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Miniature Bull Terrier

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Origin / History The miniature bull terrier was developed in 1830 in Great Britain as a smaller, more manageable version of the standard bull terrier. It was created through selective breeding between the Old English terrier and the bulldog, with some Spanish pointer lineage. The breed was designed to have all the qualities of the standard variety, but in a size more suited for small homes. The American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized the breed in 1992, although breed standards have been in place since the 1970s.

The Mini is a very versatile breed, having been used throughout history as a herder, ratter, watchdog, and working dog. Today, it is mostly popular as a household pet, as the standard variety is preferred for work and training purposes.

Appearance The miniature bull terrier has a thick-set body with a short, sleek coat. The shoulders should be well-rounded and the body compact. The tail must be carried horizontally. Its head, often described as egg-shaped, is easily its most distinctive feature, with an almost flat top and a smooth slope towards the nose. It has small, close-set eyes and fully erect ears; the ears should not be cropped or modified in any way.

Colours Miniature bull terriers can be white, full-colored, or a mix of white and another color. Blue and liver coats are undesired.

Temperament This breed can be very stubborn, but is very loving and affectionate to its owners. Although not meant to be a guard dog, a mini can fiercely defend its master when the situation calls for it. It craves human attention; it can get aggressive or destructive if left alone for more than a few hours. It gets along well with grownups and children, but should be kept away from small toddlers as it can bite when handled too roughly.

Height and Weight A height requirement of at least 10 inches was imposed in 1970 to prevent over-miniaturized dogs, which looked more like Chihuahuas than bull terriers. Today, the breed standard is 10 to 14 inches for both sexes, with the weight proportional to the height.

Common Health Problems The mini is a fairly healthy breed, although some health risks do exist. These include obsessive-compulsive behavior, slipped kneecaps, and zinc deficiency, which can be fatal. Deafness runs in some lines of the white variety.

Living Conditions Although not exactly indoor dogs, miniature bull terriers will thrive well in a small apartment provided they get enough exercise and mental stimulation. However, a small yard is recommended since they like to run free and play around. They also prefer warm climates, so owners in cold areas should take extra effort to keep them warm.

Exercise Requirements Minis tend to be lazy, but they need lots of vigorous exercise to prevent obesity and joint problems. They should be taken on long brisk walks everyday and allowed to run around the house or yard. Exercise should be introduced at an early age; otherwise they can get extremely lazy or become hyperactive inside the house.

Training Requirements As mentioned, miniature bull terriers can be stubborn and hard to train. This is why obedience training should be started early, preferably within the first six months of life. They should also be socialized early to prevent aggression and combativeness with other dogs. Watch training is not necessary, as these dogs come from a line of guard dogs and have an excellent protective instinct.

Life Expectancy Miniature bull terriers have a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years.

Grooming The mini is very easy to groom since it has a short coat and doesn’t shed heavily. Occasional brushing and combing will do, although brushing should be more frequent when it is shedding. Loose hairs can be removed by rubbing with a rubber glove. Bathe only when necessary; use a hypo-allergenic shampoo as this breed is prone to skin problems.

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