- Gladiator sports were considered prime entertainment for centuries in many parts of the world. Several of those blood sports, including bull and bear baiting, involved dogs. When these blood sports were outlawed in England in 1835, dog fighting became more popular to fill the void.
- Compared to bull and bear baiting dogs, dogs bred for fighting needed to be smaller and more agile. This was achieved by crossing the bull baiting dogs with terriers to create the bull and terrier breed.
- When dog fighting was in turn outlawed, many patrons of the bull and terrier breed decided to clean up the dog's image. They bred for amiable personality and stylish good looks, and even began to compete in dogs shows successfully.
- Around 1860, James Hinks crossed the bull and terrier with the White English terrier and the Dalmatian, producing an all-white strain he called the bull terrier. These dogs became sought after as stylish companions for young gentlemen.
- The bull terrier was nicknamed the "white cavalier" because of its chivalrous and brave nature.
- Around 1900, color was re-introduced into the breed by crossing them with Staffordshire bull terriers. In 1936 the breed was split into two varieties, the white and the colored bull terrier.
- Famous bull terriers include Spuds McKenzie and the Target dog.
- Bull terriers have sometimes been included in breed specific legislation because of confusion with pit bulls.
Bull Terrier Behavior Concerns
- Makes a loyal and fun-loving companion.
- Exuberantly comical and often mischievous.
- Playful and good with children.
- Fairly friendly toward strangers.
- Not very friendly towards strange dogs.
- Usually good with other pets.
- The bull terrier learns quickly, but can be stubborn. It tends to rebel against forceful methods.
- Does best with a firm owner who can combine reward-based training with good control and leadership.
- Can sometimes exhibit compulsive behavior.
Bull Terrier Suggested Exercises
- Makes a calm and alert housedog as long as it receives regular exercise.
- Requires daily exercise in the form of a long walk, short jog or energetic games.
- The bull terrier enjoys cold weather outings but its short coat is not suited to living outside.
- Obedience training is essential not only for control, but for the mental exercise it provides.
Bull Terrier Grooming
- Coat is short, flat and harsh.
- The coat needs only occasional brushing, once every week or so, to remove dead hair.
- Shedding is average.
Suggested Bull Terrier Nutritional Needs
- Bull terriers tend to stay in good weight or tend to be slightly overweight.
- Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.