Bull Terriers As Police K9s and Service Dogs – Changing Minds About The Breed


There is no exact number, but it’s estimated that between 2,000 to 3,000 pit bulls are euthanized in the U.S. each day. We’ve walked through several county shelters in metro Ga and can attest that a large number of the dogs found there are pit bull or pit bull mix – many of them will eventually be euthanized. Last year we featured an article where Esquire Magazine profiled 17 wonderful pit bulls that needed rescue.  Additional the article spoke against the breed’s stereotype – that the breed is wrongfully tagged as aggressive and dangerous.

pit bull

Restoring The Breed’s Reputation

But many are trying to repair the breeds bad reputation. There are organizations out there whose sole mission is to change the perception of this wonderful dog like the Animal Planet show, Pit Bulls and Parolees. Best Friends Animal Society members drove across the country from Utah to rescue the Michael Vick dogs and have re-trained and found forever homes for many of them.

Maybe we need to stop calling them pit bulls. It brings up images of viciousness that is undeserved. Let’s start a movement by calling them bull terriers or bully breeds.

Because that’s the respect they deserve.

Here are a couple of bull terriers who are service dogs to the max.

Bull Terrier as Service Dog

Recently, Huff Post reported a story about a service dog named Jericho who is helping Matthew Smith. He has been in a wheelchair for 20 years but was hooked up with Jericho to help him get around. And Jericho is a bull terrier.

Now, you may think of service dogs like this as Labs, Goldens or Shepherds. But Jericho is changing minds about his breed. But, like brown hair or green eyes, his breed is just a trait.

It’s the heart of any particular dog that really matters. And Smith says she has given him emotional support and comfort in addition to helping him with tasks.

And here’s a heart warmer for you: Smith and his wife took Jericho on an Alaskan cruise. Smith said that he thought more passengers knew Jericho’s name than the names of other passengers. They were happy to greet him when he was off duty and he was just as thrilled to meet them.

Jericho is changing minds about the breed.

Bull Terrier as Law Enforcement K9

There’s a new kind of crime fighter in Poughkeepsie, New York and her name is Kiah. No last name. Just soft brown eyes and a smile.

She’s a 60-pound bull terrier who just finished her K9 law enforcement training and will be the department’s newest rookie. In addition to being a breed game changer, Kiah will sniff out drugs and do search and rescue.

And here’s the best part: It’s very rare to find a bull terrier law enforcement officer. And that’s why Kiah is changing minds.

She was found in an animal shelter far from her new home in New York. And, because of a partnership between Universal K9 in Austin, Texas and Animal Farm Foundation in New York, Kiah was given to the police department free of charge.

Searching in Shelters

Police dog trainer Brad Croft – the guy who found Kiah – regularly searchers through shelters looking for dogs who would excel in police work.

What made Croft choose Kiah? It was something the shelter worker saw in her.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, it’s how we treat bull terriers that makes the difference. We can choose to be afraid, even cross the street when we see one approaching. But that’s not going to solve the problem.

The best way to change hearts and minds is to embrace the bull terrier breed and know that the fighters are the minority, not the majority.

The breed truly doesn’t matter. It’s humans who need to change and stop the fighting.

Image Credit: iStock


Gerald Owens, has a vision – to create an online community that embraces all aspects to having and caring for pets. Our mission is to provide pet “guardians” with accurate, relevant information on how to have happier and healthier animal companions.