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Humor me please.Tell me about the Bull Terrier

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  • Humor me please.Tell me about the Bull Terrier

    Let me start by saying I am not in a position to get a dog any time soon, I'm just very interested in this breed and am excited to hear about other peoples experiences. That said, since my childhood dog passed a little over a year ago, I've spent a lot of time researching breeds. I've always been attracted to the bully breeds and I think I've finally decided on the Bull Terrier as my future first dog.

    I love their look and I love the bully personality. My understanding of the breed is that they are goofy and fun loving but can also have a stubborn streak. I am an athletic person and am looking for a dog that has enough energy for long runs, but something that (when properly exercised beforehand) will be content to hang out in the house while I'm at work.

    I know they are terriers so the prey drive is there, but how are they in general with cats? Other dogs? How are they around horses? I'd love a dog that could keep up with trot sets and could be trusted off leash around horses when properly trained. I know they can be stubborn so how are they with training and voice commands?

    Grooming? Health? Everything else?

    I know its a long way off but I'm totally in love with this breed and want to know everything about them. So please share any experiences you've had with the breed. Good or bad. Thanks

  • #2
    I have not heard anything about them in a long time....

    I am not familiar with them. They are some places categorized as 'fighting dogs' so keep that in mind.

    Biggest things I know of is when you look at a predominately white animal, check it's hearing.

    it's not breed specific, really, it hinges on the extreme piebald gene that is responsible for the white. Most breeds with white as predominant color have that problem (Dalmatians are tested for that as puppies via BAER test...if the breeder is responsible)


    • Original Poster

      Thanks Alagirl. It seems like they're not the most common of dogs. I'm having a really hard time finding breeders, rescues, groups, etc.

      Yes I am aware of the prevalence of deafness. I prefer the colored ones to solid white anyway but will definitely keep it in mind.

      As far as fighting goes, I knew that they were bred originally for blood sports but I was under the impression that although tenacious they were not largely successful as fighting dogs. Is that true? I have always been attracted to the bully breeds, so I have come to terms with the idea of having a dog that I would have to keep under careful supervision and possibly have as an only dog. I always wanted a Pit Bull but I thought the Bull Terrier would not be as high profile and enable more off leash situations. Is this a reality?

      Anyone else with experiences? I have had very little contact with these dogs so I'd love to hear other's first hand experiences with them. Thanks so much.


      • #4
        I have not seen a bully in close to 20 years, to be honest.
        I also am from Germany, where they have an insane list of breeds they are restricting ownership of. I think at one time Bull Terriers may have been on there.

        I think generally they are about as far removed from the bull baiting as it gets these days.
        But though they seem to have a fun personality they have fallen out of favor.
        (I think they look like little pigs.... but that is not a prime concern for picking a dog)


        • Original Poster

          Well you can't say they're not unique looking . I love their big egg heads though. They just look like they'd be so much fun. I have a feeling that the problem will be finding one though. I just don't see them around anywhere.


          • #6
            The Bull Terrier Club of America has a website and a rescue. A friend of mine has Bull Terriers but no longer breeds. She did conformation and obedience as well. I know hers are not particularly good with cats, but that may be hers and not other peoples. Good luck..


            • #7
              I've worked with a couple.. they are the epitome of TERRIER.

              They're great dogs in the right hands, but so many people get them because they're "cute" and don't realize what they're getting themselves into. The ones I've worked with have all had some level of dog aggression, and we pretty drivey when it came to small animals.

              If you're set on one, check out rescues, I know there are a few in the US. BT's tend to be pretty pricey from breeders, so if you go that route, be prepared to pay quite a bit.


              • #8
                Don't forget the miniature bull terrier is also available too. And are we talking about the Spuds McKenzie dog? If so they are cute, but I don't think they are good running buddies because of the anatomical makeup, but I could be wrong.
                You can't fix stupid-Ron White


                • #9
                  They are a very cool dog. They are clowns and show-offs; physical, happy, silly, zoomie, the world is theirs.

                  I would not trust the average BT to hang out in the house alone and not destroy something. Their energy level and goofiness means they really need to be channeled and directed with positive means. They will push back or shut down if more forceful methods are used (that stubborn streak you mentioned...).

                  High pain tolerance, can be dog aggressive (most experts recommend against two dogs of same sex), with a very physical body-slamming wall-shaking play style that many dogs will take offense to. They will knock over the family toddler then zoom back around to lick the tears before crashing into granny.

                  Genetic problems with eyes, white BTs or coloreds with white faces highly susceptible to sunburn, skin allergies/issues are common.

                  I've looked here for my bf's BT (ex now; his dog is great! ). Met several dogs and got tons of education about them.

                  Highly recommend reading When Pigs Fly.

                  Like another poster said, this breed is often lumped in with banned bully breeds. I know they were on the list in my area. And there's no mistaking that egghead plastered all over Target, so if you're a renter I would wait til you're a homeowner.


                  • #10
                    more to add... not my first pick for barn dog

                    I just re-read your post. I would not pick this as a barn dog.

                    S/he will get bored. He will challenge you. The BTs I've known I can picture giving you the finger while you shout commands from your saddle as they wander off to hunt the neighborhood cat or overturn the manure cart or eat your friend's new saddle she left out to clean or see if the neighbors are outside or catch squirrels or...

                    He will know you can't reach him while mounted, have nothing to offer him while you are giving your attention to horsie, and by the time you dismount he can be juuuust out of reach singing Nannynannybooboo you can't catch me.

                    Definitely a dog that asks "What's in it for me?"

