Bull Terriers are intelligent, active, strong, and usually friendly. Dog sports such as retrieving, flyball, agility, weight pull, tracking, rally and traditional obedience as sport provide physical and mental stimulation while increasing the dog's bond with its family. Bull Terriers also bond with people by being service dogs in search and rescue and in animal-assisted therapy. Although Bull Terriers have been in television shows and movies with children and have a reputation for being good with them, as with all dogs, extremely close supervision is needed to prevent accidental injury to the child or dog and avoid the dog's subsequently developing fear-based defensive aggression.
In the 1830's, when bull fighting enthusiasts wanted a dog that would perform better in the fights, breeders began working on the Bull Terrier. The goal was to create dogs that would be more agile in their attacks. They began by crossing the Old English Bulldog and the Old English Terrier with some Spanish Pointer thrown into the mix. Unfortunately, the resulting breed didn't perform as well as the bull fighting enthusiasts had hoped it would. As a result, the Bull Terrier's popularity as a bull fighter decreased, but their popularity as a pet for the elite members of society increased. An all-white Bull Terrier was developed in the 1850's and people immediately took a liking to the breed. Over the years, people have tried adding Dalmatian, Greyhound, Foxhound and Whippet into the Bull Terrier bloodline. Bull Terriers have proven to be excellent guard dogs and are still extremely popular in both the United States and Europe. The Bull Terrier Club was developed in 1887 in England and in 1895 the breed received American Kennel Club recognition.