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AKC – Terrier Group

The next AKC group to discuss is the Terrier Group. I’ll admit that I will never own any dogs in from this group… for many reasons but not because they are bad dogs. First reason is that I am lazy… plain and simple. Every single one of the dogs in the terrier group are extremely active and require a lot of exercise. Second reason is that I plan on continuing to own both dogs and cats and because terriers were bred to eradicate vermin, I wouldn’t want to have an accident where my dog would kill one of my cats. Now, I know there have been plenty of terriers living harmoniously with cats, I just don’t want to risk it. Third reason I don’t ever see myself with a terrier is because they are probably the most vocal group of dogs there are. This isn’t going to be a terrier bashing blog though because I have been around a lot of terriers and they are actually a lot of fun.  We will be discussing more about the terrier group below.

 

All terriers were originally bred to be very brave, strong-willed and independent thinkers– thus making them exceptionally stubborn. Terriers need to have a determined owner that is willing to put enough time into training, fulfilling their exercise requirements and some have special grooming needs. I read a statement that said “many describe their (terriers’) distinct personalities as ‘eager for a spirited argument.” – and anyone that has known some of these smaller terriers know just how willing they are to take on a much larger dog they encounter. Terriers come in several different coat types depending on the climate and terrain they originally came from. For instance, Scottish terrier has a wiry coat to help protect them from the harsh conditions of the Scottish Highlands. The Terrier Group can informally be divided into three smaller groups: Short-legged terriers, Long-legged terriers and “bully” terriers.

 

SHORT-LEGGED TERRIERS

Often short-legged terriers are referred to as “earthdogs” (terra is the Latin word for “earth”).  These terriers were bred to be small and flexible enough to pursue vermin into underground tunnels. They have powerful jaws and strong front legs to be able to catch and kill vermin such as rats, woodchucks, gophers and badgers. They had to be smart and self-thinkers because their owners couldn’t be down in the tunnels with them to give them signals on what to do next. They needed to have keen eyesight to do their jobs effectively.  A key trait short-legged terriers have is a piercing, relentless bark that was used so that the aboveground owner could determine their location. Some quick examples of short-legged terriers are the Westie, Cairn and Norwich. Interestingly enough, many terriers are still providing their exterminating talents to this day. I read about how there is a group of NYC terrier owners that are using their dogs to help with the rat problem there.

 

LONG-LEGGED TERRIERS

Long-legged terriers were also bred to be exterminators but besides doing the job slightly differently, they helped out in other areas on farms. Obviously, by their name, long-legged terriers are much larger than the short-legged terriers. They have long, straight legs with pointed feet that they use to dig down to their prey. Besides going after the above listed vermin, these terriers could also dispatch quarry like badgers and foxes. Many old-time farms liked having one all-purpose working dog instead of a team of specialized breeds, so these terriers were also used to herd, guard, retrieve and cart when they were not hunting vermin. The Airedale and Kerry Blue Terrier are examples of Long-legged terriers.

 

BULL-TYPE TERRIERS

These bull-type terriers are the result of the bad days of the 18th and 19th centuries. They were created as gladiators in blood sports during that time period. They were horrifically used to either fight one another, be used in a pack against a staked bear or bull (hence the name) or turned loose in a pit to see how many rats they could kill – all so people could bet on the outcome. Breeders made sure to make formidable gladiators by creating breeds that had large heads, well-developed cheeks, punishing jaws and stocky, muscular bodies. Today, responsible breeders bred bullies to have the appearance of the gladiators of yore but a sweet and stable temperament of a great companion dog.

