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Questions about Bull Terriers

Discussion in 'Bull Terrier' started by Michiyo-Fir, Jul 10, 2015.

  1. Michiyo-Fir

    Michiyo-Fir Puppy

    We're not getting another dog anytime soon but Bull Terriers have piqued our interest. They just seem so hilarious and have such a love of life plus the energy to match! We've only met a very few bull terriers and would love to know more about them to see if they fit our household. We have lots of dog experience and experience with high energy breeds but usually with very handler oriented and soft dogs (border collies, shepherd mixes, labs, papillons) so we want more info about bull terriers.

    But, being unable to find a breeder in my area, I'd love for you guys to tell me about them. Also breeder suggestions welcome (PM if you want)! I'm located in BC, Canada.

    1. What are their temperament like?

    2. Dog reactivity/aggression?

    3. Health?

    4. Exercise requirements? Energy? Endurance?

    5. Off leash reliability with training?

    6. Toy drive/food drive?

    7. Prey drive?

    8. Sports they excel at?

    9. Heat/cold tolerance?

    10. Mental stability? Nerves? Ability to adapt to new situations?

    11. Sensitive to sound/motion?

    12. Any interesting information/accounts/stories? Tell me about your bull terriers (show me pictures too!)
     
  2. _unoriginal

    _unoriginal Cow Dog

    Hi and welcome to PBC!

    I don't have much experience with BTs so I can't really advise regarding most of your questions but I can say this. Being that a BT is part of the bull breed group, it's a safe bet that some degree of dog aggression would exist so it's important to be vigilant with the BT is associating with other dogs. The time could come that he needs to be permanently separated from other dogs. This is not to say that you did something wrong in rearing or training, just simply his genetics getting the best of him.

    One of our super mods has BTs and is very knowledgeable. Give her a couple of days but I'm sure she'll be in to give you ALL of your requested info.

    In the meantime, check out some older threads that talk in more detail about the breed.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2015
  3. CallSignOWL

    CallSignOWL Good Dog

    :insanity:
     
  4. xchairity_casex

    xchairity_casex Good Dog

    Hello! Welcome to the fourm!
    I have been a lover of Bull Terriers ever since I was a kid and have owned several.

    Where are you located? I know plenty of great breeders all over the US/UK and Canada so i might be able to point you in the right direction to finding a good breeder who does proper health testing and actually gives a damn about there dogs.


    So, to answer your questions!

    #1. Bull Terrier's are generally good natured dogs, they thrive on human contact and are NOT a breed who is willing to be ignored for more then a second! They are not a breed to be put out in the back yard for hours on end while you are inside, they glue themselves to there humans.
    They are family dogs and get on with everyone in the household- deff not loyal to one single person!
    They are very smart and need a lot of outlets for their intelligence be it fun games to play or family activities, whatever so long as it is with their person.
    They are silly,silly,silly and you will never come across another breed like them.
    They have no concept of personal space and truly are more human like they dog like. All of my Bull Terrier's have always seen themselves as just another human in the family and see's no reason to be treated like a dog. They have a sense of entitlement, but not in a spiteful way, but more like a toddler who can't understand why they are also not invited to their older siblings sleep over.
    They prefer to ask forgiveness then permission and are never 100% reliable because they are independent thinkers and do-ers.
    They can be thee most frustrating dog you'll ever meet and you really need to have a good sense of humor because they will never stop testing your patience, getting into the trash while you laugh because they WANT to make you keep laughing.
    Do not underestimate a Bull Terrier when they do something silly, they know that if your laughing- they are off the hook and if they keep you laughing, they can do all sorts of naughty things!

    #2. With Bull Terrier's there is a 50/50 chance yours will end up Dog aggressive and an even higher chance of showing some aggression towards another dog without being specifically dog aggressive. They are more of a people dog and are more then contented spending there lives with people, acting like they themselves are a person and entitled to doing all the things every other family member is able to do. They are stubborn and have a short fuse when it comes to tolerating other dogs, with humans the fuse can be endless (CAN-does not mean should be forced to)
    They dislike pushy dogs or domineering dogs or hyper dogs or little dogs who yap at them, or dogs who start fights. Bull Terriers are amazing as they do their best to avoid fighting other dogs and try to avoid a situation, but if another dog persists for more then a few minutes without backing off and taking the hint- it is ON and the Bull Terrier will give it all they got and fight to the death if they have to. So make SURE you NEVER, EVER allow an unmannered or domineering or yappy dog persist in bothering a Bull Terrier or else you may end up with a seriously injured dog on your hands- and most likely it'll be the other guy.


