In the early XIX 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 the resulting litters would produce dogs varying in weight from 8 lbs to over 40 1bs. Most of the old ratting prints of this time feature a small dog of the bull terrier type, which are reported to have weighed between 9 and 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 been under 3 1bs in weight when fully grown. However, these Toy types were generally not typical of the breed, having apple heads and pop-eyes, characteristics typically associated with the dwarfing of a breed.

A few breeders specialised in the smaller Bull Terriers 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 10 1bs in weight. Although these would be considered of 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 25 1bs. The first Bull Terrier Champion, Nelson, made up in 1873, would by today's standards he considered a Miniature. He was owned by Mr. SI. Shirley, the first Chairman of the Kennel Club and weighed under 16 1b.

In the years leading up to the First World War these smaller Bull Terriers gradually fell from favour. This was partly due to a lack of patronage and also due. to the fact that both the 'Toy' and the' Miniature' were registered as Miniatures 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 12 1b to under 25 1b. The choice of the weight doesn't appear to have been greatly influenced by those who were the guarantors of the classes. Eventually a weight limit of under 12 1bs was established and classes were scheduled with this restriction up until 1914. As a consequence of the 12 1b weight 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 16 1b type such as Mr. Hinks Daisy, Mr. Lang's Rattler and Mr. Shidey's Nelson were no longer around and the problems associated with maintaining a true Bull Terrier type with this weight restriction disheartened many of the Miniature Bull Terrier breeders. In 1918 the Miniature Bull Terrier was removed from the Kennel Club Breed Register. They continued to be bred by a few stalwarts, mainly for sporting use, either to go to ground or for cross breeding to Hunt Terriers to add courage and determination. The next twenty years would have to be regarded as the low point in 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. They petitioned the Kennel Club with a principal objective of guaranteeing claws for Miniature Bull Terriers under 14 inches at the shoulder. In the May 1939 edition of the Kennel Gazette their application was acknowledged as successfull by the Kennel Club. As well as the height restriction there was an initial weight limit of 20 1b. The reasons for discontinuing with the weight restriction were best summarised by Richard Glyan in "Bull Terriers and How to Raise Them" (1950).

The weight limit favoured weedy specimens and also led to the systematic of 'border-line' specimens.

These changes resulted in the Breed Standard. that we have today, the same as that for a Bull Terrier, with the height restriction that Miniature Bull Terriers should not exceed 14 inches at the shoulder.

The first Miniature Bull Terrier Champion was made up in 1948. She was the bitch Ch. Deldon Delovely bred by Mrs. Scott and owned by Mrs. Adlam. The fist male Champion was Ch. Mursley Model, bred and owned by Mr. Stanleycy North. In more recent times it has been the dogs that have been in the limelight. Ch. Kirbeon Bandmaster, bred and owned by Mr. and Mrs. Kirby was the dog that proved that Miniatures could match the quality of Bull Terriers. An outstanding dog, he dominated the show ring in the early 1970's. Then in the early 1980's Ch. Beewau Enterprise, bred and owned by Mr. and Mrs. Waugh, looked as though he was going to achieve a similar dominance. However, he was surpassed by his son, Ch. Warbonnet Hyperion, bred and owned by Mr. and Mrs. Thornley, who held the breed record, and still holds the record for a dog, with 25 Challenge Certificates. The breed record is now held by Barrett's bitch Ch. Margins Mini The Moocher with 29 CC's.

Prior to Ch. Margins Mini The Moocher the record for a bitch was held by Ch. Kearby's Mini Maggy of Graymor with 21 Challenge Certificates. She was bred by Mrs. Youatt and owned by Mr. and Mrs. Hughes. Mrs. Youatt continues a tradition of Bull Terrier breeders who have also bred Miniatures.
Mr. Hinks and Mrs. Adlam have already been mentioned and their influence in Bull Terriers has been well documented elsewhere. Mr. Stafficy North was the son of Mr. Wed North, a noted Bull Terrier breeder and commentator in the early 20' Century and Miss. Wood of the Wooden Miniatures also originally bred Bull Terriers and had won the Regent Trophy in 1949.

However. no record of Miniature Bull Terriers would be complete if it did not include Mrs Berry of the Zedbees Miniature Bull Terriers. She has been involved in the bread since the 1950's and her dedication and determination to bmffi to a consistent Miniature type is legendary. I would doubt that there is a Miniature in existence that does not contain some Zedbees blood somewhere In its pedigree. The Miniature Bull Terrier Club made her their first ever Patron in 1993 in recognition of hex years of service to the Club and for her achievements as a breeder. That shows the regard in which she is held.

My hope is that this article will stimulate interest in the history and origins of the mbt. The miniature breeders of today have a debt of gratitude to those who in the past ensured the survival of our breed. At a time when the miniature breeders of today are addressing the health problems in the breed using modern testing methods, it is important that the legacy of the past is considered when making decisions about the future of the breed.

May 1999. by Charles Allenden

Some early examples of the breed:


The Miniature Bull Terriër