Bull Terrier Breed Information
It is the distinctive looks that attracts some to the bull terrier. Others it might be that they caught one in a movie such as "The Incredible Journey", "Its a Dogs Life", "Bulletproof", or perhaps on TV when "Spuds Mackenzie" was the spokesdog for Bud Lite. For whatever reason people react strongly to their appearance. Some artists might be attracted to the symmetry and uniqueness; athletes admire the supremely physical body. For those who react negatively, let it be said that Bull Terrier appreciation is a sophisticated taste. People who are attracted to the external dog may be surprised to find that the character of the breed is equally unique.
For someone to understand the Bull Terrier character, it is necessary to think of their origins. Today's pets and show dogs are descendants of dogs used in blood sports and vermin hunting. Though over 100 years removed and breeders using discriminate breeding practices, some instincts though foggy are somewhat intact. They still have the courage, intelligence, and independence of the ancestors whose survival relied on quick wit and reactions. They still rely on some of that independence and sometimes are quick not to look to people for direction! They are not given to instant obedience or subservience but, are self-confident, out-going, stubborn, curious, intense, obsessive, and always looking for ways to make life more interesting! Bull Terriers are emotional but, wear their emotions on their sleeves. You always know where you stand with them. Being very people friendly they tend to be overly friendly with strangers. At times they can even pick out people who tend not to like dogs as well as we do and seek them out for the pure fun of it. They are pleasure seekers. Being very adaptable, they make themselves at home wherever their comforts and pleasures are being met. For some that might be a walk in the park or curling up on a heat vent on a cold winter day. Many are problem solvers and have a very advanced sense of humor. Just when you think you might have a Bull Terrier figured out he will do something totally unexpected and usually very funny.
With all this said Bull Terrier traits have some disadvantages and advantages. To be sure life with one will never be dull. BT's like to join in on family fun and activities. Bull Terrier activity levels range from sedate to hyper. Some are very sensitive; others incredibly hard headed. They can be bold to the point of foolhardiness; intense in a way that makes them accident prone as a breed. Their friendliness makes them most poor guard dogs (THEY SHOULD NEVER BE ENCOURAGED TO GUARD) and only half the bull terrier population will bark at suspicious noises.
They are not outdoor dogs and cannot be left alone in the yard or house for long periods without becoming bored or destructive. They do well being crated for short periods of time, possibly with a couple favorite chew toys. Many adapt well to owners who work full time as long as they are given full attention on their owners return.
Bullies can usually work into a household with other animals as long as the other residents are not aggressive and common sense is used. I would never recommend 2 unneutered males in any situation or breed. Bull Terriers should never be left with other dogs even though they can be the best of friends as even friends can lose tempers and get fired up over the most trivial things. Sturdy, tolerant dogs, bullies can make wonderful companions for children in their pre-teens or teen years. Bullies sometimes don't realize their own size and strength and can be a little too rough for toddlers, knocking them over unintentionally. Common sense and supervision are required to keep their natural boisterousness in bounds.
Bull Terriers are fun to take into the show ring where their antics often entertain spectators. Almost all are owner handled which allows the novice a more equal footing in the show ring more so than in some of the other breeds that are dominated by the professional handler. Most BT breeders are helpful and willing to get newcomers started showing. Bull Terriers are a real challenge to show in obedience but, is not impossible if the handler keeps it fun and upbeat. All bull terriers need some basic training. If you don't make some effort when they are younger you could regret it down the road. Early training can help build your relationship with your bully and provide more pleasure in owning one. If you don't train your BT, he will train himself and then put forth an effort to train you!
Bull Terriers come in a variety of packages..from 20lb miniatures to 80lb standards. Whatever they weigh consider them big dogs because of their strength and athletic ability! The colored bull terrier come in many colors...fawn, red, brindle, black brindle, black and tan, and tri-color, usually with a white blaze, collar, and chest.
Buying a bull terrier is a big investment in time (average lifespan being 10-13 years), energy, and money. It is very important to buy from a reputable breeder who knows the breed and can evaluate puppies conformation and temperament. Most bull terrier breeders who belong to a regional club or the national club are concerned about the dogs they place. Don't buy from pet shops!!! Responsible breeders don't sell their stock for resale! Look for someone who can tell you about the pedigree, temperament, and health problems in the breed. All breeds are prone to health problems and the bull terrier is no exception. Reputable breeders will be able to discuss this with potential buyers. Steer away from breeders who want to sell their dogs at less than 8 weeks of age. Good breeders want to make sure that a Bull Terrier suits your personality, lifestyle, and situation. So by all means don't be put off if a breeder gives you the third degree. This means they are concerned for their dogs welfare and at the same time want you to make the right decision.
If you have decided that a Bull Terrier take time to do your research. I would recommend "Bull Terriers Today" by David Harris or "The New Bull Terrier" by Jay Remer and by all means talk to breeders who are willing to share info on the breed. If you are thinking of breeding Bull Terriers join a club, talk to breeders who have been in the breed for a long time, and do some showing to be sure what you are getting into! Bull Terriers are very difficult to breed, missing when bred, having c-sections if they take, and sometimes they do not make the best of mothers and need close supervision when they are rearing puppies. Many a breeder have lost many hours of sleep trying to raise bullies. There are reasons for them being an uncommon breed. Too if you are going to be a reputable breeder you have to figure in the costs for health testing. So all said it is very uncommon to end up on the plus side of the books when all is said and done.
Bull Terriers require very special and responsible people. Potential owners must be tolerant, especially of puppies who can be destructive and need to be supervised. Puppies need to be crated when not supervised. They can not be allowed to become obnoxious. Bull Breeds have suffered fallout over the last decade or so because of irresponsible owners and we don't need any undue PR. If you are willing to take the plunge and be responsible the rewards of Bull Terrier ownership can be very rewarding. They will change your life forever...I know they have ours.
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