bull terrier, breed of large, muscular terrier originating in England around 1835. It stands from 19 to 22 in. (48.3–55.9 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 30 to 36 lb (13.6–16.3 kg). Its short, flat-lying, harsh coat is glossy white or, in the colored variety, most popularly brindle with white markings. Developed for dogfighting from a cross of bulldog and a now extinct English terrier, the bull terrier was renowned for its courage, strength, and intelligence. However, down through the years English breeders placed increasing emphasis on the breed's overall disposition and less on its aggressiveness. As a result, the bull terrier of today is a friendly, gentle dog that makes a responsible and devoted companion. See dog.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.