RABBITING—RABBIT DOGS—FERRETS AND
The Terriers which are used for rabbiting,
either with or without ferrets, are the smooth English dog, more or
less crossed with the bulldog, the Scotch terrier, also, more or
less similarly crossed, and the Dandie Dinmont. The Skye terrier is
sometimes used for this purpose, but he is not equal to the above
kinds. In any of these varieties, the terrier is a strong, useful
little dog, but unless he has a cross of the bulldog, he is
generally a rank coward.
Whatever dogs are employed for the purpose of working rabbits out of
hedgerows and small coppices, whether terriers, spaniels, or
beagles, if ferrets are also employed, "should be carefully broken
to them, for otherwise a valuable ferret may easily be killed or
spoiled. No dog answers better than a good terrier, which is easily
kept in command, and is more readily quieted at the moment when
silence is all-important; I shall therefore merely allude to the
varieties of this dog which may be used.
Old English Terrier is a
smooth-haired dog, weighing from seven to twelve pounds. His head is
flat, with a jaw tapering neatly off, and slightly overhung, if not
crossed with the bulldog j eye small and bright; ears, when
not cropped, short and slightly pricked, but turning over at the
points ; neck strong and long ; body very neat and compact, with
strong loins and deep chest, the back ribs not being very- deep ;
fore legs strong and straight, and the feet round and hare-like, not
resembling those of the cat; tail fine, not carried over the back ;
colour most frequently black and tan, but some breeders assert that
true terriers are of almost every colour which can be mentioned. My
own opinion is that, unless they are crossed with the bulldog, the
colour should be black and tan, with as little white as possible.
This dog hunts rabbits well, but he has not courage enough for
Skye Terrier is a very long, low, and strong dog, and if bred
in or near his native country, he is quite capable of being used to
hunt rabbits ; but in the south he has so long been kept for toy
purposes only, that it is scarcely necessary to allude to him here.
Dandie Dinmont Terrier immortalized by Sir Walter Scott, is
intermediate in size, roughness, and length between the Scotch and
Skye dogs. When of a good strain, he is an excellent rabbit dog. In
colour he is invariably either " pepper" or " mustard," the former
being greyish black with tan legs and muzzle, and the latter red
shot with grey hairs. Both have long, silky hair over the eyes, and
standing out from the muzzle ; the legs are short, body long,
shoulder low, back slightly curved, head large, jaws long and
square, ears large, and hanging close to the face, eye full and
intelligent, tail slightly curved and carried over the back like
that of the hound ; weight about fourteen pounds.
Half-bred Terrier consists of any of the above kinds crossed
with the bulldog, and shows the general appearance of the particular
stock with a larger head and jaw, which is more or less overhung.
These dogs are far more courageous than the pure bred terrier, and
will stand wet and cold, as well as hard work, much better ; the
cross is, therefore, generally preferred for ferreting or hunting
rabbits, but it should not be iiearer than the third or fourth
remove from the bulldog.