Saturday, December 14, 2013

B is for BRITISH BULL TERRIER

Some may wonder why I have chosen this breed as they are not always that popular with some folk.  My reason is that we had a wonderful pet, a family friend, for nearly 12 years and we couldn't have asked for a more faithful and loving creature than our Princess.  I have some fantastic photographs of her and if I had the knowledge of how to get them on here I would probably flood the page with them.
Princess died way back in the early 1980s but all the family still speak of her with affection.  Many years ago even the neighbourhood children would stop at the front gate to ask how Princess was.

The BRITISH BULL TERRIER is of course a breed of dog in the terrier family.  They have large, egg-shaped heads, and small triangular eyes.  There is also a miniature version of this breed which is officially known as the Miniature Bull Terrier.


Our Princess was just like the white one above although she didn't have any black on her at all, and the miniature brindle and white is almost the same as the little fellow our son owned some years ago.

The bull terrier's mot recognisable feature is the head, described as egg-shaped when viewed from the front, the top of the skull is almost flat from ear to ear.  Profile curves gently downwards from top of skull to tip of nose which should be black and bent downwards at the tip.  Nostrils are well developed and under-jaw deep with a strong snout.  The unique triangle-shaped eyes are small, dark and deep set. The body is full and round, while the shoulders are robust and very muscular and the tail is carried horizontally.  They are generally white in colour, walk with a jaunty gait and are popularly known as the "Gladiator of the canine race."  This is the 1915 version of the bull terrier:


These animals are known to be courageous and active.  They enjoy being around people but are strong willed and thus require an assertive owner.  They need the companionship of their owners and should not be kept outside in a kennel.  They can be both independent and stubborn so are not considered suitable for an inexperienced dog owner.  They are protective of their family, but comprehensive socialisation at an early age will prevent them from becoming over-protective or neurotic.   They have a strong prey instinct and, like any strong dog breed, when unduly challenged may cause injury or death to people or other animals, especially cats.  That said, puppies brought up with cats and other animals get on well with the animals they know.

Modern bull terriers now come in both black and white and red and white:



Having read all the above which I am sure is very true with the necessary warnings about owning a dog of this breed, we found Princess to be very well behaved.  We bought her when she was 5 months old from a breeder.  Her dogs were kept in a very nice fenced part of her back yard but she would allow them into her house occasionally in order for them to get used to being 'inside'.  At that time our two children would have been about 13 and 15 and they loved Princess and she them.  She was a character and just so loveable.  You certainly did have to let her know who was the boss but overall she was a well behaved girl.  I well remember when B was courting our daughter, Princess, who knew she was not allowed on the indoor furniture, would climb up and sit on B's lap.  We would tell her to get down but B would say "Oh, she's OK" which of course she was not.  She really took to him which meant we did too of course.  Her judgement was spot on and we now have had a wonderful son-in-law for many years.

We had a cat when we brought Princess home but she was fine with her and didn't chase her at all. Kandi was a red Burmese and she loved Princess and when she would go near her poor Prinny would start to shiver, obviously with nerves.  I guess she would have liked to chase Kandi but just knew it was not allowed.  Eventually Kandi wore Prinny down and you would find the two of them curled up asleep together.  We then had another cat and Gus too would curl up and sleep next to Princess.

For a while we had a neighbour whose back fence backed onto our side fence (he was renting the house) and for some reason Princess did not like him.  A couple of times she heard him in his back garden and she would fly at the picket fence and hit it with her head a couple of feet off the ground. She was not a dog that barked very much, but she obviously was a good judge of character as a young fellow that our son knew called a couple of times and Princess growled and barked at him both times. As this was unusual behaviour for her we asked Steve why he thought she had done that.  He said this fellow was one that none of their group liked or trusted and Princess obviously could tell he wasn't someone we needed coming onto our property.

As for cats....Phil was on his way down to the shed one day and there was Princess holding a cat by the scruff of its neck and shaking it side to side.  Phil had to actually hit her before she would let go. Fortunately the cat escaped and appeared none the worse for wear.  That was the only time we saw Princess actually attack any creature and she never attacked a person of any age.

