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Judging The Miniature Bull Terrier By Michael E. Flaugh, PhD Miniature BullTerrier
At most all breed shows you will see no more than one or two Miniature Bull Terriers (or more simply, Minis), if that. It is only at those occasional shows where the entry is supported that you will have the opportunity to see several Minis in the ring at the same time. When that happens a judge will no doubt notice the unusually large range of size and type that exists in this breed. Being able to keep the image of the “Standard Bull Terrier* in mind is an indispensable aid in keeping track of what’s correct and what isn’t. The only aspect in which these two breeds differ is size. The range of size and type in the Mini ring is more understandable if one takes into consideration the relatively recent ori- gin of the “present day” Miniature Bull Terrier. Although abundance during the 19th century, the smaller Bull Terrier (i.e., under 14”) gradually gave way to larger specimens. By the early part of the 20th the small Bull Terrier was facing extinc- tion. A concerted effort to bring back the smaller variety was initiated in the 1960’s. Not until 1991 did the population of these smaller dogs reach the point that the Mini could qualify for recognition as a breed by the AKC. With possibly a few exceptions, these newly recognized Minis were still seriously lacking in the breed type expect- ed in a Bull Terrier. Twenty years have now passed, and over that time the improvement in the overall quality of the Mini has been astonishing. To a large degree this rate of recovery must be attrib- uted to the ability of American breeders to import Minis from countries that permit interbreeding of the Mini with the Standard Bull Terrier. This indirect contri- bution from the standard-sized breed has been of incalculable value in the restora- tion of type to the Mini, but it has come at the inevitable price: Size. *I am using the term “Standard” in this article solely for clarity in reference to the larger breed. Some purists will be quick to point out that the correct name for the larger breed is “Bull Terrier”. Duly noted; but make no mistake, although rec-
ognized as a separate breed in the US, the Miniature Bull Terrier is a Bull Terrier in every sense but size. Today, as the struggle to deal with size continues, a high percentage of Minis still exceed the height limit prescribed in the breed standard, sometimes by as much as two inches. Because to a large extent the attributes of type and size are being intro- duced from a common source, it is not sur- prising that the larger Minis also tend to be the ones that are stronger in type. A person judging the Mini is frequently faced with a dilemma: Do I put up the Mini that is larger, but stronger in type, or do I reward the smaller Mini principally because of its size? There is no simple answer. Each case must be decided on its own merits. Judges who find it troubling to put up the oversized dog must remind themselves that being over the measure is only a fault, not a disqualification. On the other hand, if size is not penalized, a strong incentive for breeders to continue the effort to deal with the problem will have been lost. There is s silver lining behind this cloud. Overall Mini quality is continuing to improve at an impressive pace, and occa- sions where the judge will be obliged to defer to the larger dog will occur less often. As the percentage of Minis having both cor- rect size and type grows, the ability of the larger dogs to compete will be reduced. There are two rather contentious issues relating to Mini conformation. We have just covered the first. The second one is bite. Present day breeders do not like to think about the ugly past of the Bull Terrier as a fighting dog. Still, when con- templating that despicable purpose, the absurdity of a bad bite in the Bull Terrier becomes obvious. Of course today’s responsible breeder doesn’t have to worry about the competitiveness of the Bull Terrier as a fighter, however, pointing out that a dog with a bad bite can still eat is a weak apology for that condition. A number of breeders sincerely feel that an under- shot bite is inseparable from the extreme
down face that is the Bull Terrier’s defin- ing feature. This notion has been proven to be a myth many times over in countries that have zero tolerance for bad dentition. Sadly, for the present, there remains a strong likelihood that the Minis in the ring with the most impressive head will have an undershot bite as well. As with the dilem- ma over height, judges will often have to choose between a Mini with a head lacking in type but having a good bite or a Mini with more correct head but a bad bite – again, a fault, not a disqualification. It is important that judges not come to accept a bad bite as a natural characteristic of the Mini. Sensing that a Mini will be penalized for a bad bite provides an incentive for breeders to continue the effort to combine correct head type with proper dentition. The Mini breed standard contains the expression “egg shaped” in reference to the general appearance of the head. If one looks at pictures of Bull Terriers taken back when this expression was introduced, it becomes quite obvious that the term was meant to be taken figuratively. It was intended to convey the impression of a head without a stop or depressions and with a general oval shape. As long as this intention is understood, the expression has some value. Taken too literally, however, it can become problematic. An often seen consequence of the misguided quest for the truly egg shaped head is a shortening of the muzzle. Shortening the muzzle is guar- anteed to give the appearance of a more rounded head, but it exacerbates the already difficult problem of dentition. More
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Judging The Miniature Bull Terrier
By Michael E. Flaugh, PhD
to the point, it is in outright defiance of the breed standard, which specifically says, “The distance from the tip of the nose to the eyes should be perceptibly greater than that from the eyes to the top of the head.” The breed standard further specifies that the head be “long, strong and deep right to the end of the muzzle”, a requirement that is difficult to reconcile with a literal inter- pretation of the term “egg shaped”.
