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Dog breed library - Terriers
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The Airedale is known as the King of Terriers and is the largest of the Terrier breeds. They're very loyal and protective without being aggressive. The Airedale is very rectangular in shape. The long head is rectangular too with small triangular ears that flop forward. Their wiry coat is very hard and dense. In colour, they are generally black, tan and grizzle. The Airedale comes from Yorkshire in England and was bred from a mixture of other terriers, primarily as a small game hunter. They have an excellent sense of smell and are often used for tracking so have also worked with the army and police. They are an intelligent dog and can be trained to high levels of obedience but are inclined to bore easily and need firm, reward-based training. They are very loyal and are generally good with strangers and children although they need firm training to not jump up. They can be trained to get on well with household pets but their natural tendency is to chase small wildlife. They need a good amount of exercise and often enjoy playing with toys and swimming. The double coat helps with this as it is waterproof. The wiry coat is very hard and dense and will need plucking at least twice a year, more if being shown. They are generally very healthy although can suffer from eye and hip problems and dry skin.
"Aussies" are people oriented little dogs, loyal to every member of the family. They are busy, nosey and active. A low slung dog, they are quite long but in proportion with a long neck, erect ears, 'top knot', rough, cat-like paws and a tail that goes up and over. Colours include blue and tan or red. The reds can be either sandy or a deeper red. Bred for guarding in coal mines in Australia, ratting and catching snakes and trained to warn of danger, they are inclined to be noisy and they tend to attack hoses. They are very food oriented and known to be good at obedience. Usually good with children and generally good with other dogs, but they will chase wildlife. Although lively, agile and excellent at jumping, Australian Terriers can take a little or a lot of exercise. They don't moult but do need grooming and the coat needs stripping. They are a generally strong and healthy dog and are not routinely screened for any health problems.
The Bedlington Terrier's lamb-like appearance might give the impression that they are timid but they're actually playful, brave and full of energy. The Bedlington Terrier is immediately recognisable as a dog that looks like a small lamb. They have a pear shaped head, straight front legs and longer back legs. They have a curly lamb-like coat, described as linty, and little tail and can come in a variety of colours although are often a silvery grey. They were originally bred as hunting dogs but were renamed Bedlington after being used by miners in the shire of Bedlington to work in the pits keeping them free of vermin. They are a friendly little dog but need plenty of opportunities to burn off their excess energy and they tend to like the sound of their own bark. They get along well with family and other people. They tend to get along well with dogs but need to be taught to tolerate cats and other wildlife. They will be busy indoors but need plenty of outdoor exercise too. They shed very little hair but need specialised clipping to keep their coat the correct shape. Bedlingtons have a serious inherited liver problem called Copper Storage Disease and are also prone to kidney disease, PRA, thyroid and eye problems.
Border Terriers are an intelligent, busy, hard-working, little dog that loves human company. Colours include tan, dark red, blue/tan and wheaten and they often have a grizzle, a kind of flecking, over the top of the coat. The coat is very harsh with a large pelt. They are strongly built but quite slim-bodied with large teeth for their size and a short, straight tail. This look has been shaped by the job these terriers were bred for. Borders are a mixture of other terrier breeds, bred by Masters of the Border Hunt to flush out foxes. This resulted in a dog that was supple and brave with good teeth to defend itself and a tail the length of a man's hand to enable him to be pulled out of a hole. Owners need a secure garden and when out off the lead care should be taken as their instinct is to "go to ground" to flush out anything there. Quick to learn but slow to obey, they often have a love of small spaces which can get them into trouble. Like many terrier breeds, they can be wilful but their keen interest in food can help with training. Very happy with people and children, they have been bred to get on well with other dogs, too, as they would have worked alongside each other. Although their instinct can make them a danger to other small furry creatures, Border Terriers can be trained to accept small animal companions if introduced early. These terriers had to be fit and have good stamina to be able to keep up with horses and are a naturally active breed that require a good amount of exercise. Their coat was designed to protect them in harsh weather conditions and is very good at doing just that. The soft undercoat and harsh top coat needs stripping but moults very little. With very few health problems, they tend to be very long living. Occasionally pups are born with undershot or overshot jaws which doesn't affect their quality of life but looks a little odd.
This easily recognisable, powerfully-built dog can be very entertaining, loving and loyal but they can be a bit of a handful. There is no specific height for the standard Bull Terrier although mini Bull Terriers should not exceed 14 inches. Their heads are very distinctive, designed not to have a stop but to be half the shape of an egg. They are a muscular dog with 75% of their body weight on the front. Colours include white, brindle, black brindle/white, tricolour, solid red, red/white, fawn, solid brindle and even silver brindle. They were bred from fighting dogs, a mix of the Bulldog and English White Terrier, with a little Dalmatian to give added height. Positive and consistent training is needed with these dogs with plenty of mental stimulation as they have a tendency to be quite destructive if bored. They do respond well to clicker training and food rewards, however. Generally excellent with people and children, some have a natural tendency to want to fight other dogs and occasionally other animals. They enjoy moderate exercise and are happy to play with a ball but make sure it is a sturdy one as their powerful jaws can destroy many toys. They don't need a lot of grooming but they do moult with the seasons. Health tests are highly recommended for heart, kidney, hearing and patella.
This energetic little dog is playful and into everything. It was a Cairn Terrier that famously played Toto in The Wizard of Oz. The Cairn Terrier is a hardy little dog with pricked up ears and a harsh, shaggy coat over a soft undercoat. The coat comes in every colour except white. The Cairn Terrier hails from Scotland and derives it's name from the way it used to bark at Cairns (small mounds of stones) to alert a farmer that a fox or badger was hiding under them. They are intelligent and good at learning tricks. Although sociable, they can be willful. They also like digging and the sound of their own voice. They normally like strangers and children but have a tendency to chase small wildlife. They are an active little dog that will enjoy a walk outdoors and even a swim but will keep busy indoors too. The shaggy coat needs a fair amount of grooming. They are often allergic to fleas and have a tendency to gain weight.
Cesky Terriers are a happy little dog that enjoys the company of children. The Cesky Terrier has something of the look of the Airedale about him with his distinctive wedge-shaped head and beard; but they have a long, silky coat and much shorter legs. The coat generally comes in various shades of grey. They were originally bred in Czechoslovakia for hunting rats and foxes. They are sweet-natured, brave and loyal, yet playful. They are intelligent and trainable but, like all terriers, can have a stubborn streak. Their natural tendency is to guard. Although a little shy, they generally get on well with all people and animals and especially well with children. They enjoy exploring outdoors but are quite active indoors too. They need regular grooming and trimming to keep the coat at the correct length. They are generally healthy but can be prone to Scotty Cramp Syndrome which causes an awkward walking movement.
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
This cheeky little terrier enjoys being the centre of attention. They are a little dog with a long body and short legs. The head is quite large for the size of the dog with close hanging ears and a distinctive top knot of soft hair. They have a soft undercoat with harsher top coat which comes in shades of pale grey (pepper) or shades of pale brown (mustard). They actually get their name from a character in a book and come from the border between England and Scotland where they were used to kill vermin. Essentially, they are playful, intelligent, bold and affectionate but like all terriers, have a stubborn streak. They enjoy human company and are good with children, they can be trained to get on well with other dogs and cats but their terrier nature makes them less trustworthy around small mammals. Although active indoors, they need a good daily walk too. They need to be brushed regularly, plucked twice a year and taken for professional grooming occasionally too. Generally healthy, they can be affected by spinal issues due to their elongated body and there are some instances of cancer and hypothyroidism. The breed can also suffer from glaucoma and the breed clubs recommend that Dandies are tested throughout their lives.