She was indeed very strong and one of her games was to have a tug of war with an old radiator hose. She was by far stronger than any adult person and if you pulled upwards she would hold onto that hose and you could then lift her right off the ground.  They do have very strong jaws and are notorious that once they grab on to something you have a dickens of a job to make them let go.

When our granddaughters arrived they loved to play with Princess and she tolerated them so well and would romp with them.  She even allowed them to sit on her back.  We didn't encourage them to do that in case they hurt her, but she didn't seem to mind in the least.

We were away on holidays when she dropped of her perch.  She had had a heart attack a couple of years before and was on heart tablets.  As she was 12 by then our vet said we could board her with him while we were away.  When we returned home I telephoned about picking her up and the receptionist asked me to hold on so the vet could speak to me.  He told me that one day during that week one of his assistants had taken her out of her run to exercise her but Princess had collapsed.  The vet said they had done all they could but could not revive her.  That dear dog was so missed by all of us and we still enjoy looking at photos of her when we relive all the fun we all had when she lived as part of our family.  Our daughter was into ceramics then and I now have a lovely bull terrier still to keep me company.  I provided the piece of drift wood so she has something to play with (when I'm not looking).


10 comments:

  1. I like the little ceramic terrier more than I like the real thing. I'm sure that with proper training and socialisation, as you said, they can be wonderful pets, but there has been so much bad press and too often we hear on the news about another child being savagely mauled, usually by a pit bull, which is not the same animal at all. But still, I'm wary. They are fine looking dogs, I would just never own one.
    Then again, many people would say the same about German Shepherds which I grew up with and love.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel strongly about the fact that American pit bulls have given other dogs that look similar an extremely bad name. The people I have known that have owned bull terriers have never had any problem with them.
      Myself, I am not a fan of German Shepherds as they can be very nervous animals which makes me very wary of them.

      Delete
  2. Like River, I am a big, big fan of German Shepherds. Other dogs are decidedly second best in my heart.
    I have had friends with British Bull Terriers and they were intelligent, loyal and loving dogs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As said to River one type of dog will give another type a bad name. I guess you have to own one to realise its worth.
      German Shepherds scare me. A chap I worked with had one and he used to warn people to be careful of her as she was a nervous dog and could be unpredictable. Have heard the same about others of that breed. My very favourite dog is the Golden Retriever but more about that later.

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. They certainly are. Years ago we lived next door to a rope and twine factory (Phil was the paymaster there among other things). One of the men there would say to Phil "I just saw your prehistoric dog in your back yard!"

      Delete
  4. Hari Om
    Hey there Mimisie!! My week away was both relaxing and fruitful - but now i have a HEAP of catch up to do in Blogville. I love insects so am glad you are going to continue with your A-Z on them; but of course I am a total animal nut anyway, so cats and dogs are just fine too &*>

    I would say that Bull Terriers are not on my top ten list, mainly because I have been associated with the less adorable members of the breed... but it must be said that the owners of the three I am thinking of were themselves of the less adorable type and certainly ought not to have been dog owners at all. Any dog, appropriately handled, will be perfectly sociable and loving. Some require more than others. I just wish more folk would pay attention to the 'alerts'.

    Anyway, trust you are well and the physio is working its wisdom. YAM xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so glad you had such a wonderful week away.
      I hope you enjoy all 3 different subject. I thought it may appeal to more people if I diversified a little. It's a lot of fun and all the time I am leaning from doing it.
      I still wonder if bull terriers have a bad name because of their name and get confused with pit bulls and similar breeds. Of course dogs are only as well behaved as their owners which can cause problems. Some people should never own animals.
      Yes, my physio has been doing wonders and hopefully one more visit next week will see even more improvement. Still sore but I am moving a tad better thank goodness.
      Hope your weekend is going well. xx

      Delete
  5. Dearest Mimsie,
    I had a "Princess" too (different breed) and no matter what time passes as we think of them it still leaves that little bittersweet ache. I treasure my memories and she'll live forever in my heart.
    Hugs
    Rose

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Their memories to stay with you forever Rose. We had three very special dogs, all so different, and we still often chat about them and how wonderful they were. Same with cats. They all leave such an ache when they leave us. We have so many photos of our pets which are great to look at occasionally and laugh or cry over. xx

      Delete