Is a Bull Terrier for you

About the Bull Terrier:

The Bull Terrier first appeared in it's present form at a Birmingham show in May 1862. It was shown by a James Hinks, a dog dealer, who is generally accepted as one of the original breeders of the Bull Terrier and whose family has been associated with Bull Terriers until the present day. Previous to this the "Bull and Terrier", as it was then known, was a different kind of animal, bred for fighting and derived from the terrier and the bulldog with many of the latter's coarse characteristics. This old type continued to be bred, although taking a different path to the present day Bull Terrier, and in 1935 was accepted by the Kennel Club as a different breed known as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. The "new” Bull Terrier gained in popularity and in 1887, after several attempts, The Bull Terrier Club, the oldest and largest Bull Terrier Club in the world, was formed. At this time the breed consisted mainly of white specimens, the coloureds generally being of the old type. Shortly after the 20th Century commenced, determined and subsequently successful efforts were made to breed coloured Bull Terriers and today the coloured and white are one breed. The progeny of white parents are always white, although these can and often do have head markings; the progeny of a white and coloured, or two coloured parents can be white or coloured. The prime colours consist of brindle, red and tri-colour (black, white and tan) and varying shades between.

By selective breeding most of the old fighting spirit has now been bred out although serious thought and consideration must be given to this point. Although exceptionally good with adults and children of all ages, the Bull Terrier should not be completely trusted with other animals and situations that could lead to trouble should be avoided. Squabbles over bones, harmless in many breeds, could be far more serious when a Bull Terrier is involved.

Ease of training is not a trait of the Bull Terrier, quite the contrary. They are like naughty children and appear to enjoy upsetting their owners, although most owners quickly forgive them. Their apology in the form of an apologetic and shy smile does wonders for an escalated blood pressure!

The circumstance of the husband and wife both working is really not suitable to a Bull Terrier puppy. They need care, in feeding and in attention. The puppy that is left on its own will chew, and they chew hard. Tiles, pipes, wall, doors disintegrate under attack from a Bull Terrier puppy and added to the damage caused is the very real danger of a blockage, followed by an operation, and sadly, often death. Another consideration is the damage caused to the puppy's temperament by boredom.

An adult will often fit in to a working household routine and adjust its sleeping habits to correspond with its owner's absence, even so being left all the day is not desirable. Items left carelessly on the floor are always a temptation to any dog and Bull Terriers are no exception. The plastic toy when swallowed is not discernible under X-Ray and is the cause of many dog deaths and the responsibility must rest with the owner.

A Bull Terrier must have training and even the laziest owner will need to complete some schedule. Obviously house training in a puppy is a must. A "dirty" and rapidly growing puppy will cause friction in any household and the sooner the newcomer adopts good social habits the better. It is not a good idea to shut them out and leave them for long periods. That will teach them nothing. Take them out and praise them when they oblige. Putting them out first thing in the morning means just that, first thing, and not after the kettle has been put on.

Lead training is essential; taking any untrained dog on a lead is hard work, very hard work and dogs should not be allowed off the lead in public places. If there is a mishap the law considers a dog not on a lead is not under the owner's control. It is also not advisable to allow children under 16 to be in control of a Bull Terrier in a public place. Even when the dog is on a lead owner’s must take care. Even "trained" Bull Terriers on a lead can do harm through their owner’s carelessness in not anticipating dangers.

Exercise needs will vary from dog to dog, some enjoy unlimited walking whilst others will satisfy their needs within the confines of the house. Generally they will fit in with their owner’s habits - human companionship is what they are really after.

The law requires that a dog must be under control and the owner is responsible for its actions. Wise owners will insure against third party risks. Some household policies may incorporate this type of cover at a little, or even no extra charge, and most veterinary insurance automatically include it, but this should always be checked with the insurers to be certain.

Most important is to have a securely fenced garden of at least 4ft. high preferably 6ft or more!. This is essential. A thin lap wood fencing is of no use at all. Bull Terriers have been known to go straight through this when in pursuit of a cat or just to see if the grass is greener! Prospective owners must be honest when obtaining a Bull Terrier; if their garden is not well fenced or has weak spots Bull Terriers will wander. There is danger that may not be recovered and often they come to harm. They may even cause damage, and injury or death to other animals. Whatever happens, it is the fault and responsibility of the owner. Generally, puppies reared with cats will live well together with them, even adult Bull Terriers can often be gently moved in to live with cats, but the "cat hater" will kill cats. It is generally not suitable to have a Bull Terrier of the same sex as a dog already in residence. Despite an excellent temperament of the sitting tenant they may sooner or later fight and providing they both survive one will need a new home, very upsetting for all concerned. Bull Terriers of the opposite sex will usually fit in quite well, but there can be exceptions and one must be aware of the need to guard against unwanted litters. It is wise to have facilities available to keep the two dogs separated when the owners are out. One should never leave two dogs together unsupervised.

