What to Expect With a Bull Terrier as They Get Older

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Are you a bull terrier owner who may be clueless on what to expect with a bull terrier as they get older? Well, you’re in luck because today I will take you through what to watch out for as your bull terrier grows.

What to Expect With a Bull Terrier as They Get Older

Growth is inevitable, so I experience changes in my body as I grow older. Bull terriers have a life span of 10-14 years. During this period there are changes you will observe in your dog.

Close-up shot of bull terrier

Allow me to guide you on some of the key changes you may notice on your bull terrier as it gets older.

Increase in Size

Similar to human beings, female bull terriers and male bull terriers exhibit different growth patterns when it comes to their height and weight. Did you know that bull terriers are a stocky and muscular breed that comes in two varieties that grow to different sizes?

  • Standard bull terriers grow to about 22 inches in height with a maximum of 60 pounds.
  • Miniature bull terriers grow to a maximum of about 14 inches in height and can only weigh up to 33 pounds.

Female Bull Terrier’s Growth

A female bull terrier at 3 months old should weigh between 17 to 30 pounds. At 6 months it should weigh at least 32.5 pounds. If your female terrier is a tall one she should weigh at least 59 pounds.

At 1 year old, your female bull terrier should weigh between 43 to 83 pounds. As for your dog’s height, it can grow up to 21 inches tall. Their growing age usually stops at the age of 16 months for smaller individuals and 19 months for bigger ones.

Male Bull Terrier’s Growth

A male bull terrier at 3 months should weigh at least 18 to 32 pounds. At 6 months they weigh an average of 33 pounds for smaller male terriers and at least 59 pounds for the bigger ones. At 1 year old, your male bull terrier should weigh between 43 to 83 pounds.

Male terriers can grow up to 22 inches tall. Like the female terriers, their growth will stop at 16 to 19 months respectively. Since these are just rough guidelines you should have your personal evaluation of your dog from your veterinary appointments.

Health Risks

Like any other breed, bull terriers experience health problems as they grow older. Some are genetically inherited while some are brought about by bad eating habits or lack of nutrients in meals. Some health problems are caused by allergies and infections.

Here are some of the health problems you may encounter with your bull terrier:


When they are puppies,  you should have your bull terrier undergo BAER (brainstem auditory evoked response) testing to ensure their hearing is normal. However, as they grow older white terriers suffer deafness in one or both ears. Some colored bull terriers suffer deafness in one ear.

Bull terriers with deafness in one ear live somewhat normal lives. Dogs that are deaf on both ears, however, require special training techniques and handling. It’s really heartbreaking to call out to your dog and have him not respond.

Heart Disease

Although bull terriers receive health clearances for their hearts from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals before adoption, some experience heart diseases caused by defects in heart structure and function as they grow older.

Some cases are more serious than others and require a cardiac ultrasound to be performed so that they can be diagnosed. Heart disease can be indicated by the presence of heart murmurs.

A heart murmur is an abnormal sound that occurs during blood flow; it’s a “swooshing” sound that happens between the normal “lub-dub” sounds. Terriers with slight heart murmurs live to outgrow them. However, some live for years with the condition while others succumb to heart failure.

This condition is treatable by surgery or medication depending on the condition and the stage at which it is diagnosed.

Bull terrier playing on the grass


As your dog grows and reaches six months of age, it may develop an obsession with chasing its tail for hours. This activity leaves your dog with no interest in food and water. This may be a type of seizure and is sometimes successfully treated; treatment, however, has proven to be more effective in female bull terriers than in male bull terriers.

Examples of medication include phenobarbital, anafranil or Prozac. Spinning however, might be a way the bull terrier uses to kill its boredom and is easily dealt with once the dog’s mood is elevated.

Hereditary Nephritis

Hereditary nephritis is a condition found in Bull terriers as they grow, it often occurs at an early age. It occurs when the kidneys are small and undeveloped or when there is a malfunction of the kidney filters; which results in high levels of protein in their urine.

Bull terriers with this condition usually die before they celebrate their third birthday, although some live in pain until they are 6 or 8 years old when they finally succumb to kidney failure.

I really feel heartbroken for these dogs and their owners who go through this.

An annual urine protein/urine creatinine(UP:UC) test is recommended when dogs are 18 months old to try and catch this condition before it gets out of hand. Bull terriers with abnormal UP:UC ratios should not be bred since they have too much protein in their urine.

Skin Problems

As white bull terriers grow, they have sensitive skin that is prone to rashes, sores, and irritations. They also may be prone to inhalant allergies or contact, caused by a reaction to substances like detergents or other chemicals or airborne allergens such as dust, pollen, and mildew.

It is advisable to check your bull terrier’s skin regularly and treat any rashes.

You can prevent sores by providing soft, clean bedding in crates and other sleeping areas. It is also good to change diets with few or no additives. Some skin problems need long-term treatment with antibiotics or steroids to keep them under control.

Dietary Changes

As your dog grows older the amount of food you feed it will increase. Your dog’s nutritional value must be considered in its diet. How much your dog eats depends on its age, build, size, metabolism, and energy level.

The daily amount of food recommended is 1 5/8 to 4 ¼ of high-quality food divided between two meals and a bowl of water to go with each meal. However, it is important to watch out for your dog’s weight to avoid him from getting obese, since this is a condition that affects bull terriers immensely.

You should be able to see your bull terrier’s waist and feel but not see his ribs without having to press hard when you touch his sides. If you can’t, then you have to exercise your dog. The exercise should take about 30-60 minutes daily.

Bull terrier in the forest

Caring For a Growing Terrier

If you own a bull terrier or are planning to own one, then you should familiarize yourself with how to care for your terrier as it grows older. Here are some key tips to keeping a happy and healthy bull terrier:

  • Bull terriers need early socialization when they are young because as they grow older they can be aggressive towards other dogs, animals, and people they don’t know.
  • As they grow, Bull terriers don’t suit for cold weather so make sure to keep a coat on your terrier to keep it warm during winters.
  • Bull terriers are easy to groom since their coat is short and flat, thus needs brushing only once a week, however, as they grow older they shed their skin twice-yearly so you may need to brush them more during these periods.
  • As bull terriers grow, they become more energetic. It is advisable to take them on long walks, runs of about 30-60 minutes to avoid them from becoming destructive. As they become more energetic, Bull terriers need training to utilize their energy to monitor throughout the day.
  • Obedience training will help Bull Terriers learn how to behave and how to neglect.


If you choose a Bull terrier as your pet, don’t be afraid to raise him because of various health or social challenges. Nothing good comes easy that’s for sure, despite the rocky bits a bull terrier is very affectionate and playful. Your bull terrier should be the perfect best friend.