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Terriers Breeds - The Smooth Fox Terrier

Updated on September 25, 2011
The Smooth Fox Terrier
The Smooth Fox Terrier

The Smooth Fox Terrier

To attempt to establish the origin of the Fox-terrier as we know him now a days would be of little interest to the general reader, and would require the task of tracing back the several diversified sources from which he sprang. It is a matter of very little moment whether he owes his origin to the white English Terrier or to the Bull-terrier crossed with the Black and Tan, or whether he has a blend of Beagle blood in his composition, so it will suffice to take him as he originated from the chaos of mongreldom about the middle of the last century, saved in the first instance by the desire of huntsmen or masters of well-known packs to breed a terrier somewhat in keeping with their hounds; and, in the second place, to the arrival of dog shows. Before that time any dog capable, from his size, conformation, and pluck, of going to ground and bolting his fox was a Fox-terrier, were he rough or smooth, black, brown, or white.

The beginning of our modern Fox-terrier dates from about the 'sixties, and no pedigrees before that are worth considering.

From three dogs which were well known back then--Old Jock, Trap, and Tartar--he claims descent; and, thanks to the Fox-terrier Club and the great care taken in compiling their stud-books, he can be brought down to to-day. Of these three dogs Old Jock was definitely more of a terrier than the rest. It is uncertain whether he was bred, as stated in most records of the time, by Captain Percy Williams, master of the Rufford, or by Jack Morgan, huntsman to the Grove; it seems, however, well founded that the former owned his sire, also called Jock, and that his dam, Grove Pepper, was the property of Morgan. He first arrived before the public at the Birmingham show in 1862, where, shown by Mr. Wootton, of Nottingham, he won the first prize.

He then changed hands several times, till he became the property of Mr. Murchison, in whose hands he died in the early 'seventies. He was exhibited for the last time at the Crystal Palace in 1870, and though then over ten years old won second to the same owner's Trimmer. At his best he was a smart, well-balanced terrier, with possibly too much daylight under him, and wanting somewhat in jaw power; but he showed far less of the Bull-terrier type than did his present day Tartar.

This dog's predecessor were very questionable, and his breeder is given as Mr. Stevenson, of Chester, most of whose dogs were Bull-terriers pure and simple, save that they had drop ears and short sterns, being in this respect unlike old Trap, whose sire is supposed to have been a Black and Tan Terrier. This dog came from the Oakley Kennels, and he was supposed to have been bred by a miller at Leicester. However questionable the predecessor of these three terriers may have been, they are certainly the progenitors of our present strain, and from them arrived the kennels that we have now a days.


HEAD AND EARS--The Skull should be flat and moderately narrow, and gradually decreasing in width to the eyes. Not much "stop" should be apparent, but there should be more dip in the profile between the forehead and top jaw than is seen in the case of a Greyhound. The Cheeks must not be full. The Ears should be V-shaped and small, of moderate thickness, and dropping forward close to the cheek, not hanging by the side of the head like a Foxhound's. The Jaw, upper and under, should be strong and muscular; should be of fair punishing strength, but not so in any way to resemble the Greyhound or modern English Terrier.

There should not be much falling away below the eyes. This part of the head, should, however, be moderately chiselled out, so as not to go down in a straight line like a wedge. The Nose, towards which the muzzle must gradually taper, should be black. The Eyes should be dark in colour, small, and rather deep set, full of fire, life, and intelligence; as nearly as possible circular in shape. The Teeth should be as nearly as possible level, i.e., the upper teeth on the outside of the lower teeth. NECK--Should be clean and muscular, without throatiness, of fair length, and gradually widening to the shoulders.

SHOULDERS AND CHEST--The Shoulders should be long and sloping, well laid back, fine at the points, and clearly cut at the withers. The Chest deep and not broad. BACK AND LOIN--The Back should be short, straight, and strong, with no appearance of slackness. The Loin should be powerful and very slightly arched. The fore ribs should be moderately arched, the back ribs deep; and the dog should be well ribbed up.

HIND-QUARTERS--Should be strong and muscular, quite free from droop or crouch; the thighs long and powerful; hocks near the ground, the dog standing well up on them like a Foxhound, and not straight in the stifle. STERN--Should be set on rather high, and carried gaily, but not over the back or curled. It should be of good strength, anything approaching a "pipe-stopper" tail being especially objectionable.

LEGS AND FEET--The Legs viewed in any direction must be straight, showing little or no appearance of an ankle in front. They should be strong in bone throughout, short and straight to pastern. Both fore and hind legs should be carried straight forward in travelling, the stifles not turned outwards. The elbows should hang perpendicular to the body, working free of the side. The Feet should be round, compact, and not large. The soles hard and tough. The toes moderately arched, and turned neither in nor out.

COAT--Should be straight, flat, smooth, hard, dense, and abundant. The belly and under side of the thighs should not be bare. As regards colour, white should predominate; brindle, red, or liver markings are objectionable. Otherwise this point is of little or no importance.

SYMMETRY, SIZE, AND CHARACTER--The dog must present a general gay, lively, and active appearance; bone and strength in a small compass are essentials; but this must not be taken to mean that a Fox-terrier should be cloggy, or in any way coarse--speed and endurance must be looked to as well as power, and the symmetry of the Foxhound taken as a model. The terrier, like the hound, must on no account be leggy, nor must he be too short in the leg. He should stand like a cleverly-made hunter, covering a lot of ground, yet with a short back, as before stated. He will then attain the highest degree of propelling power, together with the greatest length of stride that is compatible with the length of his body. Weight is not a certain criterion of a terrier's fitness for his work--general shape, size and contour are the main points; and if a dog can gallop and stay, and follow his fox up a drain, it matters little what his weight is to a pound or so, though, roughly speaking, it may be said he should not scale over twenty pounds in show condition.


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