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.
There is no doubt that when dog shows were first instituted the black and tan terrier was a much commoner animal than he is now; at any rate, the classes for him were much better filled then than is the case at the present time. For instance, at the Holborn Show in 1862 there were forty-two of the variety benched, divided equally in two classes, one for animals over 51b. in weight, the other for dogs and bitches under 51b. At Leeds in the same year the classes were even better filled, the latter having thirty-six entries, the former twenty-seven entries; and at one of the London shows in 1863, that at Ashburnham Hall, there was an actual entry of ninety-five black and tan terriers, divided into three classes - for dogs and bitches over 71b., for the same between 71b. and 51b. weight, and for others under 51b. One is apt to wonder what a show committee would think were such an entry to be obtained to-day, and certainly as matters are at present, with about a dozen entries in four classes, as may be found at Curzon Hall, the black and tan terrier has not become popularised with the spread of the dog show.
The most successful dog at these earliest shows was Mr. G. Fitter's (Birmingham) Dandy, a goodlooking terrier-like dog, illustrated in "Dogs of the British Isles," but he had much more tan about him than would be deemed a recommendation to-day, nor were his "thumb marks" - a black splash on the tan ground of the foot about the size of the end of the thumb - and "pencillings" sufficiently distinct, still he was a nice terrier. Then as now the "black and tan" was mostly to be found in the Metropolis and in the large centres of the Midlands and Lancashire. Mr. J. Wade, of Clerkenwell, about the sixties had a lot of smart terriers, so had Mr. Fred White, of Clapham, and Mr. W. Macdonald, who at the same time had more than a passing fancy for Maltese spaniels and Italian greyhounds, and liked a "trotting horse" too. In Birmingham, Mr. James Hinks had them; Mr. Littler kept some good ones, and so did Mr. Jackson, at Wednesbury.
About this period there were two or three keen admirers of "fancy dogs" in Manchester and the neighbourhood, who devoted much time and trouble to perfect the black and tan terrier, and, however good were the specimens produced by the south country fancier, the northern ones were better. Indeed, this terrier became so connected with Manchester, as to come to bear its name, and the Kennel Club acknowledged it as the "Manchester" terrier, as well as by its own name of the black and tan. The reason for such a fresh nomenclature was by no means obvious, but it remains to this day, and will possibly linger on until this variety of terrier is supplanted by perhaps a more useful but certainly by no means a handsomer dog.
Great names in connection with "the black and tan" were those of Mr. Samuel Handley, of Pendleton, near Manchester, of Mr. James Barrow, near Manchester, of Mr. W. Justice, Manchester, and of Mr. R. Ribchester, Ardwick, the latter's Colonel being about the best stud dog of his day, and one of the best bred ones. The pedigrees were very lax at these times before the "Stud Book" was published, and even for long after its publication. Pretty nearly all the sporting publicans and many of the working men of Cottonopolis and its neighbourhood kept and bred these terriers, and from them the best specimens were purchased by Mr. Handley and by others, who in turn resold them to the leading exhibitors.
To exhibit a black and tan terrier to perfection was one of the " arts" of dog showing. The ears were to be carefully attended to, i.e., any loose or unsightly hairs had to be shaved off, the whiskers were cut, and then there came the general "faking" or trimming, which, if found out, would certainly lead to the disqualification of the dog and its owner. Without going so far as to say that no black and tan terrier was ever exhibited successfully when in its natural condition, I certainly do not exaggerate when I say such is seldom the case; but the "art and mysteries of faking" are not followed to the same extent as once was the case, although this sort of thing is still carried on and even allowed by the Kennel Club. There might be white hairs to pluck out or to darken, on the chest or elsewhere; the stern was to be trimmed; the hind quarters, which were often far too brown, had either to be plucked or again darkened; the tan, if rather pale or "cloudy," could be brightened up even to the extent of dyeing or staining, and the "pencilling" and "thumb marks," without which no dog was supposed to have much chance of winning, could, if absent, be produced. I was told years ago, that one of the most successful black and tan bitches that ever lived, and was thought to be quite invincible, was indebted to art, and to art only, for her thumb marks! That this was probably no exaggeration the following will perhaps prove.
I was judging a pretty strong lot of black and tan terriers at a west country show some few years ago. Amongst them was a beautiful bitch which then appeared for the first time, and, notwithstanding the fact that she was absolutely without thumb marks on her fore feet, I gave her first prize. Some time after, in conversation with her owner, I alluded to his bitch, and said she was so terrier-like in body and general character that I had no hesitation in placing her where she was, notwithstanding her deficient markings. "Well," said her owner, "------ tells me that the celebrated ------ never had a thumb mark at all, and that he made them artificially, and offered to do the same for my bitch, but I did not care about running any risk, and she is good enough without them." I was well acquainted with all the parties concerned, and, at any rate, twenty years ago this "faking" of black and tan terriers was carried on to an alarming extent, and it required an expert to detect where deception had been practised. This was owing to the fact that markings were, and still are, a sine qud non in the black and tan terrier, more so indeed than in any other dog, not excepting either the Yorkshire terrier or the Dalmatian.