The “New Bull Terrier” first appeared in its present form at a Birmingham show in May 1862. It was shown by James Hinks, a dog dealer, who is generally accepted as the original breeder of the Bull Terrier, whose family has been associated with Bull Terriers until the present day.
Hinks would no doubt have used many breeds and types of dog in his quest to breed his "Gentleman’s Companion", but it seems likely that the Bulldog, the (now extinct) English White Terrier, and the Dalmatian were the main contributors. His preference was for a white animal and it seems that the dog fancy of that time were in agreement, as his "White Cavalier" quickly gained popularity, and was successful at the early dog shows which were rapidly becoming popular at that time.
The “New Bull Terrier” gained in popularity and in 1887, after several attempts, The Bull Terrier Club was formed. At this time the breed consisted mainly of white specimens, the coloured generally being of a different type. Shortly after the 20th Century commenced, determined and successful efforts were made to breed coloured Bull Terriers, today the coloured and white are one breed.
The children of white parents are always white, although these can and often do, have head markings; the offspring of a white+coloured parent can be white and/or coloured. The prime colours consist of brindle, red and tri-colour (black, white & tan and black, tan & white) with various shades between these.
The only Bull Terrier to ever Win at Crufts was CH. Abraxus Audacity.
Through many years of careful breeding, today's Bull Terriers are playful, fun loving, clownish and sensitive dogs but muscular and forceful and typically display spurts of high energy. Bull Terriers crave companionship and are happiest with active families whether it be involved in a vigorous game or curled up beside a family member on the sofa. Bullies greet strangers enthusiastically often jumping up and given the opportunity many will indulge in face kissing. They are strong willed, stubborn and require persistent, firm but fun and fond training.
Once an owner of one of these medium sized dogs people are generally ‘hooked for life’. Bullies are found in a variety of colours; white or white with head, ear or eye markings. Brindle, black brindle, Tri colour, red and fawn dogs typically with white muzzle, front and socks, which are referred to as ‘coloureds’ and coloured Bull Terriers with little or no white markings, which are known as ‘solids’.
Bull terriers are sometimes deaf in just one ear & are referred to as "unilaterally deaf", unilaterals make perfectly good pets and often it is difficult to even recognise that the animal as a problem, however a telltale sign is that it may run in the wrong direction when called, although this is not always the case as the dog will soon educate itself to tell where sounds are coming from, many have lived long and happy lives without their owners even knowing, all this being said they should not be bred from as they can produce either totally or partially deaf puppies.
Totally deaf puppies are a different matter altogether and many things must be considered before taking a deaf puppy on, although many have lived very good lives and their owners love them dearly, a breeder should not knowingly sell you a deaf puppy and if you did decide to own one you should be made fully aware of future problems. Luckily however it is now possible to test both adult and puppies, this is called B.A.E.R testing, it is a very simple electrical test and there are many centres in The UK carrying this out.
Kidney disease in The Bull terrier has been recognised as a problem for many years, it can appear at any time in a dogs life and will often result in an early and very distressing death for the dog, once a dog is diagnosed as having Kidney disease, there is no cure, special diets may help a little. The mode of inheritance of Kidney disease is not yet fully understood, however there is a screening test available, this test is known as the UPC Test, most Breeders or your vets would be able to explain this to you.
Bull Terriers have been identified as being susceptible to varying degrees of heart disease, this usually affects the heart valves, which may fail to close properly, or narrowing of the arteries. Affected animals may suffer a Heart Attack, or other signs such as shortness of breath and lack of activity. A vet can usually detect these defects with a simple stethoscope, however there is also a test that can be performed by a registered veterinary cardiologist, who will be able to grade the murmur and will also issue a certificate to that effect. It would be wise to ask your Breeder if they have this. Eg. Some puppies can have murmurs in early life that will disappear as they get older, some bull terriers will carry a Heart Murmur all of their lives, without suffering any great effects.
Possibly the most common of ailment seen in the Bull Terrier, skin problems can often be allergy related and can also be seasonal. They can be variable from minor skin spots to complete loss of hair.