Are Bull Terriers Smart?


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Have you ever wondered what is really going on inside your Bull Terrier's head? Have you ever thought about the nature of your Bull Terrier's memory? Wondering how smart are Bull Terriers? 

Keep reading to find out are Bull Terriers smart and where they rank in intelligence!

What is the IQ of a Bull Terrier?

According to canine psychologist Stanley Coren, Bull Terriers are not smart dogs. But just because they are slow at learning new tricks doesn’t mean they’re dumb.

If you are a Bull Terrier parent, you’re probably aware of how special the interaction is between you and your canine best friend. They are sweet, loving, independent, courageous dogs with a stubborn streak.

Dog intelligence has a variety of different dimensions. Stanley Coren writes of three such dimensions:

Working and obedience intelligence

This intelligence indicates a dog's ability to learn from humans.

Instinctive intelligence

This indicates a dog's ability to perform the tasks it was bred for. These tasks can be herding, hunting, fetching, guarding, or companionship.

Adaptive intelligence

This refers to a dog's ability to learn from past experiences and solve problems on its own.

The parameters were:

How many repetitions a dog has to make before he learned a new command? The fewer the repetition number, the smarter the breed.

What is the success rate for a dog of a specific breed obeying the command after a first attempt? The better the rate, the smarter the breed is.

Bull Terriers are considered below average for working and obedience intelligence. They generally understand new commands with 40 to 80 repetitions. However, they can be fantastic learners given the right motivators.

According to Stanley Coren's book, The Intelligence of Dogs, Bull Terriers are the 66th smartest dog breed out of 138. Dr. Dodman says, “Some dogs do some things better than others, and they have different behaviors.”

How to tell if your Bull Terrier is smart or dumb?

Each Bull Terrier may have a different capacity for learning and strengths where they may perform better than others. Bull Terrier's genetics, socialization, and overall exposure to training will significantly impact their levels of intelligence.

There are various indications that tell you about your Bull Terrier intelligence. If your Bull Terrier does a lot of the things noted on the list below, they are definitely a clever cookie!

  • They remember commands without practice
  • They love exploring the world
  • They snuggle you when you are disturbed
  • They can solve puzzle toys
  • They understand when you’re going away
  • They understand how to get your attention
  • They understand how to stay safe
  • They can easily master new tricks

Why Bull Terriers rank low for intelligence

So, we have pet parents saying Bull Terriers are smart, while Coren’s dog intelligence test says otherwise. What could possibly cause the discrepancy?

Coren’s dog intelligence rankings were primarily based on obedience trials. This means that the top-performing dogs were more likely to obey known commands.

Bull Terriers are known to be independent thinkers and stubborn dogs. Plus, they’re strong-willed too. Despite being affectionate and loyal, Bull Terriers won’t necessarily obey your commands for the sake of obeying. 

It’s extremely difficult to standardize an IQ test for dogs because all dogs are individuals and different dog breeds have different motivators. Some dogs react much better to treats. Others may react better to their favorite toy or praise.

With the right approach and understanding of the Bull Terrier breed, training can be as easy as with any other dog breed. If a Bull Terrier owner is patient and teaches their Bull Terrier in a manner that they can understand, the dog will be more likely to succeed at learning new tasks.

The intelligence of your Bull Terrier depends on how much you train them. If not enough patience and consistency are used when training them, then chances are high you’ll have less intelligent pets than those who are trained properly.

Are Bull Terriers easy to train?

Bull Terriers are strong-willed and can be difficult to train. They're independent, free-thinkers with a higher commitment to fun and games than to a work ethic.

There is no limit to what Bull Terriers can do if trained in the right manner with patience and humor. Here are some tips for Bull Terrier training:

  • Start training your Bull Terrier as early as possible. The ideal time to start training the Bull Terrier pup is between 8-12 weeks of age.
  • Bull Terriers perform best with positive reinforcement methods. Your praise is one of the most powerful motivators for training your dog.
  • While training your Bull Terriers, pay attention to your body language. They are very sensitive and can easily pick up your energy. Using assertive energy is the best way to train Bull Terriers.
  • Punishments and yelling can damage their personality.
  • Keep your training sessions short and engaging with lots of praise and rewards.
  • Start training your Bull Terrier in a quiet area with fewer distractions. Slowly move to more distracting locations.
  • You must establish limitations and reassert yourself as the pack leader. If your Bull Terrier doesn't respect you, training will be difficult. Always use an assertive tone while training Bull Terriers.
  • Never use choke collars on Bull Terriers as their necks can easily get hurt.
  • While training your Bull Terrier, be consistent and show a lot of patience.
  • Socialize your Bull Terrier puppy as much as you can.

Final thoughts 

Bull Terriers are amazing canines but need training, discipline, and consistency to excel. Being smart is not all that matters! It’s not fair to label any dog breed as smart or dumb. Most dogs are good at something, you just have to figure out what! It would be better to see if the Bull Terrier’s temperament and personality match yours.

Bull Terriers are highly active, athletic, and mischievous dogs. In fact, they are widely considered as clowns of the dog world. They possess all qualities that make them the smart pet to raise. With proper care and attention, the Bull Terriers make a wonderful family companion. If you’re looking for a loving dog who can become your best friend for life, the Bull Terriers are perfect for you. 

If you have any questions about Bull Terriers, please do let us know.

Until next time everyone!