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Historical Notes

Artwork and excerpts from: British Dogs: Their Points, Selection and Show Preparation
By William Drury
Published in 1903

Note: A large portion of this passage appears to be a slightly updated version of the original narrative appearing in Hugh Dalziel's British Dogs...


Among the numerous varieties of Terriers now recognized and classified, the Black-and-tan is one of many altogether unfitted for the work which gave the generic name to the whole family ; for after the refining processes to which this variety has been subjected by breeders for exhibition, it would make a poor figure at underground work.  The legs and feet are too slender for digging, and the thin, satin-like coat is not the sort of covering in which to face wet grass and dank underwoods.

While speaking of the coats of Terriers, a rather curious supposition of Youatt's should be noticed.  He says : "The Rough Terrier possibly obtained his shaggy coat from the Cur, and the Smooth Terrier may be derived from the Hound."  The Cur he elsewhere describes as a cross between the sheepdog and the Terrier.  But there are rough-coated as well as smooth-coated Hounds , and the Terrier was placed by Caius among the Hounds-between the Harrier and the Bloodhound, in fact-and he stated him to be the "smallest of the kind called Sagax."  Now, if there always have been Hounds, both smooth and rough, it is surely quite as likely that there have always been Smooth and Rough Terriers ; and reasons have been given for considering that Youatt's description and his opinion of Curs are erroneous.

Caius says nothing about the length of coat or the colour of Terriers.  Daniels, in his "Rural Sports," makes mention of the elegant and sprightly smooth-coated Terrier, black in body, and tanned on the legs ; and in Foxhound kennels of the early part of the last century Terriers of all colours are kept--red ones, brindled, brown pied, white pied, pure white and black with tanned faces, flank feet and legs, and all of these were kept for work and not for show--working requiring the strength, ardour, fortitude and indomitable pluck of a genuine Terrier, for a working Terrier worthy of the name should be as hard as nails, active as a cat and lively as a cricket.

The old style of Black-and-Tan Terrier was stronger than, but not so elegantly built as, his modern representative, and the stouter-limbed, broader-chested, thicker-headed and coarser-coated that illustrates the original form from which our show dog has sprung is occasionally still to be met with.  Dog shows have, no-doubt, had much to do with transforming the rather cloddy Black-and-tan of former years into the graceful and refined now to be seen on the show bench.  Noted among breeders who have had a large hand in producing this "dog of the day" was Mr. Samuel Handley, who in earlier years of dog shows successfully exhibited and became general recognised as the greatest authority and most expert judge of this breed, some of the best dogs exhibited tracing back to his strain.  That a cross has been resorted to in bringing about this change is more than probable ; the great length of the head, the tendency to show a tucked-up flank, and a something in the general contour, gives one the impression that Greyhound blood is in the breed ; and if so it was probably obtained through the Whippet.  some specimens show the wheel-back of the Italian Greyhound a very decided fault in a Terrier of any breed.  In the Black-and-tan the skull is certainly much narrower in proportion to length and to the size of the dog than in the Greyhound, and rumour says that this end has been obtained by continued compression with wet bandages during puppyhood.

With improved elegance of form was gradually introduced a finer coat, and richer and more decided contrast in colours  ; and when Nature had not been so kind as was desired in that respect, it was no uncommon thing a few years back for some of the votaries of the breed to assist her.  Staining, dyeing and painting are not so commonly resorted to now as was the case in former days when the preparation of these Terriers for the show bench was quite an art.  To such an extent was this preparation carried out and condoned by judges that a dog show in his natural condition had little chance of success. Careful breeding has done much toward bringing these dogs to perfection, but the more stringent rules of the Kennel Club as to legitimate preparation for the show-bench and the enforcement of penalties where an infringement of these regulations is discovered may account for the diminution of cases in which "faking" (which cannot be too severely censured) is resorted to.

Although the modern Black-and-Tan Terrier is unfitted for the hard rough work at which his progenitor was so adept, it must not be inferred that he is a useless dog ; on the contrary he is game enough and death to vermin as all the Terrier family are, but he is simply not fitted to stand rough weather.  He is also a remarkably active and cheerful companion, and makes a first-rate house-dog, being generally quite free from any objectionable smell, and does not harbour fleas, or carry dirt on wet days into the house, as rough-coated dogs do.

The Black-an-Tan is frequently called the Manchester Terrier and for many years it was so designated by the Kennel Club in their stud book ; but for some time past this definition has been dropped and the breed now appears under the heading of Black-and-Tan Terriers.  This is as it should be, as this dog is really an old English Terrier ; and although at one time, many of the principle breeders and exhibitors resided in Manchester and the surrounding district, numbers of these Terriers are bred in other parts of the country.