A Bull Terrier should be good-natured, loving to all humans, tolerant of abuse to a point of stupidity, and although never completely trusted with other animals should be of a fairly even disposition towards them. Unfortunately Bull Terriers are a dominant breed and it is essential that they learn that they are the bottom of the family pecking order. Kindness and love should be tempered with discipline and control. There should be no need to go through ownership of a Bull Terrier with an iron fist, as if they transgress most will respond to a disapproving word, a tap on the table, or the rattle of a newspaper.

So you still think you want a Bull Terrier.....

Can You Afford It?

A puppy… The Trust does not get young puppies, you would need to obtain one from a breeder— but consider… for a healthy well-reared Bull Terrier puppy you should be prepared to pay anything between £700 and £900 There will also be the cost of vaccination and microchipping.

Food for a puppy will cost you at least £2.50 per day (although less when your dog is fully grown), and you should allow for veterinary expenses, including annual vaccination boosters. The cost of veterinary fees is very high and medical insurance is advised—but either way it can be expensive. Young adventurous Bull Terriers may cause damage in the home, especially during teething— it can all be expensive and frustrating.

If you can still afford it, there will also be the occasional holiday without beloved Bully. Boarding in reliable kennels cannot be cheap, allow between £9.00 & £14.00 per day.

An adult… A Welfare Bull Terrier costs a donation to the Trust of £150-300. We aim to vaccinate, microchip and neuter all of the dogs entering our care, but we cannot guarantee that all will have been done. We have as much remedial veterinary attention completed as we can, and you would certainly be advised of any known conditions, but there may be some veterinary attention still needed and sadly veterinary costs are an essential part of dog ownership.

Have You The Patience?

This breed can be so trying, especially after a busy day at work, or when the dog rushes in putting mud all over the new carpet. Or jumps and grabs great aunt's wig and, shaking it to pieces, then runs with fiendish glee into the compost heap! Or when it knocks your four-year-old child into the mud just as she is ready for that first big party. A puppy is worse, and in addition you also have the puppy traits to go through.

Have You The Temperament?

The Bull Terrier is very strong-willed and sensitive but requires firm but quiet handling. Not averse to fighting with other dogs, they must be kept under control at all times. It is a breed that thrives in an environment that is loving, well disciplined, and placid.

Does All The Family Want A Dog?

Too often Mum gets pushed into having the dog in order to please the rest of the family - and then when the novelty has worn off she is the only member of the family who is prepared to provide all the care! You must ALL want a Bull Terrier, puppy or adult, and be prepared to convince the Trust or the breeder that this is the truth.

Will You Be A Responsible Owner?

An adult Bull Terrier is strong and vigorous and can be intimidating to strangers. They should never be allowed to run wild, terrorizing other dogs and their owners. As with any breed of dog, they must not be allowed to annoy or inconvenience others. It is not given to all to be dog owners and to even less to enjoy the love and ownership of a Bull Terrier.


Only get a Bull Terrier after considering all the facts. Getting any dog is an important decision that should not be taken on impulse. Deciding to get a Bull Terrier can be the high point of your life. If you want a quieter and less eventful life you should consider a breed other than a Bull Terrier.

If you decide on a puppy:

Select your breeder as best you are able, the Kennel Club can give you a list of breeders who have recently registered puppies, or it is obtainable on their website. They do make the point- frequently missed by keen buyers- that this is merely a list of persons who have registered puppies, and not that they are specifically recommending them.

You should be seeing healthy, happy, well-adjusted puppies and deciding that the breeder's response to your questions gives you a feeling of confidence and trust. No purchase should be made without trust.

The breeder should be able to assess whether you really can manage this strong breed. Don't be surprised if he seems to try and dissuade you and stresses the disadvantages rather than the advantages. Above all the breeder will want to feel that he can trust you with a puppy on which they have spent much loving care and probably years devoted to dedicated breeding and learning.

Don't decide during this first visit. Go home and discuss it. Only when you are really sure, telephone and tell the breeder what you would like to do. Be prepared for the breeder to have an alternative view and not want to sell you a puppy. Think very carefully before going to another breeder if this should be the case. Do be prepared to wait. Puppies don't come to order and it is always worth waiting for a healthy well adjusted puppy from a reputable breeder.

If you decide on a Welfare Bull Terrier:

When you have read through this information and considered the implications carefully, if you still want to pursue offering a Bull Terrier a home please complete the online Application Form or contact Tracey Fletcher 01246 853941 to have one posted to you. When you think she will have received your application form, please phone her to discuss the matter further. You will be asked a number of questions and please answer honestly. Do not consider a dog unless your circumstances are unlikely to change. For instance it is not a good idea to take a dog because you are unemployed and have plenty of time- circumstances change. If you pass this stage and we have a dog that seems suitable we may direct you to our kennels, or perhaps to another rescue kennel such as Battersea or the RSPCA, or even to a private home. You will always have the option of waiting until we have a suitable dog in our own kennels. It is important to be aware that dogs obtained from any source other than our own kennels will not be assessed by us. It will be no good asking us to later adjudicate in any dispute. Be sure before you take the dog and do not pay the owner money.

If you get your Bull Terrier realise that your life will never be the same again and that no other breed of dog can compare. This is a special breed for very special people.

Apply to adopt a Welfare Bull Terrier here. 

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