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Owning an English bull terrier

Updated on June 7, 2010

A loyal companion

English bull terrier a breed I would never normally have chosen,a good description was a dog that looked like it had downs syndrome,I always thought they were strange looking creatures,until one day my husband arrived home with one.

His name was Buster,my husband had wanted to own one of these dog's since he was a boy and someone he was talking to at work one day told him he had a friend who was living in an apartment and he had a bull terrier he wanted to rehome,we had a lot of land and I was home all day,so my husband seized the opportunity and said he could give the dog a good home,he just thought he would surprise me and that he did.

As soon as Buster and I met it was love at first site,he was so pleased to see me,wagging his tail and licking me,I instantly recognised his gentle nature and found myself drawn to him,he no longer looked ugly to me and I could only see him as cute.He was 3yrs old and a big boy all white with a brown patch over his left ear not quite covering his eye,he had a perfect egg shaped head and was a prime example of the breed.My husband explained the home he had come from was not at all suitable he was living in an apartment and his owner was out at work all day so Buster was alone all the time,he had near wrecked the apartment with his chewing.So this was a new start for him I would be with him all day he would have lots of space to run around and he would get plenty of walks.

Settling in

Buster became a learning curve he certainly had a character that out did any othe breed of dog we had ever owned,everyday I learnt something new about this fascinating animal.

Bull terriers are extremely stubborn and difficult to train if you don't aquire them as a pup,from the minute we got him to the day he died he would merrily chew his way around the house and the jaw of these dogs is incredibly powerful,and boy he did some damage,this wasn't because he was lonely or bored,he would even chew the cushions as he sat upright next to me on the sofa,he loved to sit like a person,his head would tilt to one side and the next thing you knew there would be feathers everywhere,I think it was just sheer habit a habit that was formed when he was a lonely pup,and no matter how we tried we could never stop it.

He was a sociable character and liked the company of our cats and then when we got a welsh collie they were the best of friends,he used to let the collie pup snuggle up in his bed at night.These dogs are nothing like the way the general public perceive them,they don't have a vicious bone in there body,if one of these animals is vicious it is the person handling the dog that has made it that way unfortunately some unsavoury characters are attracted to owning this breed as they think they are good for fighting,once one of these dogs is turned and becomes nasty they have to be put to sleep as they can no longer be trusted and the power of that jaw makes the dog just far to dangerous,as we learnt to our peril when my husband tried to rescue another bull terrier.

The thing about bullies is as anyone who has these dogs will tell you they are addictive,so when my husband heard there was another one that needed rescuing,he was there.Bella was 2 yrs old when we went to pick her up she was on a short chain chewing a brick and her owner would not go anywhere near her,as we approached she bared her teeth and snarled,I was scared and moved away but my husband walked right up to her and said come on darling your coming home with me,gave her a treat,she wagged her tail and just about licked him to death.My eight year old daughter was with us at the time and he put the dog in the back of the car with her,she was fussing my daughter very excited,but I was so nervous,anyway when we arrived home we took her and buster for a good walk,he loved her and they got on real good.She settled well,but she hated the cats if she could have caught one she would have for sure killed it,she also had an aversion to other dogs,it was as though we were her property she accepted buster as part of the family she was great with all of us, but the minute anyone else came near any of us she wanted to kill them,this started to make life difficult,if she was in the garden she had to be tied up,and if anyone came to the house we had two gates in between them and the dog so we could be sure she couldn't harm anyone.Then one warm summers evening we could hear a child screaming in the garden,it was a friend of my daughters,despite being told not to go near the dog,she just couldn't resist and she was badly bitten,the child was taken to the hospital and the dog was taken to the vet's to be put to sleep,I don't think I ever saw my husband so distraught he cried like a baby,we found out the dog had been coached from a pup to fight other dog's,just bred to use for fighting,the only bit of peace in her life was the short time she spent with us,we will never know why she turned on the child that night,but a neighbour said her mild mannered collie went for the same child when she caught her poking a pencil into his eye's,the child was ok but it cost Bella her life,we just couldn't keep her after that we could no longer trust her and she had commited a mortal sin.

