Bull Terrier history as you might expect, contains a bit of fighting, a bit of pest extermination and a lot of companionship. The origin is all in the name-- Bulldogs were crossed with various EuropeanTerriers in the name of creating a more agile fighting dog; bloodsports were, of course, legal during this time but the modern Bull Terrier has been through quite the evolution. Although popularity skyrocketed among lower classes of England, with the downfall of cruel dog fighting the breed's skills were seen in a different light by a new set of fanciers. Since there were no strict standards at the time (only performance mattered) it was James Hinks of Birmingham that decided to create a gentleman's dog out of this scrappy bull and terrier mix.
The first English Bull Terrier was shown in 1862 and it is supposed that Hinks included breeds such as the bulldog, English White Terrier and Dalmatian in his program to make the Bull Terrier. He specifically bred for white individuals and the breed was therefore dubbed "The White Cavalier". The breed was a hit in the show ring due to his unique looks and charming, obedient temperament. Later, breeds such as the Whippet, Spanish Pointer, Borzoi and Rough Collie were used to refine the look and eliminate the stop-- giving them the characteristic "egg shaped" flat head.
The popularity of Bull Terriers continued to climb and they were recognized by the AKC in 1885. Unfortunately, the selection for white individuals had resulted in a high incidence of deafness among these dogs so, in the early 1900s, the breed was crossed with Staffordshire Bull Terriers to introduce color to the coat (to reduce the incidence of deafness causing genes). Today, most Bull Terriers and extremely loving, friendly companions!