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THE BULL TERRIER.
Our modern bull terrier is a very different creature from that which he was half a century ago, and I know there are some old “dog fanciers” who prefer the brindled and white, and fawn, fallow smut, or even black and tan dogs, so often kept in our grandfathers' days, to the “milk-white” animals seen for so many years on our show benches.
There is little or no doubt that the original bull terrier was a cross between any ordinary terrier and the bull dog, whilst some of the largest specimens might have a dash of the mastiff thrown in. He had been bred for fighting or for killing rats, and, long before the era of canine exhibitions, some of the rougher, so-called sporting men in London and in the Midlands, of which Birmingham may be taken as the metropolis, had strains of more or less celebrity. The dogs that fought with Wombwell's lions at Warwick in 1825 were large bull terriers, and not bull dogs, as stated in the journals of that day, and the fighting dogs of that time and now
(for this brutal sport is still followed in London and elsewhere) were and are bull terriers. Almost as I am writing this, at the close of 1902, two bull terriers fought at Bilston, in the “Black Country,” for an hour and a half, one dog being killed outright, the other dying soon after. One was a brindled dog, the other white, and their weight was 25lb. apiece. The combat took place in a bedroom, the occupier of which was summoned, and fined £6; but the owners of the dogs the police failed to discover.
The old-fashioned dog was a much more cumbrous brute than finds favour at the present time, and his colour varied. For instance, James Ward painted one in 1808 that was evidently black and tan, with white on him, a favourite dog of his own, and of a strain highly valued for its courage. This animal had its ears closely cropped, in order, of course, that they might not be in the way of an opponent's teeth when fighting. A little later Marshall painted another bull terrier, black, white, and tan, a dog which Squire Meynell, the great foxhound authority, pronounced to be from one of the best strains he ever knew.
The back numbers of the Sporting Magazine contain
many representations of the bull terrier, and it is stated that Lord Camelford paid 84 guineas