Project Description

Bull Arab

  • Dog Breed Group: Sporting Dogs

  • Recommended for: Hunting, Guarding, Farm living, families

  • Maintenance Level: Medium level; High for supervision and training, low for maintenance

  • Height: 63 – 69 cm

  • Weight: 32 – 43 kg

  • Temperament: Calm, affectionate, trainable, active, loyal, independent
  • Hypoallergenic: No

  • Colors: Colours: Typically cream or white with dark patches, this breed can also be black, liver, and less commonly, blue, silver, buckskin, brindle, tan, and red

Adaptability
Friendliness
General Health
Trainability
Exercise Needs

Bull Arab dog breed originally created by crossing English Bull Terrier (50%), German Shorthaired Pointer (25%) and Greyhound (25%), however later bull arabs were enhanced with crossing Mastiffs and Bloodhound.  This medium to large dogs are excellent in hunting – the reason for them to known as Aussie pig dogs.

Ultimately, this breed showcases the purpose of its crossbred ancestors. This symmetrical dog is tall, well-built and powerful, exhibiting an incredible balance of intelligence, endurance, athleticism and speed. Designed more for those characteristics than looks, the BullArab has a strong head and slightly arched neck, bright, rounded eyes, moderately-sized drop ears, and a chest that is neither too wide or narrow. The BA’s powerful hindquarters and hind legs provide his ability to engage in short spurts of speed and ability to drag and hold prey down on the ground.

  • Suitability for Children – Low
  • Tendency to Bark – Medium
  • Energy – High
  • Suitability as a Guard Dog – High
  • Grooming Requirements – Once week
  • Trimming Required – Nails when needed
  • Amount of hair shed – Low

  • Average Monthly Pet insurance Premium – $58
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Life Expectancy

They have lifespan of 12 – 15 years. As this is a mixed breed, they do not have much health issues, however as they are more active they may want to see vets more often for accidents/injuries.

Origin of Bull Arabs

BA was first crossbred by Australian breeder Mick Hodgens in 1972. Hodgens was searching for the perfect breed combination to create a powerful herding and wild pig hunting dog. Reportedly, these dogs were crossbred with: Greyhound (sight and speed), English Bull Terrier (power, tenacity, bite strength), and either the German Shorthaired Pointer or the English Pointer (intelligence, good temperament, scenting).

After Hodgens stopped breeding his BAs in the early 1980s, other breeders stepped in to perfect the breed. One breeder, Peter Paulson, added Bloodhound to his Bull Arab bloodlines. The purpose of this addition was to increase the breed’s stamina and improve its scent ability. Hence, dogs from Paulson’s strain are referred to as Paulson BAs. As to the “Arab” part of the breed’s name, one explanation is the theory that there is part Saluki in this crossbreed.

New South Wales breeder Gary Anderson, who bought some of Hodgsen’s original dogs, added a small amount of English Mastiff to the bloodlines; the dogs descended from this line had docked tails. Anderson wanted a slightly larger dog to hunt mountain pigs in the Great Dividing Ranges and New England. Regardless of its ancestry, the Bull Arab became a popular breed and the top feral pig hunting dog in Australia.

Bull Arabs are trained to hunt and can catch wild pigs from less than 1 km. When the breed was first employed to hunt feral pigs, they were used primarily to clear out older properties in Queensland. This breed pulls the boars down by their ears and holds them to the ground.

However, to call the Bull Arab just a pig hunting dog does the breed a great disservice. It is a far more versatile breed who loves to work. They are used to herd scrub bulls and buffalo, and they are increasingly being used as police and security dogs, particularly in search-and-rescue missions. Now, the Bull Arab is treasured more for his loyalty and affection to his family than his hunting abilities.

Bull Arab’s Temperament

Energy Levels – Strong, active and high energy, the Bull Arab requires a confident owner and specific training, especially to curb his hunting instincts if you are not using him as a hunting dog. Without adequate daily exercise, the Bull Arab can suffer from pent-up energy, which can lead to undesired behavioral issues such as chewing, excessive barking, and destruction of property. As such, the Bull Arab is not suited for apartment living. They need room to run and play, so the more space they have, the better.

