This section is from the book "The Terriers. A History And Description Of The Modern Dogs Of Great Britain And Ireland", by Rawdon B. Lee. Also available from Amazon: A History and Description of the Modern Dogs of Great Britain and Ireland: The Terriers.
Although in the foregoing pages I have given fourteen chapters to what may well be called different varieties of the terrier, several of the race remain yet unrepresented, and without any reproach on the character of those already described, there are other terriers quite equal to such as are given precedence in the "Stud Book" and by me.
A few years ago an "Old English Terrier Club" was formed, and it sought to bring out of various country districts that hardy, hard-bitten game dog common thereto, and which was used for work. So far this club has done its work but moderately; a few good dogs were through it introduced, but too often the winner, in the special classes provided were either Airedale terriers or Welsh terriers, and a case has been known where a dog was by the judges given honours in both its own class as an Airedale terrier and in that for the so-called old English - variety, which is no variety at all.
Few sporting country districts are or were without their own special strain of terriers, in which appearance was of little object so long as gameness predominated. By "gameness" I do not mean partiality to fighting and cat-killing, and standing being cut up piece-meal without flinching or whimpering, but killing vermin and going to ground after fox, or badger, or otter - wild animals, and not tame, domesticated, and semi-tame creatures. I have seen a dog of great excellence and gameness in a street fight, which would run away and yelp when a big buck rat seized him by the nose. One harm dog shows have done, they have distracted attention from the hardy, intelligent, maybe cross-bred terrier, to what is generally a more effeminate creature, though maybe handsomer in markings and narrower in the chest. As a matter of fact, a really first-class dog for the show bench is far too valuable a creature to run any risk of being killed underground by a badger or by an earth or rock that might fall upon him.
Fancy a five hundred pound fox terrier running after Tommy Dobson's hounds over the mountains of Eskdale, or doing the rough work that is required of such dogs as the Robsons keep up in Northumberland ! Every time such dogs as these go out they carry, as it were, "their lives in their hands." They have to kennel with hounds who might worry them, live on rough but homely fare, swim through wet drains, or go to ground in huge fox earths from which they may never see the light of heaven again. There is the danger of receiving fatal wounds from their game of fox or otter, sweetmart or foulmart, any of which may tear up a nose or split an ear, and finish the recipient of such an injury so far as the show-bench would be concerned. There are terriers which I have already described kept for the latter alone, and no doubt many of them are game enough, but for wild, rough work of hunting in its various forms, other terriers are required as assistants to the hounds, and such of them as I know shall come under the heading of this chapter. And note at the outset that I believe that the terriers of which I am about to write have far hardier constitutions, and are stronger physically than their more fashionable cousins. I have had prize fox terriers of my own, about as good and game as ever were made, properly trained, and entered and kennelled with hounds. Such would go to ground and do all that was required of them, but after a long day they required carrying home, when the so-called "mongrels" were trudging away at the tails of the hounds. They have heart enough, and the inclination, but the physical strength is deficient.
There is or was no particular range or locality for these working terriers; they extended from Northumberland in the north, to Devonshire in the west, and were to be met with in almost every intermediate county.
Away in Devonshire the Rev. John Russell possessed some almost entirely white, hard-jacketed little fellows, whose good qualities are not yet forgotten. Then in far distant Yorkshire we had another terrier, equally game and better looking, and from which has sprung the rough-coated fox terrier now so numerous at our leading dog shows. Wherever hunting the fox, the badger, or the otter was followed these good terriers were found, and perhaps, with the two exceptions named and a few others, such were black and tan, yellow or red of various shades, or pepper and salt. Many of them had some white on their breasts, a white foot or two, and a dash of the same between the black nose and the dark, piercing little eyes was not uncommon. Such dogs varied in size, but were usually less than 2olb. in weight, and if well trained and entered, proved admirable hands at destroying vermin. Some of them were fawn or red, others pepper and salt. Old Will Norris, for fifty years or more a noted earth-stopper connected with the East Kent hounds, had a terrier which, to judge from an engraving in the Sporting Magazine about 1833, was an exact counterpart of some of those shown not long ago by Mr. C. H. Beck, Dr. Edwardes-Ker, Mr. Ashwen, and others as Welsh terriers. Yet his was purely a local strain, that would well have been worth preserving.
One has distinct recollections of various strains of terriers, not show dogs, but animals kept as companions, and trained to hunt and do the work intended for them. Such had always good legs and feet and strong constitutions, the latter not a sine qua non in the champions of the present era. The north of England was usually prolific in producing terriers; the working artisans in the manufacturing centres owned them; the masters of hounds who hunted the foxes on the hills and mountains, where horses could not follow, and only few men, always required a "creeping terrier," that would bolt a fox or worry him in the hole if he refused to face the open. Some had a dash of bull terrier blood in them, others had not. Of the former was a well-known dog called Tory, about 22lb. weight, with ears cropped. He was all white, had a hard, wiry coat, narrow in front, possessed of good legs and feet, and built somewhat on racing lines. The latter gave him such pace, and he was so good a killer, that he often ran far into a stake for whippets, which were nothing else but miniature greyhounds. Tory was a poacher's dog; he could drive hares into the nets at night, and be useful with the ferrets in the daytime; moreover, as a killer of vermin and cats unequalled, he was always in request when the "mart-hunters" required assistance to their fox and otter hounds. He was quiet and good-tempered, but when roused could fight with, and more than hold his own against, any quarrelsome collie in the district. The last of his strain was Tory - where he came from I know not - but as a workman no better dog ever lived.