Bull Terriers—Today And Yesterday

Today, bull terriers are known for their playful temperament and protective tendencies. Yet, the history behind the creation and purpose of these dogs does not indicate that these dogs would even bee seen as a common household pet. A breed created purposefully for the cruel intentions of human beings, the bull terrier is known today for being energetic and a great companion. It is interesting to compare yesterday’s history of bull terriers to the realty of today.

A Twisted History

The bull terrier resulted from a cross between bulldogs and different types of terriers. The purpose of such a cross was to breed dogs for dog fighting. In 1835, traditional dog fighting was outlawed in England. Thus, to keep the sport under wraps, a smaller breed was needed so as to be more discreet. Thus, the bulldogs used in traditional dogfights were mixed with terriers to create a much lighter and agile dog.

Historically, the bull terrier is known for being even more aggressive and deadly than the bulldog alone. It became known as the “canine gladiator” that would fight to its death. It wasn’t until James Hinks bred the bull terrier with the White Terrier that the breed became standardized. Hinks did this to eliminate a few unattractive features in the dog and to achieve an all white dog. Today, this particular breed is known as the white bull terrier.

Ted Lyon was the first to introduce color into the breed in the early 20th century. He did so because genetic problems were occurring with the pure white ones, such as albinism. Now, any bull terrier that is not pure white is known as a colored bull terrier.

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A Different Sort Of Dog

Over the years, many different dogs have been crossed with the bull terrier to achieve the look that we associated with the dogs today. It is thought that at some point throughout history, the Dalmatian, Spanish Pointer, Greyhound, Foxhound, Borzoi, and Collie were crossed to achieve the modern appearance.

Not only is the modern look of the bull terrier different than it once was, but the temperament of the dog is much more easy-going and playful. They are known for their athleticism and their clowning antics. Today, there is no trace of the fighting machine that these dogs once were.

A Positive Change

Bull terriers are just one example of something that can change drastically over a period of time. Given several centuries, it is easy to see how something can go from one exchange to the other.