10 Things You Should Know Before Owning a Bull Terrier

If you’re considering a new pet for your home, it might be time to think about owning a dog. Everyone knows that dogs are a man’s best friend, but they are excellent for anyone who might be lonely or want love. As such, there are a variety of breeds out there, making it tough to determine which option is best for you. The bull terrier is a favorite among the English, but they are popular in America, too. Primarily, it happens to be an unofficial symbol of the British and might give you a sense of pride for ownership.

Bull terriers have a specific style and appearance. It’s not matched with any other breed, but it’s never forgotten, either. Therefore, these dogs can look uninitiated or imposing, depending on the situation. However, this dog breed tends to be quiet, gentle, affectionate and loving as a rule. As such, it is much happier making friends and getting attention than it desires to get in a fight.

Generally, this dog breed has an honest personality, as well. It’s easy to read, and you can usually determine what it is feeling. As such, the no-nonsense character matches its personality. You know it won’t take any guff and will be a great protector of the home, but the dog will respond to love and give it in return. While you may consider going to a shelter or pound, those who want a bull terrier are likely going to have to do research to find the right breeder. It’s important to know these 10 things about the bull terrier before you choose to own one.


10Bull Terriers Have an Unusually Shaped Head

Bull Terriers head is oval-shaped and resembles that of a football or egg.

There are so many varieties of dogs out there that you can find many shapes, sizes, and options available. Some pets have deer-style, wedge, or apple heads. However, the bull terrier has an egg-shaped head. This means that the head is oval-shaped and resembles that of a football or egg. As such, the outline curves downward, and there aren’t many indentations or hollows. Plus, there are no ‘stops’ at the nose/eye area.

Amazingly enough, there are only a few breeds with this egg-shaped head, which makes it an interesting thing to consider. Your pet will be unique, as only the miniature bull terrier and bull terrier have this feature. It’s kind of fun to have a dog that has such ahead because it is always a noticeable feature. Everyone will instantly know what dog you own, and you can use it as a conversation starter at dog parks and other areas.

According to the American Kennel Club, a bull terrier is characterized by a long, strong head that is deep right through to the muzzle. However, it isn’t coarse. The full face should be oval in nature and filled in completely to give the impression of fullness without indentations or hollows. Its side profile should gently curve downward from the tip of the nose to the top of the skull. As such, the forehead is going to be flat from ear to ear. Though the miniature bull terrier looks similar, it is still categorized as a separate breed through the AKC. Therefore, these two dogs are the only ones to have an egg-shaped head.


9The Bull Terrier Has Many Traits with Benefits and Drawbacks

The bull terriers are affectionate, gentle, and playful toward family members.

The bull terrier is a mixture between a bulldog and terrier. Therefore, it is going to possess many of the same traits as these breeds. For example, the core traits of the terrier and bulldog are that they tend to be stubborn, have an independent streak, and are courageous. As such, they are both strong, like to stalk and kill prey, and have an honest personality. Of course, there are benefits and drawbacks to all of these traits. Stubborn and courageous dogs are going to be protectors of the family, which can be an advantage. However, they have to be trained correctly to ensure that they don’t harm guests. Therefore, it can be a disadvantage if your pet is likely to be outside a lot or isn’t socialized correctly.

As such, most people who want a bull terrier find that it is a good idea to purchase one directly from the breeder as a puppy. This ensures that you can train the dog to your likeness and needs. However, you might be able to get one from the shelter and return it if it is too hostile for you and retraining isn’t possible. These dogs are quite powerful, so again, you have to train them properly so that they don’t injure you or other family members. Generally speaking, they’re also loyal and will guard the family and take whatever steps necessary to protect them. It’s best to keep them on a short leash around new dogs and people until they feel comfortable.


8They Can Be Expensive to Maintain/Buy

You must not select a bull terrier if none are available. The dog breed is very expensive.

If you plan to buy a bull terrier from a breeder, it’s likely to cost you a lot of money. Choosing a pedigree/show-dog specimen is going to be much more than a non-pedigree dog. As such, most people think they can get their dog for free by going to a local shelter.

While adoption can be the best choice for many families, you may not be able to select a bull terrier if none are available. Plus, you have to be very careful about picking a dog from a shelter. You don’t know how well they were trained or if they were abused. Therefore, they might injure you or your family members/guests. Going with a non-pedigree dog can save you a little money, but it can still cost you up to $1,500 just to get the dog. Then, you are going to need to get them vaccinated and checked out by a veterinarian, which will cost more.

Of course, bull terriers also eat a lot of food and have a specific diet. Therefore, you may need to buy specialty food to keep them healthy and reduce their risk for certain health conditions later in life. Owners who don’t have the time to train their pets themselves will need to find someone who is qualified to work with bull terriers. This is not likely to be cheap, which means more money out of your pocket. Of course, these dogs have a tendency to have poor health with age, so you are going to incur more expenses for tests, labs, and vet bills.