There is probably no dog so difficult to breed in anything like perfection as the Black-and-tan Terrier, for in addition to all of the other points required in other breeds, colour and correct markings are essential qualifications.  The black should be intense and jet-like, the tan a rich, warm mahogany, the two colours where they meet being distinctly defined--not running into each other.  Occasionally, but very rarely, a blue-and-tan puppy will be found in a litter.  These are, of course, useless for show purposes, but should not be too readily discarded by the breeder as they evidently come from an old train of Terrier, and will frequently be found to be exceptionally good in markings and all other points, except being blue instead of black, and the puppies bred from them are, as a rule, of the orthodox colour.  On the head the tan runs along each jaw, running down almost to the throat ; a small bright spot of tan appears on the cheek, and another above each eye, each clearly surrounded with black, and well defined ; the inside of the ears is slightly tanned.  There should be spots of tan on each side of the breast.  The fore legs are tanned up to the knee ; feet tanned, but the knuckles should have a clear black line, call the "pencil mark," up their ridge ; and in the centre of the tan, midway between the foot and the knee, there must be a black spot, called the "thumbmark," and the denser the black and the clearer in its outline the more it is valued.  The inside of the hinds legs is tanned also the  underside of the tail ; but tan on the thighs and outside, where it is often to be found, producing the appearance called "bronzed" is very objectionable.  The vent has also a tan spot, but it should be no larger than can be well covered by the tail when pressed down on it. 

A point on which great stress was laid until recently was the cutting of the ears, and unless this was what was called artistically done there was no chance of an otherwise first-rate dog winning.  This custom of cropping Terriers' ears was strongly deprecated by the late Mr. Dalziel and others, and no valid argument in its favour could be offered by the supporters of the practice.  It entailed great cruelty on the dog for, in addition to the great pain inflicted by the actual cropping, much suffering was caused by the after-manipulation of the ears, which frequently continued for many weeks, in order to insure the ears being carried as Fashion dictated.  Prizes were from time to time offered for the best dog with uncut ears, but it too frequently happened that a dog having successfully competed for these prizes was taken home and cropped, so that the boject of those offering the prizes was not attained.  The Kennel Club was for many years urged by those who were desirous of seeing this practice discontinued to take steps to put down cropping, but it was not until 1898 that was rule was introduced prohibiting any dog cropped after a certain date from competing for prizes at shows held under the Club's rules.  Naturally, as no attention had been paid to the shape of the ear for so many years--cropping rendering this unnecessary--breeders have found much difficulty in breeding the ear now required ; but this is a difficulty which has to a great extent been got over, and one that will be altogether surmounted in course of time.

The subject of the illustration (Fig 106) was only 7 months old when the photograph was taken, and consequently was not "made-up" the dog, therefore, appears longer in the body than a black-and-tan Terrier should.

The following is the Black-and-Tan Club's description of the variety ; but the writer does not agree with the definition given of the correct ears in the Toys.  He considers that the Toy Terrier should be as nearly as possible a facsimile in miniature of the large Terrier, and that the drop ear is desirable in both, although it is very difficult to obtain a neat drop ear in the Toy variety.

Head--Long, flat, and narrow, level and wedge-shaped, without showing cheek muscles; well-filled up under the eyes, with tapering, tightly-lipped jaws and level teeth.

Eyes--very small, sparkling and dark, set fairly close together, and oblong in shape.


Ears--The correct carriage of the ears is  debatable point since cropping has been abolished.  Probably in the large breed the drop ear is correct, but for Toys either erect or semi-erect carriage of the ears is desirable.

Neck and shoulder--The neck should be fairly long, and tapering from the shoulders to the head, with sloping shoulders, the neck being free from throatiness, and slightly arched at the occiput.

Chest--Narrow but deep.

Body--Moderately short and curving upwards at the loin ; ribs well-sprung, back slightly arched t the loin and falling again at the joining of the tail to the same height at the shoulders.

Legs--must be quite straight, set on well under the dog, and of fair length.

Feet--More inclined to be cat- than hare-footed.

Tail--Moderate length, and set on where the arch of the back ends ; think where it joins the body and tapering to a point , and not carried higher than the back.

Coats--Close, smooth, short and glossy.

Colour--Jet black and rich mahogany tan, distributed over the body as follows : On the head the muzzle is tanned to the nose, which, with the nasal bone, is jet black ; there is also a bright spot on each cheek, and above each eye, the underjaw and the throat are tanned, and the hair inside the ear is of the same colour ; the foreleg tanned up to the knee, with black pencil lines (pencil marks) up each toe, and a black mark (thumb mark) above the foot ; inside the hind legs tanned, but divided with black at the hock joint ; and under the tail also tanned ; and so is the vent, but only sufficiently to be easily covered by the tail ; also slightly tanned on each side of the chest.  Tan outside of hind legs--commonly called breeching--is a serious defect.  In all cases the black should not run into the tan, or vice versa, but the division of the two colours shouldbe well-defined.

General appearance--A terrier calculated to take his own part in the rat pit, and not of Whippet type.

Weight--For Toys, not exceeding 7 lb.; for the large breed, from 16 lb. to 20 lb., is most desirable.



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