Miniature Bull Terrier vs Bull Terrier – which one should you bring home? Is the standard Bull Terrier a better fit for you, or do you want a similar dog squeezed into a smaller package?
Both of these dogs are tenacious, intelligent, and very devoted to their owners. The main difference between them is their size.
But, there are some other differences that can make one more suitable for certain households than the other. Let’s take a closer look at the Miniature Bull Terrier vs Bull Terrier debate.
Miniature Bull Terrier vs Bull Terrier History
These two breeds actually share the same roots – in the history of the Bull Terrier. From as early as the 12th Century, this athletic dog was used in blood sports such as bull baiting. Hence the name of the breed!
In the 1830s, blood sports like this became illegal and the Miniature Bull Terrier began to emerge.
Some standard Bull Terriers continued bull fighting illegally, underground. But other full sized versions became fashionable companion dogs.
At the same time, breeders began to create a miniature version of this increasingly popular pitbull breed. The Mini Bull Terrier was an ideal above-ground ratter, sharing the purpose with many other terrier breeds.
However, over time, the Miniature Bull was also more common as a companion.
Nowadays, both are most often seen as a highly loved family pet.
Miniature Bull Terrier vs Bull Terrier Appearance
In everything apart from their size, the standard Bull Terrier and Miniature Bull Terrier look very similar.
Both breeds have an all round muscular appearance, upright, triangular ears, and a long, slightly curved muzzle.
They both have short, dense coats that come in a huge range of colors.
Everything from plain white to a wonderful brindle pattern. And a number of bi-colors.
Miniature Bull Terrier vs Bull Terrier Size
Size is the major thing that sets apart the standard Bull Terrier from the miniature variety. Although, both have a generally muscular appearance.
The Bull Terrier is a medium to large breed. An adult will grow to between 21 and 22 inches tall at the shoulder, weighing anywhere from 50 to 70 pounds.
Miniatures are significantly smaller. They grow to between 10 and 14 inches tall at the shoulder, and weigh from 18 to 28 pounds.
So, if you love smaller dogs, the miniature Bull Terrier could be ideal for you. But if you love a larger breed and have enough space for one, the standard Bull Terrier may be perfect!
Miniature Bull Terrier vs Bull Terrier Temperament
In general, the Bull Terrier and Miniature Bull Terrier have quite similar temperaments. But, there are some differences that can make one a better choice for you.
Both are intelligent, energetic, and devoted dogs that can be just as playful as they can be stubborn.
Typically, they form very strong bonds with their families, and if socialized properly will get along well with young kids too.
However, socialization is vital for this powerful breed to avoid any behavioral issues such as fearfulness or aggression.
Slight Differences in Temperament
Both breeds are similar, but because of their slightly different histories, they may have slightly different natural instincts.
In particular, the Miniature Bull Terrier may have a natural chase instinct from its time as a ratter.
This means, a Miniature Bull Terrier may be more prone to chasing other pets, or taking off after a squirrel that it sees in the park.
In these situations, even the best recall can fail. Careful training and practice will help, but it may not eliminate the risk entirely.
So, it’s best to use a leash or a long line when in public spaces. Or, exercise your Miniature Bull in a safely enclosed space with no escape routes!
Sadly, because of their fighting pasts and their strong jaws, Pitbull breeds like the Bull Terrier and Miniature Bull Terrier have gained a reputation for aggression.
If socialized and trained well from a young age, both the Bull Terrier and Miniature Bull Terrier can make wonderful family dogs that are friendly, affectionate, and confident. However, if raised poorly, they may be prone to aggression and fearfulness, like any breed.
One Australian study found that Bull Terriers, alongside German Shepherds, caused the most damage to humans in Queensland.
However, as another study points out, many studies into dog aggression are flawed, as “pitbull” breeds are often grouped together against other individual breeds, resulting in higher statistics.
And, there’s a high chance that attacks by smaller dogs (like Chihuahuas, which rank very highly for people-directed aggression in behavioral studies) go unreported, as they do not cause as much damage.
On top of this, there’s the chance that people or media reports are misidentifying pitbull breeds like the Bull Terrier, just because they have typical pitbull breed traits.
The Bottom Line
All dog breeds have the potential to be aggressive. And, because of the histories of the Bull Terrier and Miniature Bull Terrier, both may have some natural instincts that involve aggression.
