1902 Encyclopedia > Dog > Terriers

(Part 9)

VI. TERRIERS. -- There include the numerous varieties of Terrier dog, and the Turnspit. The Terrier is a small but very distinct breed, and is probably one of the oldest dogs found in Great Britain.

Three distinct varieties exist in this country, viz., the English Terrier, smooth and graceful in form, with sharp muzzle and erect ears, compact body, strong though slender limbs, and tail carried aloft and somewhat curved – the colour being black, with the belly and extremities usually tan, but sometimes white; the Scotch Terrier, differing from the former in the shortness of the muzzle and limbs, and in the rough wiry character of the hair, which is usually of a dirty white colour; and the Skye Terrier, distinguished by the length and coarseness of the hair, the extreme shortness of its limbs, and the great length of its body. It is of a light brown colour.

Terrier picture


The terrier in all its varieties is an exceedingly bold, active and intelligent dog. It was formerly a regular accompaniment to every pack of hounds, for the purpose of unearthing the fox, and to its eagerness in taking the earth it owes its name. Terriers are now chiefly employed in the destruction of otters, badgers, weasels, and rats, a form of sport onto which they enter with the greatest ardour, and in which they show the most remarkable dexterity, a celebrated Terrier having been known to kill 100 rats, collected in one room, in 7 minutes. The Bull-terrier is a cross between this breed and the bull-dog, and is one of the most savage and obstinate of its kind. It was the breed chiefly used in the brutal sports of badger-baiting and dog-fighting, now almost unknown in England.

The Turnspit, a monstrous form of dog, is nor confined to any single breed. It is figured on the ancient monuments of Egypt, and occurs among the pariah dogs of India and of Paraguay. In Britain, where they seem to be derived from hounds or terriers, there are smooth and rough turnspits, a name which they own to their having been formerly employed in turning kitchen spits by working inside a wheel, which when once set in motion forced the dog to continue running at Caerleon in Monmouthshire, a few years ago, a dog of this kind might have been seen thus employed in the inn kitchen. The turnspit is characterized by great length of body and extreme shortness of limb, the latter being generally crooked. (J. GI.)

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The above article was written by John Gibson; author of Science Gleanings in Many Fields, Chips from the Earth's Crust, and Great Waterfalls, Cateracts, and Geysers.

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