Bull Terrier Overview

Dog Breed:
Bull Terrier
Breed Group:
Active, playful, clownish, mischievous and devoted
21 - 22 inches
50-70 pounds
Life Span:
12-13 years
Coat Colors:
Generally white
Area of Origin:
Great Britain
Best For:
Owners with experience of bull breeds/families with older children/homes with large fenced gardens
Adult Food:
Best Dog Food for Bull Terriers
Puppy Food:
Best Puppy Food for Bull Terriers

Bull Terrier Characteristics

Good for First-Time Owners
Good with Children
Easy to Train
Exercise Requirements
Ease of Grooming
Amount of Shedding
Amount of Drooling
Tendency to Bark

About The Bull Terrier

  • Instantly recognizable egg-shaped head

  • Loving and loyal companion

  • Maintains terrier tenacity

The Bull Terrier is a robust, big-boned terrier with an instantly recognizable long, egg-shaped head. This is a loyal, lovable, and entertaining companion who is full of personality. But there should be no doubt about the Bull Terriers’ heritage, and careful training is needed to ensure that they become an ambassador for the breed.


Bull Terrier Breed History

  • Early examples of the Bull Terrier were seen in the late 19th century

  • Initially bred for vermin control and pit fighting

  • Originally a cross of the White English Terrier and the Dalmatian


The first crossbreeds from bull and terrier type dogs were seen in Victorian England back in the mid-1800s. They combined the strength and courage of the Bulldog with the intelligence and speed of the Terrier to produce dogs that were effective at vermin control and to take part in badger baiting and pit fighting.

James Hinks, a Birmingham breeder of dogs, saw huge potential in these crossbreeds. It’s thought that he crossed his white Bulldog with the White English Terrier and a Dalmatian to develop the Bull Terrier. In May 1862, Hinks showed a white bitch called ‘Puss’ at the Cremorne Show in London. She is thought to be one of the earliest examples of the Bull Terrier breed. 

Hinks then continued to develop the Bull Terrier by crossing his dogs with the sighthounds, pointers, and hounds. It’s also been suggested that borzois and smooth collies were also added to the mix to help create the unique Bull Terrier head.

Bull Terrier Size & Weight

  • Height from 21 -22 inches and weight of 50-70 pounds

  • Miniatures height 10-14 inches and 148-28 pounds

  • Strong and powerful dogs


The average Bull Terrier height is between 21 and 22 inches, and they weigh between 50-70 pounds. The Miniature Bull Terriers are much smaller at between 10 and 14 inches in height and with a weight of between 18-28 pounds.

The Bull Terrier has a muscular physique and is a very powerful dog.  Care is needed to ensure that owners can safely handle and control their dog when out on walks. 

Bull Terrier Personality & Temperament

  • Friendly extrovert nature

  • Can be unfriendly to unknown dogs

  • Early socialization essential


This breed is a unique mixture of a feisty terrier and a friendly extrovert who adores his human family. It’s rare to come across a timid or shy Bull Terrier and it’s likely that they will want to meet and make friends with every person they come across.

This, however, is not always the case with unknown dogs, and care will be needed when out on walks to ensure well-controlled introductions. Early socialization with friendly adult dogs combined with training, will reduce the potential for any problems.

With their short coat, the Bull Terrier can struggle in very cold climates, but that doesn’t mean to say that they’ll say no to a walk in the snow! With their love of people, it’s unlikely that they’ll do well kept in a yard away from their family. 

Bull Terriers adore children; however careful supervision will be needed to ensure young children are not knocked over through the Bull Terriers excitement for a game.

Bull Terrier Health & Grooming

  • Check for testing on heart, kidneys, hearing, and patellae

  • Minimal grooming needed

  • Keep an eye out for early signs of skin problems


When talking to breeders do make sure that they have had their dogs tested for the following conditions:

  • Bull Terriers can be susceptible to heart murmurs. Vets can usually detect a murmur by listening to the dog’s heart with a stethoscope.
  • Kidney failure is a known problem for Bull Terriers. Checking a urine sample for the presence of protein can identify if a problem might be developing.
  • Recent studies have identified that as many as 18% of white Bull Terriers may have hearing problems. An electronic test can be undertaken on all puppies before they leave for their new home to check for any issues.
  • Patella luxation is caused when the grove in the knee joint isn’t deep enough to hold the patella in place and allows it to slip out to either side. It is thought that this is hereditary and so veterinary checks are needed before a dog is bred from. 

Grooming of Bull Terriers is quick and easy! A weekly brush will remove dirt and dead hair to keep their coat glossy and looking it’s very best.

Skin problems can be common in Bull Terriers, so regular grooming means that you can keep a lookout for any redness caused by irritation.

Bull Terrier Training

  • Use toys and treats when training to boost motivation to learn

  • Bull Terriers are smart and can be trained to a competitive level

  • Keep your Bull Terrier on the lead unless in a secure area


The Bull Terrier has been bred to have the tenacity to be an independent dog who makes their own decisions. But, don’t be misled into thinking that they can’t be trained. Using toys and treats as rewards is a great way to encourage terriers to enjoy training. 

When training is made fun, then the Bull Terrier is as keen to learn as any other breed. You’ll find them competing in a range of dog sports as well as working as assistance and therapy dogs; with patience and humor, the results can be amazing!

It’s important to remember the Bull Terriers’ heritage and only let them off the leash within a secure area. Special care is needed if walking in an area where unknown dogs are running free or where they may approach uninvited. 

This isn’t a noisy breed, so if your Bull Terrier begins to bark, then you know that you need to investigate to see what’s going on!

Bull Terrier Exercise Requirements

  • Use toys and treats when training to boost motivation to learn

  • Bull Terriers are smart and can be trained to a competitive level

  • Keep your Bull Terrier on the lead unless in a secure area

Bull Terriers will benefit from going for a walk each day with opportunities for both mental and physical stimulation. Including some training while on the walk or stopping to search for a hidden toy can be a great way to meet those needs. 

Always up for fun, the clownish Bull Terrier loves the opportunity for a game. Do make sure that you have rules in place and supervise games with children to ensure that things don’t get out of control and become too rough.

Bull Terrier Diet & Feeding

  • Your veterinarian is your first port of call for dietary advice

  • Select foods suitable for your dog's life stage

  • Avoid foods with additives and colorings


Always speak to your veterinarian first if you need advice on feeding your Bull Terrier. Dog foods are now formulated for different stages in your dog’s life, so do make sure that your choice is appropriate to your dog’s age. 

Look for foods that avoid additives and colorings as some dogs can react to these just the same as children can. 

If you’re struggling to see your Bull Terriers waistline or if there’s more than a thin covering of fat across the ribs, then they might be developing a weight problem. Check with your veterinarian to ensure that no health problems are causing the weight gain, then look to reduce food intake and increase exercise levels until the prefect weight is achieved. 

You may also be interested in:

Bull Terrier Rescue Groups

There will be times when a family sadly needs to rehome their Bull Terrier. When speaking with a rescue organization, do check that they carry out full temperament tests before rehoming and be prepared for them to assess your situation to ensure a perfect match. 

Bull Terrier Rescue Inc. http://www.bullterrierrescue.org/

Blue Ridge Terrier Rescue https://www.brbtc.org/

Bull Terrier Club of America Rescue http://bullterrierclubofamericarescue.com/

You can find more information on the Bull Terrier on the following websites:

The Bull Terrier Club of America https://www.btca.com/

The Miniature Bull Terrier Club of America https://www.mbtca.org/