Large or round eyes are not particular- ly common fault in the Mini today. In fact, they generally have eyes that can be con- sidered acceptable. However, relatively few Minis actually have eyes with the ideal tri- angular shape and oblique set called for in the breed standard. Going a step further, Minis with eyes that meet the additional requirement of being deep set are down- right rare. Few breeds are supposed to have eyes set as deeply as is expected in the Bull Terrier. As an avid aid in visualiz- ing this correct deep eye set, consider the following exchange overheard at a recent show: A spectator asked an exhibitor with a Mini having exceptional eyes why her dog’s eyes were closed. She replied, “They aren’t closed”.
It is not unusual for exhibitors to bring their Mini into the ring believing the dog they are showing has exceptional sub- stance when, in fact, it is merely fat. Any competent judge should have little difficul- ty recognizing obesity. The “squishy” feel of fat is unmistakable. It so happens that a judge can easily tell when a Mini is over- weight without even touching it. As a Mini becomes overweight, its tuck vanishes. The underline of the Mini should rise gen- tly from the brisket to the belly. The topline of the Mini should appear to have a very slight slope owning to a modest arch over the loin. A high rear is often a sign of weakness in the rear legs. A dog will tend to stand more upright on the rear legs to compensate for this weakness. A dog that likes to stand with its legs out- stretched to the rear may also be compen- sating for weakness. Standing this way shifts weight to the front legs. The Mini should be most comfortable standing in the classical show stance. A Mini with ideal soundness and balance should be able to step into that position unassisted. The basic mechanics of the Mini’s gait does not differ significantly from that of most breeds. The extreme, ground cover- ing stride of the sighthound would, of course, be out of place for the Mini. On the other hand, the gait should never be chop- py. It might best be described as efficient and purposeful. Head carriage should be comfortable – neither high nor low. Tail
Fanciers of the Bull Terrier have little difficulty grasping the concept of a head that, viewed from the side, presents a pro- file that curves smoothly from the top of the head to the tip of the nose. Often over- looked is the requirement that the head should have a full appearance when viewed from all directions. In other words, viewed from the front or from above, one should see a fullness extending all the way forward to the end of the muzzle. Judges should not forgive a tapered head just because the profile is particularly impres- sive. A tapered or “wedge shaped” head is highly undesirable.
Before leaving the subject of heads, a brief comment about ears is in order. Ears should be small and set high on the head. Often they are neither. Most judges instinc- tively favor the head with small, high ears because these characteristics result in a more attentive, intelligent look. There is even better reason to favor these charac- teristics: They are correct for the Mini. The number of short legged Minis in the ring is declining steadily. However, even now, enough short legged Minis may occasionally show up in the ring at the same time to sell a judge on the notion that they are actually the ones with the correct proportions. The breed standard clearly calls for proportions that give a square appearance. Short legs on a Mini give the illusion of smaller overall size, and short legs may look more substantial than legs of the correct length. In comparison, the correct leg may appear to lack sub- stance, however this appearance is mis- leading. Upon grasping a Mini’s front leg, a judge should find it unusually well mus- cled for a dog of its size.
