Introduction To The Bull Terrier
Bull Terriers do not do well in situations where they are expected to remain alone in the home or yard for long periods of time or where their physical activity is very restricted. In these situations, very much like a three-year-old child, Bull Terriers become bored and destructive. They will often chew and destroy, are difficult or impossible to housebreak, and develop unpleasant habits such as incessant barking, tail chasing and peculiar personality quirks. It would make just as much sense to leave a little boy alone in an apartment for eight or nine hours as to do this with a Bull Terrier.
Bull Terriers become very attached to their owners and their families. This usually makes them very good natural guard dogs, but care must be taken that they are not encouraged to become possessive and jealous. While this would seem a desirable attribute for someone who wants a dog to protect his wife and family, it can be a nuisance if the dog does not distinguish between acceptable strangers malevolent ones. Bull Terriers can also become involved in the presence of violent physical activity such as children's fist fights or exceptionally rough play activity where they see no reason not to join in, either to play roughly (which, with Bull Terriers, often includes nipping and knocking) or to guard the family against the physical assaults of outsiders.
Bull Terriers like to join family activity and for this reason require constant and firm discipline. They can be wonderful with children if handled with common sense, both by the adults and the children. Bull Terriers will tolerate a large range of children's behavior but they will not tolerate being teased and can be rough if constantly provoked. They are tireless playmates and will chase balls, follow the children and watch their games for hours on end.
Many Bull Terriers can and do enjoy the company of other dogs with certain exceptions. Male Bull Terriers who have not been altered do not, as a rule, get along with other male dogs. There comes a time when one of the males must dominate, and there is inevitably an unpleasant fight after which the two must live entirely separately for life. A male and female Bull Terrier can live together quite happily, and two females can sometimes share the same home. Again, care must be taken that jealousies do not arise. It is not fair to expect an older Bull Terrier who has enjoyed the full attentions of the family to want to share with another dog. This again is very similar to a young child who suddenly finds himself confronted with a baby sibling - some care must be taken to assure the older one that the youngster belongs to the whole family.
Bull Terriers, as a breed, are quite fortunate in being generally free of disabling genetic diseases. A puppy should be checked for deafness as this does occasionally occur and is difficult for the breeder to notice especially in a relatively young puppy. One problem common to many Bull Terriers is a propensity to skin allergies. Certain insect bites, such as fleas, and sometimes mosquitoes and mites produce a generalized allergic response of hives, rash and itching. This can be controlled by keeping the dog free of contact with these insects, but this is definitely a consideration in climates or circumstances where exposure to these insects is inevitable.
Puppies up to a year of age are also susceptible to sudden and severe lameness. This is due to a combination of the weight and density of the muscle, rapid growth rate and the active character of the breed. Great leaps, sudden changes of direction or sudden stops a high speeds produce a great deal of strain on the immature joints and ligaments of this very muscular breed. The joints are simply not "set" enough to resist the torque applied by the weight and musculature of the young dog. For this reason young dogs should not be encouraged in this type of activity until they are fully mature.
Bull Terriers shed their coats twice a year. The loose hair can be removed by a daily rubdown with a special rubber glove. The hair does shed during these periods and the white hairs are more noticeable than the colored ones on furniture and clothes.
Old age brings on the usual battery of infirmities to which Bull Terriers are not immune. A Bull Terrier may well live an active and healthy life until he is eleven or twelve which is about the normal life span of this breed.
Males and females vary only slightly in temperament. The unaltered males tend not to tolerate prolonged association with other unaltered males as previously noted. Undesirable tendencies based on the sex drive can be remarkably reduced by spaying and neutering females as well as males.
Bull Terrier Breed Standard
The Bull Terrier must be strongly built, muscular, symmetrical and active, with a keen determined and intelligent expression, full of fire but of sweet disposition and amenable to discipline.
Should be long, strong and deep right to the end of the muzzle, but not coarse. Full face it should be oval in outline and be filled completely up giving the impression of fullness with a surface devoid of hollows or indentations, i.e., egg shaped. In profile it should curve gently downwards from the top of the skull to the tip of the nose. The forehead should be flat across from ear to ear. The distance from the tip of the nose to the eyes should be perceptibly greater than that from the eyes to the top of the skull. The underjaw should be deep and well defined.
Should be clean and tight.
Should meet in either a level or in a scissors bite. In the scissors bite the upper teeth should fit in front of and closely against the lower teeth, and they should be sound, strong and perfectly regular.
Should be small, thin and placed close together. They should be capable of being held stiffly erect, when they should point upwards.
Should be well sunken and as dark as possible, with a piercing glint and they should be small, triangular and obliquely placed; set near together and high up on the dog's head. Blue eyes are a disqualification.
Should be black, with well-developed nostrils bent downward at the tip.
Should be very muscular, long, arched and clean, tapering from the shoulders to the head and it should be free from loose skin.
Should be broad when viewed from in front, and there should be great depth from withers to brisket, so that the latter is nearer the ground than the belly.
Should be well rounded with marked spring of rib, the back should be short and strong. The back ribs deep. Slightly arched over the loin. The shoulders should be strong and muscular but without heaviness. The shoulder blades should be wide and flat and there should be a very pronounced backward slope from the bottom edge of the blade to the top edge. Behind the shoulders there should be no slackness or dip at the withers. The underline from the brisket to the belly should form a graceful upward curve.
Should be big boned but not to the point of coarseness; the forelegs should be of moderate length, perfectly straight, and the dog must stand firmly upon them. The elbows must turn neither in nor out, and the pasterns should be strong and upright. The hind legs should be parallel viewed from behind. The thighs very muscular with hocks well let down. Hind pasterns short and upright. The stifle joint should be well bent with a well-developed second thigh.
Round and compact with well-arched toes like a cat.
Should be short, set on low, fine, and ideally should be carried horizontally. It should be thick where it joins the body, and should taper to a fine point.
Should be short, flat, harsh to the touch and with a fine gloss. The dog's skin should fit tightly.
Is white though markings on the head are permissible. Any markings elsewhere on the coat are to be severely faulted. Skin pigmentation is not to be penalized.
The dog shall move smoothly, covering the ground with free, easy strides, fore and hind legs should move parallel each to each when viewed from in front or behind. The forelegs reaching out well and the hind legs moving smoothly at the hip and flexing well at the stifle and hock. The dog should move compactly and in one piece but with a typical jaunty air that suggests agility and power.
Any departure from the foregoing points shall be considered a fault and the seriousness of the fault shall be in exact proportion to its degree, i.e. a very crooked front is a very bad fault; a rather crooked front is a rather bad fault; and a slightly crooked front is a slight fault.
The Standard for the Colored Variety is the same as for the White except for the sub head "Color" which reads: Color. Any color other than white, or any color with white markings. Other things being equal, the preferred color is brindle. A dog which is predominantly white shall be disqualified.
Any dog which is predominantly white.
Approved July 9, 1974