miniature bull terrier dog breed profile treatment

Miniature Bull Terrier

Miniature bull terriers are intelligent, energetic dogs with personalities that match their distinctive appearances. These little dogs weigh under 30 pounds but are full of affection and curiosity.
Miniature Bull Terrier
Breed Group
Dog Size
Other Traits
Temperament
Miniature Bull Terrier
height
  • 10–14 inches
weight
  • 18–28 pounds
life span
  • 11–13 years
breed size
  • small (0-25 lbs.)
good with
  • families
  • children
  • dogs
temperament
  • friendly
  • outgoing
  • willful
  • playful
intelligence
  • high
shedding amount
  • infrequent
exercise needs
  • high
energy level
  • active
barking level
  • frequent
drool amount
  • low
breed group
  • terrier
coat length/texture
  • short
colors
  • black
  • white
  • red
  • fawn
patterns
  • brindle
  • bicolor
  • black and tan
  • tricolor
other traits
  • easy to groom
  • high prey drive
  • strong loyalty tendencies
  • good hiking companion

Miniature bull terriers are everything dog-lovers adore about the bull terrier but in a much smaller package. Minis stand just 10–14 inches tall and weigh 18–28 pounds, compared to the standard bull terrier at 21–22 inches tall and 50–70 pounds. 

But what miniature bull terriers lack in size, they make up for in personality. Hailed as comical and mischievous, these dogs love showing off for their families—but they'll get into trouble without the right amount of exercise, training, and mental stimulation. 

Appearance

You'll never mistake the miniature bull terriers for another breed—except their larger cousins, that is. 

black and white miniature bull terrier lying on log
Miniature bull terriers are everything that's great about bull terriers, but about half the size.
| Credit: Eudyptula / Adobe Stock

Both distinctive-looking dogs are muscular with square proportions and long, oval heads that curve from the top of the skull to the tip of the nose. They have flat foreheads, sunken eyes, small and thin ears, and black noses that curve downward at the tip. The only real difference between the miniature bull terrier vs. standard bull terrier is size.

Despite their small stature, mini bull terriers weigh between 18–28 pounds and their muscular builds make them seem just as strong and impressive as the much-larger bull terriers. Their short, flat coats come in many color combinations featuring black, white, red, and tan. Fawn and white, red and white, white and brindle, and white and fawn are among the more common color combinations.

Temperament

Miniature bull terriers are descendants of 19th-century fighting dogs and maintain the courageous, energetic spirit of their ancestors. But their fighting days are long behind them, and they've since been bred to be even-tempered family pets.

With the humans they love, miniature bull terriers are affectionate, playful, and comical. Kathy Brosnan of Blue Ridge Bull Terrier Rescue and rescue chair for the Miniature Bull Terrier Club of America calls the breed "curious and quirky," noting that these strong, distinctive-looking dogs make excellent family dogs.

"If you want a dog that will stick to you like glue and go everywhere you go, this is the dog for you," she says. 

miniature bull terrier standing on his hind legs leaning his front paws on a park bench
Miniature bull terriers are known for their curious and silly personalities.
| Credit: otsphoto / Adobe Stock

With the right training and early socialization, miniature bull terriers get along well with children. But Brosnan says not all mini bull terriers do well with other four-legged fur babies.

"Mini bulls have a very high prey drive," she explains. "They can be good with other animals, but, just like other breeds, it depends on the temperament of the dog and how well-socialized they are."

Miniature bull terriers are intelligent and trainable, but be prepared to devote time to meeting their exercise needs. These are dogs that need regular walks—or runs—and sufficient mental stimulation to help keep them calm and well-mannered.

Living Needs

Thanks to their working dog heritage, miniature bull terriers do best in homes where they're given jobs to do. Without sufficient physical and mental stimulation, Brosnan says, "they will get into trouble."

Brosnan says mini bull terriers thrive with activities that combine mental and physical exercise, such as obedience and agility. The breed also excels at nose work.

"Hide a treat in the house and have them find it," she says. "It appeals to their hunting instincts."

Miniature bull terriers can be big barkers, and their watchful instincts could mean they'll vocalize when they see strangers or hear scary noises. So, while their petite size makes them fit right into any apartment, they might not adhere to quiet hours without proper training to help with their need to vocalize. The breed does best with active families that provide lots of exercise, attention, socialization, and regular training to bring out their best qualities. 

"They might not be large dogs, but there is a lot of dog in that small package," Brosnan says.

Miniature Bull Terrier on sidewalk
Credit: Irina / Adobe Stock

Care

Miniature bull terriers are active dogs that require regular exercise. Brosnan suggests regular walks and off-leash play in a fenced yard (their high prey drive can make them a flight risk in off-leash environments). The breed also does well in agility, obedience, flyball, lure coursing, or other dog sports. 

Miniature bull terriers can be strong-willed and intelligent, and may have their own ideas about the importance of training. Brosnan recommends high-energy training activities with lots of praise, treats, and other forms of positive reinforcement to help them learn basic commands and master new tricks.

"They will want to please you if you can figure out a way to make it fun," she says.

When it comes to grooming, miniature bull terriers are a "scrub and go" breed, Brosnan says. Their short, smooth coats don't shed a lot and require minimal grooming. Brush them once per week to remove dead hair (more often during spring and fall when they shed more frequently) and bathe as needed. It's also important to provide regular nail trims, ear cleaning, and routine dental care.

two miniature bull terrier puppies sitting near flowers
Miniature bull terrier puppies need early socialization and training to grow into confident and quirky dogs.
| Credit: Dogs / Adobe Stock

Health

The miniature bull terrier is considered a healthy breed and has a lifespan of 11–13 years. But, as with most dogs, the breed is prone to a few known conditions, according to the Miniature Bull Terrier Club (MBTC).  

There are two main types of heart disease mini bull terriers can be affected by: Mitral valve dysplasia and aortic stenosis. The MBTC recommends all miniature bull terriers get their heart checked for murmurs when they're 12 months old. Further tests might be recommended by your veterinarian if a murmur is detected. 

Miniature bull terriers can also develop kidney disease, primary lens luxation (which can lead to blindness), and laryngeal paralysis (a condition that obstructs the airway and makes it difficult to breathe). Other conditions commonly seen in miniature bull terriers are patella luxation and deafness

two white miniature bull terriers lying on a cement ledge looking down
Whether white, red, tan, black, or brindle, miniature bull terriers all rock a handsome short coat that's a breeze to care for.
| Credit: otsphoto / Adobe Stock

Responsible miniature bull terrier breeders will screen for these issues and should provide documentation linked to health conditions. Pup parents should also take their dogs to regular vet appointments to stay on top of any health issues that might develop. 

History

Bull terriers were first bred by crossing a bulldog with a Dalmatian and the now-extinct white English terrier, according to The Bull Terrier Club. The breed was popular for dog fighting from the 1830s until around the 1860s, when fights were outlawed in England. 

Breeders then focused on breeding sweeter, more mild-mannered dogs that grew popular as companion animals—they even earned the nickname "White Cavalier." Because of the bull terrier's growing popularity, breeders began developing a smaller-scale version to be ratters and companion dogs.

Fun Facts

  • The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1991, more than 100 years after recognizing the bull terrier.
  • Miniature bull terriers are so handsome, it's no wonder they're social media stars. Some notable minis include Eddie, Frida, and Bullydust Spark Nicolle.