The Bull Terrier, or “Bully,” is renowned for its shark-like head which features no stop between the nose and its small, triangular, sunken eyes. A true English creation, this dog is a result of generations of cross-breeding.
The first Bull Terrier was officially recognized in 1917 and nicknamed “the gentleman’s companion.” This is a loyal dog with a soft heart for children, despite its aggressive posture, stocky structure, and fierce features. This breed is a social animal and interacts well with other dogs.
Bull Terriers have plenty of energy. Their low center of gravity and a compact frame adds stability to their power. It’s virtually impossible to knock over a bull terrier. Best suited for experienced dog owners, this breed likes to play rough.
It’s common in cities across the United States, especially Los Angeles. The City of Angels is home to the majority of U.S Bull Terrier breeders. Interestingly, North Carolina, home of the first airplane flight by the Wright brothers, is another hotspot for Bull Terrier breeding.
Bull Terrier Food and Health
This dog requires regular attention from its owners to maintain its mental health. If you have the time to spend with the dog, then it will develop a powerful bond with you. However, bull terriers left to their own devices are prone to developing OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder.)
For example; neglected bull terriers may spend hours barking at a rock and chewing it until they wear down their teeth completely. Alternatively, they may obsessively chase their tail for minutes at a time.
As puppies they’re adorable. However, as they grow, they begin to assert their dominance. The breed requires strict discipline to show them who’s the boss, or they will become the boss of you. Bull terriers need frequent exercise, and as they progress into adolescence, they fill out their muscular frame.
James Hinks originally bred all of the first bull terriers to be white, with the first specimens arriving in Birmingham, England in the late 1800’s. The breed crossed with the Staffordshire terrier and this introduced color to the bull terrier. Nowadays bull terriers feature a combination of brown, red, black and brindle.
Almost one-fifth of all bull terriers are born with poor hearing or complete deafness. They also develop skin rashes or hives from insect bites, such as those inflicted by fleas, and mosquitoes. Therefore, if you live in a climate where these insects thrive, a bully may not be the best choice of dog for you.
If kept in good health, a bull terrier can live for between 10 to 15-years.
Leashes and Collars for your Bull Terrier
Your bull terrier will never leave your side, but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t chip your dog and buy it a collar with an ID tag. Prize bull terriers are sometimes stolen to fight in underground circuits.
Bull terriers can develop barking disorders. If your dog show signs of becoming a barker at an early age, it may require shock collar therapy to reverse the behavior. While shock collars may seem like a cruel idea, they work.
Your bully has a high pain threshold, so it’s nothing to concern you. The collar releases a small amount of energy that disturbs the rhythm of their vocal cords. They leave no permanent damage whatsoever.
Major U.S cities have bylaws that require you to leash your dog in public. Bull terriers have thick, powerful necks. Therefore, they only need a dog collar, and a dog harness is not necessary. Choose a durable leather or nylon collar and purchase a short leash that keeps your bull terrier close to you on a walk.
Bull terrier owners like to display the power and strength of their dogs. So choose a collar with steel studs to give them a fierce-looking appeal. Your bully will strut around with you acting like they are the boss of the neighborhood, and they are.
Bull terriers enjoy a walk, but they don’t pull on the leash. When they understand that you are in charge, they will heel at your side and never get out of step. If you come across another alpha-dog on your walk, your bully may temporarily lose their cool and want to charge the dog to assert their dominance.
Therefore, choose a dog leash with a loop on the end that you can tie around your wrist. This leash style prevents them from breaking free of your control.
Best Crates, Beds, and Doghouses for Bull Terriers
Bull terriers are chewers. They will tear apart anything they can get their paws on in your home. Their victims include your couch, curtains, rugs, and anything else that isn’t nailed down.
Puppies going through the teething stage will gnaw at a soft bed, and it doesn’t get any better as they age. Adolescents and adult dogs will shred a material bed to ribbons in the first few days.
Adding a dog chew toy to their bed doesn’t help either. Often, the dog will discard the toy and decide to chew the bed. It’s a common theme for bull terrier owners to spend a large sum on a fabric bed to treat their dog. They wake the following day to find pieces of the bed strewn across the living room. Their bully greets them at the bedroom door panting with a grin on its face.
If you raise your bull terrier indoors, a wicker basket lined with a blanket is your best option. Bull terriers a small to medium dogs and they reach their full size in a little over a year. After that, they fill out rather than grow in length and height. You can buy them an aluminum frame bed, line it with blankets, and this will be the last dog bed they ever need.
