This article also relates to: Miniature Bull Terrier
One of the oldest native terrier breeds in England, the Bull Terrier, or 'White Cavalier' as it was earlier known, was originally bred as a combat dog, utilised in the sport of dog fighting. Such savagery was permissible in England in the 1800s, and pictorials of the time feature Bull Terriers alongside wealthy Victorian aristocrats, who invested in the breed as a good money earner and fashionable companion pet. Standardised by Birmingham-born James Hinks in the 1880s, the Bull Terrier gained enormous favour and was progressively used to guard, rat, watch and herd. Officially recognised by the Kennel Club in 1885.
Highly distinctive, the Bull Terrier is not easily mistaken. Possessing a muscular and compact build, an ovular head and deep-set, almond-shaped eyes, small ears and sturdy legs, the breed is commonly recognised in colour variations of brindle, red, black, fawn and tricolour. The white Bull Terrier will have patterning on the head but nowhere else. Combining the best features of its early forebears the Bulldog and Old English Terrier, the breed is engineered for resilience, fearlessness and companionship, with the modern Bull Terrier having lost some of its in-bred fighter instinct.
Despite having been bred for combat, the Bull Terrier breed of today is amongst the most affectionate, loyal and sweet-natured of breeds, devoted to its family and obedient when trained consistently from an early age. Requiring plenty of exercise and regular human contact, the Bull Terrier is the ideal breed choice for families or the dedicated sole owner, providing sufficient training is given. The average weight of a healthy Bull Terrier is 16-22 kg, with a life expectancy of 10-12 years.
Typically healthy and hardy, the Bull Terrier is prone to various skin allergies, whilst being susceptible to more serious afflictions such as kidney insufficiency and failure, heart defects, slipped patella, and zinc deficiency. Breed-specific complaints further include early-onset deafness and easy weight gain. Feeding human foods is not encouraged for this reason.