    #3. Bull Terrier's are not an unhealthy bred, but they are also not the most healthy either.
    The most common (and most difficult to care for) are allergies. Bull Terriers have sensitive skin to bug bites, grain,sugars, chemicals, or even dirt/grass.
    and allergy symptoms are many.
    Your dog could have hives, bald patches, foot licking/chewing, lumps, swellings, chronic ear infections, dry skin, dry eyes, bad breathe, yeasty skin, stinky skin,excessive shedding,ect.
    a GOOD diet is beneficial and Most breeders/owners end up with a raw diet at some point or another, or so it seems.

    Bull Terrier's also suffer from OCD behaviors that exhibit themselves in less obvious ways, compulsive spinning the most obvious, but things like pacing through the house, excessive foot licking, toy sucking, etc can all be symptoms. Though most Bull Terrier's OCD is not an issue and rarely gets out of hand, but some times it can become so persistent the dog causes damage to themselves or does nothing BUT the behavior. But again, that is pretty rare if you buy from a reputable breeder.
    They also suffer from kidney problems, hip problems and heart problems. also can be prone to deafness if you buy from a poor breeder who does not do BAER testing.
    They also have the tendency to EAT things they should not causing life threatening intestinal blockages, ALL Bull Terriers WILL eat something inedible. keeping peroxide and protocol on hand is a MUST with this breed as well as supervising with all toys. they will eat socks or metal or rocks or plastic. I have to make my dog throw something up at least a dozen times per year. You might think they have the common sense to not eat something- and you'd be wrong.
    My male's father LOVED eating lit ciggerettes if he was able to get them.
    I once found a whole plastic grocery bag pooped out in the yard- no holes he had eaten it whole without my noticing, I got lucky it came out in one piece!
    My girl Chimera as a puppy ate a metal screen for the window-ate it, I found tiny metal bits in her feces for weeks afterward, I was so afraid she was going to end up needing surgery, but again- I WAS LUCKY.

    #4. Bull Terrier's really come in two types IMO the Terrier type personality and the Bull type personality.
    Terrier type personalities are high strung, hyper dogs. the Bull type personalities are high energy till about the age of sexual maturity (about 2-3 years) before turning into couch potatos.

    Cesar my male is a couch potato, as a youngster we would take 2-6 hour per day walks off lead through the woods. he was happy, I was tired, but happy.
    now at the age of 5 years he goes for a 2 hour walk and is happy for the day, we miss a day and he is happy to cuddle on the couch.

    my female Chimera was all terrier, on top of the 2-6 hour a day walk, she had her treadmill which she loved, 2 hours every morning before our walks.
    after a 5 hour walk we would come home, she would eat, nap for an hour then be ready to go again, so I worked with her flirt pole, spring pole, swimming, jumping,etc. she would of ran herself to death on that treadmill if left alone.

    But a good idea for exercise would be to do just play sessions and simply lead training in the yard till 6 months, then go on short walks around the block daily till 1 year old then you can up the walking/exercise to about 2 hours a day, if you find they need more, add an extra hour or 2.
    Endurance is not there strong point when running, they can only run in short spurts before becoming frothy or just plain exhausted.

    #5. MOST people will tell you that because Bull Terriers are difficult to train and tend to have short attention spans that being off-lead at all is a big NO NO.
    HOWEVER, I have found many Bull Terrier's to be very good off-lead so long as you are not around many distractions such as on a heavily used walking trail or around other people, kids or dogs.

    Bull Terriers like being with people to much to really just take off through the woods to follow a scent, though a furry critter is another matter entirely.
    But I have never had any problems letting my dogs off-lead in a secluded area.
    But get them in an area with people, and all training goes out the window because they HAVE to say hello to everyone and they really would go off with a stranger and be dog napped no problem, they would happily jump into a strangers car if called to do so- food or no, the simple promise of a cuddle is enough for them.
    Working with them to ignore wildlife can be pretty easy (or so ive found) even my terrier girl was more hooked on her ball then some ole squirrel and would rarely wander off more then a few feet off the trail. but it DID take A LOT of training, so be prepaired to train like crazy in a positive way.

    #6. Each dog is different, some LOVE toys, some could care less. some LOVE food, some could care less. Cesar is a chow hound on his own- but around new friends he could care less if I were putting some steak into his mouth, he would ignore me.
    I suggest the book "When pigs fly" by Jane Killion, she talks about using things other then the norm like food or toys to renforce behaviors, such as play or swimming or activities, which is somthing I had to do to train Cesar.
    he got bored of things quickly, he would be interested in a new treat once then ignore it, a toy once then ignore it, so I always kept an arsenal in my pouch while out and about walking. I kept a whistle, a clicker, treats of different types, a cat toy that sounded like a chirping mouse, a plain squeeker I cut from a toy, a scarf he liked to tug, a tennis ball and even then those things would often fail after only once or twice and then I would have to come up with somthing else on the spot to ignore a barking dog or a crying child. Most often the best thing for him was if I sat on the ground and lowered my head, he would always see what I was doing.
    So remember when working with one- they have short attention spans, HATE to work for anything other then what THEY want (which is always changing) and see no reason to work for you unless you give them a good enough reason that YOU are more interesting to work for then to say- cuddles from a new friend.

