Bull Terrier Character

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Bull Terrier Character – Kids in a dog suit

Bull Terrier Character - Mila jumping after a ball in our yard
That’s the Bull Terrier Character – Mila eagerly jumping after a ball in our yard

Bull Terriers are often referred to as “kids in a dog suit”. If you have lived with one of them for a while you will probably approve this saying.
These Dogs have a sweet and fun-loving disposition. They are energetic, agile and playful.
English Bull Terriers are intelligent and eager to learn. Some say they are “thinkers” and have to figure out things their own way.
This is why they are often considered harder to train than other dog breeds.
Also this facet of the Bull Terrier character may be the cause of their reputation as stubborn individuals.

Others say they are negotiators and the Bull Terrier character is to haggle your terms all the time.
Well, they sure like to develop their own strategies in life and can be pretty “innovative”, which is not welcomed by every owner.


Family friendly, but with consideration!

At the same time the Bull Terrier character is extremely friendly towards humans and they are great family dogs, especially for families with older kids.
However, because of their body mass and strength, I would not recommend them as companions for toddlers. I do not believe that a mentally healthy Bull Terrier will ever have anything bad in mind with a small kid.
The problem is that they usually are not fully aware of their strength. Yet a gawky attempt of a Bull Terrier to apologize for a situation gone wrong can be painful, even for adults. Now imagine that with a fragile old lady or a toddler.

Still, you will find a lot of images and videos on the internet, showing affectionate and real cute situations between babies or toddlers and a Bully.
Most of them also demonstrate how careful English Bull Terriers often are with smaller or weaker creatures – humans or animals.

But I always say “Better be safe than sorry”. The risk of misunderstandings is high. Therefore I would never leave a kid alone with ANY dog. Also I would teach my kid some basics about doggy character and behavior to prepare it for encounters with dogs of any breed.

Patience is also a key part of the Bull Terrier character – LOTS of patience. This and the high pain tolerance actually make the Bull Terrier a little bit more suitable in households with young kids than some toy breeds, for example.  Kids who are just lerning how to approach pets and handle them can be rough at times. A Bull Terrier can handle that without suffering a lot of harm or pain.

The Bull Terrier is also very courageous, when all other cards have been played and can be a good guardian dog for his owner. Bull Terriers are loyal, affectionate dogs and often  like to please their owners more than anything else – once they have given their heart to someone.

Poker Face?

Bull Terrier Character - Mila showing her pokerface
The Bull Terrier Character: Mila is showing off her best pokerface

Their facial expression seems hard to read to many people who are unfamiliar with the breed. To their owners on the other hand Bull Terriers offer such a variety of cute and funny facial expressions, especially around the eyes and mouth – it can melt your heart away.
Scientists claim that dogs do not have the facial muscles necessary to create a smile. I myself strongly believe that the Bull Terrier breeds are the only dogs able to smile. This is at least true for English Bull Terriers, Staffies and Pit Bull Terriers, but that’s just my personal impression. 🙂

Other dogs and animals

Bull Terriers are often not very interested in other dog breeds. Like with other breeds they can also be hostile to other dogs (mostly other breeds), which is why it is very wise to socialize a Bull Terrier as early as possible.
“NO cats” is almost a running gag you often find in the description when Bull Terriers are offered for adoption by shelters.
However, Fancy was always great with the cat of my mother in law. When my husband and I went on vacation she would stay with them every time and there would never be anything but harmony.
So, there are Bullys out there who actually like cats.

Among each other or with other Terrier breeds chances are best that they will make a great team.
They share the same agility and quirks, which is a good basis for lifelong friendship.

Read more on the next page about how the Bull Terrier Character thrives with education.

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Danika Walker
5 years ago

I recently rescued a 2yo Bull Terrier. We are having a hard time to get him to stop breaking things, we thought we had put everything that he could destroy away yet yesterday we came home to a destroyed hot water tank and a destroyed heat pump system (all stored outside of the house but attached to walls). As well as cloths coming off the line. Is there anyway that we can correct this destructive habit and how long does it usually take. We have been taking him to training classes as he doesnt know how to sit or stay or anything like that.

Thanks Danika

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