Bull Terrier Colors Explained

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Bull Terrier ColorsNot to be confused with the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Bull Terrier is a separate breed known for its unique appearance. However, even more alluring are the many color combinations that they can come in, which can range from striking reds to soft whites, as well as vibrant tricolors. In this article, we explain Bull Terrier colors in full detail, while sharing all you need to know about these playful and loving pups. 

What is the English Bull Terrier? 

The English Bull Terrier or simply Bull Terrier is an endearing and loving member of the Terrier family, who are always devoted to their family but can also be stubborn at times. Also referred to as ‘eggheads’, these pups are big-boned and robust companions that will do well with plenty of exercise and affection. They’re known for their entertaining, loyal, and lovable nature, and will enjoy spending lots of time with their chosen human. 

When given firm training and early socialization, they can be a great family dog and may be exactly what you’re looking for. 

English Bull Terrier History

During the 1800s when dog fighting was deemed legal and still popular, dog breeders were looking for ways to produce dogs that had the endurance, agility, and tenacity needed to win. By crossing the Bulldog with the white English Terrier (now extinct), the first Bull Terrier was produced and was originally called the “bull-and-terrier.” James Hinks was the first to standardize the breed during the 1850s, creating only white dogs to help distinguish them from the “bull-and-terriers” that are more similar to the Staffordshire Bull Terriers of today. 

This white dog breed was then called the “White Cavalier”, although not much is known about which breeds were used in developing today’s Bull Terrier. However, the Spanish Pointer, Greyhound, and Dalmatian are possible candidates — this resulted in modern-day Bull Terriers, which were first recognized in 1948 by the United Kennel Club. When these all-white dogs were crossed with the Staffordshire Bull Terriers, they produced the colored variants we’ll be discussing below.  

English Bull Terrier Appearance

This purebred dog is muscular and robust, displaying a symmetrical look with a focused and intelligent expression. They are active and charming dogs that respond to discipline while carrying a sweet disposition. These dogs come in a variety of colors, which will be discussed in detail below, but for now, let’s talk about their physical features. 

They’re known for their egg-shaped head, small and triangular eyes, as well as their naturally pointed ears which give a distinctive appearance. Their eyes should be sunken and exhibit a piercing glint — they need to be as dark as possible since blue eyes will be seen as a fault. Other unique characteristics you’ll find in these dogs include the following.

  • Head: Should have a strong and long head that’s deep right to the muzzle’s end with a face that’s oval with an impression of fullness. 
  • Muzzle: These dogs have strong jaws, and will have a well-defined muzzle while the lips are tight and clean. 
  • Teeth: They will have a full set of even, strong, white teeth that meet in a scissor bite.
  • Nose: Their black nose will bend downward towards the tip and will come with well-developed nostrils.
  • Ears: The Bull Terrier’s ears will be thin and small; they will also be placed together closely and should be stiffly erect, standing upwards. 
  • Neck: They will come with long muscular necks that are clean and arched; they should be free of loose skin. 
  • Body: Will have shoulder blades that are flat and wide, and will come with a backward slope from one end to the other, almost forming a 90-degree angle by the upper arm. They will have a broad chest, with well-sprung ribs and an underline that forms a graceful upward curve while the back is short and level. 

On average, the Bull Terrier can grow anywhere from 20 to 24 inches and will weigh between 45 to 80 pounds. Their coat will come in different variants, which include glossy, harsh, flat, and short. 

English Bull Terrier Temperament

Bull Terriers are friendly, playful, and charming dogs that will become highly attached to their family and will need plenty of companionship along with lots of supervision to mold them into good family pets. Active and intelligent, they will need physical and mental stimulation to keep them from getting bored but those who can provide them with the leadership they need will be rewarded with a companion that will be unwavering and devoted. 

Bull Terrier Colors

This breed is split into two types of colors; white and colored. White refers to any Bull Terrier that is white, although markings on their head are accepted as being within breed standards, while skin pigmentation around the body is allowed. Colored dogs include any color apart from white; the preferred color is brindle but they can also appear as fawn, red, and tricolor.   

While they may come with markings, their color must be predominant on the skin. According to the American Kennel Club, Bull Terriers with a blue or liver color will not be accepted. The same can be said for dogs with ticking on their white coat.  

