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.
Following the death of James Hinks, of Birmingham, his two sons continued to show their partiality for their father's favourite dogs, and from their kennels many of the modern prize winners have come. For a considerable period Mr. R. J. Hartley, of Altrincham, had a very excellent kennel. His Magnet and Violet, so long as they lasted, monopolised most of the prizes on the show bench, and both were undoubtedly very handsome specimens of their race, as was Mr. A. George's Mistress of the Robes, a daughter of Mr. J. Hinks's old Dutch, who had proved himself almost phenomenal as a sire. The "Stud Book" says Dutch was by old Victor - Champion Countess. Mr.. R. J. Hartley, who bred Dutch, tells me that his dam was by Young Gambler from old Daisy, but which Victor sired Dutch is a matter of uncertainty. It was certainly not the old Victor alluded to on a previous page as being found dead in his box in 1872. Dutch, in the 1884 "Stud Book," was said to be about six years old at that time, so his pedigree is doubtful.
With extended classification at shows, and. further alterations therein in the matter of weight, the latter probably brought about by the scarcity of the small-sized bull terrier, good specimens went into more hands. The weights now are arranged as dogs and bitches exceeding 3olb., dogs and bitches between 2olb. and 301b., and dogs and bitches under 2olb. Thus there is little or no inducement to produce those excellent little dogs of not more than 161b. in weight, for such would have little chance of being successful against an equally good specimen half as heavy again. That there is material for re-popularising the breed I am quite certain, and at the last Birmingham show, in November, 1893, several very nice little dogs were shown, at least their character and style were nice, but their crooked fore legs and wide shoulders kept them out of the prize list. Still, the material remains to be improved upon.
Messrs. Lea, of Birmingham, have lately shown some good bull terriers; so has Mr. S. Fielding, of Trentham; whilst Mr. F. North, of Streatham, has been particularly successful, and his Streatham Monarch, which was sold to America for about £80, was certainly one of the best bull terriers of the last year or two. Mr. G. Blair's White Queen (Edinburgh), was likewise another of our very best bull terriers; indeed, I consider these two quite equal to anything we have had since Mr. Hartley's brace, already mentioned. Grand Prior, who has won many prizes, is not deserving of a high place of excellence, solely on account of the fact that his mouth is not level, and for this reason Mr. S. E. Shirley put him out of the prize list at one of the Bath shows. Another celebrated bull terrier whose mouth was not quite level was Mr. Hartley's Magnet. I fancy that, in what I should call the palmy days of bull terriers, a dog with such a malformation would never have been shown, or, at any rate, he would never have attained that high position which Grand Prior appears to have done.
Other modern large-sized bull terriers of more than ordinary excellence have been Messrs. C. and P. Lea's Greenhill Wonder and Faultless; Mr. T. F. Gibson's Sherbourne King; Mr. G. H. Marshall's Boston Wonder; Mr. J. W. Gibson's Bellerby Queen; Mr. J. R. Pratt's Greenhill Surprise; Mr. F. Bateson's Lord Gully, Perseverance, and Le Rose; Mr. R. J. Hartley's Hanover Daisy; and this list might be considerably extended, though I have probably mentioned the best bull terriers up to date.
Three years ago, the late Jesse Oswell, of Birmingham - a prize-fighter by profession, but a gentleman in nature - had some good dogs, nor must the names of Mr. F. Hinks, Birmingham; Mr. J. S. Diggle, Chorlton-upon-Medlock; Mr. James Chatwin, Edgbaston; Messrs. Mariott and Green, Gloucester; Mr. J. Rickards, Birmingham; Mr. J. H. Ryder, Manchester; Mr. W. J. Pegg, Woodcote, Epsom; Mr. Firmstone, Stourbridge; and Mr. C. L. Boyce, be forgotten, as the owners and breeders of choice specimens of this variety. In London, Mr. A. George, a son of the great Bill George, has given much attention to the breeding and exhibition of bull terriers, and between him and Mr. F. Hinks, of Birmingham, must be divided the honour attending the reputation of being the largest dealers in bull terriers in this country.
I have already casually alluded to what must be considered the small variety of bull terriers, such dogs as are under 161b. weight, and not animals of 251b. weight starved down until they can be shown in the class restricted to animals not more than 2olb. In our early days of dog shows these little bull terriers were common, and remarkably popular. Now a really good specimen is not to be found, nor will there be any inducement to reproduce such a dog unless the present weight arrangement in dog show classification is changed.
Those who can carry their recollection of bull terriers back for twenty or twenty-five years, no doubt remember such dogs as Dick, Nelson, little Rebel, Triton, Jenny, Kit, Riot, and others shown by Mr. S. E. Shirley; and Mr. Addington's Billy, Mr. J. Willock's Billy, Mr. J. F. Godfree's Napper, Mr. S. Lang's Rattler (a 10lb. dog), and Mr. J. Hinks's Daisy. These were all bull terriers under 161b. in weight, shapely, well-made, smart, and so far as I can learn, and know from my own experience, were as game and hardy as any terrier ever bred. Somehow or other they came to languish; the classes provided for them did not fill, and with the result that now stares us in the face, the little bull terrier is no more - at least, he is no more in that perfection of form we saw him on the benches in Birmingham and in London, when Mr. Shirley's gallant little dog Nelson ruled the roast.
In 1866 there were twenty entries of bull terriers under 10lb. weight at the London show, and at Laycock's Dairy Yard three years later there were thirty-two bull terriers under 151b. weight against nineteen over that size. Then the former had two classes provided, the latter one class. Now things are reversed, nor can I agree that the fittest survive. Most of these terriers came from the Midlands, Birmingham being responsible for the best of them. Nelson was so bred; but another good one of Mr. Shirley's, Dick, had some strains of London blood in him. Unfortunately the pedigrees of these early-date little bull terriers were no more reliable than are those of their larger cousins, and I fancy that they were bred so in and in that they became difficult to rear, and so degenerated. They were never toys, like the small black and tan terriers, and even when crossed with the white English terrier, then more numerous than he is to-day, they maintained their distinguishing character as well as could be expected under the circumstances.