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Last updated date: 23rd Apr 2024
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What is Terrier?

Terrier is a type of dog which is originally bred to hunt vermin. Terrier dog breeds vary widely from 1 kg to over 32 kgs. They are typically small, wiry, and fearless. The terrier dog breeds belong to five different types of Terrier. Each group has a different shape and size. 

Talking about their history, most terrier breeds evolved from the older purpose Terrier dog breeds. They were used in sporting contests earlier. These Terrier dog breeds enjoyed competing in events such as clearing a pit of rats and the dog who was fastest in killing all the rats won the game. 

These Terrier dogs, in some eighteenth century, were crossed with hounds to improve their hunting. They were also crossed with fighting dogs to intensify courage in them. Nowadays, terriers are kept as family pets and companion dogs portraying an affectionate and loyal nature toward their owner. 

Types of Terrier Dogs

In Britain, in the eighteenth century, only two types of terriers were recognized publically. They were particularly classified as long-legged and short-legged. Today Terrier breeds are classified on the basis of their size or function they perform.


The hunting breed is used to track, find, or trail quarry. Especially underground and many times to bolt quarry. Examples of such breeds include Jack Russell Terrier, Rat Terrier, Patterdale Terrier, and the Dobermann. There are short-legged Terriers such as Cairn Terrier, The Scottish Terrier, and West Highland White Terrier. They were also used to kill small vermin.

Terrier Type of Dog

The Fell Terrier, the breed was developed in France and assisted in the killing of foxes. The Hunt Terrier developed in Southern England to locate, bolt, or kill foxes during a traditional mount of a fox hunt. 

The other combinations of Terrier and bulldog were used for bull-baiting and dog-baiting in the late nineteenth century. They were later evolved into separate breeds that combined both the qualities of the bulldog and the Terrier. The Boston Terrier, being an exception, was included in the Kennel clubs’ Terrier group. Breeders have also crossed modern type Terrier breeds such as Bull Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier into family dogs and show terriers. 

Toy Terriers are bred from larger Terriers. They are classified in the toy or companion group. These groups include English Toy Terrier, The Yorkshire Terrier. From the initial phase, they retain true terrier character and are not lap dogs. The other descendants of Terrier types such as The Asian Gull Terrier are the dogs still raised for illegal dogfighting games.

Bull-Type Terriers

Bull types of Terriers are a dog subtype of Terriers. It is also a renowned section of the terrier group at the Federation Cynologique Internationale. The bulldog breeds and terriers share the same ancestry in crossbreeding. 

Having a view on its history, In 1835 the blood sports which was once super popular became illegal in some time. Still, the practice of some of these blood sports continued to be practiced secretly. Other sports such as rat-killing or dog fighting had grown in popularity as it was easier to hide such events. The traits of the best dogs are united. Old English bulldogs and Terriers lead to the bull and the Terrier. A varied type of dog that became the ancestor of modern breeds that are part of bull-type terrier groups. 

Some of the known breeds of Bull-type Terriers are as follows:

  1. Boston Terrier

  2. American Pit Bull Terrier

  3. American Staffordshire Terrier

  4. Bull terrier

  5. Miniature Bull Terrier

The extinct breed includes the Blue Paul Terrier and Bull and Terrier. Bull and Terrier are the common ancestors of all bull-type terriers.

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Working Terriers

A working Terrier is a type of Terrier dog which pursues its quarry into the Earth. This evolved with the growth of popularity of fox hunting in Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries. Terriers were popularly bred to follow the red fox and Eurasian badger into its burrow. This is referred to as Terrier work or going to the ground. The purpose of the terrier was usually to locate the quarry or to trap and hold it so that it can be dug down and killed or captured. 

These sports are condemned by British animal welfare organizations such as League Against Cruel Sports, The International Fund for Animal Welfare, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. This was condemned by these organizations because it can lead to undergoing fighting which may lead to serious injuries. Hunting below ground in British is largely illegal under the Hunting Act 2004. Terrier work is legal in the US, Canada, South Africa, and much more of continental Europe.


These are the types of Terrier dogs that were attached to British Hunts. Pack of hounds was devoted to chasing a red fox. The hunt terriers were kept for many reasons following the rat control around stables and kennels. They also run with the hounds to flush foxes from small hiding places. They go into the earth and flush out foxes from underground. 

Hunts and fox hunting is still common in places like the United States. Terriers are little in use here. Breeds that evolved from Hunt Terriers such as Fox Terrier and Jack Russell Terrier are today kept as pets and show dogs. If they are small enough they are also kept or used as working terriers. 

Some of the breeds derived from hunt terriers are:

  1. Border Terrier

  2. Chilean Terrier

  3. Japanese Terrier

  4. Miniature Fox Terrier

  5. Parson Russell Terrier

  6. Plummer Terrier

  7. Ratonero Bodeguero Andaluz

  8. Tenterfield Terrier

  9. Terrier Brasileiro

  10. Smooth fox Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier

This breed is often named Yorkie as a short name. It is one of the smallest dog breeds of the Terrier-type dogs. It can reach up to its maximum size of 3.2 kgs or 7 pounds. This is a popular companion dog and is also a part of the development of other breeds. It has developed a silky Terrier which has a grey, black and tan coat.