White Bull Terriers

White Bull TerrierIn the past, white dogs were judged harshly, and any kind of blemish (even a simple dot of a different color) was enough to have the dog banned from the competition. It wasn’t until recently that white Bull Terriers were permitted to have any kind of markings. However, this is limited to the head of the dog, such as black ears or a pirate patch. 

The current American Kennel Club breed standard demands that for a dog to be considered the color white, its whole body and neck need to be spotless. There’s also a common misconception floating around; many people seem to think that the color white is directly related to albinism. However, a real albino will come with a reddish reflection around their eyes and will come with a pink nostril; a truly white dog will come with dark eyes and a black nose.   

White Coat Varieties  

  • White: This refers to a pure white dog, and the only part of the body that’s allowed to have a color is the black nose. 
  • White and brindle: Refers to brownish head markings with dark streaks.
  • White and black brindle: Refers to black head markings with light streaks. 
  • White and red: An ear or eye patch will be red.
  • White and red smut: Refers to the white and red variant but with a darker face color, much like a muzzle that’s been dusted with charcoal. 
  • White and fawn: White body but with pure fawn markings around the face.
  • White and fawn smut: Just like the description above but with a darker muzzle.
  • White, black, and tan: White dogs with tan markings but also a touch of black. 

Red Bull Terriers

Red Bull TerrierFor many owners, they find something so special about raising red dogs — the rich red color isn’t just attractive, but it’s also clean to look at. In this color variant, most of the body will be a red color with white stockings, chest, tail, and muzzle stripes. Some dogs will come with black marks around the chin or the eyes — this is a very popular coat color, second only to white. 

  • Red: In this color variant, most of your dog’s body will be red apart from the paws, chin, and chest, which could all be white. 
  • Red smut: This is the same as the description above but with a darker muzzle.
  • Red and white: This coat pattern will appear to have more white areas, such as leg socks, and white parts that go around the neck and then connect to a white face mask will fall under this category.  
  • Red smut and white: If your dog has a red smut color but also comes with a lot of white or is the same amount as the red, then it will be determined to have this color. 

Fawn-Coloured Bull Terriers

Fawn Bull TerriersOften described as the softer shade of red, many dog lovers are drawn to this shade. While it’s still technically a red color, it comes out looking more like a light tan or sandy color that’s available in other variations. 

  • Fawn: This refers to having little to zero white marks.
  • Fawn smut: Because their coat is so light, the darker shades are more pronounced in Fawn dogs, giving them an attractive look. However, white markings should be at a minimum. 
  • Fawn and white: A solid fawn color can be broken once the neck, legs, face, and chest are covered in white. 
  • Fawn smut and white: Refers to the fawn smut color but with lots of white as well. 

Brindle Bull Terriers 

Brindle Bull TerrierDogs with this gorgeous color possess the kind of presence and beauty that can turn heads. Below are the different types of this coat pattern. 

  • Brindle: Such dogs will come with a dark coat that’s usually brown, along with darker stripes. While there may be a bit of white present, there shouldn’t be too much. 
  • Brindle and white: This will be the same pattern as above but will have white along the usual areas such as the face, legs, and chest. 
  • Black brindle: This is the reverse of a normal brindle, and will produce a dog with a black coat and lighter stripes on the puppy. 
  • Black brindle and white: The same as the description above but with a lot of white along the body. 

Tricolour Coats

These gorgeous dogs come in three beautiful colors and come in two variants but both will have tan, black, and white coats. 

  • Black and tan: For the most part, these dogs will be predominantly black and tan with very few white areas around the chin, paws, or toes. Tan will be present along the legs, chest, and cheeks, with a similar look to the Doberman Pincher. 
  • Black tan and white: This is probably the “official” color of a tri-colored Bull Terrier, and its black coat will also have white areas. The tan will appear in the same areas as above.  


Whether you want a miniature Bull Terrier or one that’s a standard size in any color you desire, you’ll find the right dog for you and your family. Regardless of the colors explained here, remember that they’re more than their looks; this dog can be a loyal companion when given the love and care they need. Just remember to source a responsible breeder to ensure that your canine partners are free from potential health issues.