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Historical Notes

Artwork and excerpts from: Manual of British Rural Sports
By John Henry Walsh ("Stonehenge")
Published in 1867


The Smooth English Terrier is a very old breed, probably as old as any we have. Possessed of a merry and active temperament, and gifted with a good nose, he is the model of a vermin dog, where there is no badger or otter to attack ; but for these he is scarcely fitted in power, and as a rule he will not face them at close quarters. Elegant and graceful in his outline, he shares with the bull-terrier the patronage of young men, with whom his companionable qualities make him a favourite in-doors as well as out.  He 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 we ought to consider that two small terriers will do more than double the work of one large dog, whilst they consume no more.

The Head is narrow, long, and flat. The muzzle must be fine, tapering, sharp, and fox-like ; but the jaw must be muscular, and 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. The "stop," or indent between the eyes, must be evident and "pronounced." The eye must be sparkling, bright, but not large. The ears 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 eyes 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. The neck should be long, tapering, and muscular, and clean where it joins the lower jaw. Head, 25; neck, 10.

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. 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. Chest, 10; shoulders, 10.

The Fore Legs should be straight as arrows; the feet strong, the toes moderately arched and well split, and the form of the foot should be round and fox-like. The thighs should be large and muscular, the hocks in a straight line, and the hind legs should be moderately straight also. Value, 10.

The Tail must be very fine, with a low carriage, but not bare; and when the dog is excited it is carried gaily; 5.

The Best Colours are white or black- and-tan. Both are good, but on some accounts the white dog is preferred. 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 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, is the best. In this case the dog should have no white about him—not even on his chest, and a white foot thoroughly destroys his quality. In toy dogs of this colour a black line down the front of each toe, called "pencilling," is indispensable  but terriers of the size I am now describing, though sometimes possessing this property, and required to show it by many judges at our shows, can scarcely be considered defective if they do not display it. Smooth terriers may be found of other colours—yellow, yellow-and-white, hound-pied, black or fawn. A beautiful blue or blue-fawn variety exists, said to be crossed with the Italian greyhound. Brindle colour is a sign of the bulldog cross. Coat and colour, 10

Temperament, as in the bull-terrier. 10.

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 profile.


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