With their active, loyal, and eager-to-learn nature, English bull terriers can make great family dogs for older children and experienced dog owners. But it’s important to know what you’re getting into if you bring a bull terrier home to stay. One of the things that surprises many new bull terrier owners is how much these dogs shed, despite their short hair.
Bull terriers are moderate shedders, shedding more than other terriers and less than non-terriers, such as shelties. Bull terriers lose some hair all year round but shed their full coat in spring and fall, with the changing seasons. The amount of hair shed depends a lot on their age, diet, genes, and time of year.
There are quite a few things that affect how much your bull terrier sheds. The good news is that there are things you can do to keep this to a minimum and keep your bully happy. And it all starts with understanding why these beautiful terriers lose their hair…
Why do bull terriers lose so much hair?
There are a few reasons why bull terriers lose so much hair.
Bull terriers have a single coat, which is made up of short hair that has a strong, hard texture. This coat protects them from the sun’s rays to keep them cooler in summer and protects them from the cold in winter. However, bull terriers are not meant to live in very cold or wet weather and will need protection from these elements.
As a dog with a single coat, bull terriers shed twice a year when the seasons change. This full shed is often called ‘blowing coat’ and happens because of the change in temperature.
In spring, bull terriers shed their coat to replace it with a lighter, cooler coat for summer. And in the fall, bull terriers shed their coat to grow a thicker, warmer coat for winter.
This explains the seasonal sheds but what about the rest of the year?
All hair goes through three phases: growth, rest, and shed (or falling out). When a hair reaches the shed phase, it falls out no matter the season. This process makes way for new hairs to grow and keeps the coat healthy and strong.
It is because of these three hair phases that bull terriers and pretty much all dogs lose hair during the rest of the year.
You might notice more hair falling out around the neck or collar area than the rest of the body. This is a natural thing for a single coat dog and is nothing to worry about.
When do bull terriers shed?
There are a few things that cause bull terriers to shed and how much hair they lose.
First is the bull terrier’s age. A bull terrier puppy will shed its puppy coat anywhere between 3 and 12 months of age. When shedding this coat, the dog will lose a lot more hair than normal and this shedding may last several weeks.
English bull terriers will start their routine seasonal shedding after they are at least one year old.
The second factor that affects shedding is time of year.
Bull terriers lose some hair during the year but shed their full coat twice a year, when it starts getting warmer and when it starts getting cooler. This is usually in the spring and fall seasons, so you will probably need to brush your bull terrier more often in April or May and August or September.
The third factor that influences shedding is genes and allergies.
Every dog is different and so is their shedding pattern. Some bull terriers shed a whole lot more than other bull terriers simply because of their genes.
Also, bull terriers are prone to allergies in their food and environment. These allergies may cause the dog to lose fur until the things causing the allergies are removed.
The fourth factor that influences shedding is diet.
A bull terrier needs to eat a healthy, balanced diet in order to grow and keep a healthy fur coat. If a bull terrier lacks nutrients, oils or vitamins, their hair may start falling out and any new hair that does grow may be dry and brittle.
The fifth factor that influences shedding is stress.
If a bull terrier is stressed, anxious, or lonely, they may start losing their coat due to stress hormones in their body.
These stress hormones force the hair follicles into the rest phase, so they stop growing new hairs. When this happens, the old hair isn’t replaced and becomes dry and brittle, so it breaks easily or falls out altogether.
The sixth and final factor that affects shedding is being sterilized.
If you neuter or spay your bull terrier, you might notice stronger shedding for a few months. Hormones keep hair follicles strong and healthy, and neutering your dog will influence these follicles and hair loss.
This is nothing to worry about – your dog’s shedding cycle should return to normal after a few months.
Tips to control bull terrier shedding
Here are some tips to help keep your bull terrier’s shedding under control:
- Brush your bull terrier with the right brush
The good news is that a bull terrier isn’t high maintenance when it comes to grooming.
A bull terrier needs to be brushed once a week to control the usual shedding. This should take you 5 to 10 minutes (or longer if you both enjoy the bonding time).
But when the seasons change, in spring especially and in fall, increase brushing to daily to keep hair loss under control and minimize how much hair ends up lying around.
While brushing, check your dog’s skin for any ticks, allergic reactions, or problems that need attention.
After brushing, it’s a good idea to wipe down your bully with a damp cloth to remove any loose fur. You can also dust them with dry shampoo to freshen the fur.
Try not to wash your bull terrier too often as this may dry out their sensitive skin. Plan to bath your bully only when they have dirt or mud on them or have rolled in something stinky.
If you do want to give your bull terrier a full bath, do this before brushing as washing the fur can loosen a lot of hair and these hairs will need to be brushed out after the bath.
Brush your bull terrier with a curry dog brush or rubber mitt to remove hair. If you want something even more effective, it may be worth investing in a FURminator to remove any shedded coat.
TIP: Use a FURminator for short-haired dogs to remove most of the loose hair on your bull terrier. This will do wonders to keep the shedding under control.
2. Feed your bull terrier a high-quality food
A strong, healthy coat starts with good nutrition, so be sure to feed your bull terrier a high-quality dog food that’s made for the breed and their age.
Bull terriers are prone to suffering from skin conditions and seasonal allergies. If your bully is experiencing these, speak to your vet about putting the dog on a special diet. The vet will probably recommend a balanced diet of raw food, without any grains or olive oil as these often irritate a bull terrier’s skin.
A good diet will help your bull terrier grow a stronger coat, which will keep shedding to a minimum as the hair won’t break off or fall out very easily.
3. Supplement your bull terrier’s diet
Many bull terrier owners like to supplement their dog’s diet with vitamins and fatty acids, to keep the coat strong and healthy.
A good overall supplement to use is called NuVet, which is available as a wafer or powder. This supplement gives dogs the antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes needed to boost their immune system and improve overall health. This supplement can prevent dry skin and allergy problems in bull terriers specifically.
When it comes to fatty acid supplements, many bull terrier owners recommend using a brand called Grizzly Salmon Oil, which is high in Omega 3. This fatty acid has been proven to nourish hair and sustain hair growth in humans and in dogs
4. Keep your bull terrier calm and give them love and attention
Bull terriers are sensitive, loyal dogs that need a few things to keep them happy. All dogs are different, and some bull terriers may be more emotionally sensitive than others.
It’s important to look for signs of stress in your dog, one of which is any changes in how much or how often they shed.
At a bare minimum, your bull terrier needs an hour of exercise a day or more. These dogs love walks, but they also love exercising their mind and practicing agility, so be sure to give them games and toys for this. Throwing a ball and playing fetch is also a very popular game with this breed.
Be sure to socialize your dog from an early age so it doesn’t get overwhelmed by other people and dogs. And keep rowdy, unsupervised children away from your bully as they might cause your dog a lot of stress.