Fox Terrier (Wire and Smooth)
Fox Terriers make a great little family dog if you can keep up with them. The Fox Terrier is a medium-sized dog, quite trim but with a rather muscular neck and v-shaped ears that drop forwards. They come in two coat types: smooth and wiry, but both are white with black or brown markings. The smooth coated has a short and flat coat. The wiry coated has a dense undercoat and an outer one that is also dense and twisted, similar to the hair on a coconut. The Fox Terrier is one of the oldest Terrier breeds in Britain. They were bred to help farmers to get rid of vermin, either by killing rats etc themselves or by harassing them out of hiding for the farmer to kill. They are fearless, friendly and full of energy. They are also highly intelligent and especially good at learning tricks. They like people and are very good with children but they do have a very strong hunting urge so cannot be trusted around non-canine animals. Although they are an active dog indoors, they need plenty to exercise their body and brain. Care must be taken outdoors as their natural terrier instinct makes them inclined to run off to chase something. The short coat of the smooth coated Fox Terrier is easy to maintain but the wire coated will need stripping. On the plus side, the wire haireds shed very little hair. Fox Terriers that are largely white are more prone to deafness and may also be prone to Mast Cell Tumours. Wire haireds are also prone to epilepsy.
Glen Of Imaal Terrier
Although calm and gentle with their family indoors, the Glen of Imaal Terrier makes a determined hunter outside. They are a short-legged, wire-coated terrier that comes in a wheaten (all shades), brindle and blue. Their top size is 14" and they weigh in at 35lbs, but they must give the impression of maximum strength for the dog's size. The Glen is an earth dog, not a digging dog. Originating from Ireland and used for hunting, they were sent into the sett or burrow to pull out vermin such as foxes and badgers. Their fronts are slightly bowed with the feet turning out slightly at the pasterns, which is needed to brace themselves whilst pulling. There is also some anecdotal descriptions of turnspit dogs that could very well fit the description of a Glen, with the dogs keeping a roasting spit going by walking on a treadmill for hours. They are good family dogs and in the main travel well. They are not a trouble maker but will they will not back down in a confrontation. They are normally friendly around people and good with children, but must be properly socialised so they mix with other animals. They are fairly active indoors but surprisingly active on walks too. Glen of Imaal Terriers are easy to groom but will need stripping at least twice a year. They are prone to skin allergies, CRD3 (Cone rod deficiency) which can descent into blindness in old age. There is a gene test for this condition and it is recommended that parents should be tested and that at least one parent should have tested clear.
The brave, entertaining Irish Terrier is often referred to as a "daredevil" by his supporters. This medium-sized dog is rather like a smaller version of the Airedale with his bearded face. Their wiry coat lies close to the body in shades of red to wheaten and has a thick undercoat. From 5 weeks puppies often develop black top hair which gradually disappears by around 16 weeks. They are considered to be one of the oldest Terrier breeds and were originally used for hunting animals that live in dens, such as otters and water rats, but have since been a working dog in other areas, too, such as with the police. Good natured and full of energy, they are ready for anything. Most are intelligent and very trainable, but have a strong protective instinct so their training has to take this into account. They are very adult and child friendly but may not be trusted around some small animals because of their strong urge to chase anything that moves and they need plenty of daily exercise. Regular weekly brushing is usually all that is required, although they should be hand stripped twice a year. Irish Terriers are generally a very healthy breed with no common health problems. There has been a condition in the past relating to the pads but this is rarely seen these days.
Jack Russell Terrier
While many people are familiar with the term 'Jack Russell Terrier', the breed has only been officially recognised by the Kennel Club in the UK since 2016. The Jack Russell Terrier is a working dog, able to run with the hounds, or squeeze into underground dens. They can be a wonderful companion, but their excellent hunting skills do need an outlet if they are to be content family pets! Common health issues affecting the Jack Russell Terrier include inherited eye diseases and deafness. They can be prone to dislocation of the knee caps and a disease of the hip joints.
