Bull Terrier

The Miniature Bull Terrier or English Bull Terrier is a breed of dog in the terrier family. They are known for their large, egg-shaped head, small triangular eyes and their "jaunty gait."

Their temperament has been described as generally fun-loving, active and clownish. Bull terriers have appeared as characters in many cartoons, books, movies, and advertisements, perhaps most famously as party loving Spuds MacKenzie in Budweiser beer commercials in the late 1980s, and more recently as the Target dog.

Appearance

The Bull Terrier's most recognizable feature is its head, described as 'egg shaped' when viewed from the front, almost flat at the top, with a Roman muzzle sloping evenly down to the end of the nose with no stop. The unique triangle-shaped eyes are small, dark, and deep-set. The body is full and round, while the shoulders are robust and muscular and the tail is carried horizontally. It walks with a jaunty gait, and is popularly known as the 'gladiator of the canine race'.

There is no designated height or weight for the breed, but the average is, Height: 51�61 cm (20-24 inches), Weight: 20�38 kg (44-85 pounds) The Bull Terrier and the Miniature Bull Terrier are the only recognized breeds that have triangle-shaped eyes.

Temperament

Though this breed was once known as fierce gladiator, it is much gentler today. A Bull Terrier might have a preventive effect, and it will certainly defend its owner in a truly critical situation. Bull terriers are known to be courageous, scrappy, fun-loving, active, clownish and fearless. The Bull Terrier tends to be a loyal and polite dog. They become very attached to their owners. The Bull Terrier thrives on firm, consistent leadership and affection. They generally like to stay occupied, and fit in well with active families where they receive a great deal of companionship and supervision. They tend not do well in situations where they are left alone for 8 hours a day. This breed can be a wonderful pet if very thoroughly socialized and trained, but not recommended for most households. They are fond of people of all ages, but if they do not get enough physical and mental exercise they may be too energetic for small children. Children should be taught how to display leadership towards the dog. Meek owners will find them to become very protective, willful, possessive and/or jealous. Bull Terriers may try to join into family rough housing or quarrel. Bull Terriers generally must be given a lot of structure. Unless the owner can ensure socialization and constantly maintain a pack leader mentality, they can be extremely aggressive with other dogs. Unaltered males may not get along with other male dogs. Males and females can live together happily, and two females can also be a good combination with care and supervision. They should be introduced in a proper fashion to other non-canine pets such as cats, hamsters, and guinea pigs etc. They can make excellent watch dogs or they may hold the door for the thief.

History

Early in the mid-19th century the "Bull and Terrier" breeds were developed to satisfy the needs for vermin control and animal-based blood sports. The "Bull and Terriers" were based on the Old English Bulldog (now extinct) and one or more of Old English Terrier and "Black and tan terrier", now known as Manchester Terrier. This new breed combined the speed and dexterity of lightly built terriers with the dour tenacity of the Bulldog, which was a poor performer in most combat situations, having been bred almost exclusively for killing bulls and bears tied to a post. Due to the lack of breed standards�breeding was for performance, not appearance�the "Bull and Terrier" eventually divided into the ancestors of "Bull Terriers" and "Staffordshire Bull Terriers", both smaller and easier to handle than the progenitor.

About 1850, James Hinks started breeding "Bull and Terriers" with "English White Terriers" (now extinct), looking for a cleaner appearance with better legs and nicer head. In 1862, Hinks entered a bitch called "Puss" sired by his white Bulldog called "Madman" into the Bull Terrier Class at the dog show held at the Cremorne Gardens in Chelsea. Originally known as the "Hinks Breed" and "The White Cavalier", these dogs did not yet have the now-familiar "egg face", but kept the stop in the skull profile.

The dog was immediately popular and breeding continued, using Dalmatian, Greyhound, Spanish Pointer, Foxhound and Whippet to increase elegance and agility; and Borzoi and Collie to reduce the stop. Hinks wanted his dogs white, and bred specifically for this. Generally, however, breeding was aimed at increasing sturdiness: three "subtypes" were recognised by judges, Bulldog, Terrier and Dalmatian, each with its specific conformation, and a balance is now sought between the three. The first modern Bull Terrier is now recognised as "Lord Gladiator", from 1917, being the first dog with no stop at all.

Due to medical problems associated with all-white breeding, Ted Lyon among others began introducing colour, using Staffordshire Bull Terriers in the early 20th century. Coloured Bull Terriers were recognised as a separate variety (at least by the AKC) in 1936. Brindle is the preferred colour, but other colours are welcome.

Along with conformation, specific behaviour traits were sought. The epithet "White Cavalier", harking back to an age of chivalry, was bestowed on a breed which while never seeking to start a fight was well able to finish one, while socialising well with its "pack", including children and pups. Hinks himself had always aimed at a "gentleman's companion" dog rather than a pit-fighter�though Bullies were often entered in the pits, with some success. Today the Bullie is valued as a comical, mischievous, imaginative and intelligent (problem-solving) but stubborn house pet suitable for experienced owners.

Bull Terrier Pictures

Bull Terrier - Classifieds