History Podcasts

History of Terrier - History

History of Terrier - History


(Sch.: t. 6; a. 3 guns)

The first Terrier, a schooner, was purchased in 1822 at Baltimore, Md., for service in Commodore David Porter's "Mosquito Fleet" in conjunction with the campaign to suppress the West Indian pirates, outfitted at Norfolk, Va., during the latter part of the year; and probably commissioned sometime early in 1823, Lt. Robert M. Rose in command.

Terrier departed Hampton Roads with the other ships of Porter's squadron on 15 February 1823. The ships reached St. Thomas on 3 March and, the following day, began patrolling the coast of Puerto Rico. For the next two years, she operated out of the depot Porter established at what is now Key West, Fla. Her area of concentration was the northern coasts of Cuba and Puerto Rico where havens for the pirates abounded and Spanish authority—weakened by the struggle against her former colonies in Central and South America—proved almost non-existent.

Terrier and the seven other shallow-draft schooners acquired at Baltimore were ideally suited to the work of exploring the coastal shallows and shoal waters where the pirates sought refuge and whence they ventured to commit their depredations. That work occupied the ship throughout her brief Navy career. Over the next two years she remained almost continually on station even luring the two outbreaks of yellow fever—in the fall of 1823 and the summer of 1824—which sent the majority of the squadron's ships north to healthier latitudes. Undoubtedly, she participated in many of the small expeditions and skirmishes of the squadron, but there is only one documented instance of the schooner's capturing a prize. That event occurred early in 1824 when she succeeded in retaking a French ship which had been seized by pirates. Unfortunately, the pirate crew escaped ashore to Spanish territory, a refuge into which Americans could not pursue them. The schooner operated in the West Indies until 1825, the year in which a slackening in seaborne piracy enabled the Navy to begin disposing of its special purpose ships on the West Indies station. Terrier was one of the ships sold—presumably at auction—during that year.

West Highland White Terrier Club of America

How the Westie came to be selectively bred for his white coat is an interesting legend. The short-legged terriers of Scotland are now recognized as the Scottish, Skye, Cairn, Dandie Dinmont, and West Highland White Terriers. All undoubtedly descend from the same roots. All of these dogs were valued as intrepid hunters of small game. Originally, their coat colors ranged from black to red to cream or white. Colonel Edward Donald Malcolm, of Poltalloch, Argyllshire, Scotland, is generally credited with breeding the white dogs true, although he took none of the credit unto himself. He had kept a pack of light colored working terriers for hunting. As the legend goes, a reddish dog of his, emerging from cover, was mistakenly shot for a fox. Malcolm is said to have decided on the spot to breed only for white dogs that could be readily identified in the field.

The breed was listed officially as the West Highland White Terrier in 1907 at the Crufts dog show in England. The name was chosen for the rugged character of the dogs and the area of their development. The West Highland White Terrier Club of America was founded in 1909. It is a member club of the American Kennel Club. The Club’s annual meetings and specialty shows are held in conjunction with the Montgomery County Kennel Club Show at Ambler, Pennsylvania in October. In addition, the club holds a national Roving Specialty Show each year with one of the regional clubs acting as host.

About Westies

Copyright © 2021 West Highland Club of America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

You may not reproduce or communicate any of the content on this website, including files downloadable from this website, without the permission of the WHWTCA.
Copyright and Terms of Use Policy

Site Design & Maintenance: Quad Computing / PrizeWebWorks, Inc.
Site Search made possible by: Jrank

Characteristics of the Rat Terrier

Affection Level Moderate to High
Friendliness Moderate to High
Kid-Friendly Moderate to High
Pet-Friendly Moderate
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness High
Energy Level High
Trainability High
Intelligence High
Tendency to Bark Low
Amount of Shedding Moderate to High

History and Origin

The border country of northern England and southern Scotland is a unique area that has given birth to several breeds of earth working terriers. The terrain is rugged, the weather harsh, and the people tough. Life is primarily on remote farms with sheep being the main farm commodity, and for centuries, they have been protected from fox predation by aggressive hound and terrier work. Dogs suited to this inhospitable climate have weatherproof coats and may be larger than their southern cousins.

