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Bull Terrier

Tags: terrier, Small-sized, High energy level, Adaptable to apartment life, Kid-friendly, Protective guardian, Challenging for first-time owners, Requires firm, dedicated training

The way you see us now -- stocky white dogs with egg-shaped heads, triangular eyes and a "Let's play!" grin -- goes back to mid-1800s England and a breeder named James Hinks. Bull-and-terrier dogs were popular for vermin control and (I'm embarrassed to say) blood sports like dog fighting. Mr. Hinks' contribution was crossing English White Terrier with those fighting dogs. The white thing worked -- we were called White Cavaliers for a while -- but these days we'd rather play than fight. The AKC, which recognized us in 1885, says the "clownish" Bull Terrier has the demeanor of "a three-year-old child in a dog suit." These days we'll take any compliment we can get.

Rave review

  • Adaptable to apartment life -- with ample exercise
  • Affectionate, devoted family friend
  • Agile and active
  • Always alert
  • Born to run, happy to walk
  • Busy is better than bored
  • Confident and self-assured
  • Courageous canine
  • Energizer doggie
  • Even-tempered, good-natured

Report card

  • Intelligent and ready to learn
  • Loves kids and vice-versa
  • Novice owners might be challenged with this breed
  • One owner/family-oriented
  • Perfect protector
  • Playful pal
  • Pleased to please
  • Ready to romp
  • Socialization and training must start early
  • Spirited
  • Steadfast and strong
  • Stubborn streak
  • Sweet disposition
  • Training must be firm, patient, consistent
  • Wary of strangers
  • Willing watchdog

What to expect

I need you to understand my boundless love of children (and how could they not love to play with me?) and always be there to supervise our romps. Please don't let me get too over-stimulated and carried away. I'll be on my best behavior if my training and socialization are started early. I'm happy to follow the rules, but you have to be consistent, firm and patient.

Watch for

As many as 20 percent of white Bull Terriers are deaf at birth. There is also some chance of umbilical cord hernias and skin disorders.

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