Bullie love

 We were all affected by what had happened but it never made us feel differently towards the breed,we knew that was not the nature of the beast,so our love affair continued,so much so I wrote childrens stories about them,and would draw them at every oppourtunity,sadly bull terriers suffer with heart disease and can often seem fine but on exertion can collapse and die,sadly that was Buster's fate,he was playing with our collie,and just dropped dead,he had a massive heart attack,he was 9yrs old.For the 6yrs we owned him he brought us tremendous joy despite all the chewing,and if anyone out there is contemplating owning one of these dog's I say you won't regret it,you will be hooked,I think it is best to get a pup much easier to train being as they are such a stubborn breed.

If you are thinking of rescuing make sure you know the full background why the dog need's to be rescued,if you suspect the dog has been used for fighting steer clear,in general rescue bullies will need patient owners that can spend time with them,they don't like to be alone.But this breed will bring you hours of pleasure,as each one has it's own special personality and you will soon find yourself hooked on Bullie love.


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    • profile image


      2 years ago

      While I am sorry to read about your negative experience with the breed. I have to say that you completely misrepresent this breed.

      Yes, they are a handful, and bad learned behaviors/training will continue wothout training and alot of attention! You have no right to blame the dog for a situation you allowed.... I'm sorry but any bull terrier owner will tell you that when dealing with rescues there are things you do not do. Frankly, you put that child at risk by CHAINING the dog up let alone in a area accessible to the PUBLIC. This just boggles my mind that a "rescuer" would do this to a dog with known trust issues.... OUR JOB as rescuers is to protect and love. Not to STRESS, CHAIN, AND IRRITATE.

      As an owner of a rescue Bullie I'm going to speak for him and I ---- We hope you are never allowed to rescue another Bullie let alone another rescue animal. Not because we wish to be mean or exclusionary but because this story shows that you and your family do not know how to safely handle a "damaged" err sweet dog.

      I truly hate to this but ask any rescuer - dogs with behavior issues need to be closely managed, watched and not stressed.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I own a 4 month old female bull terrier. My son decided I needed a dog so, bought her for me. Luckily, I have plenty of experience with dogs because she can be challenging. She loves people and other dogs and even cats. I have dedicated a lot of time to her as I feel it will pay off in the end. EBT's are definitely different than other breds, very intelligent with a tendency to think they're human. My EBT gets a ton of love, but I don't hesitate to correct her if she does something wrong. She's very smart and understands the word "no", in fact she understands quite a bit for such a young pup. I think spending a lot of quality time with her is the foundation to having a great dog which I fully expect her to be.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I own a female english bull terrier, about 4 yrs old. Her name is Layla and she is the most chill/relaxed EBT I have ever seen. She is not destructive, she does not bark and most of all she loves to please; we got lucky. I've seen stubborn bullies but Layla's love for us is so big that I feel it over-rides her potential stubbornness. Great girl with kids (big and small), ridiculous amount of patience (quite unbelievable really) BUT as with any living thing, she has a quirk, a high prey-drive. This is easily remedied by exercising her 1hr a day (you see, I am a long distance runner) and she loves to putting 2-3 miles a day makes that drive subside. After owning one, I can confidently say that EBT's are a "experienced dog owner" breed ONLY and it's not recommended for the weak mind (and I use the terms kindly, meaning...if you are not going to spend some serious dedicated trainning hours then don't bother). I will always/forever own the breed and have never--not even for a second regret it.

    • profile image

      4 years ago

      You guys say they are stubborn dogs. Are you guys taking action when they do something wrong? Do you guys give 'em a smack and put their face in it?

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I am a 24 year old male my name is kyle i live in California. I always had a love for the breed out of ignorance, in other words no actual knowledge of the breed. I acquired my best friend/son/pig/"humadog"(human/dog) because he chose me. when he was with the litter he was mean and aggressive towards people and animals but not to me, the breeders gave him to me because of that reason. now he goes almost everywhere with me and he is the coolest most unique destructive animal i ever owned i would not recommend this breed to just anyone

