This is not intended to be a definitive breed history, rather to give a little background into the origins of the breed.
In the early 19th Century there is plenty of recorded evidence of small Bull Terriers when the original crossings took place between small terriers (of a variety of breeds) and Bulldogs and the resulting litters would produce dogs varying in weight from 8lbs to over 40lbs. Most of the old ratting prints of this time feature small dogs of the ‘bull terrier’ type, which are reported to have weighed between 9 – 12 lbs. Some breeders tried to miniaturise the breed further to produce a ‘Toy’ Bull Terrier. Pony Queen, owned by Sir Raymond Tyriott Wilson, is recorded as being less than 3lbs in weight when fully grown. These Toy types were not generally typical of the breed, having apple heads and pop eyes, characteristics often associated with the dwarfing of a breed.
A few breeders specialised in the smaller Bull Terrier and the first show at which a ‘Miniature’ class was scheduled was the ‘International Dog Show’, held at Islington in May 1863, where a class was held for Bull Terriers under 10lbs in weight. Although these would be considered as the ‘toy’ type, the influence of the Miniature Bull Terrier breeders was such that, by the time of the Kennel Club’s 21 Show in 1883, this weight limit had been raised to 25lbs. The first Bull Terrier Champion, Nelson, was made up in 1873 and would, by today’s standards be considered a Miniature, weighing in at under 16lbs!
In the years leading up to the First World War these smaller Bull Terriers gradually fell from favour, partly due to lack of patronage and also due to the fact that both the ‘toy’ and ‘miniatures’ were registered as Miniatures and this wide divergence of type did nothing to help their popularity. The classes for small Bull Terriers at this time were subject to weight limits which ranged from under 12lbs to under 25lbs but the choice of weight does not appear to have been greatly influenced by those who were guarantors for the classes. Eventually a weight limit of ‘under12lbs’ was established and classes were scheduled with this restriction up until 1914. As a consequence of the 12lb limit, in 1913, the Toy Bull Terriers were transferred to the Toy section of the Kennel Club register.
Commentators of the day, such as Rawdon Hill in ‘Modern Dogs’ (1903), regretted the fact that dogs of the 16lbs type, such as Mr Hinks ‘Daisy’, Mr Langs ‘Rattler’ and Mr Shideys’ ‘Nelson’ were no longer around and the problems associated with maintaining a true Bull Terrier type in this weight restriction disheartened many of the Miniature Bull Terrier breeders of the day. In 1918 the Miniature Bull Terrier was removed from the KC Breed register but they continued to be bred by a handful of stalwarts, mainly for sporting use, either to go to ground or for cross breeding to Hunt Terriers to add courage and determination. The next 20 years would have to be regarded as the low point of the breed history.
Then in 1938 a group of enthusiasts, under the Chairmanship of Colonel Richard Glynn, met to form the Miniature Bull Terrier Club and petition the Kennel Club with the principal objective of guaranteeing classes for Miniature Bull Terriers under 14” at the shoulder. In the May 1939 edition of the Kennel Gazette their application was acknowledged as successful and, in addition to the height restriction, there was a maximum weight of 20lbs which remained in place for some years. Its discontinuation was best summarised by Richard Glynn in ‘Bull Terriers and How to Raise Them’ (1950) as follows; ‘The weight limit favoured ‘weedy’ specimens and also led to the systematic underfeeding of ‘border-line’ specimens’ .
The first Miniature Bull Terrier Champion was made up in 1948, the bitch Ch Deldon Delovely, bred by Mrs Scott and owned by Mrs (Granny) Adlam. The first male to gain his title was Ch Mursley Model, bred and owned by Mr Stanley North. The breed has been blessed with many outstanding dogs since then, many of whom campaigned to their titles and then were immediately retired in the tradition of the Bull Terrier Club but others have gone on to do great things and no history of the breed would be complete without mentioning: Ch Kearby’s Mini Maggie of Graymor, breed record holder for bitches for many years with 21 CC’s until overtaken by Ch Margins Minnie the Moocher who still reigns supreme today as overall top winning MBT with a massive 29CC’s. In males; Ch Kirbeon Bandmaster, Ch Beewau Enterprise and his son Ch Warbonnet Hyperion, overall record holder for any years and still top winning male with 25 CC’s to his name.
First produced by Mr Charles Allenden on behalf of the MBTC.
The Miniature Bull Terrier is a relatively healthy breed, however, as with all dogs, there are known inherited conditions which we need to be aware of in order to help safeguard the health of the breed. We do ask that people report any serious health conditions to the Breed Health Co-ordinator, in order for a record of problems to be collated and compared yearly which may help us pinpoint any new issues arising and assist us in keeping track of health problems.
The main conditions which currently affect the breed and for which we test are as follows
(Note the word ‘dog’ is used throughout but relates to both male and females)
Primary Lens Luxation (PLL)
This is a very serious and painful eye condition which was previously the major health issue affecting the breed but which is now well under control following collaboration between the MBTC, the Kennel Club and the Animal Health Trust (AHT) who worked tirelessly, fundraising and collecting DNA samples from affected animals, in order to enable the AHT to isolate the gene mutation responsible for this inherited condition. The DNA test to identify a dog’s status as ‘affected’ ‘carrier’ or ‘clear’ was launched in 2009 and this means that the PLL status of all puppies can be determined from the age of 5 weeks.