Kerry Blue Terrier
The Kerry Blue is the national terrier of Ireland and has a reputation for being a natural entertainer. These are a sturdy, medium-sized dog. They have a long head with ears that flop forward at the tips and a bearded chin. Unlike many similar looking terriers, the coat is soft and wavy and comes in shades of blue to grey. They hail from County Kerry in Ireland and were originally used for hunting, guarding and as a general companion. They are very intelligent and are natural performers. Fond of their owners, they are also a good guard dog although they don't bark unnecessarily. They are naturally protective and can be willful but can also be trained to be sociable to strangers, children and animals. They are a sporty dog and even though they tend to be active indoors, they will need plenty of outdoor exercise too. They need quite a lot of brushing and combing, they can be trimmed and need the hair pulling out of their ears to avoid infection. However, they have practically no odour, even when wet. They are normally a very healthy, long-lived breed.
The Lakeland Terrier is a busy, friendly and confident little dog but they might need to be reminded that they don't need to bark to let you know that they're around. They are small and sturdy with a generally rectangular look and straight front legs. Their double coat is soft underneath and wiry on top. They come in a variety of solid colours and also with "saddle" markings in specific areas. The breed dates back to the 1800s in the UK. They were bred to hunt den animals like badgers and foxes to protect farm animals and crops. They are alert, affectionate, lively, brave and intelligent. They may be a little wilful but are very trainable and like mental stimulation. They are naturally sociable with people, very good with children and other dogs but need to be taught to get on with other animals. They are an active breed indoors but need good, daily, outdoor exercise too. They are agile and have good stamina. The wiry coat needs minimal grooming but does need occasional trimming and stripping. They are hardy with no known health problems.
Although elegant in appearance, the Manchester Terrier has the reputation of being the best rat catcher of all the breeds although they can also make a very loving companion to humans. There are two types, Toy and Standard. Both are compact and muscular with a shining, short, black and tan coat. Their heads are long and tapering with long, erect ears, although in the Standard the ear tips fold forward. They are the oldest known terrier, originating in the Uk and bred to hunt vermin. The Manchester Terrier needs plenty of outlets for physical and mental exercise. They are very intelligent and eager to learn and although independent are loving and faithful to their owners. They can do well in agility and obedience. They can be sociable with strangers, children and other dogs but may not be trustable with small mammals. They are powerful and agile and although very active indoors, need plenty of exercise outside too. They can run very fast but their prey instinct inclines them to chase too. The short, smooth coat is very easy to care for. They are generally healthy but problems have been found with certain blood disorders.
Norfolk Terriers are one of the smallest of the working terriers but are sweeter natured than many. They are a short-legged, sturdy little dog with a wiry coat that comes in red, wheaten, tan, black and tan, or grizzle. They are very similar to Norwich Terriers and until 1964 were considered the same dog (collectively known as the Norwich Terrier), but Norfolks have ears that are dropped at the tip and are more angular in shape. They originate in the UK where they were used as ratters and to flush out foxes that had gone to ground. They are a busy, brave, affectionate little dog. They're intelligent and trainable but need to be kept busy. A bored Norfolk Terrier might start barking or digging. They are a sociable little dog that enjoys the company of people, children and other dogs but may not be trusted around small mammals. They are active most of the time and enjoy a daily walk and a good game of fetch. The wiry coat needs regular brushing and combing and occasional clipping. They are generally healthy but may be prone to back problems and eye disease.
Norfolk Terriers are one of the smallest of the working terriers but are sweeter natured than many. They are a short-legged, sturdy little dog with a wiry coat that comes in red, wheaten, tan, black and tan, or grizzle. They are very similar to Norfolk Terriers and until 1964 were considered the same dog called the Norwich Terrier, but today's Norwich has pricked-up ears and is more rounded in shape. They originate in the UK where they were used as ratters and to flush out foxes that had gone to ground. They are a busy, brave, affectionate little dog. They're intelligent and trainable but need to be kept busy. A bored Norwich Terrier might start barking or digging. They are a sociable little dog that enjoys the company of people, children and other dogs but may have difficulty around small mammals. They are active most of the time and enjoy a daily walk and a good game of fetch. The wiry coat needs regular brushing and combing and occasional clipping. They are generally healthy but may be prone to back problems and eye disease.