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I own a 2 yr old male miniature bull terrier, Winston Bogsley. We call him winny Boggs for short. I'm in love with this little guy. So full of character and so loving and confident. He lives with a young child and a female lab mix. He's polite and obedient and yes stubborn. He loves people and dogs of all ages, male or female. He has a very strong prey drive though and although we have tried to introduce him to cats, he will never be able to live with a cat. The temptation to chase and hunt them proves too tempting. Terriers in general have a strong prey drive and while some can learn to live happily with small animals like hamsters or cats, my winny Boggs never will. That's his only quirk. He makes us laugh daily with his antics - doing his slow army crawl across the living room floor to sneak something yummy from the kitchen without us seeing him, his games of hide and seek, where he hides his head under my bed and seems truly surprised when I find him - obviously not realizing his lower body is sticking out from under the bed, his wiggly back dancing, his "talking", his laying down to take a nap in the middle of a walk and refusing to get up!!! Small dog with a big personality. So loyal and loving is our winny Boggs.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Our bull terrier Stan is part of the family and best friends with our 10 year old son. Stan will follow him everywhere and stick his nose into everything that he does. Stan is the gentlest and most patient dog with a loyalty that is beyond all comparison. I'm sure he believes he is as human as we are! With a face that has so much expression, a real sense of humour and a loving character the bull terrier is a very special breed. Our Stan is at his happiest curled up amongst us on the sofa. I honestly don't think you could get this special bond from any other breed. Stan will be 8 on New Year's Day and will receive his bone wrapped in birthday paper just like every other year. Please do not judge this breed until you have met one that has been brought up properly!

    • steviem profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      I find your comment very small minded and rude, who are you to judge people that own a certain breed of dog as trash, im sorry to hear your dog was attacked but you cannot tar all dogs of that breed with the same brush.

      These dogs are powerful and can be dangerous if they do attack, but so can most breeds, these dogs are one of the most loving gentle breeds you can own, they are not the aggressors they are portrayed to be, but sadly due to their reputation they do fall into the wrong hands and have been used as fighting dogs, illegal but it still goes on, not the dogs fault.

      You should get your facts straight before you come out with childish and egotistical comments about people you know nothing of.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Our dog was attacked in our fenced backyard and our own driveway by one of these EBTs. It ripped a two inch whole through my dogs face because it would not release its hold on our dog even as its owner tried to beat his EBT and control it. These dogs are extremely aggressive and should not be trusted. Of course, the owners demonstrate their own personal charm with a three foot wide rear window vehicle sticker of brass knuckles. Trashy dogs for trashy people.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I have a 4yrold EBT. I rescued him a week before xmas.. A lovable boy, a daddys boy but for the last 2 nights hes tried attacking me in his sleep??? Luckily i haven't been sleepin well an quickly shouted & knocked him off me which woke him up.. But for the last 2 nights hes been kicking out & growling altho hes avin a bad dream which is the only reason i haven't panicked.. But i don't kno kno anything about his past but hes never shown anythin like it in the 6months iv had him.. I love him to bits & hes the most lovable cuddly best friend there is.. Has any1 else ever had a problem like this?? Advice would be greatly appreciated.. Jay

    • profile image

      6 years ago

      Rhanks for sharing your story. I can completely understand your pain and the conflicting feelings when something like this happens. We rescued a beautiful Golden Retriever with similar issues. We were his 4th family. He was never properly socialized as a puppy and we later learned he had been shock collar trained. He spent a year and a half with us and he relaxed a lot and you could see the sweet side of him; however he would bite unpredictably and without warning. My mother, my wife, and I had been on the receiving end, but we're lucky not to have suffered a bite that broke the skin until one evening in the back yard while playing the dog decided he didn't want to be told to sit and bit my hand while reaching for his leash. No growl, no body language indicating his intent, he bit me like the previous owners had shocked him. They taught him this behavior and he was correcting me with a bite. He had to be put to sleep, as I was not willing to risk one of my kids or one of the kids in the neighborhood getting bitten.

      Please socialize your pup and treat them with love not punishment. Look into reward based training, such as using a clicker to mark good behavior and reward with treats. You'll bring out the best in any dog.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I was viciously attacked by an English Bull Terrier my husband bought home, he had always wanted one. This dog had never been around women, only men and not the nicest of men. It did not understand who or what I was and of course i paid the price in stitches and he paid the price with his life x Eight years later we now own a 5 month old English Bull Terrier puppy and she is adorable and we are now looking to buy another to keep her company. Her nature is amazing and I am glad I gave the breed another chance xxx

    • suny51 profile image


      8 years ago

      actually I am looking for a dog,with good habits and friendly attitude as mine passed away last year, though I don't know another dog can replace my Bhobho,but may be I may go for one.


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