American Kennel Club is a great resource for information on the breed.The Bull Terrier History

There are two varieties of the Bull Terrier breed, the white and the colored. The breed dates back to about 1835. It is almost unanimously believed that it was established by mating a Bulldog to the now extinct white English Terrier. The results were known as the “bull and terrier.” Some few years later, to gain size, this dog was crossed with the Spanish Pointer, and even to this day evidence of Pointer inheritance is seen occasionally.

Then about the year 1860 fanciers decided that an entirely white dog would be more attractive, so James Hinks produced an all white one which was taken up enthusiastically by young bloods of the day as the most fashionable dog.

It was a dog for sportsmen in times when life in general was more strenuous and of rougher, coarser fiber – when dog fights were allowed and well attended. As fighting dog or “gladiator” of the canine world, such a dog had to be of great strength, agility, and courage. Withal, he was bred by gentlemen for gentlemen, for those who had a great sense of fair play, and who scorned the liar and the deceiver in any game. The dog was taught to defend himself and his master courageously, yet he was to seek or provoke a fight – and so the white variety became known as “the white cavalier,” a title which he bears with distinction to this day

Contrary to the opinion of those who do not know him, the Bull Terrier is an exceedingly friendly dog; he thrives on affection, yet is always ready for a fight and a frolic. The preference in this country is for a well-balanced animal, not freaky in any particular, but well put together, active, and agile – a gladiator of perfect form.

There is also the Colored Bull Terrier which, in accordance with its standard, must be any color other than white, or any color with white just so long as the white does not predominate. The “Colored” was voted a separate variety of Bull Terrier in 1936.


By T.J. Horner

In order to appreciate to the full every implication of the standard it is necessary to know a little about the background of a mixture of the old fashioned Bulldog, the White English Terrier (now extinct but resembling a Manchester Terrier in all but color), the Dalmatian and possibly one or two other breeds, with the Bulldog and Terrier characteristics predominating and still making their presence felt today.

We must thank the Bulldog for the Bull Terrier’s courage and determination, his substance and heavy bone, his barrel ribs and deep brisket, the strong jaws and the fine close coat. Also for the brindle, red, fawn, and fawn smut and the black and tan colourings and possibly for obedience. We must, however, blame the Bulldog for certain undesirable features of body, legs and feet that have bedeviled the Bull Terrier throughout his history; for the over-broad skull, undershot jaw, round eyes and also for the Dudley nose and other faults of pigmentation.

White English Terriers were refined Terriers which gave many points indicative of quality, the small dark eyes, neat ears, varminty expression, the clean outline, with straight legs and cat feet, tight shoulders, well bent stifles, low set hocks and the whip tails, together with agility, intelligence, and the pure white coat.

But from the Terrier the breed also derived a tendency for lightness of build, light bone and the excitability still sometimes encountered.

Conformation was improved by the use of the Dalmatian whose leggier type, good legs and feet and movement can still occasionally be recognized in the Bull Terriers of today. Here again there were disadvantages as no doubt the ticked coat came from this source and perhaps also the mild expressions still found in the breed.

Bull Terriers reminiscent of all these three types are still to be seen, all of them complying with the somewhat broadly based requirements of the Standard and all acceptable and useful for correcting exaggerations of type or deviations from the Standard. Thus the Bulldog type will give substance, the Terrier type will add quality and agility and the Dalmatian type improve conformation and movement. Excess of any of these types is undesirable, the ideal being a blend of the good points of all three.

Soundness as it refers to dogs has never been precisely defined. In Bull Terriers it refers to the general skeletal and muscular perfection as laid down in the Breed Standard.