Patterdale terriers are native to the Lake District of northern England where the tall, bare, and beautiful hills are called fells. The weather is cold, wet, and windy. The fells are steep, rocky, and filled with foxes.

Even 20th-century farmers depend on organized fox-hound hunts to diminish the numbers of foxes that prey on their sheep, and the fox-hounds depend on fell terriers to extricate foxes from deep crevices in the rock.

The fells are so rough that horses can not be used for hunting, so the huntsman, his assistants, the hounds, and terriers may cover miles walking on a mountainside in a day. The huntsman and the whipper-in each keep a pair of terriers at their side to be instantly available when the fox goes to ground. Only the toughest of terriers can keep up all day, then go to earth and rout out a hill-fox under the worst of conditions. The Patterdale is that type of terrier. They are all of the working terrier lineages and have a definite stamp of type. Fell and Patterdale terriers are well known as hard-bitten terriers, willing to work any place, at any time.

While the fell terrier type has been known since the 1700s, it wasn’t until the early 1950s that the Patterdale terrier had been developed as a breed as the result of the selective breeding efforts of two breeders, Cyril Breay and Frank Buck. During the 1960s, work by Brian Nuttall helped to further develop the breed.

In its country of origin, the Patterdale terrier remains a working breed and is seldom shown. The first time that the Patterdale terrier was recognized as a breed was actually in the United States when the Patterdale Terrier Club of America was founded in 1993. The United Kennel Club (UKC) accepted the breed on January 1, 1995.

Scottish Terrier Care

It’s often said that you are owned by a Scottie, rather than owning one of these small dogs. This might be the most apt way to describe the independent, self-assured nature of this breed. One Scottie owner describes the difference between this breed and others like it by saying that a Scottie makes you work for its affection, rather than offering abundant and unconditional love like many other dogs. It’s true that most Scotties are somewhat aloof by nature, despite being very loyal to their families. They often prefer to lay near your feet rather than be in your lap and its often said that they’re cat-like in their decision to come to you when they’re ready for attention and affection.

But don’t mistake this independent nature for indifference. Scotties love to be around their people—they just don’t need constant interaction in order to feel secure. They are known for having unique and engaging personalities, capable of expressing both their likes and dislikes. Many Scotties bond closely to one person, but plenty of owners find that this breed is loyal to the family and even acts like a self-appointed caretaker for children at times.

Keep in mind, however, that the Scottish terrier tends to have a somewhat serious nature. So while they do well with children that are taught the proper way to treat a dog, they are not necessarily game for rough play.

When it comes to other animals in the home, caution is the name of the game. Scottish terriers that are well-socialized and properly introduced to other dogs may cohabitate successfully. However, they are known for not backing down from a challenge so it’s wise to understand the dynamics of all dogs involved. In addition, these small but tenacious terriers have a strong prey drive. This can be problematic for cats or other small animals in the home.

Training a Scottish terrier involves being fair and firm. These dogs must learn to respect their owners from an early age and they need compelling reason to obey your commands. Many people say that there is no doubt that their Scottie understands a given command, it’s just a matter of convincing them to cooperate. As a result, this breed tends to be very treat-oriented but it’s about finding what motivates your individual dog. Scotties are particularly known for being responsive to the tone of your voice it’s often said that they know the difference between a positive reaction or a negative response from their owner. Be careful not to use harsh tactics when training these dogs. Breed enthusiasts say that these dogs can become withdrawn or resentful if you treat them unfairly or punish them excessively.

The short-legged Scottie needs regular exercise—just don’t expect him to walk miles upon miles with you. He is satisfied with a daily walk and short bursts of more vigorous activity, like chasing toys in a fenced-in area. Unfortunately, this might involve a little cardio for you too, since Scotties aren’t particularly great at returning the toys they retrieve. These dogs love to run and are surprisingly fast for their size, so they do well with a fenced in yard. Keep in mind their strong prey drive and don’t let them off leash to run and roam. In addition, they’re enthusiastic diggers—more than a few Scottie owners report finding their backyard full of holes and trenches. This compulsion stems from their instinct to dig for small vermin. How much this trait will manifest itself depends on each individual dog’s personality and what outlets for energy are available to him.

