Most common health problems in Miniature and Standard Bull Terriers, plus health care and feeding.


My Complete Health Care Program for your English Bull Terrier

If you want to AVOID health problems in your Bull Terrier, you'll find my health care program very valuable.

It's called "11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy."

Raise your dog the RIGHT way, feed him the RIGHT food, give him the RIGHT vaccinations, avoid unnecessary veterinary expenses, and help him live a longer, happier, and more comfortable life.

If your Bull Terrier already HAS a health problem, I'm sorry to hear that. You should immediately begin my health care program, and you may be able to restore his good health – or at least make him much more comfortable. Let me help!

My best-selling dog health book


Bull Terrier

English Bull Terrier Health Care & Feeding

For Standard and Miniature Bull Terriers, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2017


Quick list of Bull Terrier health problems

Two different heart diseases. Several kidney diseases. Multiple neurological diseases, including epilepsy, compulsive "spinning" (whirling in circles), and sudden-onset aggression, often called rage syndrome.

Hip dysplasia and luxating patella (loose knee joints) occur in both sizes of Bull Terriers. This breed is very prone to tearing the cruciate ligament in their hind legs. All of these orthopedic problems cause pain and lameness and can require expensive surgery.

Many Bull Terriers are born deaf, or partially so.

Skin diseases are common in Bull Terriers, especially allergies that cause terribly itchy skin and scratching, which can lead to skin infections.

In the miniature variety, I would add the dreaded eye diseases lens luxation and glaucoma, which can cause blindness.

(See more health problems below.)


Preventing health problems

Some health problems are inherited. For example, if both parents of your English Bull Terrier have certificates proving they were tested and cleared of heart disease and luxating patella, your English Bull Terrier has less risk of developing those conditions. Miniature Bull Terrier parents should also be tested and cleared of hereditary eye diseases.

In addition to the above testing on the parents, each puppy himself should be tested for deafness before being sold. It is that common in Bull Terriers.

Other health problems can be prevented, or partially prevented, by the ways you raise your dog. If you're serious about doing everything you can for your English Bull Terrier, my best-selling book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to raise your English Bull Terrier puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways. It will help you be your dog's health care champion!


Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Bull Terrier puppy or adult dog:

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your English Bull Terrier lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.


Pet insurance Should You Buy Pet Insurance? An Honest Review
My advice on the pros and cons of pet insurance, and the best pet insurance company I've found.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Bull Terrier
Food is the #1 foundation for good health. The best diet for feeding your dog is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, fish....these are not just "people foods" and I'll tell you why.


Natural dog foods for your English Bull Terrier. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Bull Terrier
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.


Information on booster shots for your English Bull Terrier. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your English Bull Terrier puppy really need? Does your adult Bull Terrier need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed! Find out what some vets aren't telling you.


Information on spaying your English Bull Terrier. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female dog.


Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.


Information on choosing the best vet for your English Bull Terrier. The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.


Assisi Loop Assisi Loop Review: How I Helped Treat Inflammation and Pain
Does your dog suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk disease, colitis, a skin wound? My honest review of a veterinary device you can use at home to help reduce inflammation and pain.


Complete list of English Bull Terrier health problems

Heart disease (especially mitral valve disease and subaortic stenosis) is a serious concern in both Standard and Miniature Bull Terriers.

Kidney diseases are another major problem and Bull Terriers suffer from several different forms.

Neurological diseases are the third serious concern. These include:

  • Epilepsy (seizures)
  • Compulsive tail chasing, often called spinning. The frantic compulsion to spin in circles is inherited, but is triggered by stress. Thus, some genetically-susceptible dogs may not spin if their environment is kept stress-free. But that's easier said than done, since all kinds of events can cause stress – travel, boarding, vet visits, illness, even the hormonal changes of puberty or heat cycles. Any of these might cause a genetically-susceptible Bull Terrier to spin. You just need to be aware that this behavior is neither playful nor harmless. It is a neurological disease.
  • Sudden-onset aggression, often called rage syndrome. This is a tragic disorder, fortunately rare, where a good-natured Bull Terrier awakens suddenly from sleep with a burst of uncontrollable aggression. It's not been conclusively proven that this behavior is a neurological disease, but that is the leading theory. Every time these poor dogs go to sleep, they're ticking time bombs, and since the disorder can't be controlled with training or behavior modification, euthanasia is typically the only answer.

The most feared eye disease in Miniature Bull Terriers is primary lens luxation (PLL) leading to secondary glaucoma. Other eye diseases in Bullies include dry eye and eyelid abnormalities (ectropion and entropion).

Inherited deafness is common in Bull Terriers – much more so in Whites than in Coloreds.

Joint diseases occur in both sizes of Bull Terriers. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of over 100 Bull Terriers and found 7% dysplastic. Luxating patella (loose knee joints) occurs at a 3-4% rate. Osteochondritis also occurs in Bull Terriers. This breed is very prone to tearing the cruciate ligament in their hind legs.

Skin diseases are common in Bull Terriers, especially allergies (which cause itchy skin and can lead to bacterial skin infections called pyoderma) and demodectic mange. Elbow hygroma is occasionally reported.

A severe skin disease that can occur in Bull Terriers is a form of zinc deficiency called lethal acrodermatitis. It shows up in very young Bull Terrier puppies and does not respond to any treatment.

The most common hormonal/endocrine system diseases is hypothyroidism. According to the Michigan State University Thyroid Database, up to 14% of English Bull Terriers have low thyroid levels. Occasionally Addison's disease and Cushing's disease occur in Bull Terriers.

Other health issues in English Bull Terriers include pyloric stenosis, laryngeal paralysis, cerebellar ataxia, and hernias.


To help you train and care for your dog

book cover To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.

book cover My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.