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Bull Terrier History
The now extinct breeds Old English Bulldog and Old English Terrier were crossed to form a new breed of dog called the Bull and Terrier. Around 1860, the Bull and Terrier breed split into two branches, the pure white Bull Terrier and the coloured forms that lived on for another seventy years in the dog fighting pits until they finally were recognized as a legitimate dog breed called the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Pedigrees of Bull Terriers date from the period during which the English Stud books were first written (circa 1874-6). Although the breed was developed from fighting dogs, the Bull Terrier was intended to be a showdog and companion.
Bull Terriers are thick-set and muscular with a short, dense coat. Bull Terriers colours are white, (skin pigmentation and markings on the head are not to be penalised in the show ring in the UK), any colour other than white, or any colour with white markings (although Blue and liver highly undesirable).
This Bull Terriers most distinctive feature is its head, described as 'egg shaped' when viewed from the front, almost flat at the top, with a Roman muzzle sloping evenly down to the end of the nose with no stop. The unique triangular eyes of the Bull Terriers are small, dark, and closely set. The body is full and round, while the shoulders are robust and muscular and the tail is carried horizontally. It walks with a jaunty gait, and is popularly known as the 'gladiator of the canine race'.
There is no set height or weight of the breed but the average is, Height: 20-24 inches (51-61 cm.), Weight: 45-70 pounds (20-32 kg.)
Sometimes bull terriers are mistaken to be American Pit Bull Terriers, but they are separate breeds (although related).
Bull Terrier Health
Bull Terriers are generally free of disabling genetic diseases. All puppies should be checked for deafness, as this sometimes occurs (most commonly in pure white dogs) and is difficult to notice, especially in a relatively young puppy. A common problem to many Bull Terriers is a tendency to develop skin allergies. Insect bites, such as fleas, and sometimes mosquitoes and mites, can produce a generalized allergic response of hives, rash, and itching. This condition can be stopped by keeping the dog free of contact from these insects, but this is definitely a consideration in climates or circumstances where exposure to these insects is inevitable. Their lifespan is somewhere between 10 and 14 years, although they can live longer -- the oldest bitch on record being an Australian housepet dubbed "Puppa Trout" who remained sprightly into her 17th year.
The Bull terrier's coat is easy to maintain, but grooming can keep it in near-perfect condition. Adding oils to their meals can also vastly improve the quality of their coat. The Bull Terrier requires a fair amount of exercise, but overworking the dog at a young age will cause strained muscles. Older dogs do require exercise, but in small doses, whereas younger ones will be happy to play for hours on end. The breed is renown for being extremely greedy; be sure to maintain a good balance of exercise and food, or the dog can become overweight. Also, be sure to check ears, eyes, nose and mouth every day for signs of infection.
Common Ailments: Deafness, Umbilical Hernia and Acne. Bull Terriers can also suffer from Obsessive complusive behavior, such as tail chasing, self mutilation, and obsessive licking.
Bull Terrier Temperament
A Bull Terrier doing dog agilityBull Terriers are generally friendly dogs. Their physical strength is matched by their intelligence, and both body and mind need to be kept active. They can be obstinate and are not ideal dogs for the first-time owner. As a breed they are generally placid but it has to be remembered that they were originally bred as fighting dogs therefore they may react if challenged but they will not normally make the first move. They are very affectionate dogs that love human company, so it is not a good idea to leave them alone for long periods of time as with their strong jaws they can cause severe damage if bored. Bull Terriers are one of the better breeds of dogs to have around children, but like all pets a watchful eye is always needed.