Two clear parents can only produce clear puppies – these puppies do not need to be tested as they are ‘clear by parentage’.
A ‘clear’ can be mated to a ‘carrier’ in which case all puppies must be tested and will subsequently be certified either ‘clear’ or ‘carrier’.
In theory an ‘affected’ could be mated to ‘clear’ – although these days this is unlikely to occur – in this case all puppies would be ‘carriers’ and would require a test and a certificate to prove it.
Under no circumstances should anyone breed from two ‘carriers’
The PLL DNA test is a once in a lifetime test and all breeding dogs should have evidence of their PLL status as should all puppies.
The patella, more commonly known as the knee-cap, can luxate (slip out of place) and this can be a painful condition for the dog. In severe cases an operation to fix the joint will be required. A competent vet can manipulate the dog’s legs to check for signs of slipping patella. Dogs should be checked for this condition after 12 months of age and again should any symptoms arise
There are a number of different heart conditions which can affect dogs, however, the main two known in the Miniature Bull Terrier are Mitral Valve Displaysia (MVD) and Aortic Stenosis (AS). It is recommended that all dog’s hearts are tested by a qualified Cardiologists at the age of 12 month by means of Auscultation which simply means the Cardiologist listens to the beating of the dogs heart through a stethoscope. For the pet owner, if they are advised their dog is free of murmur, then no further tests are needed. If a low grade murmur is detected, ie grade 1 or 2, the vet will probably advise testing on an annual basis but generally no further action would be needed as these low grade murmurs are unlikely to affect the dog through its life. If, however, the murmur is higher, the Cardiologist will recommend further testing with ECG or Doppler.
For all breeding stock, advice from the AHT/KC is that only dogs clear of murmur or with, at most, a grade 1 murmur, should be bred from.
Some phrases explained:
A Hereditary Heart Disease is one which is passed genetically from the parents but which may not be expressed as a disease in the puppy.
A Congenital Heart Disease is one with which the puppy is born.
An Acquired Heart Disease is not present at birth but develops later. eg due to age.
A Murmur is the sounds of turbulence when listing to the heart with a stethoscope which are created by the sounds of blood hitting the closed valves and can indicate the presence of heart disease.
Dogs can either be deaf in one ear (unilateral deafness) or deaf in both ears (bilateral deafness). It is difficult to notice deafness in young puppies as they tend to react to vibrations or follow their litter mates. A BAER (Brain stem Auditory Evoked Response) carried out by a specialist is the only way to know for certain. Small probes are placed on the puppy/dog’s head along with a headphone over the ear which emits a clicking noise, this is liked to a computer which records the brains response. This is a non-invasive test that does not cause any pain or harm to the puppy/dog. On some occasions adult dogs will need to be lightly sedated. This test can be carried out on puppies from 5 weeks old and any age after that. This test is only required once in the dog’s lifetime. A copy of the report from the specialist should be kept for proof.
The main Kidney Disease affecting the breed is FAMILIAL NETHROPATHY which is screened for using the Urine Protein: Creatinine (UPC) test. The recommended or ‘standard’ result, at which a dog is NOT considered at risk, is a ratio of 0.5, however, on advice from the KC/AHT, Miniature Bull Terriers specify the lower, ‘safer’ ratio of 0.3. Any ratio above 0.5 should be investigated with further tests. It is recommended that the UPC Ratio test is carried out at the age of 12 months and then annually thereafter with all breeding dogs/bitches having a current, valid certificate prior to mating.
WHAT IS A URINE PROTEIN:CREATININE RATIO?
The urine protein:creatinine ratio is a simple test that measures how much protein is being lost through the kidneys, and determines if the loss poses a health risk for the pet. The test involves measuring the amount of protein and creatinine in a urine sample, and mathematically dividing the protein value by the creatinine value.
WHAT IS CREATININE AND WHY IS IT USED IN THIS TEST?
Creatinine is a by-product of muscle metabolism. Creatinine is excreted in urine at an approximately constant rate, which means it can be used as a standard for comparison for other substances that are also excreted in the urine.
IS PROTEIN LOSS THROUGH THE KIDNEY ALWAYS SIGNIFICANT?
Losing a small amount of protein through the kidneys may not be important if the kidneys are otherwise working well, however, if kidney function is compromised then even small amounts of urinary protein loss should be investigated.
Substantial protein loss through the kidneys is a concern because it means the kidneys are not working properly.
CAN ANY URINE SAMPLE BE USED TO MEASURE
No. The protein:creatinineratio should be performed only on urine that is free of blood and inflammatory cells. The presence of blood and inflammation in urine may give a falsely high result for the protein: creatinine ratio, suggesting there is kidney disease when none is actually present.
Ideally, the urine for the test should be collected, mid stream and first thing in the morning, prior to eating.
This list is not a definitive list of all conditions which can affect the breed.
It is recommended that annual health checks are carried out to ensure good health is maintained throughout your dog’s life.