Spartan Dogs - Bull Terrier 

Category: Dogs, Working Dogs, Terriers, Bull and Terriers, Molossers, England, Europe, Family Dog, Guard Dog, Fighting Dog

Bull Terrier / English Bull Terrier
Names Bull Terrier, English Bull Terrier, Pig Dog, Vark Hond, Hinks Breed, The White Cavalier
Origins England
Tasks Family Dog, Guard Dog, Fighting Dog
Height 53-61 cm / 51-59 cm
Weight 20-33 kg / 19-32 kg
Lifespan 11-13 years
Group Terriers, Bull and Terriers, Molossers

The Bull Terrier (or English Bull Terrier) is a medium sized, short coated, muscular dog that was developed in England. A medium sized and skilled Bull and Terrier type family dog.

The Bull Terrier History

The Bull Terrier was formed from the rich heritage of the "Bull and Terrier" crosses, which were originally bred for dog-fighting. When bullbaiting was outlawed in England in 1835 the "sport" of dog-fighting became popular and a smaller dog breed was needed, that could be more easily hidden under one's coat at the arrival of the police.

These dogs also had to be more agile and light as the dog fights usually lasted longer than bull fights. This new type of fighting dog was created by crossing the Bulldog (old type) with different Terriers, among which the Manchester Terrier (or Black and Tan Terrier); before it was dwarfed down.

This Bull and Terrier cross combined the alertness and agility of the Terrier with the power, tenacity and high threshold of pain of the Bulldog.

So it was that it got the reputation of a 'canine gladiator' which would fight to the death to please his master. It was much leggier than the Bull Terrier we know today and its head more closely resembled that of the early Bulldog.

Mr. James Hinks, of Birmingham, England, decided to cross another dog into the gene pool of the Bull and Terrier, that of the White English Terrier (which is now extinct). In the early 1850s, James Hinks first standardized the breed by selectively breeding the old type Bull Terrier with other breeds, to obtain a longer head and a more symmetrical body and get rid of the bowed legs as well as adding to the color definition. The result was an all white Bull Terrier with a cleaner outline, tight shoulders and well bent stifles.

For his entire life James Hinks only bred white dogs, which he called 'Bull Terrier', in order to definitely distinguish them from the Bull-and-Terrier which was very similar to today's Staffordshire Bull Terrier (SBT). The breed was first designated as the "Hinks Breed" and was also referred to as "The White Cavalier", as he was bred to defend himself and his human family but not to instigate hostility.

Which other breeds further contributed to the Bull Terrier bloodline to obtain the modern Bull Terrier with the unique egg-shaped head is still a matter of conjecture.

Most sources agree that Dalmatian blood was infused to confer the breed a more elegant look and gait and longer legs. Some authorities in this field believe the Spanish Pointer, Greyhound, Foxhound and/or Whippet were crossed along the lines. Borzoi and Collie may also have been crossed into the gene pool to elongate the head even more and to arrive at a type of dog with a stop ever less marked.

Until 1895, when cropping was outlawed, the ears of the Bull Terriers were cut as closely as possible. From that date on ear cropping became prohibited and breeders sought to breed exemplars whose ears were in harmony with the rest of their body. The breed suffered a setback while breeders attempted to obtain the required upright ears without losing other qualities.

In 1917, the first modern Bull Terrier, Lord Gladiator, was born. It was the first dog with a skull profile completely lacking a stop.

Due to problems associated with the white color coat (deafness, albinism) some experts suggested to introduce other colors in the breed. The man who is known for the development and acceptance of colored Bull Terriers in the ring is Ted Lyon, whose preferred color was brindle.

The first Bull Terrier Club was created in England in 1887. In 1888, the Bull Terrier Standard was published by the Bull Terrier Club. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1895. In 1992 the AKC recognized two different sizes, the standard Bull Terrier and the Miniature Bull Terrier.

Bull Terrier Appearance

Body: Bull Terriers have short and strong backs and wide, well-muscled loins. The short tail starts low and is carried horizontally. The tail is thick at its start and ends in a point. From a frontal view, the broad chest and ribs are deep and well-vaulted. The shoulders are placed diagonally. The well cornered legs are parallel to each other and have sturdy, round and heavy bones. The length of the legs should be about equal to the depth of the chest. Bull Terriers have solid and round feet with well-arched toes. The dry neck is very muscular, long and curved.

