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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 owners 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. 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! 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.