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THE SCOTTISH TERRIER.
From all I have been told, and from what I have read, I believe that this little dog is the oldest variety of the canine race indigenous to North Britain, although but a comparatively recent introduction across the border and into fashionable society, at any rate under his present name. For generations he had been a popular dog in the Highlands, where, strangely enough, he was always known as the Skye terrier, although he is so different from the long-coated, unsporting-like looking creature with which that name is now associated. Even Hugh Dalziel, in the first edition of his “British Dogs,” published so recently as 1881, gives an excellent illustration of the Scotch terrier which he calls a Skye terrier.
Our little friend has, perhaps, been rather unfortunate so far as nomenclature is concerned, for, after being called a Skye terrier, he became known as the Scotch terrier, the Scots terrier, and the
Highland terrier; then others dubbed him the Cairn terrier and the Die Hard, whilst another move was made to give him the distinguishing appellation of the Aberdeen terrier. Now he has been thoroughly wound up, and, I suppose to suit those persons of teetotal proclivities who connected the word "Scotch with the national liquor called whiskey, has developed into the “Scottish"
terrier; as such he is known in the Stud Books, and is acknowledged as of that name by the leading Scotch, or Scottish, authorities on
the variety Well, he is a game, smart, perky little terrier, and I do not think that his general excellence and desirability as a companion are likely to suffer from the evolutions his name has undergone.
Years ago, before dog shows were invented, any cross bred creature was called a Scotch terrier, especially if he appeared to stand rather higher on the legs than the ordinary terrier ; if he were on short legs he was an "otter" terrier.
In an old “Sportsman," a three halfpenny little magazine published in 1833, there is a engraving, by no means a bad one, of “The Scotch terrier.” This is a big, leggy, cut-eared dog with a docked tail, evidently hard in coat and very game looking ; were such a dog to be shown to-day he would be most likely to take a prize in the Irish
terrier classes. The letterpress description does not, however, tally with the picture, for after saying that the Scotch terrier is purest in point of breed, it proceeds to state that “the Scotch terrier is generally low in stature, seldom more than izin. or 14in. in height, with a strong muscular body and stout legs; his ears small and half pricked; his head is rather large in proportion to the size of his body, and his muzzle is considerably pointed. His scent is extremely acute, so that he can trace the footsteps of other animals with certainty; he is generally of a sand colour or black, dogs of this colour being certainly the most hardy and most to be depended upon. When white or pied, it is a sure mark of the impurity of the breed. The hair of this terrier is long, matted, and hard over almost every part of his body. His bite is extremely keen.” This is not a bad description of a Scottish terrier of the present day, excepting that the matted coat is not required, that the semi-erect ears are not fashionable, and that a white specimen of pure
blood crops up occasionally.
However, the same writer goes on to state that “there are three distinct varieties of the Scotch terrier, viz., the one above described ; another about the same size as the former, but with hair much longer and more flowing, which gives the legs the