Parson Russell Terrier
A well-trained Parson Russell Terrier is an amazing little dog, capable of learning an impressive range of tricks, which is why they have been a popular choice for film and television. They used to be known as the Jack Russell Terrier in the USA. They are a strong, compact and well proportioned little dog with V-shaped ears that fold forward. Their harsh double coat comes in smooth and wire-haired and is mainly white with coloured markings. Many small terriers are rat-catchers but the Parson Russell Terrier is more of a hunting hound named after the Reverend John Russell. They were used for flushing out small game such as foxes. They are wilful, fearless and extremely intelligent. In the right hands they are cheerful, loving, friendly and can be trained to a very high level. In inexperienced hands, or if allowed to get bored, they may be destructive, aggressive and noisy. They can be trained to get along well with strangers, children and other animals although they have very strong hunting instincts, stronger than most terriers, so may not be trusted around small wildlife. They are an active dog indoors but need a lot of physical and mental exercise. Gardens need to be secure: they are excellent climbers, leapers and diggers. Brushing, combing and occasional stripping keep their coat looking good. They can be prone to dislocation of the kneecaps, eye diseases, deafness and Legg Calve Perthes disease.
Scottish Terriers have been described as a big dog in a small dog's body. They are game for anything and have great determination, earning them the nickname of "little diehard". They are a sturdy, short-legged little dog with a long, rectangular head and pricked-up ears. The hair is long on their eyebrows, muzzle and legs. Their coat is coarse with a soft undercoat and comes in black, brindle or wheaten. They were developed in Scotland in the 1700s for hunting den animals like foxes and badgers. Playful and full of character with the right upbringing, they need firm but gentle handling from an early age. They are intelligent with a stubborn streak, they are also very alert and make a good watchdog. Because they need to be treated with authority, they may not be suitable for a family with small children. They are an active breed indoors but enjoy a daily walk outside too. Regular brushing and combing of the coat is necessary and they need to be professionally trimmed about twice a year. They can be prone to Scotty Cramp (a movement problem), Von Willebrand's disease, flea allergic dermatitis, skin and jaw problems and mast cell tumours. They can also have difficulty with whelping.
Sealyham Terriers have been descried as "the most beautiful union between cheerfulness and courage." They are similar in shape and size to the Scottish Terrier: sturdy, small, short-legged, with long, double coat, wiry on the outer layer, and a bearded face. The differences are they have ears that fold forward and are normally mainly white. They were developed in Wales in the mid 1800s by Captain John Edwards who bred different terriers together to try to create the best one for hunting den animals. They can be quite difficult to train, but are an intelligent, fun, loving and brave little dog. They make good watchdogs and ratters. They can be reserved around strangers and are better with older children but are generally OK with other pets. Although they enjoy a daily walk, they are quite inactive indoors. They need brushing, combing, to be stripped occasionally and professionally trimmed. They are a generally healthy breed.
The most famous Skye Terrier was "Greyfriar's Bobby" who guarded the grave of his master, Constable John Grey, for 14 years. The local people came to feed him until he died at the age of 16. There is a statue of him in Edinburgh today. These terriers are a long-bodied, low to the ground dog with a long, straight outer coat and soft undercoat. They are often black but can be other colours. The hair is long over their muzzle, face and ears which are normally erect but can be drop-style too. They originate from the 1600s after Maltese dogs from a Spanish ship wrecked off the Isle of Skye mated with local terriers. They became popular with local farmers as vermin hunters. Skye Terriers can be wilful but can also be good-natured and loving. They are courageous and playful and love attention, they also make a good watchdog. They can be wary of strangers and need to be well socialised around children and other dogs, caution may also need to be taken around non-canines. They are active indoors but enjoy a daily walk too. Their coat is prone to matting so needs a good deal of brushing and combing. They are generally a healthy breed.
Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
There is a playful, puppy-like quality to the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier that remains with them throughout their lives. They are a medium-sized, generally square looking dog with a rectangular head. The coat is soft, quite long, wavy and obviously wheaten but comes in two coat types: American and Irish. The Irish is finer. They are one of the oldest of the Irish terriers and worked as a general farm dog herding sheep and hunting vermin. They are very intelligent, if a little stubborn, and if trained well, will be sweet natured and calm while retaining a happy and spirited side. They are people and child friendly and will get along well with dogs if well socialised with them. They have a terrier prey-drive instinct and may be inclined to chase cats and especially small mammals. They are strong and agile and enjoy a daily walk but do not need excessive exercise and don't tolerate heat well. Their coat should look wavy rather than fluffy so needs to be combed rather than brushed. They are prone to a protein wasting disease and flea allergies.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier has come in for some bad press but a well trained Stafford can make a super companion. They are a compact dog, very muscular and strong with a broad, deep skull. Their short, smooth coat comes in red, fawn, white, black or blue or any of these colours with white, or any shade of brindle or any shade of brindle with white. Black and tan or liver colours are highly undesirable. They were bred in the nineteenth century in England for the then popular sport of bull baiting. Staffords approach everything with undaunted enthusiasm. They are fearless, persistent, intelligent, love a challenge and are obedient, affectionate and love people. Some like to chew and will chew through practically everything so their chew toys need to be well chosen. Socialisation with other animals is important, but they are people-friendly and excellent with children. They have a lot of energy and stamina and enjoy their exercise. The short coat is easy to care for. It is imperative that breeding stock should be DNA tested or hereditarily clear of HC (Hereditary Cataract) and L-2-HGA (L-2 Hydroxyglutaric Acidurea) and should be clinically tested and unaffected by PHPV (Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous). These diseases, although not common, are known in the breed and with use of the DNA tests there is no need for Staffords to suffer from the conditions in future. Some Staffords can have skin problems, including demodex mange and allergies.
Throughout its history, the Welsh Terrier has been known by a number of names: the Black-and-Tan Wire Haired Terrier, the Old English Terrier and, at one point, the Old Reddish-Black Wirehaired Terrier, before the simple "Welsh Terrier" was settled on. They look like a small version of an Airedale Terrier. They have a generally square appearance. Their head is rectangular with front-folding ears, bushy eyebrows, beard and moustache. Their double coat has a soft inner layer and a harsh outer layer and is normally black and tan or grizzle with a black jacket marking over the back. They were bred for going out with packs of hounds and driving prey such as badger, fox and otter out of dens. The Welsh Terrier is an intelligent, affectionate and playful dog. Like all Terriers, they have a stubborn streak but they are loving and loyal. They like to swim and dig. They are usually patient with children but need to be socialized well with strangers, dogs and other animals. Although not, perhaps, as high energy level than some of the other hunting terrier breeds, the Welsh Terrier still has plenty of energy and loves to run but care must be taken as they love to chase, too. They shed little but need to be brushed and combed regularly and have their coat stripped about three times a year. They can be prone to eye problems and skin irritations.
West Highland White Terrier
West Highland White Terriers, or "Westies" are, essentially white Cairn Terriers. They were bred from taking the white Cairn Terriers out of litters and breeding them together. They are a small, sturdy dog with a shaggy face and erect ears. Their coat, which is always white, is thick and double with a soft inner layer and harder outer. They originate from Scotland and, like the Cairn Terrier, were originally bred for controlling the population of rats, fox, badger, otter and other vermin. They are a hardy little dog that is confident, friendly, intelligent, easily trainable and game for anything. Westies love human company and the sound of their own bark. They also like to dig. They are child-friendly and usually fine towards strangers. They are ok with other dogs but won't be bossed by them and they may be inclined to chase other animals. They are an active little dog indoors but enjoy the opportunity for a daily walk outside too. They shed little but need to be brushed and combed regularly, trimmed on occasion and have their coat stripped about twice a year. They are prone to chronic hernias, liver disease, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, jawbone calcification, cherry eye and skin problems.