Head: the head is very long and deep until the end of the snout, but not coarse. Bull Terriers have a complete lack of stop between the forehead and the muzzle. When frontally viewed it is egg-shaped and free from cavities and dents. Between the ears, the skull is almost flat. The ears are small and thin, they are placed close together and are carried standing upright. The small eyes are triangular in shape and are slanted in the head. Bull Terriers have a scissorbite.

Height at Withers: there are no official guidelines for height in the standard, but everything below 35 centimeters (14 inches) is automaticly regarded as a Miniature Bull Terrier. Usually the minimal height at the withers for males is 53 centimeters (21 inches) to about 61 centimeters (24 inches). Bitches are usually around 51 centimeters (20 inches) high to about 59 centimeters (23 inches). It's most important that the dog is packing a maximum of substance for its size.

Weight: there are no official guidelines for weight in the standard. The weight of males is around 20 and 33 kg and for bitches, this is around 19 to 32 kg depending on their size.

Coat: the shiny coat is short, and feels hard to the toutch and is located close to the body. The coat of Bull Terrier's is smooth.

Colors: usually a solid white color, with white head markings or market. With the red, black market, fawn colored and tri-color colered dogs, the color always prevails. The eyes should be as dark as possible.

Bull Terrier Temperament

Character: dogs of this breed are friendly, spontaneous and happy dogs. Especially while in their youth they can cause turbulences by their enthusiasm and sometimes break a small item. They are courageous and physically very hard on themselves. They are very affectionate to their family, but can also be idiosyncratic and even stubborn.

Social Build: Bull Terriers as a rule are excellent with children. They are very tolerant and can stand some rough treatment. For the smaller children they can be a little too exuberant. Once it is well sociallized with cats and other pets these combinations create little or no problems. Some Bull Terriers are combative when dealing with other dogs, depending on the nature and the manner in which the dog is sociallized and raised. Nevertheless, it's deeply discouraged to take male of this breed if there already is another male dog present, regardless of what breed. The confrontation will come, eventhough it can take a few years. A Bull Terrier lets his voice be heard when visitors arrive, but settles it with that. The breed is naturally kind against man and child. Should it really be needed, then this dog will protect his human family members. When raised properly, Bull Terriers make exellent companions. If Bull Terriers are left to their own devices, they become very stubborn and destructive.

Bull Terrier Socially

Care: a Bull Terrier requires a minimum of coat care. It is sufficient to brush the dog once a week with a soft hair brush. In the shedding period a rubber massage glove or a soft rubber brush is an ideal tool for removing the dead hairs from the coat. Keep the nails short, if necessary. In addition, every now and then the ear needs to be cleaned with a dedicated ear cleaner. Deafness is a common problem. White dogs must sometimes be washed, but confine this to a minimum. Make sure these dogs have a soft berth, lying on a hard surface sometimes gives rise to ugly callus places on the pressure points. They are almost insensitive to pain and thus an underlying illness may be only noticed at a late stage. However these are typically, healthy dogs.

Education: the education of these dogs needs to start at a very young age. Once mature, they become too strong and a rash to be corrected by an average owner. In particular, pulling the leash is a concern. The Bull Terrier is intelligent and can learn fairly quickly, but is also stubborn. The educator must therefore have much patience, consistency, but certainly also able to demonstrate understanding and a loving hand. A changing training schedule prevents the dog from losing interest and to keep him busy. A good obedience training is recommended.

Activity: Bull Terriers are physically very capable dogs, with tremendous stamina. They need quite a lot of physical activity. At this point you can move in any direction with this dog, long walks through town or woods, ball games in the garden, swimming and walking alongside the bike, these are all suitable forms of exercise for this breed. When you want to go cycling with the dog, do this no earlier than when he is fully grown and never too long in a row, the unpaved roads give the best results.

Usability: the breed nowadays is almost exclusively held as a highly esteemed family dog. The average Bull Terrier of today does not like to attent the various dog sports, certainly not in a competitive atmosphere, but does love to attend to be involved in sports without pressure.

Bull Terrier Quotes / Trivia

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