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The Breed Standard


The British Breed Standard
(Approved July 1986)

General appearance
Strongly-built, muscular, well-balanced and active with a keen, determined intelligent expression.

The Bull Terrier is the gladiator of the canine race, full of fire and courageous. A unique feature of the breed is a down-faced, egg-shaped head. Irrespective of size, dogs should look masculine and bitches feminine.

Of even temperament and amenable to discipline. Although obstinate, is particularly good with people.

Head and skull
Head long, strong and deep right to the end of the muzzle, but not coarse. Viewed from front, egg shaped and completely filled, its surface free from hollows or indentations. Top of the skull 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 tip. Nostrils well-developed and underjaw deep and strong.

Teeth sound, clean, strong, of good size, perfectly regular with a perfect regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set in the jaw. Lips clean and tight.

Appearing narrow, obliquely placed and triangular, well-sunken, black or as dark as possible so as to appear almost black, and with a piercing glint. Distance from tip of the nose to eyes perceptibly greater than that from eyes to top of the skull. Blue or partly blue eyes undesirable.

Small, thin and place close together. Dog should be able to hold them stiffly erect, when they point straight upwards.

Very muscular, long, arched, tapering from shoulders to head and free from loose skin.

Shoulders strong and muscular without loading. Shoulder blades wide, flat and held closely to the chest wall and have a very pronounced backwards slope of front edge from bottom to top, forming almost a right angle with upper arm. Elbows held straight, and strong pasterns upright. Forelegs have strongest type of round quality bones, dog should stand solidly on them and they should be perfectly parallel. In mature dogs length of foreleg should be approximately equal to depth of chest.

Body well-rounded with marked spring of rib and great depth from withers to brisket, so that the latter nearer the ground than the belly. Back short, strong with backline behind the withers level, arching or roaching slightly over board, well-muscled loins. Underline from brisket to belly forms a graceful upwards curve. Chest broad viewed from front.

Hind legs in parallel when viewed from behind. Thighs muscular and second thighs well-angulated with bone to foot short and strong.

Round and compact with well-arched toes.

Short, set on low and carried horizontally. Thick at root, it tapes to a fine point.

When moving appears well-knit, smoothly covering ground with free, easy strides and with a typical jaunty air. When trotting, movement parallel, front and back, only converging towards centre line at fast speeds, forelegs reaching out well and hind legs moving smoothly at hip, flexing well at stifle and hock, with great thrust.

Short, flat, even and harsh to touch with a fine gloss. Skin fitting dog tightly. A soft-textured undercoat may be present in winter.

For White, pure white coat. Skin pigmentation and markings on the head not to be penalized. For Coloured, colour to predominate; all other things being equal, brindle to be preferred. Black brindle, red fawn and tricolor acceptable. Blue and liver highly undesirable.

There are neither weight nor height limits, but there should be the impression of maximum substance for the size of dog consistent with quality and sex.

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.

Note: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

Chapter six: The Breed Standard

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