Bull terriers can vary quite a bit in size. So much so that there are two different classifications; they are considered separate breeds. However, they are known to possess similar traits and tendencies – being generally sweet-natured, comical, silly, fun, and full of determination. But what about barking? Does this come naturally to either of the breeds? Here is what you need to know
So, do bull terriers bark a lot? Bull terriers typically do not bark a lot; this is true of both the standard and miniature breeds. While they do not have a tendency to bark; it does depend on the individual dog and some are known to be more vocal than others. Equally, there are also certain triggers and contexts which can result in an increase in barking. Common reasons why a bull terrier may resort to barking include separation anxiety, loneliness, boredom, attention-seeking, and out of alarm and fear.
Like in all dog breeds, the bull terrier is not completely immune to barking. It is of course their primary communicative tool and way they can converse with their owners.
That being said, it does not come naturally to the breed. If they do bark, it will be down to a specific reason, even if this reason changes between dogs and contexts.
It is also true that some owners may even want their bull terrier to be vocal, depending on why they have kept and the owner’s preferences and intentions for the dog.
Of course, barking will alerts you to the presence of a visitor – and it can have its advantages here.
Nevertheless, most owners keep a bull terrier as a pet and as a companion. Without control and mechanisms in place, barking can become problematic.
So, let us now take a closer look at the natural tendencies of the breed.
We will also take a closer look at those common triggers before turning to some proactive and practical strategies that owners can consider/use to limit or reduce their dog’s loud vocalizations.
So, be sure to keep on reading to the end to get all of the information you need!
Are Bull Terriers Barkers?
Bull terriers are generally not a breed that is renowned for bark; especially in those that have been raised, socialized, and trained from the time that they are a young puppies.
The truth is, most terriers are barkers. They have an impulse to bark, and interestingly, this was a trait that was purposely bred into many of these breeds.
It actually makes sense and is understandable when we consider the purpose of these dogs to begin with.
They were hunting dogs and barking played a key role. It was how they alerted their farmer or terrierman that they were stuck, lost or that they could not get out of a burrow after chasing their prey down them.
Thankfully, bull terriers are not your typical terrier and they were never bred for this role or purpose.
Instead, and as their name suggests, they were used for bull and bear-baiting.
While it is true that some bull terriers bark excessively, and there are definitely reports of owners at a loss as to why their dog barks often, most others are reticent and reserved in nature.
For the most part instead, bull terriers would rather display deviant behavior in other ways.
The most commonly observed are: exuberant jumping, rambunctiousness, and aggression.
Sadly, these dogs come with a bad reputation as being combative with a tendency to bite; some countries even ban ownership of this dog entirely.
Again, this is likely to be a result of their history and why they were initially bred.
However, this reputation is not entirely fair or even accurate.
On closer inspection, the bull terrier is exceptionally loving, gentle, and good with all people. Many owners can attest to this.
Although, they can be dominant and stubborn; combining this with intelligence and having lots of self-confidence can be a challenge to raise.
For this reason, they are not the best of breeds for first-time dog owners and it comes recommended that any owner is willing and able to be firm but fair.
Their traits make it critical that they learn, develop and understand their owner’s commands.
Without them, bull terriers can begin to play up, and this is when barking can also become excessive.
Ultimately, whether they are rambunctious or overly vocal, these dogs need to have a capable owner to keep these negative traits under control.
Common Reasons Bull Terriers Bark
Bull terriers are not known to bark like some other breeds. So when they make noise, you will need to pay attention.
As previously mentioned, some owners prefer a noisy dog that alerts them when a stranger is near their home.
However, most would rather have a quieter dog, with barking seen as a nuisance or even problematic.
If you are uncomfortable with the frequency and duration of your dog’s barking, it’s imperative that you identify the root cause.
Likewise, you will want to take proactive measures to ensure barking does not become common behavior and even unmanageable.
So, let’s discuss some of the most common reasons why the bull terrier breed is known to bark:
Bull terriers are social and do not have the highest tolerance for being left alone.
