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Historical Notes

Excerpt from: The Dog: In Health and Disease
By: John Walsh ("Stonehenge")
Published in 1887 (4th Edition)


England has been noted for its terriers as long as we have any reliable record of our native breeds of dog.  Until the time of Daniel, who published his celebrated book "Rural Sports" in 1801, no particular colour was attached to the breed, but he describes "black and tan" as its particular attribute, and since his day 95 per cent of the smooth terriers kept in this country were that colour, occasionally one or two red puppies are met with, and even in the best strains more rarely a blue or fawn one will appear.  White and parti-colour English terriers other than fox are also not uncommon, but they are not prized, and the classes for "white English terriers" which were common twenty years ago are now abandoned.

The Manchester terrier and the Toy


In the present day our English terrier, to be en regle must be either black and tan, and is then called the Manchester terrier, or pure white.  The latter is much admired by a select few, but the former prevails to a very much greater extent throughout the country, Manchester, however, still being the headquarters of the breed.  Since the successive advent into fashion of the Dandie, the Skye and the fox-terrier, and to a lesser extent of the Bedlington and the Halifax terrier, the old English dog has fallen into comparative insignificance ; but this is purely a matter of fashion, for he was, without doubt, in former times full the equal of each and all the above-mentioned varieties, in every point which goes to make up a companionable house-dog as well as dog useful out of doors for rabbit or vermin hunting.  Unfortunately, in the early part of this century, in order to increase his elegance, recourse was had to the Italian greyhound, producing  cross intermediate between the two in shape but maintaining the delicacy of constitution and the cowardice of the greyhound to such an extent as to make the dog unfit for the purpose to which young men generally put their pets.  This little dog was then generally known as the spider-terrier, but he is now altogether out of fashion, the ladies, who greatly admired him at first, having discarded him in favour of the fox-terrier which is certainly more in accordance with their ulster coats than the poor little trembling animal who formerly shared their caresses with his foreign parent, the pug of the Blenheim spaniel. Whether or not show English terriers of the present time still go back to the Italian, it is admitted that they are not so hardy and courageous as the fox-terrier, the Bedlington or the Dandie, and consequently there may be some reason for the neglect of the breed by the public at large.  Still, as a house dog pure and simple he is not to be surpassed, being clean in his habits, free from skin smell (though he is apt to have foul breath if not carefully fed), and easily taught tricks ; but, on the other hand, he is apt to be jealous of rivals, whether canine or human, and is not very particular in his attacks on his foes, whether he dos injury with his teeth or not.  His bark also is shrill and loud, and not very readily stopped, occasioning some considerable annoyance to visitors entering the room where he is.  It may, therefore, be gathered that in my opinion the Manchester and white English terriers are not such desirable companions as several of the breeds that have supplanted them.

I am not now alluding to the toy black and tan terrier, which will be described in his proper place, though it cannot be disputed that he is only a Manchester terrier reduced in size.  The subject of these remarks is a dog of about the same weight as the fox-terrier, ranging usually from 10 to 12 lb up to 18 lbs, or a trifle more.  He is now much thicker in build than of yore, when he was of the type of the accompanying sketch of Lady.

(originally printed in 1872 edition, reprinted in 1887 edition)

 The points of the black and tan terrier are as follows:

Head: 5
Jaws and teeth: 5
Eyes: 5
Ears: 5
Neck and shoulders: 10
Chest: 10
Loin: 10
Legs: 5
Feet: 5
Coat: 5
Colour: 25
Tail: 5
Symmetry: 5
Total: 100

The head, has a narrow, long and flat skull, with marked brows but no great rise at that point.  It gradually tapers from the ears to the nose.  The skin covering it is tightly drawn over the bones and shows no tendency to wrinkle.

The jaws are long, tapering gradually from the cheeks, which should not be full and bulging, indicative of a bulldog cross.  Teeth level or if anything a trifle overhung.  Nose, perfectly black.

The eyes are small, sharp and expressive, the iris being so dark a brown as to look black with a close examination.  Though small, they should be set level with the edge of the orbit, and neither below or above its surface.