Another common head fault is a lack of underjaw. A narrow underjaw will often cause the lower canines to be forced inside the tooth line (“interior lower canine”). When examining a Mini’s bite, judges always check the incisors, but often fail to look at the positioning of the lower canines.
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Judging The Miniature Bull Terrier
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carriage should be horizontal. Incorrect tail carriage is very common. The Mini should move with jaunty air that reflects supreme confidence. And why not? Pound for pound, the Mini is one of the most pow- erfully built canines in dogdom. He (or she) can take care of himself (or herself) and knows it. When a Mini approaches a judge, it is customary for the judge to look for the ears to come erect thus providing an opportunity to take note of ear set. All too often the Mini will fail to cooperate, much to the consternation of the exhibitor. A reluctance to bring the ears up is not nec- essarily an indication of shyness. It might simply be a gesture of deference. Such sub- missiveness shouldn’t be judged too harsh- ly. After all, submissiveness has an impor- tant place in the canine social order. Baiting a submissive dog is likely to make matters worse. The judge or the exhibitor
stands a better chance of getting the ears up by making an unexpected sound or ges- ture. Should that fail, the judge can always try again later. From the diversity of tail lengths and types seen in the Mini ring it is painfully evident that this feature is suffering from neglect. Most Mini breeders have not made the tail a high priority. In view of the significant improvement that has been made in the other features of the breed, it is questionable whether this atti- tude can still be justified. Continued dis- regard of the tail could see the Mini’s characteristic short, carrot-shaped tail lost to the breed entirely. Finally, a lighter topic: The Bull Terrier has a reputation for being a clown in the ring. This characterization is something of an exaggeration. It would be fairer to sim- ply say they are light hearted. They seem to radiate a cheerfulness that tends to lighten
the spirits of the humans in the ring as well. Because exhibitors have come to expect a degree of informality in the Mini ring, they usually do not devote a great deal of time to training. This lack of train- ing often becomes evident when the Mini is placed on the table. Failing to cooperate on the table is harmless unless it actually inter- feres with examination. Judges have ceased to be surprised by such behavior in the Mini and usually show commendable patience. When it comes to the Best of Breed competition, a judge can normally
expect a more sedate demeanor in the dogs, which is as it should be. No judge wants to send a dodo to the group ring. ■ Drawings by Stephen J. Hubbell
Life With A Miniature Bull Terrier By Julie C. McLaughlin
I tell everyone that calls about or pur- chases a puppy from us that this breed is like no other. They get into your very soul. Once you own one you will always want one. They are the clowns of the dog world, if you laugh at them you are doomed. For example Mike was showing our late Bree
mands. Jessie plays deaf and she is very good at it. You can yell and yell for her to come. She will not even flinch not even a tiny twitch of an ear, yet can hear the refrigerator open from four rooms away or a whisper of want to go bye bye? They would rather ask for forgiveness than per- mission. They enjoy walks and activity, yet also like to curl up on the sofa or bed with you. Although they enjoy the water they do not swim well. They have so much muscle they tend to sink. Never let your MBT near water unsupervised. If you’re looking for a big dog in a small package, that will own you and train you then the MBT may be the breed for you. ■ Julie C. McLaughlin ~ President of the Miniature Bull Terrier Club of America Envision/Registan Miniature Bull Terriers
