Note: This version of
The Dogs of the British Isles
includes general discussion of "Terriers of no definite breed"
and of the Black and Tan Terrier. Both have been excerpted
for interests sake.
TERRIERS OF NO DEFINITE BREED.
THE TERRIER FAMILY is a large one,
and each sort has some merit of its own. Almost every country
house possesses one or more of this vermin-killing tribe—famous
either for beauty, or courage, or some really good quality. Good
dogs there are undoubtedly, both rough and smooth. We have known
breeds of both descriptions which could scarcely be surpassed ;
but our predilection is strongly in favour of the smooth dog.
We, therefore, place him first upon the list, and proceed to
describe him according to our experience.
It must be understood that we ignore in our present article
anything approaching the toy terrier—requiring
clothing, cushions, or a glass case. We are dealing with the
vermin terrier, possessing courage,
constitution or stamina, and hardihood, but still the
terrier, without a trace of the old
The best of all colours for a smooth
terrier are white and black-and-tan.
Both colours are good, but on some accounts we prefer the
white dog. Used for ratting, he is
most easily distinguished ; and he has the same advantage as to
colour when his services are required for rabbit-hunting. But
for a town we prefer the black-and-tan,
provided that the tan cheeks,
spots over the eyes, throat, and legs are brilliant in colour,
and that the black is
raven-black. In this case the dog
should have no white about him—not even on his chest; and a
white foot thoroughly destroys his value. Whether
black-and-tan or white, his coat
should be smooth yet hard, and he should be perfectly free from
the very least roughness, or anything approaching coarseness of
coat about his muzzle, eyebrows, thighs, or any part of his
A smooth-haired dog may weigh from 6lb. to l0lb., or even 20lb.;
but, provided he is large enough for his calling, he cannot be
too small. It is an
advantage to keep down the size of certain dogs as much as
possible, and to consider that two small terriers will do more
'than double the work of one large dog, whilst they consume no
The muzzle must be fine, tapering, sharp, and fox-like: but the
jaw must be muscular, the skull flat and narrow. The " stop," or
indent between the eyes, must be evident and " pronounced." The
eye must be sparkling, bright but not large. The ears should be
round, flat to the head in repose, but raised, although falling
over, when the dog is roused. A tulip or prick ear is a great
deformity, and betokens mongrel family. It has been the fashion
to crop the ears of terriers for many years, and the eye has
become so accustomed to it that many good judges will scarcely
look at a terrier unless he has been
scientifically cropped. In large towns it is not the fashion to
shorten the tail at all when the ears are cut, whilst country
sportsmen leave the ears but shorten the tail. We consider it
the. best course to leave the ears as Nature made them, and that
a vermin-killer will be most serviceable uncropped.
The neck should be long, tapering, and muscular, and clean where
it joins the lower jaw. The ribs must be round, the shoulders
deep and well set back, and as powerful as possible, enabling
the dog to grapple with his foe or to dig him out. The loins
must be strong and the back ribs deep. In the conformation of
his body he must be neither high nor wide, but well knit
together, multum in parvo.
The fore legs should be straight as arrows; the feet strong, the
toes moderately arched and well split, and the form of the foot
round and fox-like. The thighs should be large and muscular, the
hocks in a straight line, and the hind legs should be moderately
The tail must be very fine, with a low carriage, but not
bare; and when the dog is excited it is carried gaily.
We may add that the mouth must never be underhung. It is better
that the upper jaw should be slightly in excess, if there is the
least deviation from a level mouth.
We remember some charming white terriers exhibited in ,1805 by
Mr. White, of Clapham-common, but we think they were too
delicate for everyday work. Mr. Hinks, of Birmingham, has shown
some capital specimens, full of symmetry and life ; and we can.
call to mind two first-prize dogs belonging to Mr. Tupper, of
Long-acre, which we considered dogs of excellent quality. One of
the very best specimens, however, which we have seen for many
years, was the property of Mr. St. John Coventry, of Knowle
House, near Wimborne, and was purchased of Bill George, of
Kensal New Town. The dog was never exhibited, but he was the
model of a white terrier,- and of
first-rate temper and courage.
Smooth terriers may be found of other colours—yellow,
hound-pied, black or fawn. A
beautiful blue or blue-fawn variety exists, but we believe it is
crossed with the Italian greyhound. Brindle colour is a sure
sign of bulldog crossing; and we have never seen a pure
terrier of that hue...
[DISCUSSION OF BROKEN-COATS]
The points of a terrier are similar,
whether he is rough or smooth.
Value of Points of the Terrier (pure and simple)
Grand Total, 100
THE BLACK-AND-TAN TERRIER.
English terrier is a very
elegant dog, approaching in his symmetry to the greyhound.
The muzzle is long and tapering, not under-hung on any
account. Skull flat and narrow; eye small and dark; nose
black. The ears, if cropped,
should be erect, long, and tapering to a fine point; if
entire, they should be thin, small, falling like those of
the fox terrier, and free from
The neck is long, tapering, yet muscular, free from
throatiness, and in fact the skin must be perfectly tight
under the lower jaw, or " well cut." The shoulders should be
muscular and well set back ; the Loins well developed, broad
and deep ; the ribs round, deep before as well as behind;
Legs straight, feet round and small, but the toes should be
well split up.
The tail must be fine towards the point, free from curl, and
not curled over the back.
In colour, the black should be
of a deep jet; and the tan
mahogany red. Each toe should be pencilled with
black, and there should be a
black thumb- mark just above the
foot in front of the leg. The tan
should not run into the black,
and should be developed as follows :—
A rich clear spot over each eye, and one on each cheek, with
the inside of the ears tanned. A line along each jaw,
running into the gullet, which has no
black, and a large spot on each side the breast bone,
and inside of the fore and hind legs. The vent has a small
tan spot, and the under side of
the tail should be tanned.
The weight is from 7lb to 25lb, but the best size is about
l0lb. or 12lb.
Value of Points of the Black-tan Terrier
||Feet & legs
Grand Total, 100
Our illustration (see frontispiece) represents a very well-known
and beautiful specimen of the black-and-tan
breed, " Dandy," the property of Mr. George Fitter, of 3,
High Park-corner, Nechells, Birmingham. We are unable to state
how many first prizes this dog has taken, but we are prepared to
say that he richly deserved them all, and that he is one of the
very best framed dogs we have ever seen. We have frequently
formed one of the throng grouped round him at exhibitions, and
we have always been ready to indorse the decision of the judges.
Mr. Henry Brown, of Gilling Lodge, Hampstead, has also shown
some capital specimens of the same colour, and he is an
acknowledged authority on many breeds.
Black-and-tan is perhaps the oldest
smooth terrier colour, and we can
remember very choice specimens nearly forty years ago—one bitch,
Gyp, a very perfect one, was about that time the property of the
Rev. Joseph Dornford, a Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford.