ALL ABOUT DOGS and CATS Resource Center for Canine & Feline Lovers
by Karen Kerrigan
Terriers are tenacious. They are high activity canines demanding from and giving a lot
to their chosen owner. These dogs are usually smooth-coated or have wiry hair. This is
true of the Fox Terrier who comes in both varieties. Yet, terriers may also have long,
flowing coats (Skye Terrier) or dense, wavy hair (Wheaten Terrier).
It is easier to divide the terriers along lines other than coat texture. The 3 major
subgroups are: long-legged terriers, short-legged terriers and one-time fighting dogs.
As a result, you have Airedale Terriers, Scottish Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers.
Yet, all terriers originally had one purpose in life. They were bred to rout out vermin.
This included rats, mice and other small animals.
To get at them, the terrier had to dig. This is why the name, terrier, is apt. It is derived
from the Latin word terra meaning “Earth.” Terriers will and do dig their way into a hole
- figuratively and literally. This is one of the reasons why terriers and avid gardeners
may have trouble coexisting. Remember this if you decide you want to purchase a
There are other things to consider when you decide to become a terrier person. There
are, for instance, issues of grooming. Smooth coated dogs provide less complicated
demands from a groomer than the flowing or dense hair of other terrier animals. And
do not let the apparent natural look of the wiry coated terrier fool you. Wiry coats,
theoretically, demand less grooming and care than the smooth coats. Yet, if you want
your terrier to look its best, you will need to learn the special skills required for wiry-
Terriers are wiry dogs in more than coats. They demand a lot of exercise. They need to
be walked every day to be happy. They also need to be challenged. Terriers are usually
intelligent and quick-witted animals. They can become bored if you do not stimulate
their brain and their body. To keep them out of mischief and stimulate their active
minds, get them involved in interesting games. Take them to safe places where they
can run free and sniff and dig.
If you decide a terrier is the dog breed for you, be warned, they are not called “terrors”
for nothing. These dogs have “terrier fire.” They fear nothing. They have a drive and
will that expands far beyond their sometimes diminutive size. Terriers will take on the
big dogs without a second thought. They are aggressive in their pursuits. They are also
single-minded. This made them excellent for pursuing and catching varmints. It also,
unfortunately, made them perfect for a once popular sport - dog fighting. The
Staffordshire Bulldog was used for pit fighting. The Bulldog was bred for fighting bulls.
It was also used in another favorite pastime - bear baiting.
Fortunately, both dog fighting and bear baiting are now illegal. Terriers may still go
after rats, mice and other creatures with glee, yet it is no longer a necessity for them
to do so. However, it does mean you have to find them a substitute. Challenge them.
Train them. Most terriers learn quickly and rise to the demands you make of them.
There are always a few who turn the tables. They make you work to earn their love
and respect. In the end, as is true for most canines, the love you receive in return is
worth many times over the effort.
Content provided by Karen Kerrigan of ohmydogsupplies.com, the best shop to find
rubber dog toys online.
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