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The Dog Book (Volume II)

By: James Watson
Published in 1906 (New York)

The Black and Tan Terrier

The large size smooth black and tan terrier is entitled to rank as a breed with the old rough dog of the same colour. He was thoroughly established and described over one hundred years ago, and the description showed that just as he differs to-day from other terriers he then had the same particular characteristics which mark his individuality. Daniel in 1803 wrote that " no species of dog will fight the badger so resolutely and fairly as terriers, of which there are two kinds; the one is rough, short-legged, long-backed, very strong, and most commonly of a black or yellowish colour, mixed with white; the other is smooth-haired, and beautifully formed, having a shorter body and more sprightly appearance, is generally of a reddish brown colour, or black with tanned legs."

Twenty years later we have this more definite description in Captain Brown's "Anecdotes," under the chapter head of "The English Terrier." "This is a handsome, sprightly dog, and generally black on the back, sides, upper part of the head, neck and tail; the belly and the throat are of a very bright reddish brown, with a spot of the same colour over each eye. The hair is short and somewhat glossy, the tail rather truncated, and carried slightly upwards, the ears are small, somewhat erect, and reflected at the tips, the head is little in proportion to the size of the body, and the snout is moderately elongated. This dog, though but small, is very resolute, and is a determined enemy to all kinds of game and vermin, in the pursuit and destruction of which he evinces an extraordinary and untaught alacrity. Some of the larger English terriers will even draw a badger from his hole. He varies considerably in size and strength, and is met with from ten to eighteen inches in height.

"This dog, or the wire-haired Scotch terrier, is indispensably necessary to a pack of foxhounds, for the purpose of unearthing the game. From the greater length of leg, from his general lightness, and the elegant construction of his body, he is more adapted for running, and, of course, better enabled to keep up with the pack than the Scotch terrier."

We have already mentioned in the introduction to the terriers that we have seen some Parisian reproductions of hunting scenes by an English artist, in one of which there is a very nice black and tan terrier, of quite the correct shape of body and a nice length of head, running with the pack in full cry. This dates from about the time Captain Brown was writing. Of the same period is Pierce Egan's description of the new bull terrier, the illustration showing a bull terrier and a smallish black and tan bitch, which he refers to as " a full-bred terrier," as if it was one of the recognised type with which his readers were thoroughly acquainted.

Although there was some cavil a few years ago at the distinctive name of Manchester for the large show black and tan terrier it was not such a very far-fetched distinction. The London fancy was more for the toy, it being bred by the same class of fanciers that went in for toy spaniels, and held their occasional displays or club shows at various public houses where they met for social purposes. Through Lancashire and eastern Yorkshire the fancy ran to the larger dog, and head and colour, with markings, took the place of smallness. Manchester had by far the largest number of the fanciers, and it was by no means out of the way to give it the variety name of the place where it was specially fostered and encouraged. It is a pity that some of those who have written regarding the " unwarranted assumption" of Manchester claiming the large black and tan, did not first look up their own stud book—it is only Englishmen who have so written—and noted what Manchester did for the breed.

The first English stud book contains the entry of one hundred and twenty-four black and tan terriers, other than toys, and of this number we can without any reference for further information, but solely from our recollection of where many of the exhibitors and breeders resided, pick out no less than fifty-two hailing from Manchester or its immediate neighbourhood, or bred there. Of the remaining seventy odd entries fully half of them have no pedigrees, and of the rest there is a sprinkling of London dogs, a few in the Birmingham district, and as far north as Durham, while Sam Lang, the pointer man, had some at Bristol. The leading breeder and exhibitor at that time was the late Mr. Harry Lacy, and the last occasion of our meeting him was at Justice's well-known house in Salford, at the close of 1894. We heard nothing but black and tan talk that evening, for Justice*s was headquarters for the fancy. Others we recall as being present were Peter Eden and John Douglas; in fact it was the latter who took us there because Mr. Lacy had told him he wanted specially to meet us, because we had just come from America. Handley and Ribchester were Manchester men, and Fitter, who led in the Birmingham fancy, got his stock from Cottonopolis, mainly from Mr. Lacy. Most of the Rev. J. W. Mellor's dogs came from the same source. Roocroft of nearby Bolton also had them as well as white terriers. Jem Hinks of Birmingham had his from Manchester, and Henshall of Manchester had black and tans as well as bulldogs. It was little wonder that as a hall-mark of good breeding the name Manchester became associated with the breed.

Nowadays when there is a wide, unfilled margin between the black and tan proper and the toy of under seven pounds, the name of the breed is sufficient to specify a large-sized terrier, but it was not so thirty years ago, when they went from the top end of the scale down to seven pounds, with plenty shown under ten pounds. These middle weights are not seen nowadays and the name Manchester is not needed, but what the men of that city did for the black and tan should not be forgotten.

