Bull Terrier

Bull Terrier &
Miniature Bull Terrier

Group: Terrier Group

Origin: Great Britain


    – Average height is about 19 to 20 inches (48-51cm) but there are no height limits according to the CKC Breed Standard.
    – Miniature: Height should not exceed 14 inches (35.5cm).


    – Average weight is about 45 lbs (20.5kg) but there are no weight limits according to the CKC Breed Standard.
    – Miniature: Weight is in proportion to height.

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Breed Profile

The Bull Terrier breed dates back to about 1835 where he originated in England, and was developed by crossing the Bulldog and the now-extinct White English Terrier. This resulted in a breed known as the “Bull and Terrier”. Later, this dog was crossed with the Spanish Pointer in order to gain size. By the 1860s, fanciers were looking for an all-white dog so efforts were made to produce the all-white Bull Terrier and, thus, the two varieties are in existence today. Originally bred for bull baiting and to fight in the pits against other dogs, badgers and vermin, Bull Terriers are noted for their courage, resistance to pain, and quick thinking-qualities. Known as “the Gladiator of the canine world”, the Bull Terrier lived up to his name and was taught to defend not only himself but also his master — early white Bull Terriers were known as “the white cavalier”. In appearance, the Bull Terrier is strong, muscular and symmetrical with an expression of intelligence. The males have a distinct masculine look and the females are distinctly feminine in appearance.

Today, the typical Bull Terrier is active and playful with a clownish personality. He is extremely devoted to his family, thrives on affection and, contrary to the opinion of those who do not know the breed, the Bull Terrier is a very friendly dog with his temperament being an outstanding feature of the breed.

Bull Terriers are active dogs that need to keep busy and do very well with active families. They do, however, adapt well to quieter situations as well so make wonderful companions for the elderly who have the time to spend with them. They are also wonderful with children when raised with them and tireless playmates. Because of their loyalty and devotion to their home and families, they are very good natural guard dogs.

In general, the Bull Terrier will get along well with other dogs; however, as a rule, the unaltered male does not get along with other male dogs. A male and female as well as two females will normally get along well together, but it is always best if this situation arises as the dogs are being raised and not through a later introduction of a new dog in the home.

There are two varieties of Bull Terriers — The coloured and the solid white. The preferred coloured Bull Terrier is brindle with white markings. The coat is short, flat and glossy and the skin appears to fit tightly.

The Miniature Bull Terrier, a smaller version of the Bull Terrier, is identical except in size.

Health Issues

The breed is generally free of many of the disabling genetic diseases found in other breeds and the average life expectancy is 11 to 12 years. A few health issues include:

  • Deafness — This has been known to occur in the Bull Terrier breed and puppies should be examined.
  • Skin Allergies — This is common to many Bull Terriers with certain insect bites, such as fleas, mosquitoes and mites, that produces a generalized allergic reaction.
  • Lameness — Bull Terrier puppies up to one year of age are susceptible to sudden and severe lameness. This is due to a combination of weight and density of muscles, rapid growth, and the breed’s naturally active character. Young dogs should not be encouraged to jump or strain their joints and ligaments.

If you are considering the adoption of a Bull Terrier puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the General Information page.)

Recommended Health Screening:

The Bull Terrier Club of America (BTCA) recommends that all breeding dogs be screened and certified prior to breeding for: Luxating Patellas, Hip Dysplasia, zinc metabolism syndrome, pyloric dysfunction, allergies, entropion, renal disease, deafness, heart disease, and any other known genetic defect which can be harmful to the Bull Terrier.

For the Bull Terrier, the CHICNote 1 database includes health screenings for:

  • Patellar Luxation
  • Congenital Cardiac Database
  • Congenital Deafness
  • Kidney Disease

Additional Health Resources:


Grooming Information

Bull Terriers are a low maintenance breed with minimal grooming requirements. They do, however, shed their coats twice a year. During this time, the loose hair can be removed by a daily rubdown using a rubber glove.

  • Grooming — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.


Training Resources

The Bull Terrier’s devotion and loyalty to his family makes him a very good natural guard dog. However, care should be taken not to encourage the dog to become possessive or jealous.

Being an independent thinker and very intelligent breed, the Bull Terrier can be a challenge when it comes to training. Care, patience, dedication and persistance are key. Training sessions must always be done in a fun and entertaining manner.

  • Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.


Additional Information

  • TeamBullTerrier — Yahoo! Group – All Bull Terrier sports including obedience, agility, tracking, flyball, earth dog trials (no dog fighting.)
  • Clubs, Sports & Activities — For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
  • Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.


*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit: www.caninehealthinfo.org

*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.

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