorrectly identified as a Pit Bull to the consternation of Bull Terrier clubs and owners.
Blue: Hockey legend Don Cherry’s white Bull Terrier was his sidekick and companion for many years.
Ronnie: Rick Springfield’s 1981 album (remember those) featured Ronnie on the cover of Working Class Dog.
Sparky: Sparky starred alongside Victor Frankenstein in the movie Frankenweenie.
Floyd: Maxine’s sassy Bull Terrier you will see on Hallmark cards, etc.