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ALTHOUGH in the foregoing pages I have devoted many chapters to what may well be called different varieties of the terrier, several of the race remain yet unrepresented, and without any reproach on the character of those already described, there are other terriers quite equal to such as are given place in the “Stud Book” and precedence by me.
A few years ago an “ Old English Terrier Club” was formed, and it sought to bring out of various country districts that hardy, hard-bitten game dog common thereto, and which was used for work. This club during its short reign, it is now dead, did its work but moderately; a few good dogs were through it introduced, but too often the winners, in the special classes provided, were either Airedale terriers or Welsh terriers, and a case has been known where a dog was by the judges given honours in its own class as an Airedale terrier and in that for the so-called Old English variety, which is no variety at all.
Few sporting country districts are or were without their own special strain of terriers, in which appearance was of little object so long as gameness predominated. By “gameness” I do not mean partiality for fighting and cat-killing, and standing being cut up piece-meal without flinching or whimpering, but killing vermin and going to ground after fox, or badger, or otter—wild animals, and not tame, domesticated, and semi-tame creatures. I have seen a dog of great excellence and gameness n a street fight, which would run away and yelp when a big buck rat seized him by the nose. One injury dog shows have done is discernible in the fact that they have been the means of withdrawing attention from the hardy, intelligent, maybe crossbred terrier, to that which is generally a more effeminate creature, though maybe handsomer in markings and narrower in the chest. As a matter of fact, a really first-class dog for the show bench is far too valuable a creature to run any risk of being killed underground by a badger or by earth or rock that might fall upon him.
Imagine a five hundred pound fox terrier running after Tommy Dobson’s hounds over the mountains round about Eskdale, or doing the rough work that is required of such dogs as the Robsons keep in Northumberland! Every time such terriers as these go out they carry, as it were, “their lives in their hands.” They have to kennel with hounds who might worry them, live on rough but homely fare, swim through wet drains,or go to ground in huge fox earths from which they may never return to see the light of day again. There is the danger of receiving fatal wounds from their game, be it fox or otter, sweetmart or foulmart, any of which may tear up a nose or split an ear, and finish the career of the recipient of such an injury so far as the show-bench would be concerned. There are terriers which I have already described kept for the latter alone, and no doubt many of them are game enough, but for the wild, rough work of hunting in its various forms, other terriers are required as assistants to the hounds, and such of them as 1 know shall come under the heading of this chapter. And note at the outset that I believe the terriers of which I am about to write have far hardier constitutions, and are stronger physically, than their more fashionable cousins. I have had prize fox terriers of my own, about as good and game as ever were made, properly trained, and entered and kennelled with hounds. Such would go to ground and do all that was required of them, but after a long day they required carrying home, when the so-called “mongrels” were trudging away at the tails of the hounds. They have heart enough, and the inclination, but the physical strength and constitution are deficient.
There is or was no particular range or locality for these working terriers; they extended from Northumberland in the north, to Devonshire in the west, and were to be met with in almost every intermediate county.
Away in Devonshire the Rev. John Russell possessed some almost entirely white, hard-jacketed little fellows, whose good qualities are not yet forgotten. They are alluded to in an earlier chapter. Then in far distant Yorkshire we had another terrier, equally game and as good looking, and from which has sprung the rough-coated fox terrier now so numerous at our leading dog shows. Wherever hunting the fox, the badger, or the otter was followed these good terriers were found, and perhaps, with the two exceptions named and a few others, such were black and tan, yellow or red of various shades, or pepper and salt. Many of them had some white on their breasts, a white foot or two, and a dash of the same between the black nose and the dark piercing little eyes was not uncommon. Such dogs varied in size, but were usually less than zolb. in weight, and if trained and entered, proved