 

Check out the list below for the fearless terriers group:

Breed Weight (lbs) Height (inches) Life Expectancy (years) Bred for
Airedale Terrier
Male: 51 – 64 23 – 24
11 – 14
Track & course game, exterminator, guard and messenger
Female: 40 – 44 22 – 23
American Hairless Terrier
Male: 12 – 16 12 – 16
14 – 16
Companion
Female: 12 – 16 12 – 16
American Staffordshire Terrier
Male: 55 – 70 18 – 19
12 – 16
Pit fights and bull baiting
Female: 40 – 55 17 – 18
Australian Terrier
Male: 15 – 20 10 – 11
11 – 15
Exterminator of small mammals and snakes
Female: 15 – 20 10 – 11
Bedlington Terrier
Male: 17 – 23 15 – 17.5
11 – 16
Exterminator & pit fights
Female: 17 – 23 15 – 17.5
Border Terrier
Male: 13 – 15.5 12 – 15
12 – 15
Exterminator of foxes & other small vermin
Female: 11.5 – 14 12 – 15
Bull Terrier
Male: 50 – 70 21 – 22
12 – 13
Bull Baiting
Female: 50 – 70 21 – 22
Cairn Terrier
Male: 14 10
13 – 15
Exterminator of foxes & other small vermin
Female: 13 9.5
Cesky Terrier
Male: 14 – 24 10 – 13
12 – 15
Exterminator of rats and hunts in packs
Female: 14 – 24 10 – 13
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Male: 18 – 24 8 – 11
12 – 15
Exterminator of small mammals include otters & badgers
Female: 18 – 24 8 – 11
Fox Terrier (wire & smooth)
Male: 18 15.5
12 – 15
Exterminator of foxes
Female: 15 – 17 15.5
Glen of Imaal Terrier
Male: 32 – 40 12.5 – 14
10 – 15
Exterminator of badgers & other vermin, farm work
Female: 32 – 40 12.5 – 14
Irish Terrier
Male: 27 18
13 – 15
Ratters, Watchdogs, Guardians, Hunter, Companion
Female: 25 18
Kerry Blue Terrier
Male: 33 – 40 18 – 19.5
12 – 15
Hunter of small game & bird, herds sheep & cattle, exterminator
Female: slightly less 17.5 – 19
Lakeland Terrier
Male: 17 14 – 15
12 – 15
Exterminator of foxes, otters & vermin
Female: Slightly less Slightly less
Manchester Terrier
Male: 12 – 22 15 – 16
15 – 17
Exterminator of vermin
Female: 12 – 22 15 – 16
Miniature Bull Terrier
Male: 18 – 28 10 – 14
11 – 13
Above ground ratter
Female: 18 – 28 10 – 14
Miniature Schnauzer
Male: 11 – 20 12 – 14
12 – 15
Ratter
Female: 11 – 20 12 – 14
Norfolk Terrier
Male: 11 – 12 9 – 10
12 – 16
Exterminator of small vermin
Female: 11 – 12 9 – 10
Norwich Terrier
Male: 12 10
12 – 15
Exterminator of small vermin
Female: 12 10
Parson Russell Terrier
Male: 13 – 17 14
13 – 15
Exterminator of foxes
Female: 13 – 17 13
Rat Terrier
Male: 10 – 25 10 – 13mini
12 – 18
Ratter
Female: 10 – 25 13-18 standard
Russell Terrier
Male: 9-15 10 – 12
12 – 14
Exterminator of foxes
Female: 9-15 10 – 12
Scottish Terrier
Male: 19 – 22 10
12
Exterminator of rat, fox & badgers
Female: 18 – 21 10
Sealyham Terrier
Male: 23 – 24 10.5
12 – 14
Exterminator of otters
Female: slightly less 10.5
Skye Terrier
Male: 35 – 45 10
12 – 14
Exterminator of foxes & badger
Female: slightly less 9.5
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Male: 35 – 40 18 – 19
10 – 12
Ratter, guarding chicken coop, herder
Female: 30 – 35 17 – 18
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Male: 28 – 38 14 – 16
12 – 14
Pit fighter (other dogs & ratter)
Female: 24 – 34
Welsh Terrier
Male: 20 15
12 – 15
Exterminator of rat, fox & badgers
Female: Slightly less slightly less
West Highland White Terrier
Male: 15 – 20 11
13 – 15
Ratter
Female: 15 – 20 10

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