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.
Poor Sam ! I even now think of him with regret. We had to part, and he was sent to Manchester to do duty as guard in a warehouse and shop. But the smoky Cottonopolis he did not like, nor the confinement; instead of snarling and barking at the tramps, he "canoodled" with them and made friends - as a watch-dog he was useless. Perhaps he pined for Prince and the cricket field, for the riverside and the country walks. He died of a broken heart, for he did not like the large town's ways.
This was nearly thirty years ago, and friends of mine still tell me "You never had another dog like Sam," or "Sam was the best dog you ever had." I knew another bull terrier about this period that would jump into the water off the highest bridge that could be found, and, as a set off would put out the flame of a blazing newspaper, or crush a red-hot cinder in his mouth - surely an apt pupil of the "asbestos man," and of the "professor" who dives into a tank from the top of the Westminster Aquarium. But such dogs as these were not show dogs, and, no doubt, shows really made the bull terrier as he is to-day, and caused the almost total extinction of any other bull terrier excepting the white ones. Why white was eventually fixed upon as the correct colour I have already surmised, and as a rule modern specimens breed pretty truly to this hue, though cases of a coloured mark on the eye or on the ear crop up in nearly every litter. Usually such dogs were destroyed at their birth, as being unfitted for success on the bench, though an instance will be mentioned later on where a so-called patched dog did a considerable amount of winning.
To the late Mr. James Hinks, of Birmingham, a noted dog-dealer, who died in 1878, we, in a great measure, owe our present strain of bull terriers. Somehow or other he contrived to get together a strain of white dogs, specimens of which he exhibited with great success at some of the earliest shows, but the very earliest canine exhibitions did not provide classes for bull terriers.
It was early in the fifties that James Hinks began to cross the patched, heavy-headed bull terrier, used for fighting, with the English white terrier, and in due time he produced dogs handsome enough to make a name for themselves, and able to revolutionise the variety. Some of the old "doggy men" said this new breed were soft and could not fight. "Can't they?" said Hinks, when talking to a lot of his London friends at the Holborn Horse Repository dog show in May, 1862. "I think they can." "Well," said one of the London school, "let's make a match." Hinks, nothing loth, did make a match, and backed his bitch Puss - that day she had won first prize in her class - for £5 and a case of champagne, against one of the short-faced patched dogs similar in weight. The fight came off the same evening at Bill Tupper's well-known rendezvous in Long Acre. It took Puss half-an-hour to kill her opponent, and so little the worse was she for her encounter that she appeared on the bench next morning, a few marks on her cheeks and muzzle being the only signs of the determined combat in which she had been the principal over night. When accounts of this became bruited abroad, although it was not generally believed, the popularity of the "long faced" dog was established. This, however, is somewhat of a digression.
Birmingham in 1864 followed the example of the London committee in providing a class for bull terriers, and it had an excellent entry of twenty-eight. Here Hinks won first prize with Madman, and second with Puss, positions which the same dogs had occupied at Ashburnham Hall, Chelsea, a few months earlier. However, at the latter place the class had been divided for dogs over 10lb. in weight, and for dogs under 10lb. in weight, and a somewhat similar arrangement as to size came to be generally adopted a little later on.
Thus early we find considerable confusion with regard to these bull terriers, solely from the persistence with which their owners stuck to the names of "Madman" and "Puss." Already several bearing both names were shown, and won prizes too, and, although they came to be entered in the first volume of the "Kennel Club Stud Book," no reliance can be placed upon many of the pedigrees published therein. Mr. Joe Walker showed a Puss in 1864, so did Mr. Hinks, and the Stud Book, published in 1874, contains no fewer than twelve bull terriers called "Madman," many of which, I have no doubt, were one and the same animal; and the same volume contains five bitches named "Puss." To separate one from the other, and to verify all the pedigrees, which, as I have said, in many cases were extremely doubtful, would be impossible now.
The dog Madman (2739), which once belonged to the writer, was of a strain distinct from that found in Birmingham, being by a very good old dog of Mr. Joe Walkers called Crib, from Mr. James Roocroft's Puss. Both these breeders also had white English terriers, with which they had, I fancy, at some time or other crossed the Hink's strain of bull terriers, producing a very nice style of dog, not so heavy and massive as those from the Black Country. This dog Madman was a handsome and companionable creature, and as good a swimmer as ever entered the water. Bull terriers are often good water dogs, and I remember the late Mr. Tom Pickett, of Newcastle, telling me of a bull terrier that he had, I think it was Wallace, a prize winner, which won a swimming match in the Tyne.
Still, dealing with the doubt that clings to the early bull terriers' pedigrees, to further complicate matters the name "Victor" became a fashionable one, and, including a "Young Victor," six such appeared in the first Stud Book, and there are an equal number called "Rebel." We must, however, presume there was but one real "Madman," and that belonged to Hinks; Dr. Walsh illustrated him in the " Dogs of the British Isles," and he, like all contemporary writers, speaks highly of the sagacity of the bull terrier, and of his adaptability as a companion. He alludes to rough or wire-haired bull terriers, which are, however, of no account, nor ever were; and there is no doubt that the modern strain is in a great measure due to the animals that sprang from the midland counties, and some few that were bred in the big towns of Lancashire.