Training and Ownership – Training is a must with this breed. Ideally, a Bull Arab will learn initial socialization from his mother and litter mates. Once weaned, the dog requires an owner who will dedicate the time necessary to train this confident, strong dog and manage his breeding instincts; without proper training, the Bull Arab’s hunting instincts can make him a danger to other pets, livestock, and small animals around his home. The right owner for a Bull Arab will not let the dog dominate them, and will exhibit patience, leadership, and confidence when training him. Respect and trust must be earned from a Bull Arab; therefore, a firm owner with experience or a professional dog trainer is often the best type of owner for this breed. Understand that in bringing a Bull Arab into your home, you need to dedicate yourself to lifelong obedience training for the dog.

If well-trained, the Bull Arab is a delightful companion and excellent family pet. Their loyalty, obedience, and kindness have given them the popularity they hold in Australia. They are rather intelligent, with a properly trained dog able to understand and memorize new commands when repeated between 25 – 40 times. When not engaged in tracking or hunting, the Bull Arab is calm and even-tempered. The dog can be sensitive to his owner’s emotions.

Suitability as a Guard Dog – The Bull Arab makes for an exceptional guard dog. It’s protective nature means this breed is ideal for guarding home and property. The Bull Arab’s loyalty to its owner, family, and territory make it an effective deterrent to thieves and vermin and other animals.

Tendency to Bark – The Bull Arab is an occasional barker, usually notifying his owner of an intruder or problem, but only if properly exercised and trained. A Bull Arab who is left alone for long periods or who is not frequently exercised is likely to bark as a means of acting out.

Coat and Grooming

The Bull Arab is a low-maintenance breed when it comes to grooming needs. Weekly brushing with a firm-bristled brush and occasional baths will keep this breed clean. Don’t over bathe these dogs as excessive bathing will strip the coat of its natural and beneficial oils.

Amount of Hair Shed

This dog breed is an average shedder. Plan to brush a Bull Arab more frequently during shedding season to hasten the removal of loose hair.

Ear Care

The Bull Arab has ears that fully flop down, meaning they hang and that can attract dirt and moisture. Dirt and wetness caught in this breed’s ears is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and infection. Talk with your veterinarian about topical solutions as weekly preventative care.

Children and Other Pets

Bull Arabs who are trained and socialised can be a wonderful family pet. The breed is known for being sweet and gentle with children, although his medium to large size means he may knock over small children unintentionally. Otherwise, many Bull Arab owners speak to the calm, kind, affectionate nature of this beloved family pet.

Due to their high prey drive and hunting instincts, Bull Arabs may not do well with other, smaller family animals such as cats, rabbits and rodents. Small animals may trigger this breed’s desire to chase and bring down prey. Other family animals should be kept in a secure area separate from the Bull Arab, lest he chase and kill the pets. It is possible to train a Bull Arab to remain calm around other pets, but dedicated, consistent training is necessary for this state to happen.

General Exercise and Care

As a highly active breed, the Bull Arab requires a minimum of 60 minutes of daily exercise. While walks are adequate, due to the breed’s need for speed, a secure, fenced-in area or rural property is best for the dog to run and tire himself out. This breed has the stains to run for miles, so set aside plenty of time to let him get his energy out through healthy exercise each day. If you intend to have your Bull Arab hunt or herd, these activities will keep him physically fit and exhausted at the end of the day.

The Bull Arab can become easily bored by repetitive exercises, so a good owner will use awesome creativity to challenge and keep his dog happy. Lack of adequate exercise can lead to serious behavioural problems with this breed, including chewing, nipping, excessive barking, and property destruction.

Be mindful that this breed may not mix well at dog parks where smaller dogs are within reach. The Bull Arab’s hunting instincts may prompt him to chase and take down dogs that are smaller than him. Long runs and hikes are better suited to the Bull Arab’s energy levels.

Although the Bull Arab can be an independent dog, he also loves to be with his owner and family. Some dogs become attached to their families, and as such, do not do well alone for periods of time.

Common Diseases and Conditions

Generally, the Bull Arab is a hardy and healthy breed; this hardiness is, in part, due to its various crossbreed ancestors. However, all dog breeds are susceptible to some medical illnesses and issues, and the Bull Arab is no exception. Here are the most common medical conditions and diseases in this breed.

