The Miniature Bull Terrier was developed in England in the early 1800s, descending from the English Bulldog and the now-extinct White English Terrier. This cross produced the Bull and Terrier, which was later shortened to the Bull Terrier. Some authors suggest that the Black-and-Tan, the Spanish Pointer and the Dalmatian contributed to the mix. Early Bull Terriers varied widely in size, from tiny toys (as small as 3 pounds) to much larger dogs resembling the full-sized Bull Terrier of this day. They came in a number of colors, include white-and-black-patched, blue and even pure white.
Toy Bull Terriers were shown in Europe until about 1914, but they were not very popular because there was no consistency in type. The toy variety suffered the problems frequently accompanying extreme miniaturization; inbreeding of litter runts led to conformational deformities and dwarfing distortions, together with a number of health disorders. Eventually, the toy variety disappeared. The medium-sized (called “miniature”) Bull Terrier was more typey and thus much more popular, as it more closely approximated the standard “Bully” but was more manageable in size.
Breed fanciers concentrated on breeding a compact (but not tiny) dog around 16 pounds that otherwise was identical to its larger cousin. The Miniature Bull Terrier was standardized due largely to the efforts of James Hinks, who bred selectively for white color, gameness and the unusual egg-shaped head. Other coat colors were introduced gradually after breed type was set. Colonel Glyn founded the Miniature Bull Terrier Club in England in 1938. The modern Mini Bull Terrier continues to be a delightful companion and a bold watch dog, thriving in urban environments with city-dwellers.
The Miniature Bull Terrier became eligible to show in the American Kennel Club’s Miscellaneous Class in 1963, and was fully accepted into the Terrier Group in 1991. The Miniature Bull Terrier Club of America was formed in 1966 and is the parent club for this breed.
The average life span of the Miniature Bull Terrier is 10 to 12 years. Their most serious health issue is a strong breed predisposition to blindness caused by lens dislocation, which typically shows up at or after 3 years of age. Other breed health concerns may include allergies, congenital deafness (in whites), compulsive tail chasing, entropion, mitral valve dysplasia and subaortic stenosis. A minor breed “weakness” is its tendency to fall asleep on its owner’s lap and snore loudly.