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Bull Terrier

Bull Terrier



Bred from crosses of the bull-baiters and the now extinct English White Terrier, with a bit of Dalmatian, the Bull Terrier remains the closest to the original bull-and-terrier breeds. Size, color and head shape were in great variance during its development, and some authorities believe Pointers, Greyhounds and Whippets added their influence. The fighting dogs showed their prowess in the pits, with survivors continuing the fray—this time for ribbons—in the show ring, proudly bearing their battle scars.
Englishman James Hinks first standardized the breed, in the early 1850s, selecting for white color, gameness and the unique egg-shaped head. After type was fixed, the colored variety was added. Ears were originally cropped. Bull Terrier admirers formed a club in England in 1887, with Americans following in 1907.
Bull Terriers were rated by Colonel James Y. Baldwin, Commandant of the War Dogs Training Establishment, as the third most suitable breed in wartime achievements. General George Patton had a Bull Terrier, "Willie," as a companion and a mascot for his troops. One also followed President Theodore Roosevelt around the White House.
The Bull Terrier of today, although still strong and agile, is peaceful and tractable. Stories abound of famed pit-fighting dogs avoiding a confrontation when not "at work." One title-holder actually turned tail and headed for home when challenged by a street-tough cur, which was obviously beneath the champ's ability. Another, losing patience with a defiant Pekingese, picked up the annoyance and dropped it in a waste basket. Bred to defend himself and his human family but not to instigate hostility, he became known as the "white cavalier."
In 1895, when cropping was outlawed, the Bull Terrier suffered a setback while breeders attempted to obtain the required upright ears without losing other qualities. Naturally erect ears have now been fixed, along with his tiny triangular eyes, giving him a determined but jaunty air. His one-of-a-kind designer head adds to his distinctive appearance, which people seem to find variously exquisite or homely.
BTs are superb athletes, always eager for a game of ball or frisbee. As puppies, this bounding energy combined with amazing strength often makes them rowdy and in need of a firm hand. Their clowning antics have made them a subject of cartoonists and commercials. Like the AmStaff, the Bull Terriers are wonderful people dogs and long-suffering with children. (This, of course, does not mean abuse, but normal, active, clumsy behavior.) Today's Bull Terriers have been out of the pits for many years and most will tolerate family cats and dogs.




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