The terrier has been a friend of man for more than two hundred years in one form or another. This should not come as a surprise since they are known to be kind and compassionate dogs and the fact that they are and have been useful. Terrier is a French word that means burrow. The earliest breeds of terriers were created to hunt down vermin, which required a lot of burrowing, thus the name. Over the years, in its most basic form, the terrier has been bred with a great many breeds to create a wide spectrum of dog breeds, all of which are known, in one way or another, as a terrier. In fact, there are more than thirty breeds of terrier dogs, according to Barx Buddy. The terrier dogs vary greatly when it comes to height, weight, temperament, and character. They can weigh anywhere between two and 70 pounds in size. To understand why there are so many terrier dog breeds, you have to take it back a bit and get to learn their history.
A history of terrier dogs
In the 18th century, only two types of terriers were recognized, the long-legged and the short-legged, according to Wikipedia. Of course, today, this has changed quite a bit, and they are even grouped about function and size. Most terrier dogs were refined from purpose-bred breeds. Their gameness, which is the eagerness and willingness to participate in risky activities actively, was the reason they were used for hunting vermin and in sporting events that required a sense for the kill. They continued to be bred and crossed with myriad other types of dogs.
Although there are many terrier dogs and breeds, one thing that is ubiquitous to almost all of them is that they are energetic and feisty. You should know that even though the American Kennel Club classifies certain types of terriers, such as the Yorkshire Terriers in the toy dog group, they were originally bred to kill and hunt vermin, most often in coal mines. This was until they became lapdogs. Though they can make great family pets, you have to keep them in check and give them the required exercise since they are very high energy and stubborn if they do not get the energy they need. Daily exercise thus becomes a necessity and requirement, and a lack of it may lead to destructive behavior. This is especially the case when it comes to digging up your backyard. Since they were bred and raised as vermin hunters, burrowing is more or less in their DNA, and they are predisposed to making holes in the ground if they have nothing else to keep them active. Energetic and feisty are the two distinguishing traits when it comes to terriers, and some have even said that the dogs are eager for a spirited argument.
Classification of terrier dogs
As mentioned earlier, in 18th century Britain, terrier dogs were of only two categories, the long-legged and she short-legged. Over the years, however, more and more terrier breeds have been created. The American Kennel recognizes 31 official types of terriers.
The Airedale Terrier
The size, strength, and spirit of the Airedale Terrier have earned it the name ‘The King of the Terriers. It is one of the most versatile dog breeds globally, and it is distinguishable for its hunting, companionship, and athletic skills. In fact, it is one of the largest terrier breeds to exist. The male stands at 23 inches from the shoulder, with females being a little bit less, according to AKC. They have a dense, wiry coat that has black markings. Additionally, the sporty ears and mustache, and darkened eyes convey a look and aura of intelligence and wisdom. Airedales are loved because they are docile and are very patient with kids, but they will not back down when protecting their homes and loved ones.
The American Hairless Terrier
Smart and inquisitive best describe the temperament of the American Hairless Terrier. It is a playful breed. Even though the name may suggest that all these dogs are hairless, some are coated. The hairless type is a fine choice for people who suffer from allergies but still want a life companion. It stands at between 12 and 16 inches, measured from the shoulder. The hairless type comes with eyebrows and whiskers, while the coated type has a short and skinny coat. The hairless kind has smooth and warm skin, which is very comfortable to touch. Though it is a privilege, hairlessness does have some concerns. Due to sunburn and cold weather, they will require special protection.
The Australian Terrier
The Australian Terrier is a plucky and spirited animal. It is also one of the smartest dogs you can have. Being upbeat and lively, it is easy to see the old-time temperament that characterizes terriers in the Australian Terrier. They are curious and have the grit of a wolf. They come with a longish torso and have a distinctive coat furnishing around their neck and forequarters. This lone and elegant dash of hair adds elegance to a rough and ready terrier. The Aussie moves freely and easily.
The Bull Terrier
This is one of the more comical and mischievous terriers you will find. It is endearing and playful but is sometimes stubborn. They are exuberant and muscular, and they thrive for affection and regular exercise. They are robust and move with a jaunty stride that more than suggests their power and agility. Their hallmark is the long and egg-shaped head with erect and pointed ears, and triangular eyes, small as they may be, suggest good humor and a need for speed. They come in two coats, white and then any other color that is either solid or with white markings. The bull terrier is the quintessence of masculine determination and balance. They are firm but loving, energetic but adoring. Their love and loyalty are what have made them so endearing to humans.
