Bull Terrier

The Bull Terrier is a classic example of a skilful dog breeder taking a rough and ready fighting dog and changing it into an elegant breed, which was suitable as a pet for Victorian gentlemen.


Although in 1835, bull fighting, bear baiting, dog fighting and other cruel spoils were made illegal in Britain, dog fighting continued in secret. The dogs used were Bulldogs crossed with terriers, known as Bull-and-Terriers. James Hinks, a dog dealer and breeder, introduced the English White Terrier (now extinct) and Dalmatian to create a more attractive dog. Hinks showed his new type, an all-white bitch named Puss, in London in 1862, competing against the Bull-and-Terriers. When mocked and challenged to fight one of the old type dogs, Puss fought and killed the other dog in half an hour. Unmarked, she returned to the show and won her class as well as "Best Conditioned Dog". The breed became a popular pet and show dog. Coloured Bull Terriers were introduced and after 1950 were accepted as equals.

Although they were originally bred for fighting, Bull Terriers are good-natured dogs and they enjoy human company.


The hallmark of this breed is the unique egg-shaped head with its small triangular eyes and prick ears. The body is athletically muscled, showing great power. The coat is short, harsh to the touch and close fitting. Colours are pure white, brindle, black, red fawn and tricolour. No height or weight is given but the dog should give the impression of maximum substance consistent with its quality.

must know

Hereditary deafness and heart problems have been reported this breed.


If disciplined and trained with kindness from puppies, these dogs become responsive to human affection, are full of fun and make faithful family pets which are good with children. They are also natural guard dogs; they will not start a fight but will finish one!

Strangers 5/5

Excellent guard dog

Temperament 4/5

Laid back, affectionate

Exercise 5/5

Needs a lot of daily exercise and play

Grooming 1/5

Minimal: once a week

Other dogs 3/5

This dog does not seek arguments but will not back down


Strong willed but sweet nature; not a dog for the faint hearted

General care

Unless an owner is prepared to devote some time daily to training and exercising this dog, it is not the breed for them. It is the ultimate canine athlete and needs plenty of exercise, or it can be destructive. Feeding presents no difficulties but it must not be overfed. Grooming is easy: just a good brushing twice a week, and cleaning the ears and feet. They like to be warm and dry: always towel-dry them thoroughly after they have been out in the rain.

want to know more?

  • For more information on terriers, see The Kennel Club's book ion Breed Standards
  • Contact the terrier breed clubs and societies via the Internet

Gallery of Bull Terrier