If you live in a part of the country where you have a yard, your bully can sleep outside. However, they may bark at night when people or animals pass the gate. This constant barking can disturb your neighbors. The dog is also at high risk of poisoning or theft. Therefore, its best to keep your bully indoors with you.
Bull terriers emit a musky odor, and they tend to be flatulent dogs. So, you might not want to keep them in your bedroom. Place their basket in the corner of the living room. They will assume this is their territory and will retreat there whenever they feel bored or insecure.
Bull Terrier Toys
Bull terriers love to chew and chase, so focus their toys around those two areas. However, their strong jaws will make short work of tennis balls, and don’t be surprised if they charge down your kid’s soccer ball and puncture it with one bite.
Buy them a Kong solid rubber ball in a round shape. The other balls that bounce in different directions will confuse them, and they will quickly lose interest. Bull terriers also don’t like to return the ball. They try to train you by making you come to them and refuse to give it back. Trying to pry the ball from their jaws is impossible.
Your best strategy is to buy three balls and rotate them between throws. They will chase the first ball and stand there waiting for you. Pull out the second ball, and they will run over to you.
They typically only realize you have a second ball when they are at your feet. They will then drop the ball in their mouth and wait for you to throw the second. This strategy allows you to throw the ball while they do the work.
Avoid buying rope chew toys. Your bully will destroy it in a matter of hours and then they may try to eat the fabric, which will become lodged in their digestive tract. Buy them a solid rubber bone to chew on instead. Even this dog toy doesn’t stand a chance. Given enough time, they start to tether the corners and eat the rubber. They are incorrigible.
Replace their bone when you start to see bite marks all over it. The rubber perishes outdoors in the elements and will eventually crack. The dog will exploit these cracks and quickly tear it up. These toys suit bull terriers of all ages, from puppies right through to their senior years. They don’t require a wide variety, just something to chew, and something to chase will suffice.
Grooming Insights for Bull Terrier owners
The best part about owning a bull terrier is the minimal maintenance. They only require a bath every other month, unless you live in a wet area where they frequently enjoy rolling in the mud.
If you do decide to bath your dog every week, you’ll quickly become frustrated. They will jump out of the bath and spend the next half-an-hour rolling around on the grass and dust, undoing all of your hard work.
Bull terriers can’t stand water, trying to get them to stay in the tub is a wrestling match that you’ll lose every time. Bathe them in the yard. Turn the hose on them and soak them. They will see this as a game and bite at the stream of water.
It doesn’t take long to soak them through. The short fur resists water, and it beads from the coat. Bull terriers have very little hair on their belly’s and groin, so don’t worry about turning them over. The chances are they will resist you.
Lather their body with a fragrant dog shampoo to diminish their body odor, and avoid their ears. Bull terriers hate it when people play with their ears. Rinse them off with the hose and towel them down until their as dry as possible. The moment you remove the towel, they’ll run for the nearest patch of grass and roll around on their back.
Bull terriers don’t need brushing. However, you will need to clean their ears and clip their nails. Leave this to the vet. They may have to sedate them to get the job done.
Be careful when selecting your brand of dog shampoo. Bull terriers have sensitive skin, and certain shampoo products may cause them to break out in a rash or hives. Research a forum for brands favored by bully owners.
Spotting tick and fleas on a bully is easy. However, these parasites aren’t of great concern in the city or a suburban home.
Keep your dog’s teeth clean. Use a dog-approved brand of enzymatic dog toothpaste and a small-head dog toothbrush. Your bully may put up a fight, so prepare for battle.
Bull Terrier Accessories
You’ll be surprised to learn that bull terriers are emotional animals. They can tell when people are laughing at them and when they are the butt of a joke. They also know when you’re encouraging them and feeding their ego.
Therefore, it’s important to choose accessories that make them feel important and proud. Dressing them up in a silly costume isn’t a good idea. They are likely to feel insulted when everyone starts laughing at the cute outfit.
A rough and tough spiked collar will make them feel like a boss as you walk them around the neighborhood. You can add a spiked bracelet to their forelegs as well. Make sure the spikes have rounded edges and take them off when you return from the walk, or they will remove them for you. The last thing you want is your bully chewing and swallowing them.
Bull terriers are hard of hearing. A dog whistle is excellent for calling them from the yard for dinner time. Being that this breed has short hair, a dog jersey is an excellent idea to keep them warm in the winter. Choose a camo design or a sweater with a saying like “I’m the boss.”