7Deafness Is Prevalent for Bull Terriers

If you choose to adopt, you take the risk of having an animal that will become deaf at some point.


Since the breed was first bred, deafness has been prevalent. Recent studies have shown that up to 18 percent of white bull terriers could have the less-than-perfect hearing. In the past, most researchers believed that only white terriers had this issue, but now colored bull terriers can also have the condition. However, it is less common in the US, as only about two percent of the colored breed become deaf over time. As such, deafness can happen in one or both ears.

While most breeders do not breed using deaf animals, it is not possible to determine if the dog might become deaf later in life. Even so, some bull terriers are born deaf. One reason for this is that some breeders can’t tell if the animal is partially deaf or breeders might know that their dogs are deaf and breed them anyway. Therefore, you must make sure you are dealing with a reputable breeder and do so directly.

However, most owners do not mind that their bull terrier is deaf, especially if it happens during old age. Those who own deaf-from-birth dogs also don’t seem to mind. It does require a little more patience on your part, but you can still provide a loving home to a pet in need and get comfort from them. For almost all pet owners, this is the most important aspect of owning a dog.


6Health Issues Might Be Prevalent

Some special diets can prolong the animal’s life if the diagnosis comes early enough.

While most researchers claim that bull terriers aren’t more susceptible to disease than other breeds, they can have a variety of issues. Patella Luxation is one of the most common problems. It’s like the knee joint in a human and is located about halfway up the hind leg in the front. This condition is usually caused by a groove that isn’t deep enough to keep the bone in place, allowing it to slip out at times.

Your dog will find this is extremely painful, and you might notice that it hops or limps on the affected leg. Surgery can correct the condition so that the groove is deepened, but it is expensive and can only be carried out by vets who have special education. You can talk to your vet and have them check for this condition at each wellness visit if you are worried.

The breed is also prone to other minor and significant health issues, such as allergies, compulsive behavior, heart complications, and kidney failure. Kidney disease is a recognized problem of bull terriers and can appear at any time within the dog’s life. Usually, it results in a distressing and early death. Once diagnosed with this disease, you can’t do much except make your pet feel comfortable with medication. It is possible to have a healthy bull terrier. Make sure that you don’t skip veterinary check-ups and that the vet tests for these issues each time.


5Know the Characteristics of Your Breed

Characteristics of the pet are important when you get it with you at your home. So be careful while choosing. 

The bull terrier is quite adaptable to any situation, but it needs the time to do so. As such, it can live comfortably in an apartment, and you don’t need to be a breeder or know much about them to own them. These dogs don’t fare well on their own or handle cold weather well. Therefore, if you live in a cold climate, they must be inside dogs. As such, if you are regularly gone for work, and there is no one in the house, they may become anxious or upset.

Bull terriers are also quite friendly. They will be affectionate to the family and make excellent pets for children. Plus, these dogs get along well with other dogs as long as they are respectful and don’t seem menacing to the family. For most pet owners, grooming is a big concern. You don’t want to spend all of your time brushing the dog or deal with a lot of shedding. As such, this breed is excellent because it doesn’t shed a lot, and it is quite easy to groom. However, it can gain weight rapidly, so you must be very aware of how much the dog eats.

Though it can be easy to train your pet, it can also be exasperating. These dogs may not be the smartest, and they can get quite stubborn, but they make great pets if you know these issues in advance and work to train it out of them. Plus, they don’t bark or howl that much, so you can safely keep them outside in the yard without annoying the neighbors.


4These Dogs Are Playful but Aggressive

These dogs are best to play with but when they get aggressive, they are worst. 

You’ve probably seen television shows or movies that show bull terriers as silly and active. This is true for the most part, and you are sure to have a variety of hilarious moments to look back on throughout the years. However, the terrier is also strong-willed and can be aggressive.

This breed automatically looks imposing because of its pointy ears and football-shaped heat, but the bull terrier is sweet-tempered. Think of it as a rowdy and active goofball. Sometimes, the rowdiness gets too unruly, just like it would be with a young child. Therefore, you have to have a discipline system in place to ensure that your pet knows when to stop.

These dogs need a lot of companionships, which means they are ideal for large families. While you don’t have to be experienced, you should be aware that these dogs are designed to fight and hunt. They also think independently, so they can be difficult to train or stubborn. If you don’t have the ability to train your pet, it’s essential to go to a professional. Otherwise, you run the risk of having a dog you can’t control.

When giving orders to a bull terrier, you should know that they won’t blindly follow them. You have to be assertive and calm with him, but you must never allow the dog to take over. During training, it might be wise to give special treats when it does what you want it to do. If you don’t have the patience and time to work with this animal, it might be better to select a different breed. Golden Retrievers and Labradors are less demanding.


