The Bull Terrier is well known to most Canadians as “The Don Cherry Dog” or “Blue”. Their happy and clownish demeanour, as well as their unique look contribute to their attractiveness to potential Bull Terrier owners. It is important to familiarize yourself with the breeds’ characteristics before you decide to bring one of these egg heads into your life. Here you will find our summary of the common Bull Terrier behavior and temperament traits, health concerns, and information on Breed Specific Legislation.
Bull Terriers are happy, silly and lively characters. They are generally excited to meet new people and most are friendly with other dogs. Being a Terrier, most have high prey drives and therefore can be difficult with cats and small animals. They need strong leadership that is both consistent and firm, and often need convincing that there is something in it for them. Some will obey commands for love, but most need treats, these babies won’t work for free! As a very playful breed, they love to play with you or with their dog friends. However, the way a BT plays can be a little rough and can include loud growling, nipping, biting and bucking around. Because of this, we do not recommend them for homes with young children unless you have previous BT experience. It is also important to consider how the other resident dog(s) will react to this playing style if you are adding a BT as a second dog.
Bull Terriers are high energy, busy dogs. They are constantly on the move, looking for something to do or something to get into! They are easily bored and must remain physically and mentally stimulated in order to be a happy and balanced dog. They do best with an active family that enjoys including their Bull Terrier in their activities. They don’t enjoy being left alone for long periods of time and often become destructive when excluded from daily activities. A bored Bull Terrier can also develop compulsive habits such as tail chasing, spinning or barking. These are not the type of dogs that can go without daily stimulation, putting a Bull Terrier in a yard to run around will not suffice. These guys need long walks or jogs, games and different jobs to keep happy. They’re too smart to be left alone in a yard or kept inside all day, and the vast majority of BTs cannot be allowed left unsupervised in a yard or off leash. They love to run off to explore (even if it means jumping the fence, or ramming the gate) and without extensive training, have little to no recall. Another reason to not allow your BT off leash is because they have a tendency to eat anything they can fit in their mouth. They’ve been known to eat things that cause blockages in both their throat and intestines, as well as poisonous materials. This can lead to costly surgeries and even death. It is very important tosupervise your Bull Terrier because they are constantly in search of trouble to get into!
The most common health ailment within the breed is skin issues. Bull terriers, especially white ones, can be prone to skin allergies. We, at Ivy Roads believe that these allergies can be alleviated by feeding a species appropriate raw diet and through proper grooming care. For more information on raw feeding, please visit the nutrition section of our site. Other common ailments include kidney disease and failure, heart disease and Patella Luxation. Bull Terriers are also prone to a type of doggy OCD which can manifest itself in the form of incessant tail chasing or spinning. Please make sure to discuss these potential health problems with your veterinarian before adopting a Bull Terrier.
In Ontario, there is currently breed specific legislation (BSL) in place banning pit bulls, and all pit bull types. English Bull Terriers are not currently on the restricted list, however, some of us believe that may change one day. If another round of breeds are ever added to the legislation, we believe that Bull Terriers and Mastiffs are likely to be on that list. Proponents of BSL are pushing to add breeds to the banned list, and we have to be prepared for their efforts to become successful one day. We assume that if Bull Terriers and Mastiffs are one day banned that they will be under the same restrictions as Pit Bulls are today. This means that dogs that are registered with the city before the ban will be allowed to stay within the province, but with stipulations. The current stipulations for Pit Bulls include it being illegal for the dog to be outside without a muzzle, or to be outside off leash at any time. As one day you may have to deal with BSL against your newly adopted dog, it is important to take these possibilities into account when considering bringing one of these dogs into your home.
Even without Bull Terriers or Mastiffs being included in the current form of BSL in Ontario, there are still difficulties that potential owners may run into with their dogs. You may find it difficult to take your dog to a boarding facility or daycare. Many of these institutions that do not allow BTs or Mastiffs, PetSmart included, and some dog parks may not be BT or Mastiff friendly. It can cause issues when renting a home, or your neighbours may be afraid of them and choose to make your life difficult because of it.
Interested in fighting BSL? Please visit http://supporthersheysbill.com/ to find out what you can do to help.