How the English Bull Terrier Came to Be

Just How did Our Favorite, Beautiful, Football Headed, Clown, Protective, Best Friend Come to Be?

The English Bull Terrier’s unique appearance with a sturdy build and rounded skull makes this breed highly sought after by dog lovers, but are you aware of all the events which led to the creation of the English Bull Terrier?

Original English Bull Terrier - History of the Bull Terrier

Bullies Originally Bred to be Fighters

Though some sources indicate that the English Bull Terrier was bread to catch mice, the truth is that they were actually created to be fighters. When England outlawed the sport of “bull-baiting” in 1935, the law only fueled the sport and led to owners looking for a smaller, more sturdy breed, which owners could easily hide.

To accomplish this goal, James Hinks started breeding bull-breeds with terriers in the 1850s to reduce their size while also maintaining the stocky build of the Bulldog. He started out with a Bulldog and an English White Terrier to reduce the size, improve speed with thinner legs, and re-shape the head. Since Terriers are small, fast, alert, and tenacious, they made an excellent cross with the slower, powerful, and pain-resistant Bulldog. By 1962, he entered one of his new dogs named Madman into a show and it became wildly popular.

James Hinks and his English Bull Terrier - History of the Bullie

Enter one of the First Bull Terriers: Madman

Madman was not perfect, however. He still lacked the head shape and perfect body that Hinks wanted, so breeders were soon crossing Bulldog Terriers with Dalmatians, Greyhounds, Spanish Pointers, and other breeds to increase agility and appearance. The original crosses with the White English Terrier, featured a pointy face with a stocky body and thin legs. Introducing the other breeds such as Pointers and Dalmatians into the mix perfected the body shape with proportionate legs, but it’s unknown how the breed ended up with a rounded, egg-shaped skull.

English Bull Terrier Coloring

Throughout the breeding process, Hinks particularly focused on white coloration and soon the breed was recognized in three different categories: Bulldog, Terrier, and Dalmatian. Modern breeders now seek a balance between the three subsets.

As time progressed, other colors were introduced due to health problems and over-breeding. This was done by cross breeding English Bull Terriers with Staffordshire Bull Terriers in the 20th century and many colorations now exist with brindle being one of the most popular.

The Modern Bull Terrier: The PERFECT Companion and Family Dog

English Bull Terriers are the Perfect Family Dog

Although their original purpose was to fight, the breed continued to succeed long after the sport died out, thanks to Hinks. Though he wanted the dogs to be fighters, he also wanted to find the perfect dog personality. His goal was to create the gentleman’s companion dog rather than a vicious fighter. Specifically, the dogs were bred to protect family and defend themselves, but not to instigate fights. Because of this, the dogs make great companions, but are still good protectors. They might have had some rough beginnings, but these loveable bullies persevered and now prosper in many countries.

Best Family Dog - the English Bull Terrier


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