Written by: Debra A. Gilpin on behalf of the Central Indiana Bull Terrier Club.
With a face like that what’s not to love? Beneath that unique egg-shaped noggin lies a self-serving brain
and behind those devilish eyes and Bully smile is quite frankly, a three year old child in a dog suit! The
decision to bring a Bull Terrier into your life is not a decision to be taken lightly without plenty of thought
and serious consideration.
Like any breed of purebred dog, Bull Terriers are not for everyone. The owner of this Breed must be a
fully committed and responsible owner providing quality nutrition (preferably w/o wheat, corn or soy),
veterinary care, basic obedience training and proper socialization with strangers, children and other
animals. Training a Bull Terrier is not an option is it a must!
Do your homework in advance and research the breed. Visit the AKC website at AKC.org or the Bull
Terrier Club of America at BTCA.com. Attend local dog shows in your area and get first hand advice
straight from the exhibitors themselves. This is also a superb environment to meet with reputable breeders
The Bull Terrier typically enjoys good health throughout its life expectancy of 10-12 years but can be
predisposed to genetic disease which have afflicted the breed in the past. However with thorough health
testing of breeding stock, and careful breeding practices, reputable breeders have been able to reduce the
incidence of health related concerns including deafness in whites, luxating patellas (slipping knee caps),
heart defects, kidney disease, skin disorders and allergies.
Bull Terriers are very social dogs who enjoy the company of their masters and family members. They do
not tolerate heat or cold so they are right at home on the sofa watching TV with the rest of the family.
Some are couch potatoes but others quite the opposite. Most Bull Terriers are quite active and busy and at
times exhibiting short bursts of thunderous energy. A busy Bull Terrier is a happy BT!
A crate of adequate size is crucial, for Bull Terriers must be supervised at all times, indoors as well as
outdoors. A four to six foot high fence is required for containment whenever outdoors. As with any breed of
dog, never leave a Bull Terrier unsupervised in the presence of small children or other animals. This is a
very strong and powerful breed that doesn’t seem to realize its own strength and in gentle play could easily
bowl a young child clean off its feet! Even though your pets may have always gotten along beautifully
together in the past, that can change in an instant! A scrap could begin over a toy, or some other prized
possession and could result in injury to one of your beloved pets or even death.
Some Bull Terriers may exhibit signs of obsessive compulsive disorders such as spinning (tail chasing)
which sometimes may be improved by the use of prescribed medication but not always a successful remedy
for the problem. The OCD can be so debilitating in some case that the affected dog must be euthanized!
Bull Terriers are somewhat “goat like” in nature as they tend to want to swallow foreign objects in turn
causing an obstruction in the digestive tract requiring immediate emergency surgery and unfortunately the
surgery is not always successful. Some commonly swallowed items can be batteries, bottle caps, coins,
buttons, safety pins, socks, underwear, stuffed animals, just to name a few. They are also notorious for
eating their bedding and blankets. Only durable chew toys designed specifically for powerful chewers may
be offered under supervision and with caution.
Dog parks are out of the question. Why borrow trouble? Your Bull Terrier may be highly socialized but
suppose another “off leash” dog present is not? Instead, take your dog to a family park and enjoy your
walks together “on lead”.
The rearing and ownership of a Bull Terrier is a tremendous undertaking involving an enormous amount of
time and energy and commitment. Regional Clubs across the U.S. rescue countless Bull Terriers annually
from very well intentioned owners who realized that they bit off more than they could chew.
If you still strongly believe that this is the breed for you and all members of your family then I am sure that
you will find your decision to be one of your most rewarding and enjoyable decisions of a lifetime.
Upon obtaining a Bull Terrier, be sure to ask you Breeder for information regarding joining a Regional
Club in your area in which Bull Terrier owners alike attend functions and fun activities and enjoy the
company of fellow fanciers and their dogs.
As an owner of a Bull Terrier always strive to set a positive example and be a good Ambassador for the
breed and put your best paw forward.
Some recommended reading materials include:
Bull Terriers Today – Author David Harris – Howell Book House
A New Owners Guide to Bull Terriers- Author: Betty Desmond – T. F. H. Publications, Inc.
Bull Terriers – Author: Martin Weil – T.F. H. Publications, Inc.
The New Bull Terrier – Author: John H. Remer Jr. – Howell Book House
A Kennel Club Book – Author: Bethany Gibson – Kennel Club Books
Bully Breeds – Popular Dogs Series – from the editors of Dog Fancy Magazine – Popular Dog Series
Training Secrets for Bully Breeds – from the editors of Dog Fancy Magazine – Popular Dog Series.