5 Things to Know About Bull Terriers

Bull Terriers are fun, energetic dogs with goofy personalities and an unmistakable appearance. Find out more about this unique breed in our profile.

bull terrier breed profile
Bull Terriers have a lot of energy. Photo: Petful
AKC GroupAKC Group
50-70 lbs.
21-22 in.
Life ExpectancyLife Span
10-14 years

1. Key Characteristics of Bull Terriers

A Bull Terrier’s appearance is unmistakable: The egg-shaped head, small almond-shaped eyes and elongated muzzle are immediately noticeable on this medium-sized, muscular breed.

The short, flat coat is white or variable in colors and markings that include white, black, tan, brindle, red, fawn or a combination of these.

2. Where Bull Terriers Come From

Bulldogs were crossed with terriers in the 1800s to combine determination, courage, agility and intensity.

Englishman James Hinks refined the breed in the early 1860s to be consistent in type and color. The dogs sported white coats and were often referred to as White Cavaliers.

Bull Terriers became popular as pets and competitive show dogs, and their exportation led to the Bull Terrier Club of America being formed in 1897. The American Kennel Club (AKC) included the breed in its registry in 1885.

bull terrier breed profile
Bull Terriers are known as affectionate dogs. Photo: commitment_coaching

3. How Friendly Are Bull Terriers?

Socialization and exercise are necessary to expel energy and allow your Bull Terrier to safely interact with other dogs. Unaltered males should not share a home because of their eventual need to dominate the other dog.

Bull Terriers can be energetic and difficult to train, so families with young children beware. They are not recommended for households with non-canine pets.

On the other hand, Bull Terriers are known as friendly, affectionate, sweet and loyal pets, and they can become quite attached to their humans. They’re also considered clowns — you’ll find yours acting goofy at times.

They’re not guard dogs but can be watchful.

And don’t leave your Bull Terrier alone for long periods of time — they’re not typically dogs who can stay home all day while you’re at work.

4. Is This the Right Dog for You?

Exercise Needs


HIGH: Exercise is needed daily for this breed. Bull Terriers are energetic and need to expel energy. Without regular exercise, they can become overweight, lazy, destructive or stubborn.

Grooming Needs


LOW: The short coat means a weekly brush is sufficient. Bathe your Bull Terrier simply as needed.

These dogs shed an average amount, and they’ll shed their coat twice a year on average.

Perform additional grooming for your Bull Terrier’s nails, teeth and ears regularly.

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Health Problems


MEDIUM: Generally a healthy breed, the Bull Terrier does see certain common conditions:

Other conditions that may arise include:

  • Heart defects
  • Acne
  • Kidney failure
  • Zinc deficiency

More Stats About Bull Terriers

Friendliness ★★★★★
Ease of Training ★★★★★
Barking/Howling ★☆☆☆☆
Shedding ★★★☆☆
Tolerate Being Alone ★★☆☆☆
Very Good With Kids ★★★★★

Learn a little more about the history of these distinctive-looking dogs in this video:

YouTube player

5. How to Adopt a Bull Terrier

Considering getting a Bull Terrier? Start with adoption and rescue resources. Check out our free adoptable pet search.

If you go to a breeder, make sure they’re reputable and responsible so you don’t end up supporting a puppy mill without realizing it.