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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. J. 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 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 141b., 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. J. S. Skidmore, Nantwich; Mr. J. F. Godfree, Birmingham; Mr. J. Hinks, Birmingham ; Mr. J. 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. J. 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
north of England, where a few are still bred, as they are in the Midlands, but fewer in the Metropolis. The most recent London-bred specimens I have seen have been comparatively toys, under rolb. in weight, and with that round skull, or so-called " apple head,” so persistent in making its appearance in liliputian specimens of the dog-a peculiar result of inbreeding.
The English white terrier in appearance is an attractive dog, small in size—he should not be more than 161b. weight, the Club allowed him up to 20lb. -cleanly and elegant, but he is not particularly noted for his intelligence, as I am sorry to write is the case with all these smaller smooth-coated terriers that for generations have had their ears cut. This was unfortunately the custom with the one of which I write—at any rate, this evil result of cropping is my experience, as it has been of others who have kept this variety, and the black and tan terrier likewise.
Now that cropping is thoroughly done away with, one great drawback to his becoming a fashionable favourite has been removed; still, however his elegance and the purity of his white coat may fill the eye, he is by no means a hardy dog. Then he is like other varieties not easy to breed in perfection; the puppies are as likely to
come with patches on them as not. He is not easy to keep in condition for exhibition, and is particularly subject to total or partial deafness, which may be hereditary or arise from other causes, perhaps from a delicacy that is supposed to appertain to totally white animals, especially such as are inbred to a great extent, as is the case here. I have heard that at least one of the most successful bitches of the early time, and from which many of the best were descended, was "stone deaf.”
For show purposes, which mean when it is required to place the animal before the judges to the best advantage, it was usual to cut off the whiskers, and to singe or clip the under pårt of the tail where it might be clad with coarse hair. Indeed, this trimming was done to such an extent, and evidently acknowledged as being quite honest and straightforward, that at the autumn show of the Kennel Club in 1893 I saw an exhibitor clipping hairs from the ears of a white terrier whilst on its bench, in full view of the company present; and strangely enough this public "faking" did not appear to attract any attention. A little later than this, considerable agitation was being caused in what are known as “ kennel circles with regard to this trimming. The English White Terrier Club asked to be allowed to trim the tails of the dogs in whose
interests it had been formed, but the request was refused, though a similar one had been conceded to the Bull Terrier Club.
During 1893 some attention was drawn to the decadence and seeming neglect of the breed, and it was almost sad to hear one of its admirers, and the owner of specially good specimens, expressing himself pretty much in the same strain as I have done as to the anxiety the keeping in show form this terrier causes. Dr. Lees Bell wrote as follows :
“All breeders have, I daresay, experienced the same difficulty of breeding pure white puppies with level heads and fine skulls, together with proper English terrier lines of body. The puppies are either foul - marked, or have domed skulls and whippet bodies, or they have level heads, with the thick skull and wide chest and general stoutness of body of the bull terrier. But apart from those difficulties which it is the art of breeding and selection to overcome, the great amount of trouble requisite to keep white English terriers in form and to prepare them for exhibition naturally exercises an influence inimical to the popularity of the breed. The cropping of the ears, the trimming of the tail, shaving the ears, the washing and general anxiety to keep the dog spotless till after the show, all combine to make the hobby too tiresome to allow