If they are, they are likely to get bored and lonely. This is when undesirable behaviors may occur, such as chewing or barking.
Separation Anxiety/ Compulsive Barking
Most breeds of dogs will experience separation anxiety when left on their own for too long; the bull terrier is no exception.
Being alone can hit them hard, so it is important that they are never neglected or left to their own devices for any period of time.
Compulsive barking occurs when a dog longs to hear a voice, even if it’s its own.
While this is friendly barking, it’s barking nonetheless.
This often occurs when owners return home when visitors come to the home, or they see another dog. Its used as a welcome gesture, regardless of your take on it.
Dogs have limited ways to express their thoughts and feelings. If they are shocked or experience fear then they will bark as an outlet for these.
Some bull terriers will therefore bark if they suddenly hear something drop, a loud noise, or if an object startles them. Sometimes, this is to actually warn you (their owner) of potential or impending danger.
Bull terriers that are fussed over or given a lot of attention soon get used to it. If this is later withdrawn, they’ll start to wonder why and actively seek out ways to get it back.
Otherwise, if your bull terrier wants something in particular; be it a toy, food, the desire to play, the desire to go for a walk, or get affection, they may begin barking.
This is purely to let you know what they want, and other clues will usually accompany this.
Bull terriers are quite a protective breed. So, if somebody, be it another person/animal or dog, appears to infringe on yours (or their perceived territory), they will likely bark.
This is a warning, and away a dog communicates that said person/animal/dog is not welcome
How Do I Stop My Bull Terrier From Barking?
Most bull terriers find that with the right care and upbringing, barking correction is not something that needs to take priority. However, in some dogs, it can be something that needs addressing.
If a normally quiet and reserved bull terrier appears to randomly start barking (and a lot more than usual), this is usually a sign that something is changed or that something is up.
It usually means that they are under stress, unwell, ill, or injured, so it’s best to take them to a vet for an inspection and examination to rule anything out.
This usually occurs in older dogs and as they age, but seeking out a vet again is the best course of action here.
It’s important to note that it is impossible to get any dog to completely stop barking. In fact, it’s not desirable as they will need to communicate with you from time to time.
Thankfully, you can take steps to minimize your bull terrier’s barking. We will now look at these in greater detail below:
Understand Your Dog
First and foremost, you should begin by learning about your dog, its needs, desires, and their own personality.
Try to find out what makes your bull terrier bark. It could be at certain times, in certain contexts, environments, or with certain people.
Doing this will help you direct your focus on how you can go about stopping this behavior.
Train When Young
Further, the best time to promote positive behavior is when your bull terrier is a puppy. They will likely take to training faster at a young age.
If your bull terrier is an adult, you can and should apply the same techniques.
But, due to the stubborn nature of this breed and any behaviors they have picked up along the way, it may just take longer for your dog to grasp the training and how you now want them to behave.
Nonetheless, bull terriers learn best when you provide both positive and negative reinforcement (without ever resorting to shouting or physical punishment).
Use Positive and Negative Reinforcement Techniques
When your bull terrier barks, correct them appropriately so that they learn to connect their behavior with correction.
Avoid reinforcing negative behavior (like barking) by giving in when they act up.
Once your dog calms down and stops barking, you then can look to reward this behavior.
In this instance, your bull terrier will understand that good behavior leads to rewards, and bad behavior is not to be tolerated.
Bear in mind, it may take a number of weeks for your bull terrier’s actions to change. You must make sure that you are firm, fair, and consistent at all times.
Equally, there are some things you will need to consider to control barking along the way.
Do Not Yell or Shout
Bull terriers, like most dogs, will not understand when you yell at them. This often results in counter-productive results. They actually think you are joining in and continue to bark! Not ideal.
So instead, you will need to teach them to obey simple commands, like “sit” and “quiet”. This way, they will learn to associate a word with the action of not or stopping barking.
When your bull terrier begins barking, be sure to consistently use the word “quiet” in a calm but firm voice.