Bloat

One form of bloat is gastric dilatation, which occurs when gas fills the dog’s stomach. The other type of bloat is gastric dilatation and volvulus, where the stomach, filled with gas, twists on itself. Both these types of bloat are dangerous and potentially life-threatening because they obstruct blood flow. These conditions can be resolved through surgery; gastric dilatation requires pumping of the stomach, and gastric dilatation volvulus involves emergency surgery. Without treatment for bloat, a dog is likely to die.

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a neurological condition marked by repeated, sudden and uncontrollable seizures. These fits are caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Seizures typically occur while the dog is sleeping at night, although they can occur when the dog is fully conscious as well. Most seizures last for anywhere between 10 to 60 seconds, although some seizures, called grand mal, can last several minutes. Epilepsy is often a side effect of other medical conditions, such as stroke, cancer, and liver disease, although some seizures, known as idiomatic, occur without explanation. There is no cure for epilepsy, but it can be controlled with medications.

During a seizure, a dog will usually fall on his side, chew at his mouth, salivate, paddle its limbs, release its bladder or bowels, and yelp in pain. Post-seizure, a dog can appear to be disoriented and confused .

Primary Lens Luxation (PLL)

PLL is an eye disorder wherein the lens of the eye is dislocated due to weakened or broken supportive ligaments called the zonular fibres. This is a highly painful condition, and in some cases, can result in blindness. Dogs between the ages of 3 and 6 are more likely to develop this condition. Because PLL is hereditary in Bull Terriers, a significant part of the Bull Arab breed, Bull Arabs are also prone to this issue.

Cryptorchism

Cryptorchidism occurs when one or both of a dog’s testicles fail to fall to the scrotum. The testes usually develop near the kidneys and descend to the scrotum at some point between the age of 2 – 6 months. With cryptorchidism, the testicles are retained in the inguinal region or the abdomen. If the testicles do not descend, infertility could result. Another related medical complication is spermatic cord tension, where it twists, causing sudden abdominal pain. In rare cases, testicular cancer may occur inside the retained testicles. The best approach to addressing this condition is neutering and removing the retained testicles immediately.

Cataracts

Cataracts are partial or complete cloudiness or opacity in the eye’s lenses; they typically occur in both eyes. Dogs who have more than 60% lens opacity can suffer from partial or complete blindness. This condition is progressive; without treatment, a dog will go blind. Cataracts are usually hereditary, but some instances can be triggered by toxins or infections while a puppy is in utero. Surgery is the best treatment for this condition.

Hip Dysplasia

A common skeletal condition often found in large to giant breed dogs is hip dysplasia. This disease affects the hip joint, specifically the ball and socket. With hip dysplasia, the ball and socket don’t develop or fit properly. Over time, this joint rubs and wears down instead of sliding smoothly. The result is a loss of function in the hip joint.

A genetic condition, hip dysplasia and the degree of its severity is dependent on factors such as: improper nutrition or weight, excessive growth rate, athletic activities, and types of exercise. Hip dysplasia may also occur in conjunction with the onset of osteoarthritis. This condition can be managed with a variety of approaches, including physical therapy, joint   supplements, anti-inflammatory medications, water therapy, cutting back on exercise on hard surfaces, and weight reduction/diet. With treatment, a dog with hip dysplasia can live a long life

Interesting Facts

  • Due to new housing regulations and lazy training of this headstrong breed, the Bull Arab is one of the most abandoned dogs in Australia.

  • This standard breed is made up of 50% English Bull Terrier, 25% German Shorthair Pointer or English Pointer, and 25% Greyhound.

  • The Bull Arab breed has earned a poor reputation due to backyard breeders who have crossbred the breed further, treat the dogs poorly, and sell them to unsuspecting owners who may not be firm enough to work with this breed.

  • The Bull Arab is the most popular pig hunting dog in Australia.

  • This breed is rarely seen outside of Australia.

  • Because of the crossbreeding at multiple levels, modern Bull Arabs may have varying dominant characteristics; for example, one Bull Arab may possess the power of the Bull Terrier, while another may exhibit sight and speed from the Greyhound.

  • There are few Bull Arabs left who descend directly from Hodgsen’s originally produced line.

More photos of Bull Arabs