Miniature Bull Terriers

As his name suggests, he is a Bull Terrier in miniature, standing 10 to 14 inches and weighing 25 to 33 pounds. The Mini Bull Terrier has just as much energy and gumption as his big brother, so don’t think he won’t be as much work. Here’s what you need to know if you are considering acquiring a Miniature Bull Terrier.

Traits, Personality and Behavior

The Miniature Bull Terrier is a curious and energetic dog who is as bull-headed as his name might suggest. He is an independent thinker with an endless desire to be digging, barking and investigating. If that behavior would drive you batty, the Miniature Bull Terrier is not for you. But if you, have an excess of energy and curiosity, not to mention a great sense of humor, keep reading.

If you want a dog you can do things with, the Mini Bull Terrier is your man, er, dog. He excels at all kinds of organized and informal canine activities. He loves to hike and can be an excellent agility and obedience dog, if you can figure out how to motivate him.

A Miniature Bull Terrier needs firm, fair and consistent training from a young age so he'll understand the boundaries necessary for living with people. As long as he gets plenty of exercise and stimulation for his quick mind, he's perfectly capable of understanding that outside is for digging --in a specified area --and the living room sofa is for watching TV with you after the two of you have worn each other out.

Miniature Bull Terriers are active and cheerful playmates for kids, although they are too rambunctious for toddlers. They can get along with other dogs their size or bigger, but toy dogs and cats are likely to set off their prey drive. They will chase and kill them if given the chance. Confine him to your yard with a solid fence. An underground electronic fence will not deter the Mini Bull Terrier if he sees something he wants to chase.

When he's not re-landscaping your yard or chasing the neighbor's cat, the Miniature Bull Terrier is likely to be playing with his favorite squeaky toy or entertaining you by performing tricks. After wearing himself out with all this activity, he'll curl up by you on the sofa while you watch TV.

The Miniature Bull Terrier has a smooth coat that needs a minimum of grooming -- just a quick brushing once a week to keep shedding under control. Other than that, keep his ears clean, his nails trimmed and his teeth brushed. He's definitely meant to be a no-fuss dog.

Last but not least, it should go without saying that a people-loving dog like the Miniature Bull Terrier needs to live in the house. It's an unhappy Miniature Bull Terrier who is relegated to the backyard with little or no human companionship.

Health Issues Common to Miniature Bull Terriers

All purebred dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don't walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.

Mini Bull Terriers are generally healthy, but conditions that may be seen in the breed include deafness, eye problems such as glaucoma and lens luxation, and kidney disease. At a minimum, ask breeders to show evidence that both of a puppy's parents have an OFA BAER (brainstem auditory evoked response) hearing clearance and certification from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation that eyes are healthy.

The Miniature Bull Terrier Club of America, which is the American Kennel Club parent organization for the breed in the United States, participates in the Canine Health Information Center Program. For a Mini Bull Terrier to achieve CHIC certification, he must have OFA cardiac, hearing and kidney clearances, plus an eye clearance from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation. Breeders must agree to have all test results, positive or negative, published in the CHIC database. You can check CHIC's website to see if a breeder's dogs have these certifications.

Do not purchase a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide you with written documentation that the parents were cleared of health problems that affect the breed. Having the dogs "vet checked" is not a substitute for genetic health testing.

Condition Risk Profile Cost to Diagnose and Treat
Glaucoma Low $1,500 - 5,000

5 Tips to Bring Home a Healthy Miniature Bull Terrier Puppy

The best source of information on everything to do with the Miniature Bull Terrier, including a list of breeders, is the website of the Miniature Bull Terrier Club of America. Choose a breeder who is committed to following the MBTCA's Code of Ethics, which prohibits the sale of puppies to pet stores or wholesalers and outlines the breeder's responsibilities to the breed and to buyers.

Consider an adult dog from a shelter or a rescue group. Many of the health and behavior problems in Miniature Bull Terriers aren't apparent in puppyhood, but by adopting an adult dog, most of them can be ruled out. Since a Miniature Bull Terrier can live to be 12 years old or more, even an adult dog will be with your family for a long time.

Puppy or adult, take your Miniature Bull Terrier to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot visible problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.

Don't ever, ever, ever buy a puppy from a pet store. You're more likely to get an unhealthy, unsocialized and difficult to house-train puppy and will be supporting the cruelty of high-volume puppy mills.

Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with "puppy lemon laws," be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.

Pet Insurance for Miniature Bull Terriers

Pet insurance for Miniature Bull Terriers costs more than for mixed breed dogs. This is because Miniature Bull Terriers are more likely than mixed breed dogs to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.

Embrace dog insurance plans offer full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which Miniature Bull Terriers are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your Miniature Bull Terrier is when he's a healthy puppy. You can't predict what will happen in the future, and pet insurance is the one thing you can't get when you need it the most.