If you’re planning on bringing your Scottie to a dog park to burn off some energy, be cautious. While some Scotties are sociable enough to enjoy a romp in communal canine space, this breed is notorious for not backing down when confronted with a challenge. This can lead to unwanted scuffles and even a dangerous situation for your dog. Many Scottie owners skip the dog park altogether, and instead opt for leashed walks and other supervised activities.

One thing that you should know is that the Scottish terrier is not a capable swimmer and can drown easily. The short legs and disproportionate size of their head make them unbalanced and ill-equipped for aquatic activities. Closely watch your Scottie around pools, ponds, lakes, or other bodies of water.

Grooming a Scottie requires some level of commitment. The hair will grow continuously, so you need to invest in a trip to the groomer regularly or learn the skills necessary to care for your Scottie’s coat at home. The double coat consists of a wiry outer coat and a softer under coat. The ideal way to groom a Scottie is to have the coat hand-stripped several times a year. You can learn to do this at home, or find a groomer experienced in this technique—though this can sometimes be a challenge. The other option is to clip the coat (usually every six to eight weeks). The downside is that this allows the under coat to take over and will change the coat’s texture and appearance over time.

In between grooming sessions, you need to regularly brush the coat—at least a few times a week. This helps to keep the beard and ‘skirt’ of fur on the lower body free of mats and debris.

Airedale Terrier History

Origins of the Airedale Breed

Airedale Terriers originated from Aire River region of England primarily by crossing a Terrier with an Otter Hound in the middle 1800s. The exact strain of terrier or likely terrier types utilized is the subject of some controversy. Most accounts state that the Black and Tan Terrier or Broken Coated Terrier were used. These dogs were used by the working class Yorkshiremen to hunt down the large rats that occupied the banks of the Aire River and tributary streams. These highly competitive matches drew many spectators from the surrounding community. The Terriers searched the stream banks for rat holes and swam from side to side when necessary under the intense direction of their owners (Edwards 1982, Dutcher and Framke 1990). The dogs selected "live" holes upon which a ferret was inserted to drive out the unhappy rodent. Once dislodged, the rat typically bolted into the water with the dogs in quick pursuit. The dog that selected the burrow was allocated two points while the dog that killed the rat received one point (Cummins 1994). These competitions continued into at least the 1950s using Airedales.

Weighing around 20 or so pounds, these small rugged Terriers ranged from red to black and tan in color with varying extents of gray, grizzle, sometimes mixed in. Coats were generally hard and wiry, but smooth and nearly wooly coated dogs occurred. The initial Otter Hound and Black and Tan Terrier breeding was purportedly accomplished in 1853 near Bradford (Dutcher and Framke 1990). Often referred to as the Waterside Terrier, the resulting dogs gained considerable size and strength and a great fondness for water. Retaining the Terrier demeanor, the dogs could adeptly hunt larger varmits. The Bull Terrier was possibly later crossed in to a lesser extent. The Airedale was acknowledged as a distinctive breed by 1879 (Strebeigh and McCready 1977).

Airedales For Hunting and Sport

In addition to companions, the Airedales were well respected for their versatility and hunting abilities. The dogs were used to hunt a variety of creatures regarded as nuisance predators such as polecats, martens, badgers, otters, and foxes. Despite their diminutive size, otters are very feisty with strong bites. By the late 1800's, Airedales were used in the United States for the hunting of coyotes, raccoons, bobcats, and badgers. In the early 1900s, an Airedale or Airedale cross was often included in packs of dogs used to tackle bears (including the large grizzlies) and mountain lions (Cummins 1994). Fond of water, Airedales were also used as bird dogs retrieving pheasants, ducks, etc. Quite hardy, the dogs would enter the water even in cold conditions.