    #7. Bull Terriers do have a high prey drive- being terriers, but more commonly they are driven more by sounds then motion (though they still go after motion)
    Many people are puzzled when there Bull Terrier's begin screaming, spinning, flailing over the sound of the phone ringing or the window being slid open. They might body slam you when you suck air in too loudly then spin in circles all crazily.
    They might bark and attack a child's toy gun that makes firing noises. You need to get them to focus and teach them to ignore sounds.

    Cesar will STILL go crazy if he hears me tap my rings on metal, even quietly, he will scream and scream and scream and then do some yodeling till I stop him.

    #8. It's difficult to say as not many people compete with Bull Terriers in many sports- mostly due to there stubborness and lack of motivation in some instances.
    But I know a few people compete in weight pull, agility, fly ball, barn hunting, and shutzhund.
    Are they excelling? I really have no clue LOL!

    #9. They really do not do well in extremes either hot or cold, they have a distaste for bad weather like rain or snow and over heat quickly.

    #10.Mental stability is iffy, mostly because they are quirky and are not your typically minded dog. They do have very human like emotions and throw tantrums quickly and easily like a child, and although people say "dogs don't feel anger" I say "You have never seen a Bull Terrier who was teased!"
    They are very much like dealing with a bratty toddler some times, they are rarely shy and are very confident dogs, but they Do want things to go THEIR way or no way at all.
    But, if treated with respect and patience and not anger or violence (they are a breed who is NOT afraid to fight you back) then they can listen very well and do very well.
    My little girl Chimera would have made the most amazing working dog. she was a workaholic, she could pick up and repeat behaviors after being reinforced 5 times with a clicker and would even go out of her way to repeat the behavior without being asked or prompt.
    for example, I taught her to jump a wall that was a foot taller then her by throwing her ball (her ball was her obsession)
    she would bring it back I threw it over the wall again, she brought it back, threw it again, 5th time I moved the wall 6 feet away, then threw the ball where the wall had been, instead of following the ball straight, she went out of her way to jump the wall I had moved and did so again upon bringing the ball back to me.

    another example was biting and holding the flirt pole, when I said it was "mine" that meant to release and ignore till given the okay. I used nothing but the game itself to reinforce her behavior- we only play when she is following my instruction, game stops when she does not listen.
    after 20 minutes she learned the term "mine" as release and ignore and "OK!" as to begin again
    Correctly motivate and trained with respect they are very quick to pick up behaviors and do them very well.

    #11. see number 7


    As an example however, when I mention Bull Terriers are never 100% reliable, as smart as Chimera was and as much as i worked with her on a daily basis training her that she was NEVER to go out open doors unless invited, working with her daily from the time she was 9 weeks old. just before her second birthday, she ignored the advice in my moms care and squeezed out a semi-open door between my moms legs, got into the highway to cross the highway t play with a childs ball and was hit and killed.
    So even if you THINK your dog is 100%, they never will be.


    I am sure I have given plenty of stories and accounts of my own! If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!

    Pictures:
    Cesar
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    Chimera
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  5. _unoriginal

    _unoriginal Cow Dog

    ^ PERFECT!

    That kind of detail is what I was counting on with my post.
     
  6. xchairity_casex

    xchairity_casex Good Dog

    Can always count on me to write a novel about Bull Terrier's in my posts :lol:
     
  7. Michiyo-Fir

    Michiyo-Fir Puppy

    Thank you for the responses and pictures!

    To be honest, they sound like they may not fit our home after all.

    We've always had extremely biddable and soft dogs that basically are devoted completely to us. My Papillon practically melts if you just give her a hard stare.

    I really loved that the bull terriers I've met are so rough and tumble and hands (paws?) on with everything. So unlike most of the dogs I've had where they very much want their personal space to be respected by other dogs.

    However, I'm quite scared of the never 100% reliable stories since going on a lot of off leash hikes, hanging out in the park and chilling out (without being disruptive or getting into trouble) is a must for our household.

    I'm located in BC, Canada. Do you have any breeder suggestions so I can meet and get to know more about these dogs and see them in action?
     
  8. xchairity_casex

    xchairity_casex Good Dog

    Sent a PM with a couple names for you!
     

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