Miniature bull terrier: why should you consider a mini bull terrier

Miniature bull terrier: great thing in a small package

There is a mini version of everything today – mini golf, mini fridges, Mini Coopers, and now even dogs come in mini versions. Enter mini bull terrier!

What is this pup like and how do they compare with their larger counterparts – the standard bull terriers? Should you think about potentially adopting a mini bull terrier?

Mini bull terriers have a lot in common with standard bull terriers, and only a few small differences, but those can still be significant if you are choosing between a full-sized and a mini version of this breed. Let’s find out more.

Should you think about potentially adopting a mini bull terrier?

Should you think about potentially adopting a mini bull terrier?

In this article:
Mini bull terrier: history and origins
Miniature bull terrier: appearance
Miniature Bull Terrier: personality and temperament
Miniature Bull Terrier: training your Mini Bull Terrier
Miniature Bull Terrier Owner Reviews

Mini bull terrier: history and origins

Mini bull terriers emerged much later than their large counterparts, standard bull terriers, – around 1930s. Before that time, bull terriers were widely and predominantly used in dog fighting, so no one really needed small bull terriers. If a bull terrier puppy was born too small (or smaller than his litter mates), or failed to grow rapidly, they were destroyed. They simply wouldn’t have a chance in the fighting pit anyway.

By the 1930s, when humans started to become more “humane”, dog fighting was thankfully banned in a lot of countries around the Earth. Overall, people’s attitudes to animals were changing: ruthless entertainment wasn’t so entertaining anymore, and people were starting to see animals as beloved pets and companions instead. Besides, unlike standard bull terriers who had their roots in dog fighting, miniature bull terriers were mostly used for killing rats. You might not know it, but rats were a huge problem for the old England homes and streets. Miniature Bull Terriers were small enough to be able to get into hiding holes that any other breed would be too large for. Their size, coupled with their strong hunting instinct and outstanding combat skills, helped them become a real rat fighting weapon for the whole cities!

Mini Bull Terriers were first shown at dog shows in 1963

Mini Bull Terriers were first shown at dog shows in 1963

Apart from this useful function, many people simply liked the combination of bull terrier character traits (loyal, strong-willed, confident, funny) in a smaller, more compact body. This was a perfect dog for many people’s living conditions. The sizes of houses and dwellings kept getting smaller due to growing populations of cities all around Europe, and large dogs were much harder to accommodate than compact Mini Bull Terriers.

This is why miniature bull terriers had a real chance to win the hearts of people – and they sure did! By 1940s and 1950s more and more of them were bred intentionally, slowly forming their own breed. Miniature bull terriers were bred from standard bull terriers but selected for shorter height and more compact size. In a few generations, a stable, short miniature bull terrier breed was established. Today’s bull terriers go several full generations back, with several separate lines!

Mini Bull Terriers were first shown at dog shows in 1963. However, the full standard of the breed was only defined in 1991. By then there were dozens of miniature bull terrier clubs in England and other countries.

Miniature bull terrier: appearance

The Miniature Bull Terrier must be strongly built, symmetrical and
active, with a keen, determined and intelligent expression.

AKC Standard

Visually, Mini Bull Terrier looks just like a standard bull terrier, but smaller. Just like standard Bull Terrier, Mini Bull Terrier features a large egg-shaped head, small triangular eyes and a muscular, sturdy body. They also have small, elegant ears and a straight tail that is almost always wagging, especially in presence of their beloved owner.

Bull terrier vs miniature bull terrier: appearance

Mini Bull Terrier looks almost “square”, with wide shoulders, shorter legs and shorter body

Mini Bull Terrier jaw is strong and muscular. On the whole, the dog almost looks “square”, with wide shoulders, shorter legs and shorter body. According to the standard, a well-bred and well-raised Miniature Bull Terrier has to be sturdy and bulky, but not overweight.

While standard Bull Terriers can reach 20-23 inch in height and weigh around 45-65 pounds, a Miniature Bull Terrier is usually anywhere between 10 to 14 inches tall and can weigh between 24 to 34 pounds.

The Mini Bull Terrier’s coat is short and shiny, with coarse, sleek hairs. Just like standard Bull Terriers, Mini Bull Terriers can be white or colored. Several color patterns are acceptable according to standard, such as white, red, white and red, black, black and white, brindle, brindle and white. 

According to the AKC, the Miniature Bull Terrier’s eyes should be as dark as possible, and deeply sunken, to give the Bull Terrier a piercing and keen facial expression. Their neck should be muscular and long, without loose skin.