Airedales on the Home and Farm

Historically, Airedales served important functions around the farm in both the United States, Canada, and Britain. In addition to assisting with livestock drives, the dogs kept the animals within their designated areas and guarded them from predators. With sufficient training, the highly versatile breed could herd varieties of livestock including pigs sheep, cattle, goats, etc. as well as protect them. Airedales were capable of serving as companions, herders, guard dogs, and sporting dogs (Hotchwalt 1921).

Airedales Careers - 20th Century to Present

As the twentieth century progressed, Airedales entered into a variety of new occupations. In addition to serving as security and police dogs, quite a few joined the British military during World War I. British Colonel Edwin Hautenville Richardson extensively trained Airedales and a few other breeds for the War Dog Program (Richardson 1929). Airedales functioned as sentries, messengers, and communication dogs which laid out wire across dangerous zones. The latter canine transported a reel of wire attached to his back which strung out as the dog walked along.

By the latter twentieth century through present, people discovered more careers for the multitalented Airedale. These Terriers are now used as therapy dogs, search and rescue, assisting the physically challenged, backpacking, etc. as well as their historic occupations. Proficient in a very broad range of activities, the breed possesses a degree of versatility not known in most dog breeds.

Cummins, Bryan 1994. The Working Airedale. OTR Publications, Canterville, Alabama. ISBN 0-940629-07-4.

Dutcher, June and Janet Johnson Framke 1990. The New Airedale Terrier. Howell Book House, Macmillian Publishing, New York City. ISBN 0-87605-007-0.

Edwards, Gladys Brown 1982. The New Complete Airedale Terrier. Third Edition. Howell Book House, New York City. ISBN 0-87605-005-4.

Hochwalt, A.F. 1921. The Airedale For Work And Show. Boxer Books, Toccoa, Georgia. ISBN 0-9653624-2-6.

Richardson, Edwin Hautenville 1929. Forty Years With Dogs. Hutchinson, London.

Strebeigh, Barbara and Pauline I. McCready 1977. Denlinger, Fairfax, Virginia. ISBN 0-87714-040-5.

Appearance Edit

The Rat Terrier ranges from about 10 to 25 pounds and stands 10 to 18 inches at the shoulder. The miniature size (13 inches and under as defined by the UKC) is becoming increasingly popular as a house pet and companion dog, but the miniature is still a hunting dog. The standard says "small to medium" and the miniature is small enough to go in and under those places where vermin like to hide. A larger strain, often in excess of 25 pounds, has been developed. Called the Decker or Decker Giant, it was named after breeder Milton Decker who created a larger hunting companion and are recognized by the National Rat Terrier Association (NRTA, see "Breed recognition" below). UKC and AKC do not recognize the Decker strain as another breed, they are merely considered a standard variety. The NRTA recognizes a Toy variety weighing 10 pounds or less. The NRTA continues to classify the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier as the Type B Rat Terrier. In the 1970s, a hairless mutation appeared in a single Rat Terrier and was propagated into a strain of the Rat Terrier. After a period of development this line resulted in the American Hairless Terrier, recognized as a separate breed by several registries.

The Rat Terrier comes in a variety of coat colors. The classic coloring is black tan point with piebald spotting (known as black tricolor), but chocolate, tan (varying in shade from pale gold to dark mahogany), blue, isabella (pearl), lemon and apricot are all fairly common. They may be tricolor or bicolor, always with some amount of white present. Sable may overlay any of these colors. Creeping tan (often "Calico"), is also acceptable. Ticking is usually visible in the white parts of the coat, or in the underlying skin. Brindle, currently disallowed by the main breed standards, is considered by some to be a traditional Rat Terrier pattern, and there is a growing movement to have this pattern accepted into the breed. However, merle is widely considered to be the result of recent outcrosses and, because of associated health problems, is rejected by most Rat Terrier breeders.

Ear carriage is erect, but can also be tipped, or button, all of which contribute to an intelligent, alert expression. The tail has been traditionally docked to about 2–3 inches, but the bobtail gene is very common in Rat Terriers and can result in a variety of tail lengths. Today, some breeders prefer a natural, undocked tail, which is accepted in the breed standards.

