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removedJ (6) That if any cutting, piercing, breaking by force, or any kind Of operation or act which destroys tissues of the ears, or alters their natural formation or carriage or shortens the tail, or alters the natural formation of the dog, or any part thereof, has been practised, or any other thing that has been done calculated in the opinion of the committee of the Kennel Club to deceive, except in cases of necessary operation certified to the satisfaction of the Kennel Club committee. (7) That the lining membrane of the mouth has been cut or mutilated in any way.
“ EXCEPTIONS—(1) Shortening of the tails of dogs of the following breeds will not render them liable to disqualification: Spaniels (except Irish water), fox terriers, Irish terriers, Welsh terriers, Airedale terriers, Old English Sheepdogs, poodles, toy spaniels, Yorkshire terriers, schipperkes, griffon Bruxellois, or such varieties of foreign dogs as the committee may from time to time determine. Dewclaws may be removed in any breed.”
These particulars are given here although they concern other dogs besides wire-haired terriers, and if the above regulations are properly carried out and receive the support of thejudges, most of the “faking,” which at one time jeopardised the popularity of the variety of which I write, will disappear.
The club’s points and descriptions are as follows :—
“The wire-haired fox terrier should resemble the smooth in every respect except the coat, which I should be broken. The harder and more wiry the texture of the coat is, the better. On no account should the dog look or feel woolly, and there should be no silky hair about the poll or elsewhere.
“ The coat should not be too long, so as to give the dog a shaggy appearance, but at the same time it should show a marked and distinct difference all over from the smooth species.
SCALE 0F POINTS.
Value. Value. Head and ears ...... .. 15 Stern 5 Neck ................... .. 5 Legs and feet 2O Shoulders and chest 15 Coat 10 Back and loin ....... .. Io Symmetry and character 15 Hindquarters .......... .. 5 5o 50
Grand Total, I 00.
“Disqualijj/ing Points—I. Nose white, cherry, or spotted to a considerable extent with ether of these colours. 2. Ears prick, tulip, or rose. 3. Mouth much undershot, or much overshot.”
This description is by no means satisfactory, especially so far as allowance for coat is observed. The points for an actually distinguishing characteristic are far too few; a correct coat is worth v20 points, and an absolutely soft one should be a disqualification. Personally, I would far rather own a white terrier with a “ spotted ” or “ cherry-coloured” 'nose, and a hard close coat, than I would one with a black nose and a soft coat. Indeed, there is a belief in some quarters that the red-nosed dogs have keener olfactory organs than have those with black nostrils. I think, too, that, however little the dog is undershot, he ought to be disqualified, and one much overshot or “pig-jawed” should likewise be placed at a disadvantage. However, it is to be supposed that descriptions of dogs, like the animals themselves, can never be perfect to .all alike, and the views of one honest judge are as likely to be correct as those of another honest judge, if the public can only be brought to believe so.
It is no more than human nature that there is difference of opinion as to the merits or otherwise of a terrier. That which may be considered an almost fatal fault by one person, by another may be thought of little detriment. Some judges—men, too, who bear a deservedly high reputation as such—will put a terrier out of the prize list if it be even a trifle crooked on his fore legs or slightly heavy at the shoulders; whilst another dog, narrow behind and 'weak in loins, to my idea a far more serious failing, is considered pretty well all right so long as its fore legs are as straight as arrows. As a fact, there are judges who have recently gone to extremes in awarding honours to these so-called “ narrowfronted ” terriers. Such have been produced at a sacrifice of power and strength. Most of these very narrow-chested dogs move stiffly, are too flat in theribs, they are deficient in breathing and heart room, and can never be able to do a week’s hard work in the country, either with hounds or round about thebadger earths or rabbit burrows.