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Terriers Breeds - The White English Terrier

Updated on September 27, 2011

This dog, one would think, ought, by the dignified title which he bears, to be considered a representative national terrier, forming a fourth in the distinctively British quartette whose other members are the Scottish, the Irish, and the Welsh Terriers. Possibly in the early days when Pearson and Roocroft bred him to perfection it was hoped and intended that he should become a breed typical of England. He is still the only terrier who owns the national name, but he has long ago yielded pride of place to the Fox-terrier, and it is the case that the best specimens of his race are bred north of the border, while, instead of being the most popular dog in the land, he is actually one of the most neglected and the most seldom seen.

Writers on canine history, and Mr. Rawdon Lee among the number, tell us that the English White Terrier is a comparatively new breed, and that there is no evidence to show where he originally sprang from, who produced him, or for what reason he was introduced. His existence as a distinct breed is dated back no longer than forty years. This is about the accepted age of most of our named English terriers. Half a century ago, before the institution of properly organised dog shows drew particular attention to the differentiation of breeds, the generic term "terrier" without distinction was applied to all "earth dogs," and the consideration of colour and size was the only common rule observed in breeding. But it would not be difficult to prove that a white terrier resembling the one now under notice existed in England as a separate variety many generations anterior to the period usually assigned to its recognition.

Apart from colour there is not a great difference between the White English Terrier and the Manchester Black and Tan. But although they are of similar shape and partake much of the same general character, yet there is the distinction that in the black and tan the conservation of type is stronger and more noticeable than in the white, in which the correct shape and action are difficult to obtain. It ought naturally to be easier to breed a pure white dog from white parents than to breed correctly marked and well tanned puppies from perfect black and tans; but the efforts of many breeders do not seem to support such a theory in connection with the English Terrier, whose litters frequently show the blemish of a spot of brindle or russet.

These spots usually appear behind the ears or on the neck, and are of course a disfigurement on a dog whose coat to be perfect should be of an intense and brilliant white. It appears to be equally difficult to breed one which, while having the desired purity of colour, is also perfect in shape and terrier character. It is to be noted, too, that many otherwise good specimens are deaf--a fault which seriously militates against the dog's possibilities as a companion or as a watch.

Description:

HEAD--Narrow, long and level, almost flat skull, without cheek muscles, wedge-shaped, well filled up under the eyes, tapering to the nose, and not lippy.
EYES--Small and black, set fairly close together, and oblong in shape.
NOSE--Perfectly black.
EARS--Cropped and standing perfectly erect.
NECK AND SHOULDERS--The neck should be fairly long and tapering from the shoulders to the head, with sloping shoulders, the neck being free from throatiness, and slightly arched at the occiput.
CHEST--Narrow and deep.
BODY--Short and curving upwards at the loins, sprung out behind the shoulders, back slightly arched at loins, and falling again at the joining of the tail to the same height as the shoulders.
LEGS--Perfectly straight and well under the body, moderate in bone, and of proportionate length.
FEET--Feet nicely arched, with toes set well together, and more inclined to be round than hare-footed.
TAIL--Moderate length, and set on where the arch of the back ends, thick where it joins the body, tapering to a point, and not carried higher than the back.
COAT--Close, hard, short, and glossy.
COLOUR--Pure white, coloured marking to disqualify.
CONDITION--Flesh and muscles to be hard and firm.
WEIGHT--From 12 lb. to 20 lb.


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