and will crash into anything that is in their way. I was picking up toys in the living room and Bree started hucklebutting around the room, jumped up and hit me in the mouth, busted my mouth open and chipped my front tooth, she kept right on going. She didn't have a clue she busted my lip and chipped my tooth. They are very loving dogs, I wouldn't say they are very loyal dogs. They will go with who ever, in their opinion has the best treats, food, toys etc... They are highly intelligent yet not very obe- dient. Bree knew basic obedience; when asked to sit she would down and vice versa. I would go get treats and all of a sudden she knew the commands perfectly. I feel it takes a highly intelligent animal to reverse com-
and she was acting up in the ring. Kathy and I started laughing at ringside, Bree saw us and the behaviour exulted. Needless to say Mike was not pleased with us, yet we couldn't help it. They like children, but they can pack a powerful punch and not even know they did it. They do a behaviour we call hucklebutting. That is where they will take off running for no reason at full speed
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The History of the Miniature Bull Terrier By Giselle Simonds Miniature BullTerrier
To understand how the Miniature Bull Terrier came about one must go back to the origin of the Bull Terrier and a time of Blood Sports in England in the 1800’s. Bull baiting had been outlawed but the desire to have dogs fighting something continued. Dog versus dog, rat, badger or almost anything that would fight back were common in unde- sirable areas. Mr. James Hinks, who came from Birmingham, put himself on a path to produce a stylish white dog that would become a gentleman’s companion, also known as “The White Cavalier”. A dog that was not inclined to start a fight but if provoked would finish it. The breed
female counterparts briefly entertained the smaller ones to be lapdogs. Sadly this was not to be successful as they were constantly searching for rats or mice in the sitting room. Which was something no Victorian woman would find enter- taining or expect from their companion. A set back for the breed also occurred when ear cropping was decreed illegal in 1895. Drop ears replaced the smart looks of the cropped ear until the breeders could get consistent results with upright ears. A famous print “ The Guards “ by Maude Earle shows a trio of Bull Terriers in 1915 almost achieving a natural erect ear.
the other dog was dead. Mr. Hinks claimed his five pounds and the case of champagne on which the wager was fought. The next day Puss won her class judged best in looks and condition. The Bull Terrier Club was founded in 1887 with classes at many shows divided above or below 16 pounds. Mr. E.M. Shirley, president of the Kennel Club (U.K.) bred his dogs below the 25-pound range. The even smaller version, some as small as two and a half pounds, lacked the sturdy good looks of the larger dogs. Most had bulgy eyes and apple domed heads. While the larger Bull Terrier gained favor with the Victorian gentleman, his
known as a Bull Terrier became very pop- ular. Size was always variable in the breed. The foundation coming from the White English Terrier, old fashioned Bull Dog and Dalmatian. Some Greyhound, Spanish Pointer, Foxhound, Borzoi or Collie was thrown in to give the length of head and small eye. No one can say for sure; only that these breeds were avail- able to James Hinks at the time. In 1862 he showed his pure white Bull Terrier, “Puss”. This resulted in that famous match at Tuffers in Longacre where Puss, at 40 pounds, battled a much heavier opponent of the old style Bull and Terrier weighing 60 pounds. One half hour later Ch. Hobbit Hills Fire ‘N Ice. Winner of the first Van Hildrukhusen Trophy Show in 1990.
The Millennium handbook from the Miniature Bull Terrier Club (U.K.) has a list of shows in the 1890’s where Toy Bull Terriers were shown. From 1911-1917 there were no classes for Toy Bull Terriers. In 1918 the Kennel Club closed the stud book for the Miniature Bull Terrier. Off they went to work on farms where they excelled at dispatching vermin of all types. There are reports that they were used to go to ground after foxes and bad- gers. No surprise to those of us that enjoy doing earthdog events with our modern day Mini Bulls here in the United States. Rover Run Bonsai Bubba, 1988. American bred from English imports, at six months old.
Ch. Darby Fairs Firecracker with Patty Holt, 1993.
