« ForrigeFortsett »
good specimen half as heavy again. That there is material for re-popularising the breed I am quite certain, and at the last Birmingham show, in November, 1893, several very nice little dogs were shown, at least their character and style were nice, but their crooked fore legs and wide shoulders kept them out of the prize list. Still, the material remains to be improved upon.
Messrs. Lea, of Birmingham, have lately shown some good bull terriers; so has Mr. S. Fielding, of Trentham; whilst Mr. F. North, of Streatham, has been particularly successful, and his Streatham Monarch, which was sold to America for about £80, was certainly one of the best bull terriers of the last year or two.
Mr. G. Blair's White Queen (Edinburgh), was likewise another of our very best bull terriers; indeed, I consider these two quite equal to anything we have had since Mr. Hartley's brace, already mentioned. Grand Prior, who has won many prizes, is not deserving of a high place of excellence, solely on account of the fact that his mouth is not level, and for this reason Mr. S. E. Shirley put him out of the prize list at one of the Bath shows. Another celebrated bull terrier whose mouth was not quite level was Mr. Hartley's Magnet. I fancy that, in what I should call the palmy days of bull terriers, a dog with such a
malformation would never have been shown, or, at any rate, he would never have attained that high position which Grand Prior appears to have done.
Other modern large-sized bull terriers of more than ordinary excellence have been Messrs. C. and P. Lea's Greenhill Wonder and Faultless ; Mr. T. F. Gibson's Sherbourne King ; Mr. G. H. Marshall's Boston Wonder; Mr. J. W. Gibson's Bellerby Queen ; Mr. J. R. Pratt's Greenhill Surprise ; Mr. F. Bateson's Lord Gully, Perseverance, and Le Rose ; Mr. R. J. Hartley's Hanover Daisy; and this list might be considerably extended, though I have probably mentioned the best bull terriers up to date.
Three years ago, the late Jesse Oswell, of Birmingham - a prize-fighter by profession, but a gentleman in nature—had some good dogs, nor must the names of Mr. F. Hinks, Birmingham; Mr. J. S. Diggle, Chorlton-upon-Medlock; Mr. James Chatwin, Edgbaston; Messrs. Mariott and Green, Gloucester; Mr. J. Rickards, Birmingham; Mr. J. H. Ryder, Manchester; Mr. W. J. Pegg, Woodcote, Epsom ; Mr. Firmstone, Stourbridge; and Mr. C. L. Boyce, be forgotten, as the owners and breeders of choice specimens of this variety. In London, Mr. A. George, a son of the great Bill George, has given much attention to the breeding
and exhibition of bull terriers, and between him and Mr. F. Hinks, of Birmingham, must be divided the honour attending the reputation of being the largest dealers in bull terriers in this country.
I have already casually alluded to what must be considered the small variety of bull terriers, such dogs as are under 161b. weight, and not animals of 251b. weight starved down until they can be shown in the class restricted to animals not more than 20lb. In our early days of dog shows these little bull terriers were common, and remarkably popular. Now a really good specimen is not to be found, nor will there be any inducement to reproduce such a dog unless the present weight arrangement in dog show classification is changed.
Those who can carry their recollection of bull terriers back for twenty or twenty-five years, no doubt remember such dogs as Dick, Nelson, little Rebel, Triton, Jenny, Kit, Riot, and others shown by Mr. S. E. Shirley; and Mr. Addington's Billy, Mr. J. Willock's Billy, Mr. J. F. Godfree's Napper, Mr. S. Lang's Rattler (a rolb. dog), and Mr. J. Hinks's Daisy. These were all bull terriers under 16lb. in weight, shapely, well-made, smart, and so far as I can learn, and know from my own experience, were as game and hardy as any terrier ever bred.
Somehow or other they came
languish; the classes provided for them did not fill, and with the result that now stares us in the face, the little bull terrier is no more—at least, he is no more in that perfection of form we saw him on the benches in Birmingham and in London, when Mr. Shirley's gallant little dog Nelson ruled the roast.
In 1866 there were twenty entries of bull terriers under rolb. weight at the London show, and at Laycock's Dairy Yard three years later there were thirty-two bull terriers under 151b. weight against nineteen over that size. Then the former had two classes provided, the latter one class. Now things are reversed, nor can I agree that the fittest survive. Most of these terriers came from the Midlands, Birmingham being responsible for the best of them. Nelson was so bred; but another good one of Mr. Shirley's, Dick, had some strains of London blood in him. Unfortunately the pedigrees of these earlydate little bull terriers were no more reliable than are those of their larger cousins, and I fancy that they were bred so in and in that they became difficult to rear, and so degenerated. They were never toys, like the small black and tan terriers, and even when crossed with the white English terrier, then more
numerous than he is to-day, they maintained their distinguishing character as well as could be expected under the circumstances.
It was always to be much regretted that Mr. Shirley did not endeavour, more than actually was the case, to continue the variety ; and had he done so there is no reason to doubt that the Ettington Park Kennels might now be as noted for "little bull terriers"
as they are for wavy-coated retrievers. Could such dogs as Nelson and Dick be produced to-day, I should not be at all afraid of a return to popularity of such a handsome strain. Messrs. J. F. Godfrey, Hinks, J. Watts, Harry Nightingale, J. Whillock, and E. Bailey, all of Birmingham or the neighbourhood, from time to time had excellent bull terriers under 161b. in weight, and in their days they brought quite as much money as the larger variety
At one or two of our London shows an attempt was made, similar to what was done with regard to bull terriers other than white, to resuscitate the little dogs by providing classes for them. The result was, however, a failure, and the one or two competitors were either bandy legged little creatures or indifferent specimens of the English white terrier. So we must take it that for the present the bull terrier under 15lb. weight is lost, and that the illustration on another page is actually out of place in a book supposed to be given over to the description of modern dogs. We live in times of change