The ears are almost invariably cropped, and that in a way to cause great pain to the dog, not only at the time but for many weeks afterwards.  In order to give a very sharp appearance, the "leather" is cut away almost level with the head, leaving a thin point standing up in a manner quite unnatural to the animal in any of his varieties.  To do this requires a very good eye and some practice, but, however well the operation is done, the wound will contract and pucker the slip left if daily attention is not paid to it by removing the scabs and stretching out the puckers ; the sharp point shrinks into an unsightly crumpled lump, and instead of an appearance of being presented of greater sharpness than before, the opposite is accomplished.  Hopes have been entertained of late years that this practice of cropping would be abandoned in the case of these terriers as has been done with the pug, but I see no indications of such a happy result ; and undoubtedly a Manchester terrier, however well made and marked would be left out of the prize list if exhibited with his ears entire.  The operation is not usually done till the puppy is six or seven months old, as until that time it is almost impossible to get the desired shape, and this makes it all the more painful as by that time the cartilages have become hard and a sharp pair of scissors must be used with considerable force to put through them.  The natural ear is thin in well-bred dogs and falls over outwards, but seldom lies quite close to the cheeks, often exhibiting  tendency to the rose or tulip form, and the two ears seldom matching exactly.  It is a great deal on this account, I think, that the practice of cropping is kept up for very few dogs would show neat ears if left entire ; but when they are neat, they surely ought to be prized accordingly by the judges.

The neck should be light, round, and with a greyhound-like turn from the occiput to the setting on of the shoulders, tapering very slightly downwards.  The undersurface must be quite tight and concave, approaching the form of the cock's thropple.  The shoulders must be sloping, but they are not required to be muscular as in the fox terrier whose digging powers are regarded as of considerable importance.

The chest is deep with an approach to the keel-shape of the greyhound, which is also resembles in its absence of width.  The round, barrel-like form of some strains arises from a bull-cross used to abrogate the evils of that attending on the cross of the Italian greyhound.  The back ribs are often short, but good judges penalize this tendency. 

The loins should be round and slightly arched, the muscle being developed in good specimens under the spine as well as above it.  The flank should not be too much cut up.

The legs should be light of bone, set on quite straight, with elbows and hocks well let down and stifles well bent.  The forearms are muscular but not excessively so, and the lower thighs are of the same character. 

The feet are compact and round, but hare-like, with the toes split well up and at the same time arched.  The claws should be short and jet black.  The dew-claws are generally removed. 

The coat is fine, short and glossy, but not soft.

The colour (including markings) is regarded as more important than any other point by the breeders and fanciers of this terrier, to such an extent as to justify the allotment of 25 out of the 100 in the scale of points.  Of course, in any breed intended to be judged for its suitability to work, such an allotment would be absurd, but in a fancy article there can be no argument held on this principle, and we must be content to accept the dicta of those who have command of the market.  These gentlemen hold, first, that the black must be jet without admixture with the tan or a single white hair ; secondly, the tan must be a rich mahogany, defined distinctly by a marked and clear line where it meets the black.  But these colours encroach on each other in the following way.  The black is shown over the whole of the upper surfaces and sides, except a spot of tan over each eye on the brow, and another on each cheek, in both cases being set in a circle of black ; the tan also runs along the sides of the jaw backwards to the lower parts of the cheeks and ends in the throat.  examining the tan, we find it occupying all of the lower parts of the body, the undersides of the ears, a spot on each side of the front of the chest, which it thereby shares with the black.  The legs are tanned up to the knees and hocks outside and inside all the way up.  The feet are entirely tan with the exception of a black line of each toe called "penciling" while just above the foot and below the knee in front of the pastern a black mark called the "thumb-mark" is exhibited.  these markings are regarded as of great importance, and, of course, puppies exhibiting them are carefully selected and bred from, but they are seldom shown until the second or third month.  The clearer the black the higher the value accorded to them. 

The tail is of a tobacco-pipe order, strong at the root and tapering to a fine point like the sting of a bee. It must be curved down,  a curl over the back being especially disliked.

Symmetry in a dog regarded only for his beauty is, of course, valued accordingly.

III--Toy Terriers

... The smooth English terrier not exceeding 6 lbs. in weight is much prized ; and when he can be obtained at 3 1/2 or 4 pounds weight, with perfect symmetry and a good rich black-and-tan colour without a white hair, he is certainly a perfect little dog.  The black lines ("pencilling") of the toes and the richness of the tan on the cheeks and legs are points insisted on.  Most of the toy terriers now sold are either crossed with the Italian greyhound or the King Charles spaniel.  If the former, the shape is preserved, and there is the greatest possible difficulty in distinguishing this cross from the pure English terrier ; indeed I am much inclined to believe that all our modern toy-terriers are thus bred.  They have the beautiful long sharp nose, the narrow forehead, and the small sharp eye which characterizes the pure breed ; but they are seldom good at vermin though some I have known to be half Italian have been bold enough to attack a good strong rat as well as most dogs.  Many of these half-bred Italians are used for rabbit-coursing, in which there is a limit to weight, but it is chiefly for toy purposes that long prices are obtained for them. 


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