Are Bull Terriers Smart? [Can They Be Trained + Tips]


Suppose you have been considering adopting a Bull Terrier. You are curious how trainable they may be or how intelligent a Bull Terrier is. In that case, I understand, and it is an excellent concern to have before deciding to adopt a Bull Terrier as your next family pet.

Ideally, we all want to adopt a trainable, well-tempered dog and a dog that is easy to show the ropes.

As a Terrier owner myself, here is what I can tell you on this topic.

Are Bull Terriers Smart?

Yes, Bull Terriers are smart dogs. Compared to other dog breeds, Bull Terriers rank in the top 100 most intelligent dog breeds. Bull Terriers are known to be stubborn, so to reveal a Bull Terriers intelligence, it is imperative to provide training and discipline beginning at a young age.

Yes, you read that right.

A Bull Terrier does crack the top 100 list for smartest dog breeds.

Most dog enthusiasts rank the Bull Terrier in the 65-70 range for smartest dog breeds but what I mentioned a moment ago also holds true.

Training and discipline, along with a few other tactics, are necessary if you want to truly show off your Bull Terriers intelligence. That is what the rest of this brief discussion is designed to break down for you.

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



Understanding a Bull Terriers Intelligence

Suppose you are currently considering adopting a Bull Terrier. In that case, you have a few critical things you need to understand before judging the dog breed’s overall intelligence.

First, are we talking about overall trainability or unique ability to be deceptive and clever, much like my terrier, I have been raising for the past 3 years?

Perhaps they go hand in hand, but I think from the standpoint of someone considering adopting, you need to understand the Bull Terriers from a few different unique perspectives.

To kickstart that conversation, I want to begin by discussing the Bull Terrier’s trainability and how the intelligence of the Bull Terrier will make a big difference in this category for you.


How Trainable Is A Bull Terrier?

I want to start with the good news for you.

Bull Terriers are highly trainable dogs, which is primarily due to their intelligence.

However, as a Terrier owner, I can tell you that being intelligent is not only the ingredient needed to show off smarts or excel at training.

It also takes work from you as the owner of the Bull Terrier to become effective with training and for training to stick.

This all beings with one key takeaway that I want to leave you with and cement in for all of you reading and pondering adopting a Bull Terrier anytime soon.


Consistency Is Key with Bull Terriers to Uncover Intelligence and Gain Obedience

Consistency is crucial with Bull Terriers.

Training, discipline, rewards, and a consistent routine will become vital for you to adopt a Bull Terrier and to have success uncovering their intelligence.

I also highly recommend that this consistency begins almost immediately after arriving home with your new dog.

Start exploring your dog’s intelligence by working with them and teaching them basic commands such as sit, lay down, and work on recall training.

In case you did not know, recall training teaches your dog to effectively come and stay when instructed to do, which proves to be one of the most useful commands you can teach a dog.

It is also important to remember that a Bull Terrier does not rank at the top for overall intelligence compared to other dog breeds.

This means that as the owner, may need to remain patient and willing to work with your Bull Terrier.

Plenty of methods are available for training.

Whether you use old school phrases and memory type training or use clicker training methods, it is important that you continue to push on even during rough days.

Trust me, the Terrier dog breeds, in general, have the tendency to push your limits and test your patience, and I know this from experience.

Breaking through until you have reached a new level of understanding with your dog is when it begins to get much better.

Most owners are not fully educated on the dog they adopt or understand what to expect when it comes to intelligence.

Therefore, I want the next few points we will touch on to highlight where you will notice your Bull Terriers intelligence on high display right out of the gates.


Bull Terriers Are Smart in Different Ways Compared to Other Dog Breeds

Some dogs learn tricks and commands lighting fast.

This is what I experienced with my Jack Russell Terrier.

Other dogs may learn super-fast but have a stubborn side. Some dogs learn commands, basic obedience, and socialization at a slower pace.

None of this is necessarily a bad thing if you are prepared.

With the Bull Terrier, you need to realize that a primary strength for them is their intelligence to adapt.

So, what exactly do I mean by adaptive intelligence?

Adaptive intelligence for a dog breed such as the Bull Terrier is the dog’s ability to learn skills and socialization without help from you.

Learning on their own, “so to speak”.

This means your Bull Terrier can pick up from previous mistakes and avoid them in the future or learn through observation.

Sometimes this plays out excellent for those of you with other older and mature dogs that are already obedient and understand the rules.

Your Bull Terrier may learn quickly simply by watching and observing.

It also can mean that your Bull Terrier is always watching and picking up on cues around them.

This is when intelligence with your dog may shock you.

They may do things you never have taught them or shock you in a new way any given day.

In my opinion, smartness and intelligence can come from many angles and present in many ways and the fact a Bull Terrier has these capabilities makes them a smart dog breed.


The Bull Terriers Show Off Their Brilliance in Other Areas

I want to talk about the hunting instincts of the Bull Terrier for a second.

This is one of the areas where a Bull Terrier can really show skills and show intelligence.

In fact, they are, again, too, like my Jack Russell Terrier in this respect.

Bred to hunt in the past, the Bull Terrier excels at tracking down rats, mice, and other rodents on the property and can be absolutely shocking with their abilities to do so.

This is not the only area a Bull Terrier initially shows intelligence but something to keep in mind if you plan to allow your Bull Terrier to free roam a fenced in yard.

Prepare to be amazed at these abilities, or at least prepare to watch a few games of chase take place in the backyard.

Even if you cannot see the enemy being hunted by your Bull Terrier.


How to Explore Your Bull Terriers Intelligence?

Learning to explore your Bull Terrier’s intelligence is a skill that will develop over time.

In fact, you want to continue to develop this skill so you can tailor your training and routines to benefit your dog and their strengths.

Here is an example.

My Jack Russell excels at physical activity, responds to training the best after a good amount of exercise and absolutely will do anything I ask if she is rewarded and showered with attention.

Instead of being the disciplinary style trainer, I am more of a soft-hearted rub the belly kind of trainer with her.

While very smart, she never responded great to hardcore training and responded much better to attention, love, affection, and rewards.

Some dogs may prefer the ladder.

It is up to you to take the time to understand and learn your Bull Terriers personality so you can tailor your approach to benefit you the most.

Trust me, while it may seem daunting during the first few weeks, it gets much easier and much more comfortable to refine this skill and make changes to your routines.


Bull Terriers Are Smart Dogs but Need Training to Excel

I hope by this far into this discussion it is easy to understand that Bull Terriers are smart dogs.

However, I also hope you understand that they are smart in unique ways and still need training, discipline, and consistency to uncover their intelligence.

Nonetheless, Bull Terriers are highly affectionate dogs.

If you can provide this training and affection back towards them, they will aim to impress you and make one of the best dogs you can choose to adopt.

Put in the time and effort, and soon enough, you will tap into your Bull Terriers intelligence at full speed.

Luna and I wish you the best of luck with your Bull Terriers and the journey you have ahead of you.


Share Your Thoughts on The Topic

Do you believe Bull Terriers are smart dogs?

How trainable do you consider Bull Terriers to be?

Be sure to share your 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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