Is A Bull Terrier A Good Family Dog? 10 Things To Know

Bull Terriers are among the most famous dogs in the world due to their distinct looks and personality. A clownish and sometimes mischievous dog, the Bull Terrier has earned their spot as a comical, playful and occasionally stubborn dog. Adding the Bull Terrier to your family is a big decision. There are a few things you need to know.

Is a Bull Terrier a good family dog? As a whole the Bull Terrier is a good family dog for those with the time and energy to keep up. Bull Terriers are a highly energetic breed and thrive on attention from their family. A well balanced Bull Terrier will make a great family dog, but will require effort.

Bull Terriers are wonderful dogs, but can be fairly high maintenance in some areas, and generally low maintenance in others. Determining whether a Bull Terrier is the right choice for your family will depend on your commitment to the various demands of the Bull Terrier.

In this post I will cover some of the most important things you should know before bringing a Bull Terrier into your family. Let’s dig in.

How Much Exercise Does A Bull Terrier Need?

A Bull Terrier will need a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate exercise every day. The Bull Terrier is a highly energetic and athletic dog that will require daily physical exercise such as walks and active playtime. Mental stimulation is also a must to keep the Bull Terrier happy and balanced. 

Bull Terriers are often considered hyper dogs that are difficult to calm down. Exercise will play an important role in maintaining a calm dog. Destructive or neurotic behaviors can develop in Bull Terriers that are not exercised regularly. A daily routine of 2-3 walks with some brain games is vital.

The athletic nature of the Bull Terrier lends itself to a variety of activities. Whether playing fetch, participating in agility training, obedience training, or games of tug, the Bull Terrier is always down to exercise and have a good time.

Related ArticleDo Bull Terriers Ever Calm Down? – A Hyper Analysis

Are Bull Terriers Smart Dogs?

On average the Bull Terrier is considered a fairly smart dog. According to some tests however Bull Terriers rank very low on the intelligence scores. Ranking #124 of #138 the Stanley Coren test shows the Bull Terrier does not understand or obey commands easily. I believe this has more to do with stubbornness than not being smart.

The Bull Terrier is known to have a stubborn streak when it comes to training. The willful behavior of a Bull Terrier, in my opinion, is more a sign of free thinking intelligence than a lack of intelligence. Bull Terriers will process commands and decide “what’s in it for me” and not blindly obey. Creating clear communication lines in training your Bull Terrier will be essential.

Bull Terriers can be easy to train when you are able to connect with them properly. They are a very loving and loyal breed when it comes to family. Convincing your Bull Terrier to follow your leadership starts from an early age. That’s why training should start from day one with your Bull Terrier puppy.

Are Bull Terriers Kid Friendly?

As a general rule Bull Terriers are kid friendly with older children. Because of the Bull Terriers high energy and sometimes rough house style of play they are not always suitable for houses with very young children. Bull Terriers are loving and affectionate dogs with their family and can be good with children who are older and know how to interact with dogs.

Bull Terriers are not intentionally bad with kids, but they are clumsy and sometimes hyperactive dogs. It would be very easy for an over excited Bull Terrier to knock over a toddler or play a little too rough. The intent is never to harm a child, but accidents can happen.

Children who at the age where they can assume a role of leadership with a Bull Terrier are much better suited. Children need to be taught how to manage and interact with a Bull Terrier to avoid accidents and potential injuries.

With any breed of dog supervision of play time between children and pets is a must. Accidents, injuries or worse can happen when dogs and children are left unmanaged. Always watch over interactions to ensure safe and gentle play is happening.

Do Bull Terriers Like To Cuddle And Show Affection?

Bull Terriers are very loving and affectionate dogs that love to curl up for a cuddle with their owners. The dogs were bred with the intent of creating the gentleman’s companion dog. That affinity towards their owners shines through.

Never will your feet or lap be cold when a Bull Terrier is in the home. Despite their bulky stature they will assume they are well suited as lap dogs and take full advantage when available. To learn more about the affectionate side of the Bull Terrier check out my detailed post below

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Are Bull Terriers Dangerous?

On average Bull Terriers can be dangerous around other dogs and pets, but are rarely dangerous to people, especially family members. Dangerous behaviors in the form of dog and pet aggression will be something to be wary of and actively work on to prevent.

