The Bull Terrier first appeared in it's present
form at a Birmingham show in May 1862. It was shown by a James
Hinks, a dog dealer,
who is generally accepted as one of the original breeders of
the Bull Terrier and whose family has been associated with Bull
Terriers until the present day. Previous to this the "Bull
and Terrier", as it was then known, was a different kind
of animal, bred for fighting and derived from the terrier and
the bulldog with many of the latter's coarse characteristics.
This old type continued to be bred, although taking a different
path to the present day Bull Terrier, and in 1935 was accepted
by the Kennel Club as a different breed known as the Staffordshire
Bull Terrier. The "new” Bull Terrier gained in popularity
and in 1887, after several attempts, The Bull Terrier Club, the
oldest and largest Bull Terrier Club in the world, was formed.
At this time the breed consisted mainly of white specimens, the
coloureds generally being of the old type. Shortly after the
20th Century commenced, determined and subsequently successful
efforts were made to breed coloured Bull Terriers and today the
coloured and white are one breed. The progeny of white parents
are always white, although these can and often do have head markings;
the progeny of a white and coloured, or two coloured parents
can be white or coloured. The prime colours consist of brindle,
red and tri-colour (black, white and tan) and varying shades
By selective breeding most of the old fighting spirit has now
been bred out although serious thought and consideration must be
given to this point. Although exceptionally good with adults and
children of all ages, the Bull Terrier should not be completely
trusted with other animals and situations that could lead to trouble
should be avoided. Squabbles over bones, harmless in many breeds,
could be far more serious when a Bull Terrier is involved.
Ease of training is not a trait of the Bull Terrier, quite the
contrary. They are like naughty children and appear to enjoy upsetting
their owners, although most owners quickly forgive them. Their
apology in the form of an apologetic and shy smile does wonders
for an escalated blood pressure!
The circumstance of the husband and wife both working is really
not suitable to a Bull Terrier puppy. They need care, in feeding
and in attention. The puppy that is left on its own will chew,
and they chew hard. Tiles, pipes, wall, doors disintegrate under
attack from a Bull Terrier puppy and added to the damage caused
is the very real danger of a blockage, followed by an operation,
and sadly, often death. Another consideration is the damage caused
to the puppy's temperament by boredom.
An adult will often fit in to a working household routine and
adjust its sleeping habits to correspond with its owner's absence,
even so being left all the day is not desirable. Items left carelessly
on the floor are always a temptation to any dog and Bull Terriers
are no exception. The plastic toy when swallowed is not discernible
under X-Ray and is the cause of many dog deaths and the responsibility
must rest with the owner.
A Bull Terrier must have training and even
the laziest owner will need to complete some schedule. Obviously
house training in a puppy
is a must. A "dirty" and rapidly growing puppy will cause
friction in any household and the sooner the newcomer adopts good
social habits the better. It is not a good idea to shut them out
and leave them for long periods. That will teach them nothing.
Take them out and praise them when they oblige. Putting them out
first thing in the morning means just that, first thing, and not
after the kettle has been put on.
Lead training is essential; taking any untrained
dog on a lead is hard work, very hard work and dogs should not
be allowed off
the lead in public places. If there is a mishap the law considers
a dog not on a lead is not under the owner's control. It is also
not advisable to allow children under 16 to be in control of a
Bull Terrier in a public place. Even when the dog is on a lead
owner’s must take care. Even "trained" Bull Terriers
on a lead can do harm through their owner’s carelessness
in not anticipating dangers.
Exercise needs will vary from dog to dog,
some enjoy unlimited walking whilst others will satisfy their
needs within the confines
of the house. Generally they will fit in with their owner’s
habits - human companionship is what they are really after.
The law requires that a dog must be under control and the owner
is responsible for its actions. Wise owners will insure against
third party risks. Some household policies may incorporate this
type of cover at a little, or even no extra charge, and most veterinary
insurance automatically include it, but this should always be checked
with the insurers to be certain.
Most important is to have a securely fenced
garden of at least 4ft. high. This is essential. A thin lap wood
fencing is of no
use at all. Bull Terriers have been known to go straight through
this when in pursuit of a cat! Prospective owners must be honest
when obtaining a Bull Terrier; if their garden is not well fenced
or has weak spots Bull Terriers will wander. There is danger that
may not be recovered and often they come to harm. They may even
cause damage, and injury or death to other animals. Whatever happens,
it is the fault and responsibility of the owner. Generally, puppies
reared with cats will live well together with them, even adult
Bull Terriers can often be gently moved in to live with cats, but
the "cat hater" will kill cats. It is generally not suitable
to have a Bull Terrier of the same sex as a dog already in residence.
Despite an excellent temperament of the sitting tenant they may
sooner or later fight and providing they both survive one will
need a new home, very upsetting for all concerned. Bull Terriers
of the opposite sex will usually fit in quite well, but there can
be exceptions and one must be aware of the need to guard against
unwanted litters. It is wise to have facilities available to keep
the two dogs separated when the owners are out. One should never
leave two dogs together unsupervised.
A Bull Terrier should be good-natured, loving to all humans, tolerant
of abuse to a point of stupidity, and although never completely
trusted with other animals should be of a fairly even disposition
towards them. Unfortunately Bull Terriers are a dominant breed
and it is essential that they learn that they are the bottom of
the family pecking order. Kindness and love should be tempered
with discipline and control. There should be no need to go through
ownership of a Bull Terrier with an iron fist, as if they transgress
most will respond to a disapproving word, a tap on the table, or
the rattle of a newspaper.