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The History of the Miniature Bull Terrier
By Giselle Simonds
Colonel Glyn gathered friends and founded the Miniature Bull Terrier Club in 1939, getting approval of the standard with a height of 14 inches at the shoulder with the limit of a 20-pound weight. Thankfully the weight limit was dropped a few years later and the standard states
Gordon’s home founded the Miniature Bull Terrier club of America in 1966. Miniature Bull Terriers have never had large numbers of AKC registrations and it was a struggle in those early years to reach the number required by the AKC to leave the Miscellaneous class. It took dedicated members to purchase and persevere with the stock that was avail- able to them. The McArthurs’ had their Imperial bloodlines, Ruth Gordon sur- vived Hurricane Camille with her dogs and more were imported from England. The MBTCA became revitalized in the late 1980s and recognition into the Terrier Group as a separate breed came in 1991. In 1990 the MBTCA offered its own version of Silverwood, The Van Hildrikhusen Trophy Show, named after Lotte Frank of the Hildrik family. Lotte felt that Miniature Bull Terrier breeders in North America should have the same
to address changes to the standard. Mini Bull owners have been fortunate to be able to take advantage of the interbreed-
ing policies of other countries to invigo- rate the gene pool. The Primary Lens Luxation that plagued our breed has been beaten back by the development of a DNA test for the problem. A simple cheek swab kit is available from the OFA at a reasonable Davang’s Noelle with owner/handler Kim Krohn, the breed’s only U.D.
Ch. Bonsai Moondancer, 2004.
there should be an impression of the max- imum substance to the size of the dog, balance being of the utmost importance. Kennel Clubs in England and Australia recognized the Miniature Bull Terrier as a separate breed in 1943. There is mention of a Miniature Bull Terrier entered at Westminster in 1928 but the breed took hold firmly in America with the help of Mrs. Ruth Gordon of Pass Christian, Mississippi, who imported in 1961 English Ch. Navigation Pinto and Freesail Simone. 1963 saw the breed gain AKC recog- nition in the Miscellaneous class. Larry and Jackie McArthur at Mrs. Ruth
cost to all. This test even allows the MBTCA to test the rescue dogs that we have so that new owners will have no unwel- come surprises. All in all it is a very good t ime for Miniature Bull Terriers. ■
pride in producing their own good dogs as the Bull Terrier breeders did. She was the first judge of the competition and supplied the perpetual bronze trophy for the competition. It is set up the same way as Silverwood with classes divided by sex and color with the four finalists compet- ing for the prize of Best Bred Miniature Bull Terrier. There are also trophies for Runner Up and Best of Opposite Sex to the Winner. In all it is a very prestigious event in which to compete. I got my first Miniature Bull Terrier in 1987 and have seen many changes in the MBTCA membership and the breed. The pendulum for size has always been in motion. The membership gets petitioned Ch. Envision Registan Heartbreak Hotel, 2009.
Sources and References: - B.J. Andrews, Miniature Bull Terrier t.f.h. New Jersey
- Kathryn Braund, (1977) The Uncommon Dog Breeds Arco Publishing: New York
- Stanley Dangerfield and Ellsworth Howell, (1974) Howell Book House: New York - Dr. Dieter Fleig, (1996) Fighting Dog Breeds t.f.h: New Jersey - John H Remer, (1989) The New Bull Terrier, Howell Book House: New York
Ch. Bonsai Skip To My Alou, 2006.
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Miniature Bull Terrier Health By Deb Guerrero Miniature BullTerrier
The Miniature Bull Terrier is a very sound, healthy canine, but as with all purebred dogs, they are susceptible to cer- tain diseases. Regular checkups by your veterinarian, along with keeping all shots updated, and awareness of the owner of any changes in temperament or in activi- ty, will help ensure the health of your dog. Lens Luxation In The Miniature Bull Terrier A mutation responsible for the devel- opment of lens luxation in many breeds of dogs has been identified by a team of researchers led by Gary Johnson DVM PhD at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. The DNA test for this mutation is now available through the partnership with OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals). Lens Luxation is an eye problem well known in many Terrier breeds, Chinese Cresteds , Australian Cattle Dogs, Tibetan Terriers, and other breeds. The lens is held in place in the eye by fibers known as zonules. If these zonules break or dis- integrate, the lens can fall out of place, or luxate. When this happens it often requires immediate veterinary attention to remove the displaced lens. Lens luxa- tion can cause secondary glaucoma, which also leads to pain, loss of vision, and sometimes loss of the entire eye. A simple DNA test will reveal if a dog is NORMAL (has 2 normal copies of the gene), a CARRIER (has one normal copy and one mutated copy of the gene) who will not develop lens luxation but could pass the mutation on to offspring, or AFFECTED/AT RISK (has 2 mutated copies of the gene). Wise use of this test gives breeders a tool to avoid producing individuals at risk of developing lens lux- ation, while still retaining many other desirable traits in their dogs. Heart - The issue of heart disease in Miniature Bull Terriers is primarily seen in the form of congenital heart disease. The two forms commonly seen are Mitral Valve Dysplasia and Sub-aortic Stenosis. Heart disease can either be congenital (dog was born with it) or acquired (a problem occurring later in life).