We do not know of any black and tan terrier proper being shown here prior to 1880, when we brought over the bitch Nettle, bought from Alf. George of Kensal New Town. She had no extended pedigree, but was undoubtedly a highly bred bitch and she certainly was a very nice one. Sir William Verner sent over some dogs to New York that year, and among them was the black and tan Salford, quite a winner on the other side. Sir William sending his dogs all over the country. Salford was a very nice coloured dog but had an abominable front, and Nettle might well have won. Dr. Gordon Stables, who was judging, thought otherwise and that settled it. The late Hugh Dalziel was also brought over to judge at that show, and the only thing that induced the club to have Dr. Stables as well was the latter's offer to judge in Highland costume. This Secretary Tileston thought would be an immense advertising card, and the cost of importing the doctor was incurred for that purpose alone. When he arrived minus the promised costume there was a good deal of disappointment.

Nettle was bred to Salford at the show and sold to Mr. W. R. H. Martin of New York, and to this litter some of the good dogs of subsequent years go back. One was the bitch Squaw, that went to Mr. John F. Campbell of Montreal, and we mention her because of a very peculiar circumstance. She was a very good bitch except for being a Httle "smutty" in colour, the thumb-marks on her fetlocks not being sharply outlined, but running into the tan too much. Some six months or more after we had sent this bitch to Mr. Campbell we had a letter asking about the former owner, because Squaw had coated out again without any thumb-marks at all. In reply we assured him that Mr. Martin would never for a moment think or permit of tampering with any of his dogs; that we had seen Squaw repeatedly and that she had always had the smutty forelegs we had told him of, and no one would think of putting on thumb-marks such as she had if any faking was to be done. That satisfied Mr. Campbell, but the mystery regarding the thumb-marks became more puzzling when the following year they came back again much as they had been originally. Mr. Campbell was then the leading terrier exhibitor of Montreal, and up to three years ago was showing some of his old stock and winning. We never saw Squaw after she went to him, but no one who knows him would think for a moment of doubting his word, and we had more than one letter from him on the subject.

In the fall of 1880, the year Nettle was shown, the first of the now very important Toronto Exhibition shows was held, and there was a very nice medium-sized terrier named Needle, shown there by Jimmy Heasley, and by Wheel of Fortune II. out of Queen III., so there was nothing lacking in the way of breeding to add to the good looks. "Jimmy" was Ned Hanlan's trusted assistant when the Canadian champion went to England in 1879 to demonstrate that he could beat the best scullers there, and Heasley had but one wish in the world next to seeing Hanlon win his races—to take back to Toronto a good black and tan terrier. This desire he told to everyone, so that Jimmy and his terrier became quite a joke. Finally one of the visitors from this side of the Atlantic inserted an advertisement in a Newcastle paper that Mr. James T. Heasley v/anted to purchase a good terrier, and dogs were to be shown to him at the Ords Arms, Scotswood Suspension Bridge, Hanlan's headquarters at the upper end of the course. We had come over from Manchester by night train to see how things were going, and driving up the river road became more and more puzzled by the numberof men we passed accompanied by dogs—terriers of every description. Finally at the Ords Arms there was quite a gathering of men and terriers, but Jimmy had long since disappeared, having made his escape over the back wall and up the hill to the rear of the hotel. He got a dog eventually, and Needle was one well worth bringing over. 

The first exhibitor in the States to take up the breed systematically was Mr. Edward Lever, of Philadelphia, whose Vortigern and Reveller were well-known winners. These were terriers of rather more substance than black and tans of later days. Mr. Lever then went in for bull terriers and Irish, and it was not until Dr. H. T. Foote of New Rochelle took up the breed that we got a fancier with the necessary persistence for this breed, for it is one of the hardest to breed to perfection, and calls for unwearying patience and disregard of disappointments. Dr. Foote stuck to the breed for twenty years, and even he gave it up when Mrs. Foote took to Scottish terriers and he fell a victim to their enticing qualities. With his withdrawal the death knell of the black and tan in the United States seems to have been sounded. Canada, particularly the Ottawa district, is the stronghold of the fancy, and at Chicago good turn-outs of black and tan terriers may be seen, but if it was not for the support of the Canadians New York shows would have meagre displays of this undoubtedly handsome dog, as can be understood when we state that out of seventeen dogs shown at New York this year, 1905, nine were from Canada, while another Canadian bred was owned at Erie, and these took the lion's share of the money.

