Miniature Bull Terrier
From the early 19th century there is plenty of recorded evidence of small bull terriers. When the original crossing took place between small terriers and bulldogs the resulting litters would produce dogs varying in weight from 8lb to over 40lb.
Most of the old ratting prints of this time feature a small dog of the bull terrier type, which are reported to have weighted between 9 and 12lbs.
A few breeders specialised in the smaller bull terriers and the first show at which a ‘miniature’ class was scheduled was the international dog show, held at Islington in May 1863. The first Bull Terrier Champion, Nelson, made up in 1873, would by today’s standards be considered a miniature. He was owned by S.E. Shirley, the first chairman of the Kennel club and weighed under 16lb.
In the years leading up to the First World War these smaller Bull Terriers gradually fell from favour and in the 1918 the miniature Bull Terrier was removed from the Kennel Club Breed Register. They continued to be bred by a few stalwarts, mainly for sporting use, either to go to ground or for cross breeding to hunt terriers to add courage and determination. Then in 1938 a group under the chairmanship of colonel Richard Glynn, met to form the Miniature Bull Terrier Club. They petitioned the Kennel Club with a principal objective of guaranteeing classes for Miniature Bull Terriers under 14inches at the shoulder.
Miniature Bull Terriers can be the most infuriating dogs to have as a pet. However, once you have one be warned. It is highly unlikely that you will consider another breed of dog.
The breed standard calls for Miniature Bull Terriers to be “ gladiators of the canine race” and also to be “ of even temperament and amenable to discipline. Although obstinate is particularly good with people.” All this is true. A Miniature Bull Terrier Should not go looking for a fight, however if another dog starts a fight the Mini will not back down. Because of this, and in view of the current anti-dog laws it is always best if your Mini is introduced to other dogs when on his lead. This should prevent any blame been attached to you and your dog for misdemeanours that now seems to obtain extensive coverage in the national press. Mini’s have three main character quirks that are rarely seen in other breeds. The most alarming to novice owners is when they ‘swim’ on dry land. What is meant by this? They lie on there bellies, front and back legs extended well behind, looking for all the world as if they dislocated their back legs at the hips. Just to alarm you more, they will then crawl on their bellies for a while. It seems that they do not fear carpet burns! Having finally turned your hair grey they will then spring to their feet and look at you with a glint in their eye having thoroughly enjoy themselves. The other two quirks are much less worrying. In younger dogs in particular they will have ‘mad’ half hours when you play with them, where they jump on and off furniture without fear of any damage (to them) and run round the walls. Perfectly normal! Finally, as a legacy of the ratting background, any toys are bound to be picked up and shaken before the dog is satisfied that they are ‘dead’ and safe to play with. This gets worrying when they pick up tree branches that must weigh much as they do and then try to shake themselves off their feet.
As Minis are a short haired breed, the general grooming requirements are fairly basic. A quick brush two or three times a week will help to remove dead hair and the dog used to been handles. The occasional bath will be required when they have rolled in something very smelly. Toe nails need attention. If exercised partly on asphalt the main toe nails should remain worn to a suitable length and only the dew claws will need clipping to stop them curling over on themselves. If all the nails need clipping take care not to cut though to the quick on the nail and cause bleeding.
With regard to exercise, be sensible. A puppy does not require long walks as its bones are still soft and it is still growing. As the dog gets older then the length of the walk can increase. An adult Mini will happily walk for hours.
The most well documented health condition affecting Miniature Bull Terriers is primary lens luxation. This is an eye problem where the lens detaches and slips, usually backwards, in to the rear chamber of the eye. It would generally occur between 3 and 7 tears old but cases have been reported either side of this age range. At the request of the relevant breed clubs, the Kennel Club has recently approved official DNA testing schemes for PLL in the Miniature Bull Terrier. These tests are offered by the Animal Health Trust. DNA tested Puppies can have the following resualts, Clear, Carrier and affected. This condition is operable if diagnosed in time in affected Dogs. It is therefore essential that your dog is referred to a veterinary ophthalmologist (eye specialist) immediately for confirmation and treatment of this condition.
Insuring your dog is most important as this will go some way to reduce any Vets fee that may occur during the life of your Mini.