                    They are muscular and appear athletic but I believe the energy is in spurts. Legs are short, bodies heavy, and heads cumbersome. I wouldn't guess they have great endurance based on their conformation plus temperament (I'm bored. Whatcha doing? You're so boooring! Wanna play? Now we wrestle. Dude you're boring. Now play ball. Now let's race. I'm B-O-R-E-D).

                    The perfect rough-n-tumble companion for a young, single, fit, ADHD guy who is just as easily bored


                    • Original Poster

                      Thanks for all the info everyone. I'm prepared for the idea of dog aggression. Definitely not ideal but part of the package I guess. I originally wanted a Pit Bull so I have prepared myself for having an only dog if necessary. No children anywhere in the near future. Just a young single woman looking for a fun dog.

                      I am concerned about them being a banned breed though. I am on a path to join the Army. At this point it will just be for a few years so I would wait until after to avoid having a dog through deployments or PCSing to a place where they are banned, so no real worries there. However I am considering a career in the military so that could be problematic. Whatever the case that's a long time to figure things out, it would just make it easier if the dogs were more accepted.

                      Thanks for the book Bicoastal. I know that they require different training so I want to get a head start on finding resources.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bicoastal View Post
                        Highly recommend reading When Pigs Fly.
                        I was about to suggest that book too = ) The writer owns bull terriers and competes them in agility and obedience. I believe she got into dog training/writing because her bull terriers were SO difficult. She was very excited to share her experiences once she found a way to work with "when pigs fly dogs" as she calls them. The book is a nice compilation of positive rewards training techniques that are useful for the non-standard obedience breeds - it's not about bull terriers except for the author's anecdotes.

                        Also, I haven't run into them on the banned breed lists very often in the U.S. I would imagine that should be something that's not too hard to check though to get a better idea.


                        • Original Poster

                          Yeah I'm not seeing them as a banned breed in the U.S. although they are in a few other countries like Germany so still could be a problem in the military.

                          What kind of activities do these dogs excel in? I'd like to find something that is a bit more organized like agility for example, but that would still keeps its attention rather than seeing how hard it can throw itself against the wall . I do like a dog that is a bit rougher, I grew up with older brothers so I'm used to rough play.

                          Well I knew they wouldn't be ideal barn dogs but I was hoping I could make it work. I guess I would just have to keep an open mind about keeping them stimulated and have a fun and excited plan B in case that doesn't work.


                          • #14
                            Sillymoose-to find out what breeds are banned on Army posts just google any post (such as benning housing animal policies) and you'll get the universal list of rules, and the breeds that are banned. A couple of years ago the housing managers got together to try to make all post housing rules consistent.

                            And since you say you are single you might want to know that at any post where you were required to stay in barracks (many single Soldiers are, depending of rank and the availability of housing) there is a no pet policy in barracks.

                            http://apps.mhf.dod.mil/pls/psgprod/...,39 Note that base housing is not for singles, except in billets or barracks. And you need to have a backup plan for animal care for posts where you have to live on base, or when you deploy.
                            You can't fix stupid-Ron White


                            • Original Poster

                              The goal would be to wait until I get out of the military. If I do decide to stay in I would be done with most of my training before I got one, anyway, I would likely be a Captain by then so barracks wouldn't be an issue. I do have family for the times when I'm TDY, but I'd have a lot of thinking to do about getting any dog if I decide to go career military. Deployments are tough for any dog.


                              • #16
                                get something that fits under the seat of an airplane!


                                • #17
                                  I would not pick a bull terrier as a barn dog. They are cool dogs, but don't match what you want. They have a huge stubborn streak that makes them unreliable off leash and have poor endurance. In short spurts, they are surprisingly athletic and play hard (AKA should be supervised around the young and elderly). Even non DA BT's might offend must dogs with their love for rough play. But, they would really struggle to keep up with a horse for any amount of time due to their short legs and bulky muscles. They are built to fight hard for short amounts of time, not run. Once a BT got tired, it would likely give you the finger and find something else to do. "something else" varies from killing the neighbors cat to destroying whatever is lying around. They are smart enough to know you can't do anything from horseback.

                                  As a dog for a family with older kids or a young adult with energy to burn and a big fenced yard, they are fantastic, fun loving, silly dogs. As an off leash barn dog? Not so much.


                                  • #18
                                    A good friend of mine has one. His is sweet, silly, goofy, and smart. However, he has had a lot of random health issues, not sure if it's breed related or just a string of bad luck. He is also basically good with other dogs, but not 100% trustworthy in that aspect. But I love him, he is fun and playful and loves people.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Just to clarify this would not be a barn dog. Ideally it would be able to come to the barn occasionally and spend some time playing off leash. I can see now that long trail rides would be a stretch but surely there are some BT's that can leave their fenced yard without wreaking havoc everywhere they go. It is not a necessity that I have a dog to do horsey things with, I just thought a trail ride and hanging out at the barn would be good exercise. If the dog is not a good fit at the barn it is not a deal breaker. It would be nice but is not my primary goal for having a dog.

                                      My main attraction to them is that bully personality. I am aware that they are stubborn and I know that I have a lot of learning to do about training a bully way before I ever get one. This is still years off. I'd love to go hang out at a dog show or event and talk with BT owners and breeders but I have no idea where to start with that. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of dog activity in my area. Any ideas?


                                      • #20
                                        They are very prone to skin disorders. But I, too, love they way they look.
                                        ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
                                        Check out my Kryswyn JRTs on Facebook

                                        "Life is merrier with a terrier!"