Mitral valve dysplasia presents as a "leaking" valve between the two cham- bers of the heart, the left atrium and left ventricle. Usually the mitral valve does not shut completely which causes the blood that should be pumped entirely into the aorta to supply the body with oxygenated blood from the left ventricle; to leak back into the left atrium. The result is a murmur. It is called Mitral Regurgitation. When the mitral valve is narrowed, it is difficult for the blood to leave the left atrium. This is called Mitral Stenosis. Dogs with this condition can be affected mildly or severely. Most dogs can live active normal lives, but with age the condition can worsen and they can die of heart failure. Sub-aortic Stenosis is the narrowing of the aorta, the major artery carrying the blood supply away from the heart. The condition leads to pulmonary edema which results in left-sided heart failure. There are several tests your veterinarian can perform to screen for these condi- tions, x-ray series of the chest, ECG or electrocardiography to measure the heart's electrical activity, and a cardiac ultrasound or echocardiography. Many reputable breeders test their dogs with cardiac color Doppler ultrasound for very accurate diagnosis. Kidney - In Miniature Bull Terriers it is divided into three forms. The first is renal dysplasia which results in kidney failure. The disease causes the kidney's cells to develop improperly, resulting in nonfunctioning kidneys. The second form is Hereditary nephritis. This is also fatal, but with a slower progression. Research has not been able to determine a specific age to test for because it can range in age from as early as 2 years up to 8 years. The best prevention (until DNA testing becomes available) is testing breeding dogs every year for Urine- Protein/ Urine-Creatinine Ratio. The most recently discovered kidney disease is Polycystic Kidney Disease. You may also hear it as PCKD. It is very common to be seen in conjunction with heart valvular
problems. Currently, the most reliable diagnosis is made from an ultrasound of the kidneys. Skin - Some Miniature Bull Terriers, par- ticularly white Miniature Bull Terriers, may have skin problems. Some dogs respond well to dietary changes of a more natural-type foods or raw with few or no chemical additives. Others may require allergy testing along with long-term treat- ment of antibiotics, steroids, food change and possible allergy injections. Deafness - Miniature Bull Terriers along with other breeds carry the deafness gene. It can affect both colored and white Miniature Bull Terriers. Dogs can be totally deaf (Bilateral deafness) or can have hearing in one ear (Unilateral Deafness). BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) testing is the only way to be certain that your dog can hear properly from both ears. In this test a computer is used to record the electrical activity of the brains response to sound stimulation. A sound stimuli, a series of clicks, is passed though headphones placed over the dogs ears whilst record- ing electrodes are placed on the dogs neck just behind the head. Compulsive Behaviors - Compulsive behaviors, including spinning, tail biting, and flank sucking have been observed, all of these behavioral disorders are related. Affected dogs can show several of these behaviors, and you can see multiple litter- mates affected with different behaviors. Tail chasing is the most common form of compulsive disorder expressed by Miniature Bull Terriers. Tail chasing is a repetitive behavior that is expressed as slow to rapid circling with the dog's attention directed with no apparent focus on the tail. Dr. Alice Moon-Fanelli of Tufts University is steadily seeking owners that are willing to donate blood from their purebred Miniature Bull Terriers for a study that will hopefully lead to the cure for “spinning”/ obsessive-compul- sive disorder (OCD) which is highly prevalent in the breed. ■
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