Characteristics of the Marvelous English Bull Terrier

Characteristics of a Bull Terrier -

Bull Terriers are a Special Breed for Special People

The Bull Terrier is often misunderstood as difficult, "bad", and even aggressive, mean dogs. This cannot be further from the truth. As with most dogs in most situations, dogs (like kids) are a product of their human parent and surroundings. 

The Bull Terrier is not a Breed Meant for Everyone

Respectfully, I wish that more people would do some research on the breed before adding a Bull Terrier to their family.  There are numerous stories of Bull Terrier puppies being sent back to the breeder and branded as hopeless and irredeemable.

Thankfully, there are some great Bull Terrier Rescue organizations out there that help with these occurrences. They will help with the pooch, train them, take care of them, and find them great homes with great people who are compatible with them. 

When we got our first Bull Terrier, Hector, the breeder called us several weeks later and asked us if we wanted his brother at half the cost because his owner returned him because they said the dog was too "hyper" for them. Unfortunately, at that time we lived in a condo that only allowed one dog per unit. It broke my heart that we could not add Hector's brother to our family, and I still regret not being able to do so to this day. 

Busy Little B's

Bull Terriers are naturally busy dogs, especially as puppies and younger dogs. If you want a dog you can leave in a kennel all day when you go to work, please don't get a Bull Terrier. They will go insane and act out. They have a lot of energy that needs to be unleashed. 

While Bull Terriers are the best couch potatoes and companions, they are also working dogs. They were used as Bomb Dogs in World War II in England to sniff bombs out, walked the trenches with their soldiers in Englad, they herded sheep and goats in India, they sailed with sailors, and more. They were originally breed to fight in the pits (a long time ago, folks, they are not fighting dogs anymore), and were ratting dogs in England.


How to Train Your Bullie. "I Hated Every Minute of Training, but I said 'Don't Quit. Suffer Now and Live the Rest of Your Life as a Champion'" (Muhammad Ali)

A lot of people think that Bull Terriers are hard to train and are aloof. While they can definitely seem aloof and uninterested, they are not. They are very inquisitive, especially of people who are interacting with their family. They have a tendency to "wait and see" attitude. They commonly check out strangers to make sure they are safe for their humans. They will approach you, give you a sniff test, may circle you, may take on some petting and back rubbing, but then go sit back and watch the stranger. If the Bull Terrier accepts you, get ready to get jumped on and body checked; don't worry, this is a sign of affection and acceptance. 

Patience is a Virtue... "Have Patience. All Things are Difficult Before They Become Easy" (Saadi)

Bull Terriers are extremely intelligent dogs, which can be interpreted as a stubborn and/or "bad" dog.  When they go to obedience school, they are commonly mistaken for Pit Bulls. And given the current unfortunate and unfair stereotype and treatment of Pit Bulls, the trainer may want to immediately muzzle them and treat them as if they are dangerous. This is counterproductive as the Bull Terrier will feed off of this energy. He does not want to be treated this way and will of course react as such. He can misbehave and be sent home. You just have to be patient with them...Bull Terriers are very smart and only need to be taught something a handful of times before catching on and making it a lifetime thing. 

So the key here with training your Bull Terrier is patience, time, and consistency.

Wrap it Up

Bull Terriers are not what they seem. Yes, they are magnificent, cool Spuds McKenzie, Chico, Patton, and Target Dogs. No, they are not naturally aggressive, mean, difficult, aloof, bad dogs.

A huge contributing factor of a Bull Terrier's attitude and behavior is their owner's treatment, behavior, and attitude towards them.

Most of the time, the main issue is not the dog itself, it's an issue with the human. This is not to bash humans in any way. We simply just may not know what our dog's behavior and actions are saying, or how to interact with them. We may misinterpret our dog's crouched position as relaxed and chill, when instead it is their hunting, ready to pounce position.

One of the best things to do is to try to understand your dog, learn more about how to read them, and go from there.


Subscribe to our Newsletter to receive Bull Terrier FAQ's, nutrition tips, exercise tips, training tips, and related content. We hate spam and promise to not spam you!


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published