Miniature Bull Terrier: personality and temperament

Bull terrier vs miniature bull terrier: personality

Mini Bull Terriers are an extremely people-orientated breed

When it comes to personality, Miniature Bull Terriers are not too different from their large relatives – Standard Bull Terriers. Like all terriers, (and maybe even more so!) a Miniature Bull Terrier is quite a strong-willed dog. Some may even call them a little stubborn. They are definitely confident. They know that they are the best thing in your life: the most intelligent, the most beautiful, definitely the best contender for that sweet spot on your favorite couch… They are born this way and it never really goes away.

Despite their small size, Mini Bull Terriers are not lap dogs. They are just as powerful and strong as standard bull terriers, and have just as strong a personality.

Mini Bull Terriers, like standard Bull Terriers, are an extremely people-orientated breed. They adore their owner and their family, and make for great companions. Despite the general prejudice that exists towards the bully breeds, Mini Bull Terriers are not inherently aggressive! In fact, more often than not it’s quite the opposite. They are actually an extremely amiable breed and hardly ever display aggression towards people. (That is, provided they are raised well and are well-trained.)

Just like standard Bull Terriers, Miniature Bull Terriers were bred to be friendly to people, otherwise such a strong, powerful dog would be dangerous to the potential owners. Miniature Bull Terriers can sometimes be aggressive towards other dogs, but never people. In the case of dog aggression, this is usually due to several reasons. It could be because your Mini Bull Terrier feels territorial or threatened (if another dog comes onto their territory).

Miniature Bull Terriers were bred to be friendly to people

Miniature Bull Terriers were bred to be friendly to people

It could also be a hormonal issue that translates into a behavioral one. For example, two dominant male dogs of any breeds might highly dislike each other’s company and become agitated and aggressive. It could also be that the Mini Bull Terrier in question isn’t getting enough attention and care and is frustrated or bored. All of these can become behavioral issues if not addressed by the owner. But in general, most Miniature Bull Terrier owners will tell you that their pup is the friendlies, goofiest dog out there and wouldn’t harm a fly.

However, just like the standard Bull Terrier, Mini Bull Terriers are not always easy dogs to have. They are very stubborn and strong-willed, and need an owner that will be able to keep them in line. You need to convince them that, even though they are the best thing on Earth since sliced bread, you are still just a bit better. Most of all, they need to know that you are the leader of their pack. If you are able to do that, your self-confident, strong-willed mini bull terrier will grow up to be sweet and obedient. 

With a dog like Miniature Bull Terrier, you will have to invest a lot of time, effort and patience in training and teaching your pup good manners around you, your family, other people and animals. Only then can you expect consistently good behavior.

Mini Bull Terriers are stubborn and strong-willed

Mini Bull Terriers are stubborn and strong-willed

Although Mini Bull Terriers do not harbor any aggression towards people, they are powerful dogs with a set of powerful jaws and can become dangerous if there are any flaws in their personality (aggressiveness, over-excitability, lack of socialization, frustration etc) that aren’t dealt with in timely manner.

Mini Bull Terriers can be aggressive to other animals (cats, squirrels, other dogs), if they have not been properly socialized as puppies. A healthy, well-raised Miniature Bull Terrier will hardly ever attack first, but will definitely fearlessly protect themself (and you) if attacked by another dog, even a much larger one.

Just like their larger counterparts, Mini Bullies are built like natural fight machines. If it comes to a fight, they can cause a lot of damage to any other animal (including humans). This is another reason to invest time into training and socializing your Mini Bully. You don’t want your dog to terrorize neighborhood dogs, cats and squirrels, and definitely not people!

A slight difference between Mini Bull Terrier personality and that of the standard Bull Terrier is that Mini Bull Terriers can be slightly more excitable and less obedient than larger dogs, who normally have somewhat calmer demeanor. (Although both can still be considered the clowns of the dog world and are generally just relaxed and goofy.)

Mini Bull Terriers can be slightly more excitable and less obedient than larger dogs

Mini Bull Terriers can be slightly more excitable and less obedient than larger dogs

Just like standard Bull Terriers, Mini Bullies do not do well when left alone. They are so attached to their family that they can easily become destructive and develop psychological issues if left alone for a long time.

They can also be jealous and possessive of their owner. Some bull terriers can even dislike it when their owner plays with another dog or other pets in front of them. If you are getting a Miniature Bull Terrier, be prepared to be somewhat “possessed” by them, and to have to mediate jealousy and potential conflicts. 

