Within the UK, the breed that is internationally known as the English bull terrier is often simply known as the bull terrier, and occasionally the two terms are used interchangeably. The English bull terrier is a medium height, heavily muscled dog that stands up to 22” tall at the withers, and that can weigh up to 85lb, being stocky, heavy and very strong! They are most instantly identifiable due to the unusual shape of their heads, which are concave and almost egg-shaped, with the top of the skull being virtually flat. They have incredibly strong jaws and small, triangular eyes, and are generally white or mostly white in colour.
Among people who love dogs of the various “bull” breeds, such as the Staffordshire bull terrier and the now-banned pit bull terrier, the English bull terrier is definitely worthy of consideration as a pet, possessing all of the best positive traits of the breed grouping as a whole. However, they can be stubborn and challenging, and are not commonly recommended as a breed that suits the first time dog owner.
If you are wondering if the English bull terrier is a good choice of pet for you, in this article we will provide a little more information on the core temperament traits and care requirements of the breed in more detail. Read on to learn more.
The English bull terrier a strong dog, both in terms of their physical build and personality, and they can be prone to being both stubborn and rather independent. This means that they are rarely recommended as a good choice of pet for the first time dog owner, and they need a confident, experienced owner who can manage a strong willed dog without turning it into a power play.
They are, however, very loving with their families, and can be very protective of them, a trait that should be carefully managed to ensure that it does not turn into defensive aggression. They are friendly, loving and entertaining dogs once they bond with their owners, and enjoy lots of fuss and attention and praise from their owners.
The English bull terrier is around the middle of the pack when it comes to their exercise requirements, and are not among the most highly strung of dogs, but cannot be described as overly sedentary either. They enjoy medium to long walks at a gentle pace rather than high energy bursts of exercise, but they can make good companions for hiking and jogging too. A couple of reasonably long walks per day is usually sufficient to keep dogs of the breed happy.
The English bull terrier is not a dog that is likely to be able to learn a huge range of tricks and training commands, but they are entirely capable of learning a reasonable range of skills and basic commands. They can be stubborn to train and require an experienced trainer, and one who can tell the difference between a lack of understanding and a simple unwillingness to comply! They require regular, medium-length training sessions with a reasonable degree of repetition to refresh their skills on an ongoing basis, but not overly long training sessions, in order to avoid the dog getting bored.
The English bull terrier has a very strong hunting instinct and prey drive, and this can pose a significant problem in suburban areas with a lot of cats around. The breed will seek out and pursue potential prey such as wildlife and cats, and should they catch their target, will be quick to make a kill.
Outside of the home, the breed should be carefully supervised and potentially muzzled, to prevent them from becoming a hazard to other animals. That being said, if the dog is raised with cats from an early age, they can live harmoniously with them, and learn not to treat them as a potential meal!
The English bull terrier is one breed for whom early socialisation with other dogs is vital to ensure that they will play nicely with others when adult, as without this, the breed can become bossy, dominant, and even potentially dangerous. However, well socialised and properly trained English bull terriers are usually perfectly fine with other dogs.
The English bull terrier requires a home with at least one experienced dog owner, who understands the challenges of the breed and that is confident and capable at managing them. They can live happily with children, but again, introductions should be made when the dog is young, as it can be a challenge to teach them to put up with possibly unruly behaviour from children when the dog is mature.
They are loving, protective and love their home comforts, but if not managed, may become territorial or defensive with strangers. Plenty of research and time spent around dogs of the breed is necessary in order to make an informed decision as to whether or not the English bull terrier would be a suitable choice of dog for your own family.