However, this doesn’t mean that a Bull Terrier or a Miniature Bull Terrier will be aggressive.
A lot of it comes down to training and socialization. If you’re worried about aggression, make sure you’re choosing a reputable breeder, too.
Meet the parents of your puppy, and make sure they are friendly, affectionate, and happy to greet you even though you’re a stranger.
If they show any sign of aggression or are highly territorial around their owner, it’s best to choose a different breeder!
Miniature Bull Terrier vs Bull Terrier Training
We’ve briefly mentioned training already. But, which breed is easier to train, the Miniature Bull Terrier or the standard?
Both Bull Terriers and Miniature Bull Terriers are intelligent and can be eager to please their owners. But, they can also have an independent streak.
Use positive reinforcement methods for best results. This will also help you build on the great bond you have with your dog.
Like socialization, you must start training early. And, it’s vital to work on a strong recall, particularly with the Miniature Bull Terrier.
Miniature Bull Terrier vs Bull Terrier Exercise Needs
Both Bull Terriers and Miniature Bull Terriers are very energetic and athletic dogs. They have their roots in working roles and sports.
However, since the Bull Terrier is larger, it will need slightly more exercise each day than the miniature version.
The standard Bull Terrier is happiest in a home where it has plenty of space to run around and play – ideally a securely fenced yard.
Miniature Bull Terriers may suit slightly smaller homes. But, they must be given adequate exercise outside the house every day.
Both breeds will enjoy active families, but will also love chilling at home with you after a long busy day.
Miniature Bull Terrier vs Bull Terrier Health
Since they come from the same original lines, the Bull Terrier and Miniature Bull Terrier share a lot of the same potential health issues.
Some of those hereditary issues include:
- Kidney disease
- Heart problems
- Patellar Luxation
On top of that, Bull Terriers and Miniature Bull Terriers with white coats may be more prone to congenital deafness and other hearing problems.
Miniature Bull Terrier Health
There are a couple of other common issues for the Mini Bull Terrier that we should note.
Miniature Bulls can have a mutation associated with Primary Lens Luxation. In this problem, the dog’s lens will dislocate, which can be painful and can lead to blindness.
On top of this, Miniature Bull Terriers are among the 10 dog breeds with the highest cesarean section rate.
Which is something owners must be aware of, especially if they are planning on breeding their Mini Bull.
Which One Makes a Better Pet?
Neither breed is inherently better than the other, but that doesn’t mean one isn’t better for you and your lifestyle.
If you have limited space in your home, you may be better suited to the Miniature Bull Terrier. But, owners of the mini variety must dedicate plenty of time to training and socialization.
If you have other pets at home, or very young children, the Bull Terrier may be better, as it may avoid the Miniature’s chase instincts.
However, both varieties need plenty of training and socialization to get the best temperament possible.
And both will need daily exercise and playtime to keep their minds and bodies stimulated. If their needs aren’t met, they may perform destructive behaviors such as chewing and barking!
Which Do You Have?
Do you have a favorite between the Bull Terrier and Miniature Bull Terrier?
We would love to know which one you’re bringing home, or if you’ve had experience with both versions!
References and Resources
- Blackshaw, J. ‘An Overview of Types of Aggressive Behavior in Dogs and Methods of Treatment’, Applied Animal Behavior Science (1991)
- Watson, L. ‘Does Breed Specific Legislation Reduce Dog Aggression on Humans and Other Animals? A Review Paper’, Urban Animal Management Conference Proceedings (2003)
- Ziv, G. ‘The Effects of Using Aversive Training Methods in Dogs – A Review’, Journal of Veterinary Behavior (2017)
- Cooper, J. (et al), ‘The Welfare Consequences and Efficacy of Training Pet Dogs with Remote Electronic Training Collars in Comparison to Reward Based Training’, Plos One (2014)
- Strain, G. ‘Deafness Prevalence and Pigmentation and Gender Associations in Dog Breeds at Risk’, The Veterinary Journal (2004)
- Gould, D. (et al), ‘ADAMTS17 Mutation Associated with Primary Lens Luxation is Widespread Among Breeds’, Veterinary Ophthalmology (2011)
- Evans, K. & Adams, V. ‘Proportion of Litters of Purebred Dogs Born by Cesarean Section‘, Journal of Small Animal Practice (2010)
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