The Bull Terrier is the gladiator of the canine race, who has earned the title “the white cavalier.” The Bull Terrier was developed in England early in the 19th century primarily for bull baiting, but was also used extensively in the pits against dogs, badgers, and vermin. In keeping with these pursuits, the breed is noted for its courage, resistance to pain, and quick thinking-qualities that were inherited from the breed’s immediate forbears, the Bulldog and the Terrier. The original name for these feisty cross-breds was, quite logically, the Bull and Terrier.
It is reported that the early dogs were an inconsistent lot, blocky headed and variously coloured. But, as breeding progressed, the terrier characteristics predominated. More all-white dogs were being bred, heads became smoother and legs longer. Then, after the abolishment of the bull baiting and dog fighting in Britain in 1835, breeders turned their attentions to the gentler art of breeding dogs for show.
The developer of the present-day Bull Terrier is acknowledged to be James Hinks, who had been experimentally crossing the gamest of his Bull and Terriers with the white English Terrier and the Dalmatian to produce a strain of all-white dogs he called Bull Terriers. A female of Hinks’ breeding, Puss, first of this new breed to be shown, made her debut in 1862. Hard-line Bull and Terrier enthusiasts scoffed at Hinks’ refinement, claiming he had destroyed the breed’s pugnacity. Despite the fact that it was against the law, Hinks took up the challenge. That evening, Puss was matched against a tough Bull and Terrier; she quickly took care of him and not being the worse for wear and tear was returned to the dog show the next morning. Other crosses are assumed to have brought further refinement to the breed. Among the breeds suggested are the Greyhound, Spanish Pointer, and Dalmatian.