An introduction to Bull terriers

By Valdette Muller| November 13, 2013 | Blog


What will you get when you throw an active, courageous and assertive gladiator in a pot with a fun loving clown dressed in a dog suit?

With the right blend of magic, it may just be a bull terrier. They are rough and tough from the outside but on the inside, they are gooey hearted, witty and affectionate family beings.

Vintage Bull Terrier sepiaA brief history

In the mid-19th century, the Bull-and-Terrier breeds were bred for the spectator sport of bull and bear-baiting, dog fighting and pest control. The breeders wanted the tenacity of the Bull dog combined with the speed, dexterity and light build of the Old English terriers.

It was James Hinks, a fighting dog breeder from Birmingham, who crossed the Bull-and-Terrier with the White English Terrier. After years of experimenting, the bull terrier as we know them today was bred.

What is in a name?

In Afrikaans, this breed is known as a Varkhond and many may think that this is because of the pig-like appearance of the head and eyes. But in fact, this name comes from their history when people, predominantly from the Eastern Cape, used Bull terriers as companions for bush pig and warthog hunting.

What do they look like?

Bull terriers have a football shaped head, pointed ears and one of a kind almond shaped eyes. They are known for their muscular body, jaunty way of walking and short horizontal tail. This breed comes in two colour varieties: white and coloured.

Bull terrier running with ownerWhat you need to know about Bull Terriers

  • A bull terrier will keep its owner fit as a fiddle because they need lots of exercise. They are not called the Gladiator of the canine race for nothing! It takes a lot of hard work to live up to that name.
  • Alone and outside are not part of a bull terrier’s language. They love to be with their family and can become very destructive when left alone.
  • Their boisterous ways are not suitable for smaller children. Older children will love their active and fun loving personality.
  • Bull terriers make excellent guard dogs and can become very protective over their family. It is advisable to start with training and socializing as early as 10 weeks to correct aggressive and possessive behaviour.
  • It is sad to say, but a bull terrier will probably eat your hamster or chicken. Cats are also at risk, except if they grow up together.
  • Greedy eating is a given for this breed and they are prone to being overweight if their diet is not controlled.
  • This breed doesn’t need a lot of grooming as their coat has a natural sheen and sheds moderately.
  • As far as health problems are concerned, deafness is a common condition in bull terriers, especially in the white coloured dogs. Acne, obsessive compulsive behaviour – like extensive self-licking – and flea allergies can also pose problems for these dogs.

Bull terriers are not for everyone, especially when you are timid, reluctant and retiring. But if your family is active and fun loving, you will probably sing along with Paul Simon: “You can be my bodyguard and I will be your long lost pal.”

Featured image via

Images in post via VintageBullTerrier and Vitamins for Pitbulls


  • Inge says:

    My little puppy are 7 weeks now I want to make sure she has the right food and vitamins everyday .. Are there any food that they cant eat or may not eat like drinking milk ..

    • admin says:

      Hi Inge

      Hope you are well.

      The best is to feed a dry food that you buy from your veterinarian that is balanced. Bull Terriers are prone to develop skin conditions, so it might be worth it to feed her a grain free diet already. Make sure you feed her on puppy food for her size and age. The best food you can afford is advised. Never give her chocolates.

      Hope this helps, look forward to hear from you.

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