Bull Terriers are very strong and athletic dogs and can do some damage to other pets. Smaller pets especially are at risk of fatal injury. Early socialization and training of your Bull Terrier is an absolute must to proactively prevent these behaviors from developing.

The Bull Terrier is great with family and possesses no threat. They can however be overprotective guardians and become very wary of strangers. Strong leadership and early socialization is the key to avoiding these protective tendencies and potential dangerous behavior.

Are Bull Terriers Friendly With Other Dogs?

A well socialized Bull Terrier can be friendly with other dogs but you should always remain aware of the situation. Bull Terriers are not always looking for a problem with other dogs, but they will certainly not back down from a challenge or perceived threat.

Places like dog parks and areas where managing your Bull Terrier and other dogs’ interactions with each other is difficult should be avoided. Socialization can happen in many other forms. Dog parks are not the only option. 

Walks with friends, families and neighbors, as well as backyard play dates can be a great way to introduce your Bull Terrier to other dogs.

Bull Terriers raised in the same household as other dogs and pets can get along just fine. Introducing a Bull Terrier puppy to a home with another dog or pet is much easier than the other way around. Proper introductions and precautions should be taken when introducing another pet to a home with a Bull Terrier.

Do Bull Terriers Bark A Lot?

Bull Terriers as a whole do not bark a lot. This breed is typically very quiet and will not bark unless there is a perceived threat or they are trying to garner your attention. Excessive barking with Bull Terriers is very uncommon, but when they do bark it is for a reason.

Excessive barking from a Bull Terrier will be more of a sign of their needs not being met. When a Bull Terrier is not getting enough exercise for example they will have a lot of pent up energy that can manifest into this type of behavior. 

Can Bull Terriers Be Left Alone?

As a general rule Bull Terriers can be left alone for short periods of time. They are however prone to boredom and separation anxiety which can result in anxious and destructive behaviors such as chewing, digging, and other neurotic behaviors. Long periods of being left alone can be difficult for Bull Terriers.

The high energy level and need to be entertained nature of the Bull Terrier can make being left alone an issue if not properly addressed. Plenty of exercise, crate training, and desensitization training will all be essential in keeping your Bull Terrier happy home alone.

Short periods of a few hours are quite manageable for the average Bull Terrier, but extended periods are where you may run into issues. Hiring a dog walker, or having a friend pop in to get your dog out for a little when you are away can make a big difference.

How Often Should A Bull Terrier Be Groomed & Bathed?

On average Bull Terriers will only need to be bathed once every 2-3 months. Grooming for a Bull Terrier is very low maintenance and will only require a quick weekly brushing to remove loose hair and keep their skin healthy and clean.

Bull Terriers can have sensitive skin so over bathing your dog should be avoided. Excessive bathing of a Bull Terrier will strip their skin and coat of healthy natural oils and result in dry, itchy and irritated skin that can lead to further health issues.

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Do Bull Terriers Have Health Problems?

Bull Terriers as a whole are a healthy and robust breed of dog. However, like any breed of dog Bull Terriers are prone to certain health issues. These are a few of the more common health problems for Bull Terriers:

  • Patella Luxation
  • Deafness
  • Skin and coat disorders
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease

When searching for a Bull Terrier to add to your family it is important to find a good breeder. Responsible breeders will screen for a myriad of genetic and non-genetic health issues in their litters. Though no breeder can guarantee 100% health, they can rule out many common issues and detect issues in their bloodlines preemptively.

Ask breeders for health certifications for not just your puppy but the parents as well. Be sure you are able to ask breeders as many questions as you have and that they are more than willing to answer them. Any breeder unwilling to provide health checks and answer questions should be avoided.

Final Thoughts

As I mentioned before, the Bull Terrier is a wonderful dog. Every Bull Terrier I have ever met was a genuine goofball and fun loving dog. The Bull Terrier is a devoted, loving, loyal, and affectionate breed that makes a good family dog.

With the proper commitment to a Bull Terrier’s exercise, training, socialization, maintenance and general well being you will have an amazing dog. This commitment should not be taken lightly as the Bull Terrier is a lot of work and requires a great deal of time each and everyday.

An active family with a strong sense of leadership skills and preferably previous experience with dogs will fare very well with the Bull Terrier. These dogs will keep you off the couch and always laughing. A true friend for life to any family willing to provide a good home.

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