Whenever I see a bull terrier I think of a prehistoric pig. It’s true. These dogs are so unusual looking; most people seem to love the look or hate it. I happen to love it.
These terriers, colloquially known as “bullies,” look like stocky little rugby players. Their faces are long and oval-shaped. It’s their flat-topped, sloping shape that make them so distinctive looking. The America Kennel Club describes this funny breed as “playful and clownish,” and adds that the bull terrier is best described as “a 3-year-old child in a dog suit.” I would have to agree. Every bully I’ve met is silly and loves to grab attention.
Maggie Nochard says of her bully Roxy, “She is such a silly girl and absolutely hates when you ignore her. She will drop all her toys at your feet. If that doesn’t work, she barks her head off until she has your full attention.”
Bull terriers have been around since the 1800s and were a popular sporting dog. According the AKC, “During the early 1860s, James Hinks of Birmingham, England responded to the introduction of formal dog shows and the burgeoning demand for pet and prize dogs by developing the breed we know today as the bull terrier. They were characterized by their hallmark pure white coats, often being referred to as white cavaliers. These white cavaliers gained a strong foothold among discerning owners as both show dogs and exceptional pets and companions. Soon their popularity spread across the Atlantic, with the Bull Terrier Club of America being established in 1897.”
Bullies make excellent family pets. They are protective and devoted. They have a keen awareness and can sense a threat to their family a mile away. They have a gentle and mannerly way with visitors, too. Properly trained, they can easily tell the difference between friend and foe.
Bull terriers have a great deal of energy and need both physical and mental stimulation. I’ve seen a bored bully in action and it’s not a pretty sight. I was babysitting a pair of them, Harley and Montana, while their family was on vacation. I opened the door to take them on a walk and was overwhelmed with what I saw – the entire living room was covered in a fine dust of what looked like paper. I couldn’t figure out what they had gotten into, as there were no big pieces of anything to give me a hint. When their family returned, I found out. They had demolished three hardback coffee table books and a yellow pages phone book.
Bull terriers can be stubborn and it’s important to continue with training. They really need to know who is the boss in the family. Cindy Hamilton loves her pup Lola and says, “I never knew what I was getting myself into by raising these types of dogs. I love my dog, don’t get me wrong. I would not change her for the world. But there are times when she is so stubborn and won’t do anything that you tell her to do. She definitely has a mind of her own. These dogs will make you smile, laugh and sometimes pull your hair out.”
There are many famous bull terriers. My favorite is Spuds Mackenzie. He spent the late 1980s as the official “party animal” for Bud Light beer. Then there’s Bullseye, retailer Target’s mascot. And probably the most famous bull terrier was owned by General George S. Patton. His name was Willie, short for William the Conqueror. Willie was devoted to General Patton and followed him everywhere. There is a statue of Patton and Willie at the General Patton Memorial Museum.
Bull terriers are wonderful clowns and companions devoted to their owners. They love to be the center of attention. Just remember to give them a fair amount of interaction and daily exercise to keep those minds from getting bored. For those with the time and energy, this funny looking breed will provide love, humor and friendship.
Lori Fusaro has been voted the best portrait photographer by FoxTV three years in a row. She lives in Culver City with her husband, four cats and dog. Contact: Lori@FusaroPhotography.com, FusaroPhotography.com.