Once upon a time Bull Terriers were bred to fight. Crossing a terrier and a bulldog produced a breed with fearlessness, tenacity and strength that made them natural gladiators. The fighting branches of the Bull Terrier's family tree have since withered away, and the modern breed is a loving, loyal, clown of a dog who makes an excellent family companion for those with active lifestyles. They love being with people and want to be included in all family activities whether it's a ride in the car, a neighborhood stroll or a romp in the park.
Bullies need a lot of vigorous exercise. Though short and stocky, they are a hardy breed and are happiest when they are active. Long walks, short runs, or playing long games of ball in the back yard will meet their daily activity requirements. If a Bull Terrier is not getting enough exercise, they are sure to let you know. They are notoriously destructive, making easy work of flower beds or expensive furniture, and some develop the neurotic behavior of obsessively chasing their own tail.
Apartments or condos may not be the best homes for this breed, as they are rowdy and rambunctious and have been lovingly referred to as the proverbial “bull in a China shop.”
Bullies are intelligent and have a mind of their own. Training should be started early and always done in calm-assertive manner, as they won't respond to discipline or harsh tones. Training is best done in short sessions due to Bull Terriers' short attention span and they will quickly become uninterested, even if treats are used as a reward. Lots of patience is necessary when working with a Bull Terrier, as training can be a long process.
Even after a Bull Terrier is fully trained, they may decide to test their boundaries as they get older and project dominance. These situations should be handled with calm assertion; like a teenager, they just want to see what they can get away with.
Families with children should socialize puppies early on to accept outside children as welcome guests. While Bull Terriers will bond nicely with kids in their own family, they can sometimes be aggressive to to other children and should be taught early on that all kids are to be welcomed with open arms.
Separation Anxiety develops often in Bull Terriers. It is important that this breed get enough exercise throughout the day and have enough activities to keep them busy when left alone, or they will become destructive. Some Bullies need to be crated well into adulthood to keep them (and the house furniture) safe when left alone.
Bull Terriers are possessive of their people and their territory and can be aggressive to other animals. They are usually fine with dogs of the opposite sex, but cats and same-sex dogs should not be introduced into a Bull Terrier's home.
They can also be food aggressive. Children should be taught not to approach a Bull Terrier during mealtime.
Bull Terriers love to play, and kids can have a blast with them for hours on end. Small children should always be supervised, though, because this breed can be very rambunctious and can accidentally cause an injury. They also have short fuses. When a Bull Terrier is teased or pushed too hard to do something he doesn't want to do, he will snap or bite. Kids should understand never to tease a dog, and not to push a dog beyond his limits.