Are Bull Terriers Aggressive? [A Bull Terriers True Traits]


If you have been debating whether the Bull Terrier is the dog for you and your family, you have undoubtedly been curious and wanted some reliable answers about if a Bull Terrier is aggressive or not.

It is a valid question, and I understand the concern.

Especially if you have young children.

As a Terrier owner myself and an avid fan of the Terrier dog breeds in general, I want to cover this topic in-depth, and here is what I can tell you about this specific question.

Are Bull Terriers Aggressive?

No, Bull Terriers are not aggressive dogs by nature and are not bred to be aggressive. Bull Terriers have a possessive, jealous, and attention-seeking personality that could spark aggressive behavior without proper socialization and training. Overall, a Bull Terrier is an affectionate dog breed.

Not aggressive.

Suppose you noticed how I began mentioning proper socialization and training. In that case, you are on the right track and need to stick around a few more minutes for the remainder of this discussion.

I will break down the expected behavior, temperament, and potential for aggression with Bull Terriers in the rest of the discussion and provide tips on avoiding any aggression if you intend to adopt a Bull Terrier.

Here is how I want to layout the information for you today:



The Bull Terriers Personality and Temperament

If you have been considering a Bull Terrier as the family dog, do not let the muscular physical build or the potential for aggression be a deciding factor in your decision.

In general, the Bull Terrier is affectionate towards the family and the owners but is known to be strong-willed.

The Bull Terrier, like all dog breeds, does have the potential to become aggressive if socialization never takes place and if the Bull Terrier is never trained or forms an understanding of who is in charge in the home.

Thus, a Bull Terrier is very much like any other dog you can potentially adopt, and socialization and training will always be a vital part of a dog’s upbringing.

However, a first-time dog owner or someone who has not interacted with Bull Terriers should at least understand that this dog breed is typically:

  • Intelligent and Willing to Push Boundaries Without Training
  • High Energy
  • Jealous, Clingy, and Possessive Of The Owner and Family
  • Strong-Willed And Often Stubborn

None of these traits indicate that a Bull Terrier will be aggressive in any situation.

However, once again, without proper socialization and in addition to the personality characteristics we discussed a moment ago is when you may get into trouble or experience a Bull Terrier displaying aggression.

To give you a better idea of the potential for aggressive behaviors with the Bull Terrier, I want to cover all the reasons that may cause aggression or for a Bull Terrier to bite.


Reasons A Bull Terrier May Bite Or Show Aggression

A Lack of Socialization

For nearly all dog breeds, socialization plays a vital role in their development, overall behavior, and how they handle social situations in the future.

A non-socialized Bull Terrier can become problematic and even aggressive in certain situations, such as being around young and rowdy children or being around animals; it is not used to.


Bull Terriers May Be Aggressive Towards Other Dogs

Bull Terriers are known not to be the best dogs with other dogs.

Many dog breeds are like this.

In fact, my Jack Russell is extremely socialized and a social dog, but she still struggles to play nice with other female dogs.

Terriers tend to be territorial and protective, and aggression may be an issue you experience if you adopt a Bull Terrier.

You may notice this with behaviors such as excessive barking as well.


Fear Can Spark Aggression With Bull Terriers

Fear can cause aggression with all dog breeds, not only Bull Terriers.

Can you blame them?

Fear makes people do some crazy things, so a Bull Terrier may show aggression if they are scared or backed into a corner.

Do not worry; we will cover what you can do to counter this issue in the future.


Bull Terriers Were Bred To Be Courageous

The last personality trait I want to make sure everyone understands about a Bull Terrier and many terrier dogs breeds, in general, is that they are bred to hunt.

Hunting dogs are typically fearless and willing to accept any challenge.

While this does not spark aggression by itself, you need to understand that a Bull Terrier is not likely to back down and not likely to be scared out of a situation most of the time.

I am confident my Jack Russell would be willing to fight a grizzly bear if presented with the opportunity.

Again, this does not necessarily make the Bull Terrier aggressive but can cause situations where aggression takes place if other dogs are provoking your Bull Terrier.


Socializing Your Bull Terrier To Be Affectionate and Gentle

Now that you know some of the reasons your Bull Terrier may act aggressively, it is in your hands to do your best to ensure this never happens by taking the proper steps with your dog right after the adoption.

Here are my top tips to ensure you do not deal with an aggressive Bull Terrier in the future.


Start Socializing Your Bull Terrier Immediately To Avoid Aggression

As mentioned previously, socialization is essential for all dog breeds, which certainly includes your Bull Terrier.

After the adoption, you need to be working with your Bull Terrier immediately.

Get your Bull Terrier exposed to as many social situations as possible as a young puppy.

The more they get around these situations, the more comfortable they will be in the future, which eliminates a few of the potential causes of aggression.

If you have young children, supervise interactions, and get your Bull Terrier socialized with them right away and keep working with them to avoid aggression.

The same can be said for interactions with other pets or dogs in the household.

The more you can expose your Bull Terrier to these situations, and the sooner you begin, the more well-mannered they will ultimately become.


Raise Your Bull Terrier With Love and Affection

A Bull Terrier can often be the product of the owners raising them.

If you want a loving, sweet, and affectionate Bull Terrier that never shows aggression, it makes sense that you should show this kind of behavior and attitude towards your dog daily.

Interact and bond with your Bull Terrier and make sure they are being raised in an ethical, safe, and warm environment.


Ensure Your Bull Terrier Respects The Relationship Dynamic In The Home

Bull Terriers are very smart dogs, and if you give them an inch, they will take it.

They are also known to be assertive and possessive.

Make sure they understand who is in charge and that the respect is built right out of the gates.

The last thing you want to do, if you are trying to avoid aggression with a Bull Terrier is to raise your Bull Terrier in a fashion that makes them believe that they run the house or have the final say in every situation.

Take charge, provide training, discipline, and love for the best results.


Are Bull Terriers Dangerous?

No, a properly socialized Bull Terrier raised in an ethical environment is not dangerous. Bull Terriers are affectionate and love seeking dogs that love and bond with their owners.

On the flip side, if you never take the time to train, discipline, or socialize your Bull Terrier, they could injure someone to their bulky size and high energy or become aggressive if they feel scared or intimidated.


Aggression Is Not Common With Bull Terriers But May Present If Unsocialized

Hopefully, we can all agree that Bull Terriers are not bred to be aggressive and naturally are loving and affectionate dogs.

They are like any other dog in this fashion and need the right owner with the capabilities and willingness to train and provide socialization to avoid future behavior issues.

If you can provide this love, training, and affection towards your Bull Terrier, they can become one of the best dogs you could choose to adopt.

Do not let their large muscular build fool you into thinking differently.

Luna and I wish you the best of luck with your Bull Terrier’s and the journey you have ahead of you and certainly hope aggressive behaviors is nothing you ever encounter.


Has Your Bull Terrier Ever Displayed Any Aggression?

Have you ever known of or dealt with an aggressive Bull Terrier?

Do you have any further information you can share with the readers about the demeanor and personality of the Bull Terrier?

Be sure to share those thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.

As always, Luna and I appreciate you stopping by and reading today, and we will see you again next time.

Josh Martin- Founder and Creator of Terrier Owner

Josh Martin is the proud owner of a female Jack Russell Terrier Named Luna. Josh founded TerrierOwner.com to share the stories of owning a Terrier and to help all terrier owners with the struggles, excitement and common questions that come with being a new terrier parent.

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