What Kind of Dog Is the Target Dog? Breed Information, Pictures, and Its Real Name!

Written by Kellianne Matthews
Published: April 2, 2023
© iStock.com/cindygoff
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If you have ever been to a Target retail store or have come across any of the company’s ads, I’m sure you have seen their cute canine mascot, Bullseye. You know the one — that cute white pup with the bright red Target icon painted over one eyeball who’s always bouncing around in commercials. Bullseye has been a mascot and iconic figure for Target Corporation for over 20 years, and his popularity only continues to increase. But what kind of dog is the target dog? Let’s take a closer look at Bullseye’s origins and learn more about the breed that makes Target’s mascot so special!

What Kind of Dog Is the Target Dog? Breed Information, Pictures, and Facts

The iconic Target dog named Bullseye is an English Bull Terrier. And don’t worry — the signature red and white bullseye marking over his eye is completely non-toxic and safe! A professional makeup artist paints it on with vegetable-based paint approved by the Humane Society.  

Target’s very first Bullseye was portrayed by Kingsmere Moondogggie, or “Smudgie”, an American Kennel Club champion. The all-white pooch made his original debut back in 1999 as part of Target’s advertising campaign, “Sign of the Times”. In the original video commercial, Petula Clark’s “Sign of the Times” plays in the background as many different iterations of the target icon flash across the screen — bullseyes formed inside a lava lamp, a large jello salad, on the bottom of an iron, etc. The commercial ended with a checker piece in the middle of the screen — in the shape and design of the bullseye Target logo, of course. A white bull terrier then appears, with the Target logo checker piece superimposed on his eye. The dog is shown briefly in profile before running off the screen.  

English bull terrier
The iconic Target dog Bullseye is an English bull terrier.


How the Target Dog Rose to Fame

The iconic red and white Target “bullseye” logo was created back in 1962. However, the new “Sign of the Times” campaign transformed it into a beloved icon that stood for everything that Target represented — and people couldn’t get enough of it. The company’s “Sign of the Times” 1999 campaign laid the foundation for each branding campaign that would follow, establishing Target’s bullseye icon as one of the most recognizable symbols in America.

Not only that, but the campaign left Target shoppers desperate for more of Bullseye the bull terrier — even in his very brief TV spot, he had already won over their hearts. So, later that same year, Target featured Bullseye on one of their first gift card designs. Since 1999 this charming dog has appeared on over 25 Target gift card designs. In addition, the adorable white pup continued to conquer hearts when Target launched the first Bullseye dog plush in 1999 as well. The adorable bull terrier pup was so popular that in 2001 Target began selling a variety of doggy outfits to accessorize the Bullseye plush.

Just two years later in 2003, Bullseye and his charismatic smile were once again featured in Target’s “See. Spot. Save.” campaign. Beguiled by the dog’s jovial personality, the public went wild for Bullseye, who quickly solidified his status as an integral part of American pop culture. People everywhere couldn’t help but fall in love with his adorable appearance and tail-wagging excitement that was practically jumping off the screen. Soon Bullseye was appearing at red-carpet events all over the world. He even became something of a legend when he was immortalized in wax — the first animal to ever receive such an honor at Madam Tussauds Museum in New York!

The Target Dog Today

Today, Bullseye continues to charm people all over the world. He often shows up for Target store openings and other important events. Whenever Bullseye flies on an airplane, he sits politely in his own seat, nestled calmly beside the rest of the plane’s passengers. However, Bullseye’s popularity is so great these days that it is nearly impossible for one dog to take on all of his responsibilities alone. That’s why there are actually several white bull terriers that now take turns playing the role of Bullseye. The dogs are trained by David McMillan, the operator of Worldwide Movie Animals. They all live together on a ranch in California. 

White bull terrier in grass
Bullseye’s popularity is so great these days that several white bull terriers take turns playing the role.


The Bull Terrier Breed

In the early 1800s, people began breeding “bull and terrier” breeds for hunting animal pests and for blood sports. Putting together Old English bulldogs and Old English terriers, breeders combined lightly built bodies with speed, dexterity, and tenacity. By the middle of the 1800s, they began adding in many other breeds as well, like Spanish pointers, borzois, Dalmatians, and rough collies. These dog breeds were used to selectively breed for traits like elegance, agility, cleaner profiles, and better legs. They also wanted to reduce the space between the dogs’ muzzles and foreheads. 

The first official “bull terrier” arrived on the scene in 1917. Known as “Lord Gladiator”, the dog had the egg-shaped head and smooth snout that is so iconic of bull terriers today. It wasn’t long before the breed grew in popularity. Even famous figures like President Theodore Roosevelt and General George S. Patton Jr. owned bull terriers!

Bull Terrier Appearance

Today’s bull terriers are typically 21 to 22 inches tall and weigh between 50 to 70 pounds. However, there is also a miniature bull terrier breed that grows 10 to 14 inches tall and weighs 18 to 28 pounds. Although the two are different sizes, both dogs have the same appearance and personality. 

Bull terriers have recognizable egg-shaped heads with smooth faces. Their eyes are small with a triangular shape, and they have pointed ears. This gives them a beautiful if not comical appearance at times. With its historical compilation of so many different dog breeds, today’s bull terrier is a robust and muscular dog with surprising agility and a playful spirit. Usually, bull terriers are all white like the target dog Bullseye. However, bull terriers come in just about any color and pattern, from solid to spotted and brindle striping.

Two miniature bull terriers on the grass playing outside
Bull terriers have recognizable egg-shaped heads with smooth faces.

©GoDog Photo/Shutterstock.com

Bull Terrier Personality

If you were to stumble upon a well-built bull terrier at the park — with their tiny eyes and powerful presence — you might find yourself feeling intimidated, in spite of the fact that they are not superbly large dogs. It is true that bull terriers have an independent and often stubborn side that can make them difficult at times. Bull terriers need plenty of exercise and training, as well as lots of socialization early on in life. However, you would be hard-pressed to find a more lovable, devoted, and entertaining canine! 

In fact, the only living being on earth that had power over the formidable General George S. Patton Jr. was his devoted bull terrier dog, Willie. Patton even threw a birthday party for his beloved canine companion! As domineering as Patton was known to be, it’s really no surprise that Willie won him over — that’s just part of the indescribable appeal of a bull terrier! 

That’s because bull terriers are so incredibly charming and playful, and they love spending quality time with their human companions. Although this playful side can lead them into mischief, these irresistible dogs are so lovable that you won’t be able to stay mad at them for very long. Perhaps that’s why the American Kennel Club calls the bull terrier the “ultimate personality breed”. There is never a dull moment with these fun-loving dogs!

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The Featured Image

Bull terrier
White bull terrier on grass in the sunshine in a park in Virginia.
© iStock.com/cindygoff

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About the Author

As a professional writer and editor for many years, I have dedicated my work to the fascinating exploration of anthrozoology and human-animal relationships. I hold a master's degree with experience in humanities, human-animal studies, ecocriticism, wildlife conservation, and animal behavior. My research focuses on the intricate relationships and dynamics between humans and the natural world, with the goal of re-evaluating and imagining new possibilities amid the uncertainty and challenges of the Anthropocene.

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