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The 1955 movie “It’s a Dog’s Life” tells the life story of a Bull Terrier in the early 1900s, from living on the streets to becoming a pedigreed show dog among the upper crust.

Bull Terrier

I don’t think he has any idea he’s a dog, not really. Of course, he thinks he has a rather odd figure for a man. – Dodie Smith and Lewis Allen

Bull Terrier puppies CanaDogs

Breton Bull Terrier puppies at 10 weeks old

Once bred for the now-illegal sports of bull-baiting and dog-fighting, the Bull Terrier was also used to control vermin.

Known in Britain for his courage and tenacity, he was developed in the early 1800s by crossing the now extinct Old English Bulldog and the Old English Terriers. The breeds were combined to produce a dog with the speed and dexterity of lightly built terriers and the tenacity of the Bulldog. The result was an animal known as the Bull and Terrier.

In the mid-19th century James Hinks started breeding Bull and Terriers with another now extinct breed, English White Terriers to further develop the legs and head. These dogs became known as the “Hinks Breed” or the “White Cavalier”. Other breeds were introduced to increase elegance and agility.

The first Bull Terrier with the modern and uniquely-shaped head appeared in 1917 and was named “Lord Gladiator”.

Today, the “White Cavalier” is often used as an effective watch and guard dog.

Photos displayed courtesy of Catherine Landsborough, Breton, Ontario

Unique in dogdom, the Bull Terrier’s head has been described as “egg-shaped”. When viewed from the front, his skull is almost flat. In addition, he has unique eyes as well being the only dog to possess triangular-shaped eyes.

This dog is strong and agile, and stands up to 22 inches (55.9 cm) tall at the shoulder, however there are no strict height or weight limits for the breed. His coat is short, smooth and may be solid white, brindle, tri-coloured, white with coloured markings, or coloured with white markings. He is susceptible to skin reactions and should have his diet closely monitored.

Like many terriers, this is an outgoing animal with a fearless, determined personality. Since he has a dominant nature, he may not be the dog for the inexperienced dog owner. He needs firm discipline.

Bull Terrier Adult Canada


Bull Terrier adult Canada


Hinks’ original purpose was to produce a “gentleman’s companion” dog rather than a pit-fighter, hence the nickname the “White cavalier”.

However, this is a terrier and while he doesn’t go looking for a confrontation, he is perfectly capable of finishing one as it is not in his nature to back down. He has a high pain tolerance and is a tenacious fighter, and so must be placed in early training. Patience is the key to training as this dog possesses an independent, willful, and stubborn nature!

In addition, he may be aggressive towards other dogs. Small animals such as cats may be seen as prey. Nevertheless, a properly trained, socialized, and supervised Bull Terrier is a friendly and amusing family pet who tolerates children very well.

The Bull Terrier requires exercise as he is exuberant and energetic. Because of his personality, he should always be leashed when in public. He does best with a fenced backyard and plenty of opportunity to be active.

Perhaps because of their unique look, Bull Terriers have been featured in comics, in films, in television shows and commercials, and in books. They have been mascots for a department store, a college, a hockey team, and a city.

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