About Terriers & How to look after Terriers
Apart from the Dachshund, most Terriers originated from Great Britain and the name derives from the Latin ‘terra’ meaning earth. Little is known of them before 1560 when a renowned British writer Dr John Caius described them as “snappy and quarrelsome little dogs”. At that time there were only short legged Terriers used for going to ground by putting them down foxes and badger holes. These dogs had rough coats, erect ears and a sprightly temperament.
No other working dog was a more efficient killing machine than these little terriers. They were bred to be tough, tenacious and totally fearless and these attributes remain today which probably explains why terriers are better at overcoming serious illness than any other breed.
The terrier story is not for the faint hearted as in the 19th century, short legged terriers were carried in saddlebags and would accompany foxhounds when hunting. When the hounds had cornered the fox, they would be released to inflict the last moments. They were competent in keeping farm buildings free of vermin and were also used in dog fighting sports. The bull baiting terriers were originally large mastiff type dogs, but were inter bred with terriers to increase aggression.
The types of Terrier dogs and today’s terrier breeds are still high spirited, feisty, bold dogs and often have little tolerance for other animals including other dogs. However, they are popular breeds and do make good pets, although probably not for a family dog with young children. They are unique playful characters, make great watchdogs and are loyal defenders of their realm. However, they do require an owner with determination to match the terrier personality.
With the exception of the Dachshund and Bull Terrier breeds who have smooth short haired coats, most terriers have wiry coats that require to be hand stripped to maintain the characteristic appearance. This video shows how to hand strip and although it may look a little harsh, it is not painful at all for the dog.
The short coated terrier needs little grooming and a quick brush with a bristle brush is probably all that is needed.
Terriers are notorious diggers and chewers. Make sure they have plenty of hard wearing toys or your furniture may suffer! Ideal toys to keep them mentally stimulated as well are the activity toys you can stuff with food. Other toys on the market are those that use recycled water bottles to create fun and interesting noise.
Some terriers and in particular the Bull Terrier, can be prone to bed sores, so their bed needs to be soft and supportive. A well padded dog bed with supporting sides would be ideal or a memory foam dog mattress, if your dog favours stretching out.
There are many but some of the popular Terrier breeds are: