Bull terriers have a long U.S. history and have been a staple in communities since the mid-19th century. There are several versions with different temperaments and levels of loyalty. Strong jaws and shoulders are the norm for these dogs. All are short haired and are bred to the colors of red, brown, white and black. They are also bred to be no taller than 12-18 inches tall and weigh 45-65 pounds. With the exception of the Staffordshire, most bull terriers have few health concerns and all tend to live long lives if cared for properly.
Pit Bull Terrier
This version of the bull terrier has the most visible and perhaps unfairly poor reputation. Due to incidences of poor breeding, the dog is often prone to bouts of poor temperament. Stories of pit bull attacks are unfortunately well known. The term "pit bull" comes from its history of being put in pits to dog fight. As this has been outlawed for many years and reputable breeders have become the norm, there is no reason to fear a well bred, well cared for pit bull. Question the breeding and steer clear of any pit bull that is taller than 18 inches or heavier than 65 pounds, which is the norm for bull terriers.
American Stafford Terrier
These bull terriers were the first in the U.S., arriving with English immigrants in the mid-19th century. They were distanced from their pit fighting counterparts by their careful temperament breeding which led to their early acceptance into the American Kennel Club. This bull terrier is good natured, co-exists well with children and is very loyal.
Playful and friendly, the bull terrier is seen as the clown dog of all bull terriers. You might recall one of the more popular bulls: Spuds Mackinzie, a dog used for many years in beer commercials. They are one of few terriers to present in mostly white from head to toe but watch out for blue eyed versions of the white terrier. This may indicate breeding abnormalities. They are extremely loyal and attached to their owners and family members , but they do not do well when left alone and can act out with destructive behaviors.
The stockiest of all the bull terriers, the Staffordshire is short and bulky, and it has a muzzle and appearance closest to the bulldog. You might hear them before they arrive, as they often have breathing issues and present with raspy labored breathing with tongue extended. They are still very active dogs, known to play for hours, and are devoted family pets. This terrier requires daily activity to maintain a healthy and long life.