Dog Breed profiles

Bull Terrier Breed Profile

Bull Terrier fact file

KC Group: Terrier
Size: Medium
There are no height or weight limits specified in the breed standard, but on average;
Height: 53 - 56cm
Weight: 23.5 - 28kg 
Average lifespan: 12 years
Temperament: Loyal and affectionate, but can be stubborn
Good with children?: Seek breeder advice
Exercise requirement: Moderate
Good guard dogs?: Yes
Moulting level: Low
Grooming: Little
Colours: White, black, brindle, red, and tricoloured 
Jogging partner: Short runs


Bull Terriers are relatively hardy. However, they have been known to suffer from:

  • Kidney disease.
  • Heart disease.
  • Skin problems.
  • Deafness, particularly in white dogs.

Health tests

It is strongly recommended that parent dogs are heart tested, kidney tested, and BAER (brain auditory evoked response) tested — an electronic hearing test which can be carried out from five weeks old. A breeder should be able to provide documentation proving that this has been done. It is advised that you do not buy from a breeder who can’t do this.


  • A unique character who loves to act the clown.
  • Has a great sense of humour — and you’ll need one too.
  • Determined and stubborn.


  • The Bull Terrier is adaptable and will be happy with whatever exercise you can offer.
  • Can get on well with children if brought up around them. However, he is a strong and powerful breed and must be taught to respect others. Any show of dominance should be checked before his sheer bulk becomes a problem.
  • Despite his hardy appearance he doesn’t do well outdoors and would much rather live inside with his family.
  • Remember that he is a terrier and may not always be tolerant of other animals. If a Bull Terrier is challenged he will not back down.
  • He shouldn’t be left alone for long periods. A bored Bull Terrier will occupy himself in ways that may not please you.
  • You will need strong and secure fencing in your garden as the Bull Terrier is a regular Houdini.


  • Lead training is essential.
  • The Bull Terrier has a mind of his own and a well-developed stubborn streak.
  • You need to be willing to put time into training right from day one.
  • Keep training sessions fun and interesting as he will become bored easily.
  • Like an elephant, he will never forget — bad habits as well as good.

General care

  • The Bull Terrier has a short, harsh coat which needs minimal brushing.
  • That short coat, however, means that he also needs warmth and comfort.
  • He can be prone to bed sores so his bed needs to be soft and supportive.
  • Watch his weight — he will happily become a couch potato if you let him.
  • He loves attention and will demand it. Do not pander to him — he needs to know his place in the family pecking order.
  • The Bull Terrier is a notorious chewer and will chew anything. Make sure that he has plenty of specialist hard-wearing toys or you can say goodbye to your furniture, and hello to a trip to the vet’s because he’s swallowed something he shouldn’t.


  • Minimal grooming.
  • Good temperament.
  • Adaptable.


  • Stubborn — can make training difficult.
  • Deafness is known in the breed.

Did you know?

  • The Bull Terrier hasn’t always had erect ears — his ancestors’ ears dropped forward.
  • Bull Terrier Abraxas Audacity won Best in Show at Crufts in 1972.
  • The breed was developed in the 1800s by crossing the Bulldog with the now extinct White English Terrier.