In the 1830s, the Bull Terrier was introduced as an offshoot of the English Terrier and Bulldog. It didn’t take long before someone had the idea to shrink the full-sized Bull Terrier into a miniaturized version ideal for tracking down and exterminating rats. Alert, fun-loving, deceptively strong, and incredibly energetic, the Miniature Bull Terrier is a skilled ratter that also makes a charming and loyal family friend. Rarer than its larger counterpart, the Miniature Bull Terrier ranks the 110th most popular American Kennel Club dog breed of 193 breeds recognized by the AKC.
Miniature Bull Terrier Appearance
The Miniature Bull Terrier appears exactly as its name denotes—a smaller version of the distinctive Bull Terrier, but weighing 18-28 pounds. Like the Bull Terrier, the Miniature Bull Terrier is symmetrical and stocky, sporting a muscular, athletic appearance. These dogs come in 16 different colors from brindle, red, and white, to combinations that include a variety of colors mixtures including like black, tan, fawn, white, and brindle. The Miniature Bull Terrier’s coat lies flat on its taut skin, and is short and coarse with a light sheen.
The head of the Miniature Bull Terrier is, like its forebears, easily recognizable. An egg-shaped head that is flat between the ears and curves from the skull down to the nose is the telltale Bull Terrier look. A muscular neck and a short, powerful back support the posterior side of the Miniature Bull Terrier, while its anterior is punctuated by a broad, deep chest and a sprung ribs.
The Miniature Bull Terrier is curious, highly intelligent, and always active. These dogs absolutely love to play and interact with their families, and can be quite clownish. Children love the Miniature Bull Terrier and the feeling is reciprocated. It’s not just kids that love the Miniature Bull Terrier—everyone seems to be enraptured by its jolly disposition and sheer love and enjoyment of life.
Like many other terrier types, the Miniature Bull Terrier makes for an excellent watchdog. Always on high alert, the Miniature Bull Terrier can be extremely territorial, and is absolutely fearless. If this dog senses any threats to its home base, it won’t hesitate to bark and may even show signs of aggression if it senses true danger.
A ratter by trade, the Miniature Bull Terrier is likely to terrorize cats and other small animals like squirrels and rabbits. Similarly, the Miniature Bull Terrier may have issues with other dogs, particularly if they are small.
Miniature Bull Terriers grow very attached to their families, and can often suffer separation anxiety. Stubborn, clever, and powerful, these dogs can turn a house upside down and become very destructive if they don’t receive adequate exercise. (Hint: It’s helpful to invest in indestructible dog beds).
The Miniature Bull Terrier is also easily excited and distracted outside, and is known to be a powerful puller while on walks. A leash for dogs that pull and an electric dog fence or secure wooden or vinyl fence will help prevent the Miniature Bull Terrier from getting into too much trouble.
The average life expectancy for a Miniature Bull Terrier is 11 to 13 years.
Caring for a Miniature Bull Terrier
In spite of its size, the Miniature Bull Terrier can be a handful. Learning how to properly care for these dogs is an absolute must for all first-time owners of the breed.
Though they tend to be hyperactive and burn plenty of calories throughout the day, the Miniature Bull Terrier is also prone to weight gain, and owners should take pains to help these dogs avoid becoming overweight or obese. This breed loves to eat, so portion control must be exercised. An automatic dog feeder can ensure that the Miniature Bull Terrier is being fed consistently. Choose a high-quality dog food that matches the dog’s age, and speak to a veterinarian about the best organic dog food, wet dog food, and grain free dog food.
As noted, the Miniature Bull Terrier can get quite destructive if it isn’t given the proper outlet for its boundless energy. As a puppy, however, exercise must be limited; stairs, rowdy play, and jumping off of objects should be avoided in order to protect the dog’s fragile joints during development. An adult Miniature Bull Terrier will love going for long walks and hikes, and can certainly impress in canine sports and agility courses. Of course, anyone who’s met a Miniature Bull Terrier knows that these dogs can also be perfectly content running circles around the house or zipping back and forth in the yard.
Though it can be trying at times, training the Miniature Bull Terrier is an absolute necessity. Stubborn and smart, the Miniature Bull Terrier will almost certainly resist attempts to civilize it, though with patience, consistency, and confidence, these dogs will learn to respect and obey faithfully. It’s also extremely important to socialize the Miniature Bull Terrier as a puppy, to ensure proper behavior and manners in the presence of others. The Miniature Bull Terrier will respond positively to a leader that is self-assured and steady, though training sessions should be kept brief, as this breed’s attention can easily be diverted. The AKC suggests clicker training as a helpful tool during this process.
The rapid muscle growth of the Miniature Bull Terrier puppy can sometimes lead to an unexpected loss of mobility, a problem which can largely be avoided by limiting excessive exercise and dangerous activities during the early stages of its life.
Eye defects such as glaucoma, primary lens luxation, and entropion can be seen in the Miniature Bull Terrier, and deafness or auditory impairment can also be of concern. Miniature Bull Terriers are also known to occasionally have cardiac problems, as well as issues relating to the kidneys. Some of these conditions are genetic, and all owners should be sure to order a dog DNA test such as the PLL DNA test, which is recommended by the National Breed Club.
Other tests recommended for the breed include the BAER test, which stands for Brainstem Auditory Evoked Potential and measures hearing ability; a kidney-urine analysis, an ophthalmological evaluation and exam, and a cardiac exam.
Breeders should provide any relevant test results and health certificates for their dogs, and should further provide information pertaining to a particular litter or the breed’s health in general. Any breeder who does not provide such documentation should be avoided.