3These Animals Must Be Socialized Correctly to Be Loving and Personable

You should never keep your pet away from people on purpose because they will never get used to being around others.

Generally, bull terriers are constantly in the public’s eye because they are considered a fighting breed. Many times, they are incorrectly grouped with pit bulls because of isolated attacks that may or may not have been provoked. While the whole species shouldn’t be ridiculed because of it, the public doesn’t see it like that. If there is one attack, they get scared.

It’s important to understand that you will likely face this prejudice at some point. Therefore, it is best to make sure that your dog is fully socialized in all situations. That way, there is less of a chance that it will injure a stranger or guest at your house.

Some people worry that their dog will no longer have dignity or free will through socialization. However, this is not the case. You can choose to remove your pet from a situation that you feel might provoke it. For example, if a neighbor is mean to your children, you would keep them inside, stay with them, or tell the neighbor to stop. The same applies to your dog. If it is visibly stressed because of abuse or teasing, you have the right to take it inside or request that the teasing stop.

You should also ensure that your pet is around other dogs, either in the neighborhood or at a dog park. This gives a variety of benefits. For one, you can relax your guard around your pet and others will too. However, your dog is likely to be well-behaved in any circumstance. What happened if your dog got injured and the neighbor ran over to help? Your dog is scared and hurt, but he would be less likely to bite because he has been socialized all of his life.


2The Dog’s Personality Reflects Yours

Bull terriers are very smart and intelligent. They see what goes on around them, and they act accordingly.

All bull terriers are born to be affectionate. However, that doesn’t mean that every dog of this breed is that way. It depends on their treatment and their owner’s personality. If you are sullen and angry all the time, your dog is likely to take that mentality. People who raise their voices, hit others, or become aggressive may find that their pet is going to see that and think it is appropriate.

If that weren’t enough, this breed is very dominant. People with a meek or mild personality are likely to find that their bull terrier is probably going to walk all over them, figuratively speaking. These dogs need a pack leader, and you are it. When you aren’t assertive, the dog will take that role and might be domineering or aggressive. As such, it might try to bite or otherwise defend itself.

You should also be aware that most bull terriers fare better when they are the only animal in the house. With other pets around, this breed might try to domineer them all, bite, scratch, or otherwise put them in a lower place. Even though you would love each pet the same, it could cause your other pets to become depressed or aggressive, as well.

Of course, bull terriers tend to be highly energetic. They want to play all the time, which can sometimes get rough. Adults can easily put a stop to this, but young children can’t. However, this breed works very well with kids, as long as the dog is trained correctly, and the child learns not to tease or hurt the pet.


1It’s Important to Understand a Bull Terrier’s History

The animals like bull terrier were bred with specific behavior traits in mind.

Most people don’t focus so much on the history of the breed when choosing a pet for the household. Still, you should know about it so that you are prepared for it. During the 19th century, the bull and terrier was developed to kill vermin and have animals ready for animal sports.

This breed was based primarily on the Old English Terrier and the Old English Bulldog (extinct). The new animal combined dexterity and speed with tenacity. Because appearance wasn’t the concern here, breed standards were not strict. As such, the Bull and Terrier divided into the ancestors of the Staffordshire bull terrier and bull terrier. Both of these breeds were easier to handle than the original.

James Hinks chose to breed Bull and Terriers with the now-extinct English white terrier to give a better appearance with a nicer-looking head. They didn’t have the egg-shaped face that is characteristic of bull terriers. It was a highly popular breed, and all of these dogs were white. In 1917, the first modern bull terrier was bred, and it had no stop, creating the egg head feature.

Because of the many medical problems associated with all-white breeding, Ted Lyon and other popular breeders at the time chose to introduce color to the mix in the early 20th century. While still the same breed, the AKC decided to recognize colored animals separately from 1936 to the present. The dog is designed not to start a fight but be able to finish it. Plus, it socializes well within its pack, which includes young children.



Being a pet owner is amazing, but you have to choose the right breed. It is important to understand as much about a particular type as you can, especially if you are thinking of owning one. As such, you have learned 10 things that are important to help you make a more informed decision. Whether you live alone or have children, you may find that the bull terrier is an excellent choice. However, it is a lively dog and wants attention. If you need a little fun and silliness in your life, this breed can be right for you.

Though it’s easy to buy a dog, it can be challenging to train them. Bull terriers need a firm but gentle hand because they are dominant animals. Therefore, you need to be willing to hire a professional or spend countless hours working with them to teach them how to behave in the world.

However, you should be aware that the dog comes with a variety of medical issues that might not be present for a while. You may end up having to say an abrupt and early farewell to your furry friend. This can be tough for young children to cope with, and some people may not be able to handle such a rapid loss. If this is you, a bull terrier may not be the best choice. For most owners, they just want to be happy and love their pets for as long as they can. People like this should consider giving a bull terrier a loving home for the rest of its life.