These Canadian dogs are of better type than those bred in the Chicago district, for there they are getting too much substance for their size, and with that comes width of front and lack of the symmetry which is essential in this breed. It is this call for symmetry and also the imperative demand for correct colour and markings, that makes the black and tan such a difficult dog to turn out with any claim to merit. It is a breed that finds its best support from the class of fanciers one finds in England almost exclusively, the working man or mill operative who has it bred in him for many generations, and to whose stick-at-it-iveness we are indebted for nearly all the fancy breeds of England, to which we have become heir by purchase.

In addition to this drawback in the way of breeding the black and tan has suffered from two causes, though this is more applicable to England than America. Dyeing is resorted to by unscrupulous exhibitors to overcome nature's colour errors, and erratic tan hairs on the hind legs and elsewhere are plucked. This we are pleased to say is practically unknown here, though we doubt not but that the most honest exhibitor, who would spurn the suggestion of altering colour, would not hesitate to get rid of a tan hair or two which had got beyond the line of demarkation. Still the pure and deliberate faking that was much too prevalent in England had its effect in preventing many from taking up the breed, and with lack of good buyers prices fell and fewer were bred. Then came the stopping of cropping by enactment of the English Kennel Club and plenty of the old-timers threw the breed up in disgust, for there is no gainsaying the radical difference it makes in a dog, even taking one with nicely held natural ears, when one has been used to the smartly cropped dog. Besides which, with a breed which has been bred regardless of ear carriage, and when naturally stiffleathered ears will stand better when cropped and must therefore have been developed by a process of selection, it could not be expected that the uncropped ears of dogs so bred would hang properly. We have not got the dyer or the faker here, but we still have the cropper.

To the credit of the black and tan terrier men be it said that none of them opposed Dr. Foote's vigorous support of the effort made a few years ago to suppress cropping by rule of the American Kennel Club, and in addition to that he had classes and specials offered for uncropped dogs, but all to no purpose. We were with Dr. Foote in that fight and our side was disastrously defeated. We regretted at the time that what then seemed to us an inevitable action had been foolishly delayed, but when we saw the uncropped dogs of the English shows a year ago, long enough after the rule had been passed for the necessary improvement to have been made, we found it was not there in such breeds as bull terriers, black and tan terriers and Great Danes, all of which looked sadly deficient in character as compared with what we see in America. On the other hand the Irish terrier, in the old days a cropped dog, with an occasional uncropped one when the ears happened to be neat and small and were left on for those reasons, has in no way suffered in expression, nor has the fox terrier. We should perhaps say the wire-haired fox terrier, for while we do not remember ever seeing a cropped smooth, unless cropped through ignorance, we have seen a good many wire-haired so treated. The last we recall was at one of the Agricultural Hall shows in London, about 1877. We had made up our mind to give the catalogue price of ten pounds for this dog, though he was of course passed by the judge, and on going to take another look at him found two gentlemen discussing his points, one of whom had already claimed and paid for the dog.

We would much like to see a revival of interest in the black and tan terrier, for he is a handsome dog, in addition to being a very nice house dog and companion. He may not be so robust as most of the terriers, for his coat is not long and it is decidedly short on the legs and under parts of the body. Still, they have pretty hard winters up Ottawa way, where they have more and better specimens of the breed than anywhere else in the country, and if they thrive there they should do so at any place on the continent where show dogs are kept. Head, symmetry and colour are the essential properties in this breed, hence they dominate the points when it comes to the distributing of values in the standard.

Descriptive Particulars

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 English description necessarily deals with uncropped ears, but there has never been any official change from that of the original black and tan terrier club standard. As we still have these terriers cropped in this country, it is only necessary to say that the fashion is to have as long a crop and carried up to as fine a point as possible. — Ed.]

Neck and shoulders.—^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, but curving upwards at the loin; ribs well sprung; back slightly arched at the loin, and falling again at the joining of the tail to the same height as at the shoulder.

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; thick where it joins the body, tapering to a point and not carried higher than the back.

Coat.—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 (j/c), is jet black; there is also a bright spot on each cheek and above each eye; the under jaw and throat are tanned, and the hair on the inside ofthe ear is of the same colour; the forelegs are tanned up to the knee, with black lines (pencil-marks) up each toe, and a black mark (thumbmark) above the foot; inside the hind legs are tanned, but divided with black at the hock joints; under the tail is also tanned, and so is the vent, but only sufficiently to be easily covered by the tail; also tanned on each side of the chest [this should be brisket. — Ed.]. 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 between the two colours should be well defined.

General appearance.—A terrier calculated to take his part in the rat pit, and not of the whippet type.

Weight.—From sixteen to twenty pounds is most desirable.


Head 20
Body 10
Eyes 10
Tail 5
Ears 5
Colour and markings .... 15
Legs 10
General appearance and Feet 10
terrier character 15

Total 100
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