Dog Breed 101: Bull Terrier

Written by Dr. Muqeet Mushtaq DVM, MS ABG (Animal Breeding and Genetics)

The rugged, powerful breed, the Bull Terrier, is also calm, loving and playful with family members. Bull terriers are muscular dogs with aggressive tendencies. Therefore, obedience training must be given when they are young.


Bull Terriers were originated in England throughout the 19th century. About 1835, a cross between the Old English Terrier and the Bulldog developed the Bull Terrier.

In the mid-1800s, the white version of the breed, known as the "White cavaliers", became a favourite pet among the gentry. The colour re-emerged around 1900, passing through Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Today, Bull Terriers are less aggressive than their ancestors but still intense, unafraid dogs. They are mainly family pets but are not appropriate for families with naughty children.


Bull Terriers are gentle, loving and playful with family members. There are also loyal pets who will protect the family. Like any large or hardy breed, proper care must be taken around strangers, children and other animals.


Because the breed is prevailing, and some members may develop aggressive tendencies, Bull Terriers should be trained in obedience. They need to be careful socializing from an early age. Socialization requires constant surveillance of other people and pets in the neighborhood. With proper socialization and training, Bull Terriers make great family pets. However, they are probably not the best choice for novice dog owners, nor are they recommended with households having other pets or irresponsible children.

Bull Terriers should be used daily for walking in the fenced yard or on the track, and whether they are trained or social, they should not be allowed to run for free. Because of their excellent body framework and aggressiveness, care should be taken while offering food because they may become aggrieve and attack you if not properly trained. They are also prone to obesity.

Breed Characteristic 

Weight Range:

  • Males: 55-65 lbs.
  • Females: 45-55 lbs.

Height at Withers:

  • Males: 22 inches
  • Females: 21 inches

Other Body Features:

  • Face: Dolichocephalic (long face)
  • Ears: upright ears (naturally)
  • Exercise Requirements: 40 minutes/day
  • Energy Levels: Very energetic
  • Longevity Ranges: 11-14 yrs.
  • The tendency to Drool: Low
  • The tendency to Snore: Low
  • The tendency to Bark: Low
  • The tendency to Dig: Low 
  • Social/Attention Needs: Moderate

Body Coat Characteristic

  • Coat Length: Short
  • Coat type: Flat
  • Coat Colours: White variety; white, with markings on head; coloured variety; any colour with the white; brindle preferred
  • Overall Grooming Needs: Low

Club Recognitions

  • AKC Classifications:Terrier
  • UKC Classifications: Terrier
  • Prevalence: Widespread

Bull Terriers are powerful dogs. They are stocky and muscular and come in two types: standard and small in size. The definitive version reaches a height of about 22 inches and a maximum of 60 pounds (27 kg). The smaller version has a maximum height of 14 inches and weighs about 33 pounds (15 kg). The most distinguishing physical feature of the Bull Terrier is its egg-shaped head, flat from the top. The eyes are small and deep. The ears are prominent. The body is vast, and the back is short and robust. Bull Terriers have medium-length tails.


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