The Bull Terrier has been aptly described as the game cock of the canine race. He is, unquestionably, the embodiment of courage as well as the essence of docility. A good Bull Terrier is staunch and true as steel when called upon to defend his master or his home, and on other occasions is gentle, harmless, and the most tractable of companions.
The clean cut, statuesque appearance of the Bull Terrier has given him a prominent position in the Terrier family. His smooth, white coat is always in condition, and he is more cleanly about the house, and can be accepted on closer terms of intimacy than the long-haired varieties.
There is no uncertainty about the origin of the Bull Terrier. When bull fighting was abolished, the sports of the day, the gamesters and the cock fighters, took up dog fighting and badger baiting. For this purpose they wanted a dog with a longer and more punishing jaw and one that was faster on his feet than the Bulldog but possessed of all the latter’s courage and endurance. They crossed the Bulldog on the agile, alert, little Terrier that was used in the country and secured dogs with a punishing head of fair length, powerful jaw muscles and a strong terrier-like body and limbs. These dogs, like their ancestors, were of various colors. This type of Bull Terrier is still being bred by dog fighters.
There was another class of fanciers to whom we are indebted for the modern Bull Terrier. They began by refining the fighting-dog type. They bred for longer heads, straighter limbs, and a more graceful outline, and in this direction accomplished a great deal. Their dogs, however, were short-faced compared with those of today and of many colors; fawn, brindle, black-and-white, etc.
About fifty years ago, James Hinks, a clever fancier of Birmingham, England, swept the show benches with a pure white strain of Bull Terriers. His dogs were highly refined, straight on their legs, graceful and smart in appearance, with long wedgeshaped, clean-cut heads. In fact, there was nothing about them that suggested the Bulldog, and it was charged that the pugnacity and courage of the old breed had been lost. To prove that his strain had not lost their fighting spirit, Hinks backed his bitch, Puss, against one of the old bull-faced type for a fivepound note and a case of wine. Puss killed her opponent in thirty minutes, and her own injuries were so slight that she was able to appear at a Bench Show on the following day. It is said that Hinks used the Pointer and Dalmatian in producing his strain. However that may be, they became very popular and soon drove their short-faced rivals of various colors off the Bench, and for many years the breed enjoyed great popularity.
The edict of the Kennel Club, abolishing cropping, gave them a temporary set-.back from which they soon recovered as by careful selection, breeders soon obtained a small ear to replace the thick, heavy ear so essential to a good crop. At the present time there is a strong movement to bring back the brindles and other colors which indicate strength. This will also have a good influence in checking the spread of deafness; for while white Bull Terriers are prone to deafness, this predisposition is not apparent in other colors.
In selecting puppies over six months old, look for a long head and straight foreface, free from stop; level mouth; closely set, dark eye; small ears, short back and tail; straight front and big rib.
The following is the Bull Terrier Club’s standard description and scale of points:
HEAD.-Should be long, but with due regard first to type. Skull as nearly flat as possible and widest between the ears. Viewed from above it should taper gradually and merge into the muzzle without perceptible break in the line. There should be a slight indentation down the middle, but without “stop” and with as little brow as possible. Foreface filled right up to the eyes. Preferably the foreface should have a decided “downness.” Eyes, very small, black, set high on the head, close together and obliquely. They should be either almond-shaped or triangular, preferably the latter. Wall-eye is a disqualification. Muzzle wide and tapering, but without so much taper as to make the nose appear pinched. Muzzle should be neither square nor snipy, but should present a rounded appearance as viewed from above. Nose broad, wholly black, and with wide-open nostrils. Dudley or wholly flesh-colored nose is a disqualification. Underjaw strong and well defined. Lips should meet closely and evenly all around, should not run too far back, and there should be an entire absence of “lippiness.” Teeth sound, strong, clean, regular, and meeting evenly. Any deviation from this rule, such as “pig paw,” “undershot” or “overshot” is a bad fault. . Ears when standing erect should not cause noticeable wrinkling of the skin on the head. Ears should be cropped, should be straight and of moderate length. It is important that there be as little cheek as possible, but where it is present it should not be bunchy or prominent, but should merge gradually into the lines of the muzzle and neck.
NECK.-Slightly arched, tapering from shoulders to head, and free from looseness of skin. SHOULDERS.-Strong and muscular, but without any appearance of heaviness or “loading.” Shoulder blades wide, flat, and sloping well back.
BACK.-Short, strong, and muscular. Should be higher at withers than hips. There should be no slackness nor falling away behind the withers, but back should be slightly arched at loin, with loins well developed and slightly tucked. Ribs well sprung, close together and intercostal muscles well developed; back ribs deep. Chest deep from withers to brisket and wide from front to back ribs, but should not be broad as viewed facing the dog.
TAIL.-Short in proportion to the size of the dog, set on low, broad where it joins the body and tapering to a point; should be straight and should not be carried above the level of the back.
LEGS.-Should have big, round bone and strong, straight, upright pasterns. The whole foreleg should be reasonably straight, but without the stitiness of the Fox Terrier. Thighs somewhat long, with muscle well developed, but without “loading.” Hocks short, fairly straight, well let down, and should turn neither in nor out as viewed from behind.
FEET.-Of the cat pattern, with toes short, well arched, and close together. Pads strong and nails short.
COAT.-Short, close, stiff to the touch, and with fine gloss.
COLOR.-White. Markings, although objectionable, are not a disqualification.
WEIGHT.–Is not a matter of importance, so long as the specimen is typical.
FAULTS.-Light bone; round eyes; badly placed eyes; light eyes; domed skulls; butterfly noses; noticeable cheekiness; dished faces; lippiness, throatiness; teeth not meeting evenly; long or slack backs; long, thick, or “gay” tails; loose shoulders; crooked elbows; loaded shoulders or thighs; weak pasterns; pig feet; toes turning either in or out; markings.