Miniature Bull Terrier: training your Mini Bull Terrier

Miniature Bull Terriers, just like standard Bull Terriers, are very intelligent dogs. They are extremely perceptive, capable of quick decision making and have excellent memory. Although they are no border collies (no dog is!), you can still train your Mini Bull Terrier to do practically any tricks you can come up with. 

Miniature Bull Terriers are very intelligent dogs

Miniature Bull Terriers are very intelligent dogs

However, they aren’t the easiest dogs to train. This is not because they don’t understand what you want from them. They understand you perfectly. They just often don’t want to do whatever it is you want to do them. They want to do something else. You want them to fetch? They want to keep chilling on the sofa. You want them to do that cool trick you’ve been working on all last week? They want you to give them a treat and leave them alone. 

Despite their almost maniacal love for their owners, Mini Bull Terriers are highly opinionated dogs and tend to follow their own instincts and desires more so than their owner’s commands.

In most cases, your Mini Bull Terrier will just give your command a thought (or two) before they obey. A Mini Bull Terrier will never be like a German Shepherd or other working breeds that are known for following commands immediately and without second thought.

With a Miniature bully, you will always have to persuade them to do whatever it is you want them to do. You can achieve that by being a strong, confident owner, and, of course, by offering treats you Bully can’t refuse. (The latter will almost always win you perfect behavior from your pup, but may also win your pup some extra pounds, which you want to avoid.)

They are extremely perceptive, capable of quick decision making and have excellent memory

They are extremely perceptive, capable of quick decision making and have excellent memory

Although Bull Terriers are excellent fighters, you likely won’t be able to train them to be your personal guard. If you try to teach your Bull Terrier any behavior that involves attacking other people or threatening others, you might end up increasing your Bull Terrier’s overall aggression towards everyone, including you and your family. Bull terriers have never been and should not be guard dogs. It isn’t in their temperament, and I wouldn’t recommend even thinking of using them as such.

Miniature Bull Terrier: families with kids

Both Mini Bull Terriers and standard Bull Terriers are excellent family pets and are generally safe for families with children. Moreover, they normally thrive in such families, because they love active households where something is happening all the time. (And we know how kids are just so good into turning your home into such a household.)

However, Mini Bull Terriers (and standard Bull Terriers) may not be the ideal pets for families with very young children. Even though they love children and would never intentionally hurt a child, they are still massive, muscular, heavy dogs and they love to play rough.

If a bull terrier hits a child while running at the top of its speed, it could end up hurting the child due to pure muscle mass. Despite being very smart, a Bull Terrier is still a very rough playing dog. So keep that in mind if you have young children and considering getting a Mini Bully. Maybe give it a couple years until your own minis grow up a bit.

Mini Bull Terriers may not be the ideal pets for families with very young children

Mini Bull Terriers may not be the ideal pets for families with very young children

Miniature Bull Terrier Owner Reviews

If you think Bull Terriers are aggressive or dangerous, I am here to tell you you are wrong. This is the kindest dog I’ve ever had the pleasure of living with. Our Sam the Mini Bull Terrier is the goofiest goof out there, even though he can be stubborn like a little goat. He sure has his opinion about things.

But he makes us laugh every day! One other thing about him is that he is a bit of a Velcro dog in that he follows me everywhere and wouldn’t be without me. He’d go to the bathroom with me if he could! Otherwise he is a pleasure to have around and I love him so much.

Adam, owner of Mini Bull Terrier Sam

This is a kind, happy and very perceptive dog. I don’t really see any downsides to my Abbey, she’s pretty perfect. She’s very smart, always knows what we want from her, and happy to oblige. She is great on the leash and we often get compliments about her when we are out and about. She was originally my boyfriend’s dog. I have never had Bull Terriers before and she looked a bit strange to me when I saw her for the first time. Now other dogs look strange to me, but Abbey’s totally perfect.

Ellen, owner of Abbey the Mini Bull Terrier

These dogs really need lots of attention. Our Pickles is a fantastic pup, but we did have some issues when he was younger. Mostly with the things he was and wasn’t allowed to do. He was very stubborn. We knew he knew what we wanted, it was obvious. He just had his own mind about it. It took some training and a lot of encouraging of good habits before he became a more reliable dog to have in the house. We would still love him, don’t get me wrong. Just remember that you’ll need to put some effort in your dog if you adopt a Miniature Bull Terrier.

Doug, owner of Miniature Bull Terrier Casper

All in all, both standard and miniature bull terrier is a great dog and wonderful family pet. Mini bull terriers are definitely not dogs for everyone, but if you are willing to put a lot of effort and time into training and raising your mini bull terrier well, they will be a lovely dog to have, regardless of the size.

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