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produced him, or for what reason he was introduced—there is in fact nothing to tell the searcher after information in the matter. That he is, and has been for forty years or so, a variety of the dog in himself there is no doubt; and although he will kill rats, and is fairly plucky in other respects, he is not quite an ideal sportsman’s companion. He makes a nice house dog, is smart and perky in his demeanour and conduct, requires a considerable amount of coddling and care, and so in his early days he was a favourite with the working man dog fancier of the large towns, who showed him in the bar parlour, and believed him to be the equal of any other dog in existence. The earliest illustrations of a terrier of this kind prove him to be a white dog, with a coloured mark on his body here and there; and I should say that, until he had been bred for some generations to be produced entirely white, there was seldom one born without marks of some kind or other. Evennow, dogs with a coloured ear or a “patch” on some part of the body or face are found in many litters.
The most perfect specimens of the variety have sprung from London and its suburbs, from Manchester and other large manufacturing towns of Lancashire, including Bolton and Rochdale, whilst others were to be found in Birmingham and the Black Country. At some of our early dog shows there were large classes of the English white terrier, sometimes the entries reaching quite a score; but the quality was not uniformly good, as a tan ear or dark mark might have been observed; and some of the specimens were shaped more like an Italian greyhound than a terrier. The London and Birmingham gatherings usually had the best entries, but I have seen excellent quality further north—at Belle Vue and Middleton, near Manchester, and at some of the more local Lancashire and Yorkshire exhibitions. The London dog shows, as far back as 1863-64, divided these classes of white terriers, one being for dogs and bitches under six or seven pounds weight, as the case might be; the other for dogs and bitches over that standard. To instance the popularity of the variety at that time, one exhibitor alone (Mr. F. White, of Clapham) had eleven entries in the class restricted to dogs under six pounds weight, and these were all good specimens. Indeed, Mr. White appeared to be a larger breeder of this variety of the English terrier than anyone else, so much so that I once heard it argued that it was called after him, and ought in reality to be known as “ White’s terrier,” and not as the white terrier. However, this would not suit our friends in the north, who in reality had equally good specimens which had never seen Clapham Common. Mr. John Hoodless, of Bayswater, showed some nice terriers between 1862 and 1866.
It has been surmised that the original English white terrier had been a fox terrier crossed with a white Italian greyhound (I never saw one), and again with the small-sized bull terrier. On the contrary, I believe that the small-sized bull terrier was stopped on its road to popularity by a cross with the variety under notice. If anyone will take the trouble to wade through the early pedigrees, he will find the blood of the English white terriers in many of our leading little bull terriers. Possibly there came to be bull terrier blood in the white terrier, and the exhibitor was not always quite conscientious in his ideas, and if from one of his bull terrier bitches he produced an animal rather lighter in bone and longer in head than usual he forthwith entered it as a “white English terrier,” and maybe won with it. At the same time he might be taking prizes with a brother or sister of the same animal in the class for small bull terriers. For some years—at any rate until the epoch of the Kennel Club and its Stud Book—there was a considerable amount of jumble in the pedigrees of both English white terriers and bull terriers, as the many registrations of Tim in the former and of Madman in the latter too plainly testify.
However, in 1862-3 Mr. F. White, already mentioned, showed at Islington and Cremorne a team of very handsome dogs, quite terriers in their way, with which he won all the prizes for which he competed. The names of these dogs were Teddy, Laddie, Jep, Fly, and Nettle; but at the same time, or at any rate a few years later, Mr. Walker, of Bolton, introduced a dog called Tim, which was considered to be the best terrier of the variety up to that time produced, nor do I think he has been excelled since. This dog had been bred by Bill Pearson, a well-known Lancashire lad in the “ fancy line," by him sold to Mr. Joe Walker, who in turn sold him to Mr. James Roocroft, of Bolton, the latter at that time owning a large and valuable kennel of this variety of terrier. Tim was an exquisitely made dog, with the darkest of eyes and perfect black nose; he was lightly built, but well ribbed up, and did not exhibit in appearance the slightest trace of Whippet or snap dog blood, with which no doubt the variety had been considerably crossed. This old Tim was not only good as a puppy, but there was no better dog than he when shown at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, in 1873, where, although at least eight years old, he won third prize in an excellent class. Tim weighed about 14lb., and I do not think we have had a better dog since, and most of the modern strain contain some portion of his blood.
Another very good dog about this period was Mr. W. Duggan’s (Birmingham) Spider, who won first prize at Birmingham four years in succession, and I am inclined to think that Spider came a good second to Tim. Later, Mr. P. Swindells, Stockport; Mr. W. E. Royd, Rochdale; Mr. W. Hodgson, Harpurhey; Mr. S. Skidmore, Nantwich; Mr. F. Godfree, Birmingham; Mr. Hinks, Birmingham; Mr. Littler, Birmingham; Mr. P. Morgan, London; Mr. S. E. Shirley, and others possessed first-rate specimens, and Mr. E. T. Dew’s Fly (Weston-super-Mare) must not be forgotten. Mr. Shirley’s Purity, which won third prize at the Crystal Palace in 1872, was by Tim out of a bitch by the smart fourteen-pound bull terrier Nelson, hence her name, a piece of sarcasm pointed no doubt at the carelessness of some dog breeders as to how they crossed their various strains. Other dogs that did a great deal of winning in their day, about the " eighties,” were Mr. Martin’s Joe, Gem, and Pink, animals somewhat approaching the Whippet type in body—though wonderfully neat in head.
I think when all is said and done that our best
and purest strain of this white terrier came from the