1. What is my relationship with the breed? I have a wonderful brother, who arrived in this world when I was already 20 years old. So, technically, I was an only 'child' and got my brother when I was an adult. This is relevant because for the first 20 years of my life, my siblings were bull terriers. My father was a breeder. I recall that when I was about 10, two of my father' bully girls had litters at the same time. I literally sprinted home from school each day to be greeted by 24 bull terrier puppies! Yep, both girls had litters of 12...can you imagine that sight? They would surround me like a magical skirt. Bully pups moving and bobbing and jumping over each other and falling down in a gigantic white and brindle skirt to greet me. I would get swallowed up by them - heaven! Just one of my fond childhood memories from among so many hundreds of stories that I could share. After the passing of my father, my mother continued with only a single bull terrier in the house, and I left home to work overseas. To say I love these dogs seems to over simply their significance to me. I talked to them, and they talked to me. I belly laughed at their antics, scolded them for eating stuff they shouldn't, cuddled them, and a cried when they passed away. I have lived without a bull terrier - in fact - any animals for 30 years because my career has meant constant location movement, but I am finally settled, at a mature age now, and in just over a month from now, I will be once again sharing my life with this incredible breed. I have selected a puppy from a terrific breeder in Mackay, and I hope to one day in the future bring a skirt puppies into this world. I will in due course register as a breeder, and hope to give others the opportunity to live a bully life, too. 5. What is the general temperament/personality? Each Bully is unique, even from within the same litter, as brothers and sisters of the human variety are unique. Whatever their individual personality type, expect a BIG personality from your Bull Terrier. Some traits are common however, for example, they plonk themselves on a tiled floor so hard that as an observer you shudder at the pain you expect them to experience, but, nope, nothing... just a standard bully drop, yet they can tip toe ever so sneakily, slowly and gently to get on the sofa or the bed that they might have been banned from. I remember catching my bully with front paws on the bed, not yet quite on the bed. When I asked ' what are you doing?', He dropped his head between his paws on the bed - in a praying position, and very tightly squinted his eyes closed ' nothing mum, I'm sleeping.. ( one eye opens to take a peek at me standing next to him, and he quickly squints shut again) back to sleep....sneaky, clever and adorable and very capable of learning a wide range of vocabulary... just sometimes they conveniently pull the 'Sorry, me no English' story when they fully understand. Generally Bull terriers don't bark much - so if on the rare occasion your Bully barks - it's best to investigate - something out there is not right. They will talk to you, and they will become big talkers if you encourage it by ''bully talking" back to them - which sounds a bit like a mix between a Harley, lawn mower and a blow dryer..... Trained well, they can very gently and carefully take food from a toddler's hand (in adult company), yet they can destroy just about every 'doggy toy' on the commercial market in minutes and sometimes consume them, too. They do only as they please: but lucky for us, they do have a desire to be our companions, so it's not as hard as many books say it is to train your Bully, but starting young is obviously better, but even older dogs given the right incentive will be fine students. Just like you and me, when we are asked to do some workshop or training course at work, we need to know if we are just jumping through hopes for compliance, or if the training actually is meaningful to us - what's the benefit to us., we think to ourselves. Welcome to the mind of the Bully. Bull terriers are clever, they just need to know they are going to get something from the training and you will have a fast learner. Think of them as just another of your good friends - one who has a personality to want to control where you are going to meet for a coffee. You just need to communicate to them the benefit of doing whatever it is that we are asking of them. You need to become a bit of a manipulator. In my experience bull terriers are quite sensitive to scolding, and I know it takes training back many steps to give way to emotions and yell at them. Easily avoided if training involves anything edible, a smile and patience. 7. Is it a breed that a first time dog owner could easily cope with? I think the question is loaded. It depends on how much time and energy the owner is prepared to devote to their Bully, and whether or not the prospective owner has taken the time to read about and learn about the experiences of others. This applies to most things we do for the first time - marriage, having a child, or owning a bull terrier. All three are easier when the knowledge and experience of others we trust and respect is sought. 8. Can solo dogs of this breed easily occupy themselves for long periods? Yes they can, but they can also become sad when left alone day in and day out, and sometimes destructive. It is my personal view that if you don't time to spend with your dog, don't have one. Unless lucky enough to be retired, we all having working commitments, but on returning home, remember that your Bully has been anticipating your return since the moment you left, don't simply brush him off with a quick pat. Spend some time with him before you start your other home obligations - a quick walk around the block at a minimum - just imagine you caught every red light on the way home, that's about the length of time you need to truly focus on your Bully and he will be happy to wait for you all over again the next day - the payoff for him is quality time with you. Returning home, he will be happy to trot behind you as you race around the house doing what you need to do, and then cuddle with you on the sofa or on your feet on the floor. 9. How much grooming is required? Expect to have hair on your clothes, your sofa and everywhere if you don't brush him. If you do it regularly, it'll end up on the brushglove instead of your furnishings once or twice a week. They enjoy a good glove rub down. Some bullies are water mad, and other shy away from it. Try to find shampoos that are for sensitive skin and that are not perfumed in anyway. Be very mindful of eyes and ears... just like a toddler. Play with his paws from when he is little so clipping nails is not a battle. Using baby wipes or a doggy equivalent is sometimes all that is needed. And find a good SUNSCREEN, dab a little on that pink skin above the nose and on the tips of the ears. Don't allow any of it to accidentally touch ON his nose, it may prove very irritating, and check the smell of the product. If you can smell it, times that by 100 and imagine its right next to your nose all day... unpleasant to say the least. When I was young here in North QLD - back in the 70'ss and 80's, being sun smart was just starting.... we had two bullies that got skin cancer back then - times change and we learn... our Bullies can benefit from what we know now. 10. Is it too boisterous for very small children or for infirm people (unless the dog is well trained)? Like I said from the outset, I had Bully brothers and sister when I grew up. Did they knock me over? yes. Did they jump on me? yes. Did I cry sometimes? yes. But I suspect that would have happened with human brothers and sisters, too. However, unlike two legged siblings, Bull terriers do such things out of exuberance and fun, not because they are mean. Times change... I remember going to town in the back of my dad's ute - can't do that anymore... so perhaps I have to yield and say that young children with Bullies are perhaps not the best idea without constant parental observation - and even then not much a parent can do sitting on the back patio when mid Bully Run they suddenly zag instead of zig and knock over a child - never aiming for the child of course, but they may end up collateral damage. Perhaps Bullies are best considered after children are old enough to enjoy a bit of rough and tumble, however, that said, I also lived with several bull terriers that were oh so gentle around me, that I find it hard to give a definate Yes or No to that question. A 2008 study of dog temperament found that Bull Terriers on par with Golden Retrievers as a family pet - See wikipedia entry on Bull Terrier to read about that. Any dog is capable of knocking over a toddler - so it's not so much about this dog - but every dog.