Offer Praise and Treats
Once they cease barking, be sure to quickly praise and provide them with a small treat.
Be sure never to reward them when they barks; after a while, your dog will associate stopping barking with getting a reward.
Above, we have looked at some of the main ways to limit barking, but if your dog suffers from a specific cause or trigger of barking, you may need to adopt additional techniques.
Let us now discuss some of the best solutions to the main triggers of barking referenced in teh section above.
Solution For Boredom/Loneliness
When leaving your bull terrier alone, make sure that you provide them with plenty of toys, activities, or even get a friend, neighbor or family member to come and visit them in your absence.
You can use a food-dispensing toy to keep them distracted and entertained, like this excellent product from Amazon.
If you do have the time to spare and the money, you could even drop them off at a doggy daycare center where they can meet other dogs and remain more active.
Solution For Separation Anxiety/ Compulsive Barking
The obvious solution is to never leave them alone for too long. Equally, you should ensure they are comfortable and never left in a small, enclosed or dark room/space.
Again, you can get people to visit regularly throughout the day if you need to spend any time away.
If this issue persists, a certified professional can help you and your dog overcome these problems. They are challenging to treat, especially by yourself and depending on your commitments.
Solution For Greeting/ Play
This type of barking will take some practice to train out of your dog; it involves replacing the behavior with one in which you would rather them have.
You can teach them to stay in one designated spot and to remain there when someone is at the door. It will involve practice and rewards but is useful for visitors.
You’ll also want to never give attention to your dog when you come in and they begin to bark. Turn away, ignore them, and wait for them to settle down before fussing and giving attention.
Solution For Alarm/ Fear/ Territorial/ Protective Barking
This type of barking is triggered by something, it can be real but sometimes can even be perceived.
Solutions for this type of barking can involve changing their environment, keeping them in a quiet room, hiding things from view, etc.
Some owners report that putting up a solid wooden fence helps as it reduces what their dog can see.
Ultimately, limiting your dog’s exposure to things that could frighten or set them off is what you need to do here.
Solution For Attention Seeking Barking
It’s important never to reward unwanted barking as your dog will soon learn to associate barking with getting what they want.
Never give in to your dog, even if their barking becomes a nuisance.
Instead, you can teach your dog to perform other behaviors to indicate they want something, like ringing a bell on a toy.
Alternatively, if your bull terrier barks because their water bowl is empty, you can ignore the barking for a short period of time. Walk out of the room for a couple of minutes, return and fill it when they are not looking.
This method is efficient because your bull terrier will not know or recognize that their barking was effective.
Bull terriers make a fantastic companion, they are affectionate with most people and they’re a great breed to own if you have children.
Equally, bull terriers are not known to bark excessively like other breeds (especially terriers).
It is important to note, however, that excessive barking can be an issue with some bull terriers and some owners do report this to be an issue.
That being said, as is the case with other breeds and dogs that traditionally have a low tendency to make a noise.
It all comes down to the fact that all dogs have their own unique personality, and there will always be exceptions.
Fortunately, bull terriers are intelligent, willing to please, and catch on quickly. They are considered easy to train and simply cannot resist treats.
When they know that good behavior leads to good things, and bad behavior gets them nowhere, you’ll soon find a much better behaved dog and one less willing to bark!
However, they are relatively stubborn with a strong and dominant character. So it is important to train and socialize your bull terrier from a young age and be firm and consistent with your efforts.
If you do encounter issues or challenges, there are people you can contact to help support your training or offer advice when it comes to managing and reducing negative behaviors.
Moreover, you must acknowledge that they love people and want to be around their family at any given opportunity.
This is not a breed to leave at home alone for too long. They also need plenty of exercise and playtime to remain in good spirits.
But, if you can keep up with these requirements, you should have a wonderful and loving dog who is not overly vocal.
Just be sure to give them an avenue and outlet for their energy and plenty of love and affection, and you should get this treatment in return!
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.