This section is from the book "British Dogs, Their Points, Selection, And Show Preparation", by W. D. Drury. Also available from Amazon: British Dogs: Their Points, Selection And Show Preparation.
Outside the somewhat restricted range of the dog Fancy, comparatively few people have any idea of the general appearance of this essentially Scottish variety. It is true that at the larger shows in England classes are sometimes provided for the breed; but Paisley is the centre of the Clydesdale Fancy, and thither we must journey if we would find real enthusiasts in this silky-coated Terrier.
The Clydesdale Terrier is a fancier's dog, a sport from the Skye Terrier stock; but whether a product of natural adaptation to changed conditions, or the result of the introduction of blood of an allied variety, cannot with certainty be said. The Terrier whose cause the Clydesdale Terrier Club has espoused corresponds more closely in most points with the Skye Terrier than many of the dogs formerly exhibited as Paisley Terriers and Glasgow Fancy Skye Terriers did. Twenty-five years ago Terriers under the last two names were frequently seen at shows in the West of Scotland, and were sometimes shown in Skye Terrier classes; they differed from each other considerably in size and shape, many being much shorter in body than is now recognised as characteristic of this variety.
Since dog shows became fashionable, there has been a growing tendency to subdivision of varieties, and nowhere has this been more strongly evinced and acted upon than in the Terriers. It has also been fashionable to give the segment, when separated from the parent stock, a name marking it as peculiar to a nationality, principality, or locality. In many cases the appellation has been arbitrarily bestowed, the sub-variety not specially belonging to the place its name implies. These names, however, being distinctive, are convenient, and no harm is done, except when the admirers of such breeds, in their enthusiasm, offend by too roughly jostling truth through claiming too much.
The Skye and Clydesdale are variations from a common stock, but considerably modified in appearance by the treatment they receive in the process of rearing and constant attention to their toilets.
The Clydesdale Terrier of to-day corresponds in size with the Skye Terrier. Although some admirers of the Clydesdale Terrier claim for him hardiness and fitness for Terrier work; but it is evident that a dog with a coat that looks like silk is simply a toy.
The late Mr. Thomson Gray, the greatest authority at the time upon the Terriers of Scotland, thus wrote of the Paisley, or Clydesdale, Terrier: -
"Paisley Terriers are not so large as the average show Skye, which they much resemble. The non-dog-fancier would say that they were Skyes with a fine coat; but a discerning eye would see that they were a more compact dog, rather higher on the leg, shorter in the back, and with a greater wealth of hair of a delicate shade, and very profuse ear-feather (Fig. 103). At home - that is, in Paisley - they are spoken of as ' Silkies,' to distinguish them from the Skye Terrier. At Martin's early shows in Glasgow these dogs were exhibited as Skyes, and often won prizes as such. But the Skye men would not have it: war was declared, and the poor Silky, with its wee army of supporters, had to surrender, and retire to that town of thread on the banks of the Cart, where it lived in obscurity until about the year 1885, when Mr. John King, Mr. J. B. Morison, the writer, and a few more, interested themselves in the breed, got classes for it, and set it on its legs again.
Evil times again fell upon poor Silky. There was a revolution and a civil war. A new club was started called the Clydesdale Terrier Club, and each had its supporters; but the old adage, that a house divided against itself cannot stand, came true, and the poor Silky, driven from pillar to post, ceased to interest any but those few enthusiasts in Paisley who may be said to have manufactured the breed.
That injudicious mating of Skye Terriers or some accidental cross with a mongrel produced a pretty-coloured, soft-haired Terrier is perhaps the nearest approach to the truth with regard to the manner in which the Clydesdale Terrier originated, but at best it is only conjecture. That the Paisley Terrier is no new breed, we know, and from it was produced the Yorkshire Terrier, a dog that was not so many years ago known as a Scotch Terrier, and is so described by Dr. Gordon Stables in the first edition of the 'Practical Kennel Guide.'
For those who want a fancy dog for a pet and who like something more substantial than a toy, I can recommend the Clydesdale Terrier. They are pretty dogs to look at, and they are dogs that will repay any little attention given to them. Like all long-coated dogs, they require a certain amount of washing and grooming to keep them in good order; but any one with a real love for his pets could never grudge them such attention. They require the same kind of treatment as a Yorkshire Terrier, which, from whatever cause, has always had a limited number of admirers. The coat of a Clydesdale Terrier in texture resembles that of a Yorkshire Terrier in being long, soft, fine, straight, and free from wave or curl. The hair parts down the back and hangs straight, almost touching the ground. The colour is various shades of blue - a fine, clear, dark blue being considered perfection. As a rule the colour is inclined to run light, and in a purely fancy Terrier I do not see why it should not be pure white. Sometimes a yellow tinge will be noticed on the hair about the head, and especially in those of a lighter colour. The hair on the ears, head, and face is long and very profuse; this is characteristic of the breed. The eyes are completely obscured with hair, and the ears, which are large and prick, have a very heavy fringe; this is another important point. The tail is carried gaily, but not over the back or in a curl - the more it is in line with the body, the better.
Fig. 103. - The Clydesdale Terrier.
In character Clydesdale Terriers are generally good-natured, and like to be petted; they are lively house-dogs, cleanly in their habits, and show any amount of intelligence. The wonder is that English fanciers have never taken up the breed. They are as show dogs far superior to many other breeds, and for a lady no better pet or companion could be found."
The following are the description of and points for judging the Clydesdale Terrier, as adopted by the Skye and Clydesdale Terrier Club: -
A long, low, level dog with heavily fringed, erect ears, and a long coat like the finest silk or spun glass, which hangs quite straight and evenly down each side, a parting extending from the nose to the root of the tail.
Fairly long, skull flat, and very narrow between the ears, gradually widening towards the eyes and tapering very slightly to the nose, which must be black. The jaws strong and the teeth level.
Medium in size, dark in colour, not prominent, but having a sharp, Terrier-like expression. Eyelids black.
Small, set very high on the top of the head, carried perfectly erect, and covered with long, silky hair, hanging in a heavy fringe down the sides of the head.
Long, deep in chest, well ribbed up, the back being perfectly level.
Perfectly straight, carried almost level with the back, and heavily feathered.
As short and straight as possible, well set under the body, and entirely covered with silky hair. Feet round and cat-like.
As long and straight as possible, free from all trace of curl or waviness; very glossy and silky in texture, with an entire absence of undercoat.
A level bright steel blue, extending from the back of the head to the root of the tail, and on no account intermingled with any fawn, light, or dark hairs. The head, legs, and feet should be a clear, bright, golden tan, free from grey, sooty, or dark hairs. The tail should be very dark blue or black.
SCALE OF POINTS
Texture of Coat
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Legs and Feet