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.
Dr. Edwardes Ker wrote to me some six or seven years ago of a strain of black and tan wire-haired terriers, once common in Suffolk and round about. His informant, Mr. Sharpe Sharpe, was at that time approaching a hundred years old, and for nearly seventy he had been master of fox hounds. These terriers were described as built on modern fox terrier lines, and so game as to go "screaming mad at fox and badger and at anything worth going for." But, as I have said, it was indeed a poor sporting district which did not possess at any rate one fairly distinct strain of terrier, whether such was known under the then all-embracing title of Scotch terrier or the narrower one of the town, mansion, or locality to which it was indigenous. About 1886 several letters were published relative to these old-fashioned terriers, and following them, classes were provided at two or three shows, but such were not successful in unearthing the true article, and the majority of the awards went to miniature Airedale terriers, certainly dogs whose dimensions were too great to allow them to perform their work satisfactorily in a badger or fox earth, and classes provided for similar terriers a dozen years before met with little support.
Some little time ago, I was much struck with a number of terriers in the possession of Mr. J. H. B. Cowley, of Callipers, near King's Langley. I do not know that I ever came across any little dogs that more appealed to me. They were mostly white or marked like a fox terrier, their coats were hard and wiry, without fluffiness about them, and they were short on the leg, nearly as much so as a Scottish terrier, and their heads and jaws were long and powerful, almost out of proportion to the size of their bodies. They had drop ears, but like most long, heavily-bodied dogs, were inclined to be crooked on their fore legs. 1 have not of late seen any strain of terrier which better deserves perpetuating than this of Mr. Cowley's. They are very game, are kept for their legitimate work of assisting at underground work where badger and fox are concerned, and are adepts at killing rats and other vermin. I need hardly say that they abound in character, and are not more than 161b. weight each. The white dogs in Mr. Wardle's drawing are two of Mr. Cowley's noted terriers. I may say he keeps a Stud Book of his own, and mates all his bitches carefully. However, I will, in his own words, give a few particulars of Mr. Cowley's favourably known strain of terrier.
He says, "This strain has practically the same blood in them as several show dogs on the benches. But ever since I kept a terrier I have always gone in for a short-legged one, as I think such are more suited for all the work a terrier ought to be called upon to do, and particularly underground, where long legs are practically useless, and often in the way. Therefore I always breed with this point in view, selecting the shortest legged ones out of each litter to work and breed from if they enter all right; using now and again a 'show dog' as cross out if he is a worker, and has other points I want to get. Those puppies that take after the bitch I keep in preference to those taking after the sire in length of leg. I have also gone to the Sealy Ham strain. The points I try to breed for are especially long, powerful heads, small drop ears, weather-resisting jackets; if a little long in the back none the worse for work underground, where they can turn and twist about better than a very short coupled dog. Nearly all animals that live much underground are made thus, long in body compared to length of leg, such as moles, weasels, stoats, polecats, badgers, etc.
"I try to breed the terriers as straight in the legs as 1 can, but like most short-legged breeds, vide Scottish terriers, Dandie Dinmonts, and some spaniels, it is hard to get them perfectly straight - the shorter the leg the more difficult it becomes to get them perfectly straight. I would not draft an otherwise good dog because he turns his toes out. As for weight, I like 161b. for dogs and 14Żlb. for bitches. At this weight they can possess bone enough and have their ribs well sprung, and need not have such exaggerated narrow fronts, which a big dog must possess if he is to get into an ordinary-sized earth - suffering consequently, I think, from insufficient room for play of lungs and heart. For all work that a terrier is called upon to do, I think a 161b. dog is the best.
"I do not think a terrier's place is with a crack pack of foxhounds in a grass country after cubbing time".
Mr. Cowley further says, that some of the terriers are almost too game underground, as when they are so they are liable to get terribly punished by the badgers. There are usually about four to six couples of full-grown terriers in the kennels at Callipers, c c where great pains have been taken to individualise the game and interesting little dogs during the past twenty years. He first commenced his strain with a little short-legged terrier purchased from Patrick, stud groom to the old Surrey Foxhounds, and a very game wire-haired bitch, showing a little bulldog blood in her face. She was bred to a son of old champion Tyrant, a small dog and very game, as most of this grand old dog's stock were. Mr. Cowley proceeds, "but perhaps a bitch called Sting, bred in Cornwall, by a fox terrier out of a low-legged, yellow, wire-haired bitch, much of the shape and form of the modern Scottish terrier, did more than any other dog I ever owned to get me the stamp that I particularly fancy. Through her have come all my best, including Viper, the best of all [the white dog to the left in the group of terriers at the commencement of this chapter]; Sting was his gr. gr. gr. gr. dam".
There is a strain of terrier much talked about of late known as the Sealy Ham, so called from the seat near Haverfordwest of the Edwardes', whose family it is said, have had the strain for well on to a hundred years. This is another short-legged, long-bodied terrier, with certain characteristics of the fox terrier. He has a hard, wiry, weather-resisting coat; is mostly white, with black or brown, or brown and black marks, occasionally pure white, and certainly not more than 181b. or so in weight. He has been described as a short-legged, longish-backed dog, strong and muscular, of unflinching courage, hard biters (too much so in some instances), and of unflinching courage." The black and tan marked dog in the centre of the group heading this chapter is a Sealy Ham terrier.