Rat Terriers tend to be both intelligent and stubborn, knowing how to get what they want when they want it. They are also considered good family pets because of their energy and compatibility with kids. They are playful and require much exercise.

Temperament Edit

The social sensitivity of Rat Terriers makes them very trainable and easier to live with for the average pet owner, but it also means that extensive socialization from an early age is critical. Proper socialization of a Rat Terrier puppy includes exposing the animal to a wide variety of people and places, particularly during the first three months of life. Like most active and intelligent breeds, Rat Terriers tend to be happier when they receive a great deal of mental stimulation and exercise. Rat terriers are usually loyal to their owners and are very respectful, if they receive the proper amount of training at a young age.

Due to regular outcrossings throughout the Rat Terrier's history, overall it is a very hardy breed. However, with its growth in popularity in recent years some issues are becoming more common. The Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) recommends that Rat Terriers be tested for patellar luxation, cardiac abnormalities, pancreatic issues, hip dysplasia, and Legg–Calvé–Perthes syndrome. [3] The average lifespan of a well-bred Rat Terrier is 16–19 years.

The earliest known record of a rat-catching dog is that of "Hatch", whose remains were recovered from the Mary Rose, the flagship of Henry VIII, sunk in 1545 and re-raised in 1982. Hatch is thought to have been a mongrel, and was brought on board to control the rat population. [4]

The breed name comes from the occupation of its earliest ancestors brought to the US by working-class British migrants as the dogs were used in rat-baiting. However they were, for the most part, bred for speed. Their speed is used for controlling vermin and hunting small game such as squirrels and hares. After the 1890s, as the breed type became popular in the United States, they were bred with Beagles, Italian Greyhounds, and Manchester Terriers. Many of the foundation Rat Terriers were indistinguishable from small mixed-breed hunting dogs known as "feists". The smaller varieties diverged from the Rat Terrier line very early on, with UKC registration for the Toy Fox Terrier beginning in 1936.

Rat Terriers were cherished as loyal hunting companions and efficient killers of vermin on 20th-century American farms: as a result, they were one of the most popular dog types from the 1920s to the 1940s. However the widespread use of chemical pesticides and the growth of commercial farming led to a sharp decline in the breed from the 1950s onwards. Breed loyalists maintained the bloodline, leading to the modern Rat Terrier.

The genetic diversity of the Rat Terrier has contributed to the overall health, keen intelligence, and soundness of the breed. Most modern breeds were developed from a few founding dogs and then propagated from a closed gene pool. In contrast, the Rat Terrier has benefited from a long history of refinement with regular outcrosses to bring in useful qualities and genetic variability.

In the current times, the Rat Terrier is becoming popular not only as a family pet but as a working dog in several fields.

Their affectionate and calm temperament along with small size has made them popular as service dogs in hospice, treatment for depression, in Assisted Living, and other human-care jobs.

Police departments have started using them as contraband search dogs as their intelligence level shortens training to as little as three weeks which is much shorter than for traditional police service breeds. Also, their small size allows search of cars, homes, and prison cells without causing the major damage a large German Shepherd or other traditional police service breed would do during a car search and lessening the chances of major financial settlements if there is nothing found during a search.

It was reported that one of the sports of owning them was making competitive wagers about whose dog could kill the most mice or rats within a given time, the record being held by one terrier that killed 2,501 rats in a seven hour period in a rat infested barn. [5]

Rat Terrier organizations exhibit the typical disputes over the course of action to be taken for the promotion and preservation of the breed. As usual among working breeds, points of departure are which dog type best represents the breed and whether the dog's working qualities will be sacrificed to selection for conformation show competition.

The Rat Terrier Club of America is the official breed parent club for the American Kennel Club. Rat Terriers were accepted into the AKC's terrier group June 2012. Rat terriers have been competing in the United Kennel Club events for over 15 years. UKC is a family-friendly group that promotes many different venues for dogs to compete. The National Rat Terrier Association is the largest independent registry and has maintained lineage records for decades. Feeling the working terrier nature of the breed will suffer, it is the most prominent of those clubs and associations opposed to Kennel Club closed-registry breeding rules.

