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What Kind of Dog Is the Target Dog? Bullseye The Target Dog’s Story

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Most people would immediately recognize “Bullseye” from her fame as a representative of Target. With a white body, pointy ears, and the red Target emblem painted on her left eye, it would be difficult not to know her.

Bullseye often shows up at store openings, on the red carpet, and the Target TV commercials. As a playful, curious, quirky pup, she stole the hearts of viewers and drew attention to the Target brand. Bullseye is an iconic white Bull Terrier, and before you ask, she wasn’t born with the logo on her eye!

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Bullseye’s History With Target Dog Breed

Bullseye’s debut as a Target icon was in 1999. She was part of an advertising campaign called “Sign of the Times,” set to the reworked 1960s version of the pop tune by Petula Clark.

Not so astonishingly, with a pup like Bullseye as the lead, their campaign became a big hit. Both guests and team members who identified with Target wanted to see more of Bullseye and practically demanded it.

Target responded to this by having its marketing team incorporate Bullseye into almost all of their marketing campaigns. She was in magazines and newspapers, online pop-ups, and then direct marketing later in the year. She even found her way onto the gift card designs for that autumn.

Target capitalized on the beloved dog’s popularity with a line of plush toys in 1999. They were 15 inches tall and sold in all their locations. In 2001, it became a 7-inch toy and a line of outfits and style based on the dog.

Her next big break was in 2003 when she was featured in another significant ad campaign called “See. Spot. Save.” It was their campaign that gained her the most fame and has cemented her as an icon of American pop culture.

Bullseye’s Dog Breed

So, what breed is Bullseye? She is a Bull Terrier, and no, she wasn’t born with the logo.

The coloring process is remarkable, starting with the colorist, Rose. She has created a dog-safe and Humane Society-approved vegetable dog makeup in shades of red and white. Since Bull Terriers rarely come in a pure white color, Rose must paint any yellow or tan patches with white coloring to give the pup the contrast she needs.

The Bull Terrier patiently waits each time Rose needs to put on the makeup. Training does go into their process, though, since Rose has to try to craft a perfect circle around the dog’s left eye. Any squinting or squirming could end up poorly.

The real trick is to get it to appear as a perfect circle. It is difficult because it is on the bumpy surface around the eye and the dog’s forehead.

Bull Terrier Target Dog: The One and Only?

Bullseye has become massively popular over the years. Target likes to capitalize on this by allowing her to RSVP “yes” to each invitation that she receives. However, no dog can be everywhere at once! Multiple dogs can step into the role when needed to make Bullseye’s life much more comfortable. By multiple, we mean six other Bull Terriers.

Each Terrier is trained for at least 6 months on etiquette and composure before they ever get the chance to make their debut. No one else should be able to tell that they aren’t the same dog, so they all need to act like it.

Target made quite a bold choice in 1999 when they chose the Bull Terrier to be their representative. They are initially a British breed whose purpose, in the beginning, was to be an ultimate fighting dog.

Bullseye - Target’s 50th Anniversary Party
Image Credit: Characters by Target Brands, Inc. All rights reserved to the copyright and trademark owners.

Other Celebrity Bull Terriers

Bullseye isn’t the only Bull Terrier that has cracked the Hollywood scene. Other corporations and celebrities have made this dog part of their larger persona.

Bud Light Bull Terrier

In the 1980s, even before Target came out with their original ads with Bullseye, Bud Light aired a set of beer commercials. They starred a Bull Terrier named Spuds MacKenzie.

Baxter! Bull Terrier

“Baxter!” was a hit French horror film directed by Jérôme Boivin. It was part of the reason that Bull Terriers were thought to be so bloodthirsty for such a long time after their fighting days. The Bull Terrier is the star of the movie and is murderous as he searches for a proper master.

Lily Allen’s Bull Terrier

Although these dog have become increasingly popular in America, they are still a beloved British pet more than anything. Lily Allen, a famous British singer and songwriter, has a special bond with her Bull Terrier, Maggie May.

bull terrier face
Image Credit: Georgiy Myakashiv, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts: Owning a Bull Terrier

Even with their history as fighting dogs, they are more of a lover than a fighter. They are highly affectionate and down-to-earth dogs, especially around their families. Children are often their favorites, and they have plenty of patience with them.

These dogs can be a little more maintenance than some other breeds when it comes to their activity requirements. They need a great deal of exercise and can have quite a high level of intensity sometimes. These aspects make them a good match for active families or singles, though. Just as Target portrays Bullseye as a lovable, adventurous cohort, it is often how they are in real life. They are always game for new activities and want to be around their family as much as possible.

They are medium-sized dogs that weigh between 35 to 75 pounds. From their withers, they stand 21 to 22 inches tall. Even as an older purebred, they are relatively healthy and often live between 10 to 15 years old.

Bull Terriers aren’t quite the perfect pets; they are often aggressive toward other animals. It manifests the most in unneutered males but is a typical trait no matter the gender. They have a particular dislike for other dogs. They need a great deal of socialization as early as possible to behave positively around other animals.

You might know the Bull Terrier because of their fame brought on by the Target corporation, or these have been your choice of dog breed. Either way, they have found a place in many people’s hearts.

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Featured Image Credit: Characters by  Target Brands, Inc.  All rights reserved to the copyright and trademark owners.

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