The Bull Terrier presents difficulties for breeder and judges striving to achieve the qualities called for in the Bull Terrier Breed Standard. These stem principally from the necessity to see the animal as a whole, because the whole is far more important than the parts or details. The serious student must be able to see perfection standing and moving in the mind's eye. Once the ideal is visualized, the animal which comes closest to that ideal in POSITIVE virtues is the one which should achieve success in the show ring and which will ultimately achieve success in breeding. It is only animals which possess virtues of head, bone, substance, shapeliness, soundness and temperament which will pass these on to the next generations.
Faults in Bull Terriers are departures from the ideal construction, and the seriousness of the fault is in direct proportion to its degree of departure. Ours is not a breed in which success or failure hinges on a few odd-colored hairs, an extra dewclaw, or a misaligned incisor. The writers of the Bull Terrier Standard took a positive attitude toward the virtues which should be present. This shifts the responsibility to breeders and judges to develop a visualization of the ideal Bull Terrier, and then to develop the skill to find those animals whose sum of virtues most nearly fulfills the ideal. Very little is written in the Bull Terrier Breed Standard about faults, and fault-judging has no place except when deciding between two animals of equal virtue, or when the fault is to a degree which severely mars the health, function or appearance of the dog.
We must thank the Bulldog for the Bull Terrier's courage and determination, his substance and heavy bone, his barrel ribs and deep brisket, the strong jaws and the fine close coat. Also for the brindle, red, fawn, and fawn smut and the black and tan colourings and possibly for obedience. We must, however, blame the Bulldog for certain undesirable features of body, legs and feet that have bedeviled the Bull Terrier throughout his history; for the over-broad skull, undershot jaw, round eyes and also for the Dudley nose and other faults of pigmentation.
White English Terriers were refined Terriers which gave many points indicative of quality, the small dark eyes, neat ears, varminty expression, the clean outline, with straight legs and cat feet, tight shoulders, well bent stifles, low set hocks and the whip tails, together with agility, intelligence, and the pure white coat. But from the Terrier the breed also derived a tendency for lightness of build, light bone and the excitability still sometimes encountered.
Conformation was improved by the use of the Dalmatian whose leggier type, good legs and feet and movement can still occasionally be recognized in the Bull Terriers of today. Here again there were disadvantages as no doubt the ticked coat came from this source and perhaps also the mild expressions still found in the breed.
Bull Terriers reminiscent of all these three types are still to be seen, all of them complying with the somewhat broadly based requirements of the Standard and all acceptable and useful for correcting exaggerations of type or deviations from the Standard. Thus the Bulldog type will give substance, the Terrier type will add quality and agility and the Dalmatian type improve conformation and movement. Excess of any of these types is undesirable, the ideal being a blend of the good points of all three. Soundness as it refers to dogs has never been precisely defined. In Bull Terriers it refers to the general skeletal and muscular perfection as laid down in the Breed Standard.
|Bull Terrier Dog|
Bull Terrier While hair texture is not generally regarded as important in the overall picture of the ideal Bull Terrier, a thin, patchy or dull coat detracts from the impression of a vibrant, healthy animal. Coats marred by bouts with allergies are also a sign of less than ideal health in addition to being unsightly. Ticking, which occurs in the undercoat and is more prevalent in the thicker winter coat, is a fault as described in the standard. The severity of the fault can be minimal, with a few odd ticks in the undercoat, or more heavily penalized if the coat is heavily ticked. Mismarks, involving both the undercoat and the longer guard hairs, are also a fault which carries a penalty under the rules of this Standard.
Bull Terrier pigmentation, which takes the form of dark spots on the skin which show through the
white hair in a thin coat, are not to be penalized. It has been the usual practice, when judging Bull Terriers, to view light ticking and small mismarks as a relatively minor fault in an otherwise worthy animal, and while it is important to be aware of the desirability of a clear coat in our visualization of the ideal Bull Terrier , it is also important not to "throw the baby out with the bathwater" and disregard an otherwise virtuous animal due
to minor coat faults.
|Bull Terrier Dog and Bull Terrier Puppy|
A properly set on, tapered tail carried horizontally gives a finish to the topline which is essential to our visualization of the ideal Bull Terrier. Unfortunately, most of today's dogs have dogs have varying degrees of "gay" tail which brings the lines of an otherwise ideal animal to an abrupt, angular termination. While "gay" tails have not been considered a serious fault, they are often associated with a short pelvis and flat croup which detracts from the finishing lines of this muscular yet gracefully agile dog.
The Bull Terrier should be a combination of dense but smooth parts connected by graceful curves. Beware the heavy, ill-made animal who has a long, straight-cut body which lacks the graceful quality of the well-knit athlete. Also beware the individual who lacks substance and spring of rib.