The Decker Hunting Terrier Registry was created specifically for the Decker Giant. This registry's mission is to keep all the qualities that set the Decker aside from the standard Rat Terrier, while retaining and improving upon the hunting ability.

The UKC officially recognized the breed on January 1, 1999. The AKC recognized the Rat Terrier as a breed on July 1, 2010, however, it allowed them to compete in companion events beginning January 1, 2006 in sanctioned AKC Companion events (Obedience, Agility, Rally). The first Rat Terrier to earn a title under AKC Sanctioning was in Agility on January 14, 2006 in Van Nuys, California by Harpur's Giddy Upp "Gigi" and D. Davidson Harpur. [6] AKC accepted the Rat Terrier into the Terrier Group in June 2012. The first AKC Champion Rat Terrier was "Annie" GCH GRCH King Pen RnB's Queen Ann bred, owned by Sherry & Dud Lee Hendrix of Modesto, California.

Origin of the Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier takes it name from the Reverend John Russell who bred one of the finest strains of terriers for working fox in Devonshire England, in the mid to late 1800’s. Rev. Russell (1795-1883), apart from his church activities, had a passion for fox hunting and the breeding of den dogs. It is also said that he was a rather flamboyant character, probably accounting for his strain of terrier’s notability and the name of our terrier today. His first terrier, the immortal TRUMP, is said to be the foundation of John Russell’s strain of working terriers.

The body of the Jack Russell Terrier is compact, of totally balanced proportions, the shoulders clean, the legs straight, and most importantly, a small chest (easily spannable by average size hands at the widest part behind the shoulders). The Jack Russell must also be totally flexible, allowing him to manoeuvre underground. This conformation allows the terrier to follow his query down narrow burrows. The fox is a good model for the Jack Russell-where the fox can go, so must the terrier.

Because originally bred for fox hunting, the Jack Russell is incredibly brave for it size, alert, but also fun loving, highly intelligent and extremely loyal. A good watch dog, the Jack Russell makes a great pet for both children and adults.

The Jack Russell has survived the changes that have occurred in the modern-day Fox Terrier because it has been preserved by working terrier enthusiasts in England for more than 100 years it has survived on its merits as a worker. It should be the foremost goal of all breeders that the Jack Russell continues in that tradition.

From Ratter to Center of Attention

Although the Yorkshire terrier started as a ratter, it’s now considered one of the most popular dogs in the U.S., U.K., and Australia. It’s become a toy-sized breed that wins the hearts of thousands of people. And the terrier also continues to expand in evolution. Just in 1984, the terrier branched off once more creating the Biewer terrier, born from two Yorkies, but varied drastically in color. After 30 years of considering the validity of a new breed, the Biewer was finally registered by the AKC.

Now you know why Yorkies are loved the world over and have become a common topic in many households. Despite their hybrid history, this canine retains many noble qualities which entertain and please pet owners. Who knows what the future brings? Perhaps the Yorkshire terrier will yet evolve once more and create another stunning breed of animal, providing a service to mankind and offering a companion for life.


The West Highland White breed was standardised by the 16th Laird of Poltalloch.

Light-coloured or off-white Scotch terriers had been around for centuries before King James I sent six from Argyllshire to France, as a gift for Henry III. Several of Edward Landseer’s paintings of the early 19th century portray light-coloured Scotch terriers, especially Dignity and Impudence, depicting the head of a pure white terrier sharing a kennel with a bloodhound, which perfectly captures the pricked lugs and keen, alert expression of these little dogs. A close cousin of the Cairn and sharing all their pluck and intelligence, we have Colonel Edward Malcolm, 16th Laird of Poltalloch, to thank for standardising the breed. Legend has it that Malcolm was so horrified at accidentally shooting one of his brown terriers, which he mistook for a hare at his estate near Lochgilphead, that he determined never to make the same mistake again by breeding pure white ones.

Watch the video: BOSTON TERRIER HISTORY DEEPDIVE (January 2022).