They are pretty playful, energetic dogs. People who have Yorkie as a pet often have them in pairs as when left alone they suffer from separation anxiety. 

They are very famous for their unique coat texture. For adults, the importance lies in coat color, quality, and texture. Their hair must be glossy, straight, silky, and shiny. The hair of the Yorkshire breed is used to determine the content of metal in dog organisms. The color of hair should be dark grey to black color from the back of the neck to the base of the tail. The hair on the tail should be a darker tone. On the head, chest, and legs the hair should be bright, rich tan, darker at the roots. In adult dogs, there should be no black hair intermingled with light shade fur. The smooth fine, straight, silky coat is considered to be hypoallergenic.

Adult Yorkie whose coat colors and textures deviate from the standard. They have extra-fine coats or have extra rough coats are still considered Yorkies. They differ in terms where a typical Yorkie should not intentionally be crossbred. In addition, extra care is taken which is more difficult in woolly or cottony textured coats. The coat color is a potential indicator of any disease prevailing in the dog or any health risk present. The long coat on the body means that they require regular brushing. 

Yorkshire breed is pretty easy to train. They have their own nature to work without any human assistance. They are naturally smart and easy to work with. They are quick to respond, many being food or praise motivated.

Appearance of Terrier Dogs

Terrier dogs range widely in appearance. They usually vary from very small to light-bodied to smooth-coated dogs. An example being English Toy Terrier which weighs as little as 2.5 kgs to the very large, rough-coated Terrier which weighs as much as 32 kgs. A new hairless breed of Terrier was also derived from The Rat Terrier which was also called the American Hairless Terrier. They were originally registered as a hairless breed of Rat Terrier. Many American Hairless Terriers are still born with a coat, they are recognized as a new coated variety. 

Kennel Clubs 

A Kennel club or Canine council is an organization for canine affairs. It concerns itself with the breeding, promotion, or showing off more than one breed of dog. In the mid Nineteenth century, Kennel clubs became very popular. The Kennel clubs are also referred to as ‘all-breed clubs’. Here, breed refers to purebred dogs, not including any hybrids or crossbreed dogs. A breed club is where a club handles only one type of breed. 

The clubs’ role usually includes maintaining breed standards, recording pedigrees, and issuing the rules for conformation dog shows. They serve as registries. It is usually a list of adult purebred dogs and maintains the list of litters of puppies born to purebred parents. The club usually manages the aspects of the dog breeds. 

Nowadays Kennel clubs are specialized in working dogs or conformation show dogs. The working dogs are used to perform some specific task. They are sometimes described as any dog trained for and employed for a particular task. Other specified times, their breed heritage or inbound characteristics lend themselves to working. They are not specially trained for this task. It is also used as a synonym for herding dogs. 

Dogs’ clubs for mixed breed dogs are gaining grounds. They are now sometimes categorized as Kennel clubs. There are some known Kennel clubs namely, The Kennel Club, The American Kennel Club, The United Kennel Club, and the Canadian Kennel Club. Each of them offers K9 events, training programs, and dog registration services. 

FAQs on Terrier

Q1. What is the Function of the International Kennel Club?

Ans. The Federation Cynologique Internationale represents over eighty countries and has ties to many countries’ major kennel clubs. There is also a reciprocal agreement between affiliate members of FCI. 

People who practice the hobby of dog fancy have their own dog clubs. It also includes the nations that have active groups of dog breeders. They are affiliated with those of other countries. Countries have reciprocal arrangements and dogs registered in one country can be re-registered in another country as well. This happens if the dog is imported. 

The most widely accepted Kennel Clubs accepted for English-speaking countries are:

  1. American Kennel Club

  2. Kennel Club of India

  3. United Kennel Clubs

  4. Kennel Union of Southern Africa

  5. New Zealand Kennel Club

  6. East Africa Kennel Club

  7. Canadian Kennel Club

  8. The Kennel Club ( United kingdoms )

  9. Australian National Kennel Council

Q2. Which Species is a Bingley Terrier?

Ans. The Bingley Terrier is a common name of Airedale Terrier. It is a dog breed of Terrier type which originated in the valley side of River Aire. It is also called the King of Terriers. The term given to this breed is because it is the largest of the Terrier breeds. It was bred from Old English Black and tan Terriers. 

This was originally bred to serve versatile hunting. In Britain, this breed has also been used as a war dog, guide dog, and police dog. In the United States, Bingley Terriers are used to hunt big game, waterfowl, upland birds. They serve in many other activities as well. The particular traits of this breed are as follows:

  1. They usually possess a height of 22-24 inches.

  2. The bitches possess a height of 22-23 inches.

  3. Weighs around 40-50 pounds and bitches weigh around 35-40 pounds.

  4. They have broken coats.

  5. Have a color coat of black saddle with tan ears, legs, and head, dark grizzle saddle.

  6. They have a litter size of 9 puppies

  7. Life span varies from 10-12 years.

Q3. What is the Appearance Trait of English Toy Terrier?

Ans. The English Toy Terrier possesses 25-30 cm height and 2.7 to 3.6 kgs of weight. They have only permitted the color of black with defined tan markings on the face, chest, and legs. They have a movement like the extended trot of a horse. They have round almond shaped eyes and candle flame ears.

The specified traits are according to the Kennel Club ( UK )