4 min read

Famous Bull Terriers and Facts About the Breed


Written by Adam Lee-Smith

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 03/10/2023, edited: 03/10/2023

With their triangular faces and stocky build, it's easy to get the wrong impression of Bull Terriers. Despite their somewhat intimidating appearances, Bull Terriers are top doggos who love playing with other pups and spending time with their pet parents. 

On April 1, instead of playing practical jokes, we're celebrating International Bull Terrier Day in honor of these quirky canines. Read on to learn about the most famous Bull Terriers in history and fun facts about these misunderstood mutts.

Famous Bull Terriers throughout history

Bull Terriers have been appearing in television and film for nearly a century, so it's no wonder why some of the world's most famous figures have Bull Terriers for canine companions. Check out these famous Bull Terriers from history!


One of the most famous Bull Terriers in modern history is Bullseye, the Target dog. This white Bull Terrier is the Target brand mascot, appearing in TV commercials, promo events, and store openings. 

Bullseye first appeared in a 1999 ad campaign and has been a brand staple ever since. With over 150,000 social media mentions and his own range of plush toys, Bullseye is among America's most famous Bull Terriers.

Fun fact: His signature red bullseye is painted around his eye using vegetable-based paint approved by the Humane Society. It wipes off easily and doesn't harm the dog in any way.

Spuds MacKenzie

Bull Terriers have featured in some famous ad campaigns, and Spuds MacKenzie is right up there with Bullseye in terms of fame.

In the late 1980s, Spuds was the Bud Light mascot, first appearing in a Super Bowl ad in 1987. With his signature sunglasses and Hawaiian shirts, Spuds was a big hit with audiences across the US. 

But Spuds MacKenzie caused plenty of controversy during his time as the face of Bud Light. It was revealed that a female Bull Terrier named Honey Tree Evil Eye actually played Spuds MacKenzie. (How's that for a unique dog name?)

Bud Light retired the character in 1989, but his cultural impact remains — Spuds has been mentioned in popular shows like The Golden Girls, Futurama, and Family Guy. 


Rufus is famous for being the most successful Bull Terrier show dog in history. Registered under the name Rocky Top's Sundance Kid, Rufus became the first tri-colored Bull Terrier to win Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show

Between 2005 and 2006, Rufus won Best in Show at three of the US's most prestigious dog shows: The National Dog Show, Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, and the Morris & Essex Kennel Club Show. By the end of his career, Rufus had claimed over 30 Best in Show titles!

Rufus was also a minor celebrity outside of dog shows. After retiring, Rufus became a popular therapy dog, working for Angel on a Leash and Therapy Dog International. His work took him to many hospitals and cancer centers across the US, including NYC's Ronald McDonald House. Now that's a good boy!


Lager-than-life World War II US army commander General George S. Patton Jr is famous for having a Bull Terrier as his fur-baby. 

Named after William the Conqueror, Willie became a cult figure in the US Army, standing at Patton's side as his tank corps swept across western Europe. By some accounts, Willie would enter a room before General Patton, alerting soldiers that the general was on his way. 

Despite his reputation as a stern leader, General Patton had a huge soft spot for Willie. Patton commissioned special dog tags for Willie and even threw him a birthday party!

Related: Famous K9 Heroes Throughout History

Black and white Bull Terrier jumping over a hurdle

Celebrities with Bull Terriers as pets

Coming in at number 61 on the American Kennel Club's list of most popular dog breeds in 2021, Bull Terriers aren't a popular breed in the US. But their unique appearance and bubbly personalities mean they've acquired their fair share of famous admirers. 

Bull Terriers seem especially popular with musicians. World-famous artists like Taylor Swift, Eric Clapton, Lily Allen, and Liam Gallagher have all had Bull Terriers as their fur-babies at some point. Other famous folks who love these distinctive doggos include Tom Hardy, Don Cherry, and Princess Anne.

Brown and white bull terrier standing on grass

Facts about Bull Terriers

From their personalities to their appearance, there's no other dog breed quite like the Bull Terrier. Here are a few fun facts about these "pawsome" pups!

  • They're one of the most unique recognized breeds. Bull Terriers are famous for their egg-shaped heads and triangular eyes. (They're also the only recognized dog breed with triangular eyes.)

  • Bull Terriers were bred as fighting dogs. Originally a crossbreed between bullies and terriers, Bull Terriers were sadly bred as fighting dogs and known as "canine gladiators". Thankfully, England banned dog fighting in 1835, and Bull Terriers have since served as ratters and companions.

  • Tail-chasing is a common trait. Bull Terriers are more likely to chase their tail than other dogs. Tail-chasing can be a sign of canine compulsive disorder (CCD), a condition that Bull Terriers have a higher risk of developing compared to other breeds. You should consult a vet if your Bull Terrier regularly chases their tail, paces, or chases their own shadow. 

  • A significant percentage of Bull Terriers are deaf. Bull Terriers commonly suffer from a type of hereditary deafness called congenital sensorineural deafness (CSD). Studies suggest over 10% of Bull Terriers have CSD.

  • They thrive on fun and games. Take a fun approach when training a Bull Terrier. They're much easier to train when they enjoy an activity, which means toys and food are often key in training. As a result of their fun-loving temperaments, Bull Terriers tend to excel at dog sports like flyball, agility, and freestyle. 

  • Yes, Miniature Bull Terriers are a thing! Miniature Bull Terriers are the pint-sized version of Bull Terriers. They reach a max height of 14 inches, compared to 21 inches for standard Bull Terriers — perfect if you’re short on space but love Bull Terriers!

Know any other interesting facts about Bull Terriers? Or just want to show off your doggo for International Bull Terrier Day? Let us know in the comments below!

Comments (3)

Maria buchanan


Zero from the nightmare before Christmas is a ghost bull terrier. I presume Tim Burton must have had them.



I definitely think Sparky from the original Frankenweenie is worth mentioning too!

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