of them, twenty times that sum, and even more, will be given for a perfect specimen at the present day. No doubt the appearance of the terrier all round has generally improved, though whether this is at the expense of his ability to do the work for which nature originally intended him is an open question.

A word or two as to the size of our modern terriers may not be amiss, for they vary greatly ; a toy terrier may weigh not more than 3lb. to 5lb. in weight, whilst an Airedale terrier is not out of place if he pulls the scale down at 45lb. to 50lb. Some persons have an impression that in time the weight of a terrier may be restricted to holb. at most. This is, however, not likely to be the case, for few of the varieties are now required to go underground after the fox, or badger, or otter, a majority of them being used for purely fancy purposes, as companions and house dogs, or as casual assistants in the shooting field. As a matter of fact, those best adapted for hard work, either with foxhounds or otterhounds, are cross-bred, hardy dogs, specially trained for the purpose, although many of the "pedigree" animals will do similar duty to the best of their ability, but doubtless their inbreeding has, to a certain extent, made them constitutionally and generally weaker than their less blue-blooded cousins.

“Some terriers have long bodies and short legs," says an old writer, and so they have at the present time. Dr. Walsh (“ Stonehenge ') ascribed those long-bodied, crooked-legged terriers to the fact of a cross with the dachshund. Personally, I consider that this deformity—and crooked fore legs are a great deformity, and one that should not he allowed in any terrier, Scottish, Dandie Dinmont, or Skye any more than it is allowed in an Irish terrier or a fox terrier—arises from the dogs having been bred for length of body. This long, unnaturally long, body, heavy too, has gradually forced down the legs until they have become bandy or crooked through sheer weakness—an "inherited deformity” which unfortunately many breeders have come to look upon as correct and natural.

All these unduly long-bodied terriers have more or less "crook” in their fore legs, like that seen on the basset hound and dachshund. The latter would be better with straight legs, so would the terriers. The Dandie Dinmont is perhaps the most crooked legged of any of our terriers; he is not an active dog, and is of little use for work in a “stone wall country," nor is his “crook” the slightest advantage in any way. His admirers are now trying to produce him with legs as straight as possible, and this can be done if length of body is to an extent sacrificed.

The prototype of the original Dandie Dinmont was a more active and useful animal than is the case with our modern specimens.

The Scottish terrier is, or rather was, another crooked legged dog, but his best friends have already seen that he is more active and comely on straight fore legs; and in due course we shall see as few Scottish terriers winning whose legs are crooked as we do fox terriers and black and tans with a similar deformity; and I repeat emphatically that no terrier should have crooked fore legs. I have had them, Dandie Dinmonts and Scottish ones too, Skye terriers likewise ; but, game and well trained as they were, they were of little use with hounds. They could not keep up with those with which we used to hunt the otter, much less with the fleeter foxhound; and again, in an earth amongst the rocks and crevices, a short-legged, heavily-bodied terrier might get down a shelf up which he could not possibly return, and many and many a time have Dandie Dinmonts had to be lifted over the fences through which

my straight-legged dogs could scramble.

In addition to the usual varieties as they are commonly known, named, and recognised in the Stud Books, I have appended a chapter on what may be called actual working terriers; such

animals as have been kept in certain districts and by certain families as the best for the purposes for which they were originally produced.

Such dogs have survived for their work alone, for their hardihood and gameness, and will no doubt continue so to do to the end. Perhaps there may be so-called varieties of these rough-coated, hardy terriers not mentioned by me; but I cannot do more than allude to such as I have seen, and with which I have been personally acquainted.

The “ Border terriers," as their name implies, are indigenous to the Border counties, extending even so far south as Westmoreland, Lancashire, and Yorkshire. In some localities their noses have, as it were, been put out of joint by “new breeds," which are probably smarter in appearance, and more taking to the eye. The Sealy Ham terriers have had a reputation in certain districts in Wales for over half a century. A more modern strain to which I have drawn attention is the extremely varmint looking, short-legged, wire-haired terrier, which Mr. Cowley has taken—and is still takingsuch pains to cultivate, and I believe that these three-varieties if you like—are, for working purposes, equal to anything that can be obtained at the present time. Whether they are handsome will be seen from the illustrations.

« ForrigeFortsett »