belief prevalent in some quarters that this is a variety of itself. The latter is, however, not the case, although there were occasions where special classes have been provided for them at the London and larger provincial shows. These so-called “blues' may either be entirely devoid of tan or marked with the latter just as the Manchester terrier ought to be. There is, however, less hair or coat about them, and some I have seen could boast of about as free a growth of hair on the body as some of the Mexican dogs, or as the so-called “ African sand dogs." Such are certainly not desirable or pleasant creatures to cultivate, for at the best they are but shivering little quadrupeds, and, taken out when the sun does not shine and the wind blows, as is so frequently the case in this variable climate of ours, require sheeting to keep them

and prevent them catching cold.

A toy terrier that I think is worth encouraging is to be found in the more diminutive specimens of the English white terrier. Here again, going back for a quarter of a century, I can recollect some charming specimens of the variety, most aristocratic-looking little fellows, straight, and with good carriage, and varying in weight from about 5lb. to 71b. These were usually bred by the London


fanciers of the East-end. Some of the bigger dogs were not unfrequently used in the rat pit, and classes were provided for them at the earlier shows in London. The well-known Billy Tupper was a great admirer of this variety, and I have seen some good ones at the late James Hinks' (Birmingham), and at other resorts in the Midlands. Recently there has not been even a fair specimen benched, and why the variety has not at any rate continued to the same extent as the toy black and tan is not easily made out. Of the two, the white dog is the handsomer, and, even when not quite terrier-like in head, he does not so ill-become the round skull as is the case with the Manchester dog

In London, Birmingham, and Manchester, are still to be found toy bull terriers which may range from 41b. to 81b. in weight. Could these be produced with straight fore legs and with less width of chest than is the case at present, they might be taken up by the public. They are hardier, gamer, and might even be made smarter, than any of the smooth varieties of toy terriers I have alluded to, and are certainly the pluckiest little dogs for their size I have ever come across. At a comparatively recent date they appear to have been crossed with some little bulldog; or, if this has not been the

case, no pains have been taken to produce them with straight terrier-like fore legs. A bandy-legged animal is not appreciated by the modern lovers of a fancy dog, omitting, of course, the British bulldog ; and as I fancy these toy bull terriers are hardier and less in-bred than their cousins, a clever man might find it worth his while trying to produce them to pattern. Three or four generations of careful crossing should easily do this, and a white bull terrier, not more than 6lb. in weight, sturdy, compact, determined, able to kill rats, and not so big as to be in the way in the drawing-room, would certainly find favour and a good market.

That there is a decadence in all these smoothcoated toy terriers is not to be doubted, and I am not alone in the belief that this has been brought about by the difficulty in breeding good specimens. This difficulty has arisen from the misjudged persistency with which the “fanciers” of a few years back bred for diminutiveness alone, trying to produce mites of creatures 3lb. or 41b. weight, altogether ignoring that such were little more than abortions, too fragile to trot behind their mistress, too delicate to live. The smallest dog I ever saw was a black and tan toy terrier, which weighed 2102. at 10 months old, but it was neither useful nor ornamental, thought it might be considered a

curiosity as the “Madame Tom Thumb” of the race from which it sprang. One has occasionally read of even more diminutive little canines than any I have mentioned. Such are, as a rule, advertised and puffed by unprincipled dealers, who rig out a three or four months puppy in chain and collar, and attempt to palm it off on some credulous admirer as “Twelve months old on the second of June, Madame! the littlest tarrier in the world, and dirt cheap at £10; but the youngsters at home has measles, and I wants the coin badly, so, lady, you can have it for £4!” And many a so-called toy terrier, purchased under such circumstances, has developed into a spindle-shanked mongrel of rolb. weight. So, fair readers, beware of such little

dawgs as are offered for sale in the streets.

« ForrigeFortsett »