The Irish terrier
The Irish terrier, also known as the Daredevil of the Emeralds Isle, is a dashing and bold terrier known for its courage. Its fiery red coat matches its temperament. The Irish terrier is stouthearted when working but tenderhearted at home and with loved ones. It is the quintessential long-legged terrier, standing at 18 inches from the shoulder. This gives it a sturdy frame, but one that is graceful and lithe. The Irish Terrier is simply eye-catching, as it is a beautiful, balanced dog. The Irish Terrier is a dog lover’s delight.
The Kerry Terrier
The Kerry Terrier is one of the largest terries in the American Kennel Club’s catalog, and it is famous for its show-stopping blue coat. It is named after the Irish countryside that is its birthplace. The one-time firm dog known for its adaptable alertness is now a more than worthy family companion. The blue coat comes in many shades, from a deep slate to a light blue-grey one. The coat is a cover for the muscular body that lies underneath. Standing at 20 inches from the shoulder and weighing up to 20 pounds, this one is for the books. The darkened eyes and the sporty beard accentuate the noble aura that the long-legged terrier exudes.
The miniature Schnauzer
This is the smallest of the triumvirate that is the schnauzer breed. It is a long-living, healthy, and low-shedding companion. Its outgoing personality, coupled with its sporty good looks and portable size, makes it the ideal family dog. It stands between 12 and 14 inches from the shoulder and has a hard, wiry coat that comes in three patterns, black and silver, solid black, and salt and pepper. It was created to be an al round firm animal, and thus is tough, fearless, and robust, but not aggressive. On the contrary, it is bright, trainable, and friendly. They get along so well with kids and are tireless little guys that enjoy a long and vigorous exercise. All in all, they make great watchdogs.
The Manchester Terrier is named after Manchester, a city in England with the first breed. They are sleek-looking dogs built for the races and have a ratting instinct. Moreover, they are bright, athletic, and spirited. Combine the streamlined grace of the hounds and the fearless instinct of a rat terrier, and this is what you get. They come in two sizes, the standard size, which is not more than 22 pounds in weight, and the toy, which does not exceed 12 pounds. Though there differ in weight, both types have the same temperament, athletic ability, and body shape and type, though size may differ. The Manchester Terrier is a tight coat with either a rich mahogany tan or jet black. Their head is hedge-shaped and long, and they have tan spots on them, their head. They can motor, run and have a god reach for what is in front of them and a propulsive drive powered and facilitated by the muscular caboose.
The Scottish Terrier is an independent, confident companion with a vivid personality and a compact body shape, according to Hillspet. They are dignified and have an almost human-like personality. This has earned them the name, Diehard. Their silhouette is a short-legged but substantial terrier and has a distinctive furnishing on their lower body, legs, and beard. They come with a wiry topcoat and a soft, dense undercoat that is often black but can also be a bright-strip pattern or wheaten yellow. They have bright, piercing eyes, and their tails and ears are erect, which conveys a sense of alertness, as is the hallmark of most British Terriers. They have a Scottie walking style, which is more businesslike. Their loftiness towards strangers makes them the perfect watchdogs.
The soft coated wheaten terrier
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is an Irish farm animal that is an exuberant, happy, friendly, and deeply devoted dog, but also one that is stubborn enough to remind you that they are still a terrier constantly. They have a unique wheaten coat, which is their staple, which is low-shedding but still needs a lot of diligent care to avoid matting. The coat runs from a pale beige to shimmering gold, akin to ripening wheat. They have a maximum height of 19 inches, which is quite tall and can way to 40 pounds. Their coat, coupled with their dashing goatee and hairdo, give an overall picture of a hard-muscled but soft-coated terrier, like an iron fist with a velvet glove.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is one terrier that has retained its brawling past. It is a tenacious and courageous breed, a gladiator that has somehow become a mild and playful companion for kids and adults alike. It has a maximum height of about 16 inches and can weigh 24 to 38 pounds. They are rock-solid terriers with a muscular frame and build. Their head is short and broad, and they have pronounced cheekbones and a tight-fitting coat that comes in a plethora of colors. They resembled the pugnacious brawlers that were ubiquitous to the fighting pits. Still, today, as a result of breeding, they are a sweet-natured, family-oriented breed of terries with a reputation of more a nanny than a gladiator, a lover than a fighter. Don’t be mistaken, though; their fighting instincts of old are still lurking in the background, and they turn into protective beasts when they or their loved ones are threatened. As aforementioned, we have just listed some of the popular terrier breeds. There are still many more. If you are looking for one, you just need to consider their traits and select the one that suits your needs best.