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.
Terriers and hounds were, a century or two ago, kept in considerable numbers in the north of England, and in Scotland, by the farmers and others, who required them to kill the foxes which at certain seasons of the year were extremely destructive to the hill flocks. Some of the farmers would keep a hound or two, another a few terriers, and so on, such animals being great favourites, and forming part and parcel of the family household. There is a story told of one old Cumbrian, who, owing to the bad times, had to leave his farm, and ultimately he came to a state of extreme poverty. Friends who had known him when in better circumstances relieved him occasionally, but going from bad to worse he was compelled to seek relief from the parish. An officer called to see the poor old chap, whom he found sitting in a broken-down chair with an aged and grizzled foxhound at his feet. The official told him that he could not receive any assistance so long as he kept the hound, and asked that it might be destroyed. This the hungry farmer, with tears in his eyes, would not allow; "Nea," he. said, "me an" Bellman has leeved tagither an 'we'll dee tagither," and, notwithstanding the protestations of friends, he refused to part with his dog, and continued to starve and starve, sharing his crusts with his faithful canine companion until the old hound died. The master was not long in following it to the grave.
Men such as the above kept the dogs on the Borders; so much per head was given for each fox killed, the amount, which varied from sixpence to a shilling each, no doubt going to pay for the refreshment of the farmers and their servants when out on such hunting expeditions, the whole of the hounds and terriers kept in the district banding themselves together on such occasions. The gipsies, too, were » a sporting lot then as they are now, and they had their dogs too. Many of them, even as recently as forty or fifty years ago, kept a couple or so of otter hounds in addition to their terriers, and they were keen at the sport.
About twenty years since I was otter hunting in the north; an otter had been bolted, which we had lost for a short time, and our hounds were making casts to pick up the lost scent. On the high road close by were a couple of gipsies' vans, from one of which stepped out a comely "Romanic" The weather was cold even for the end of April. "Eh ! young man," said she to me, "be careful wi' those hounds; both my father and grandfather became crippled wi' rheumatiz before they were forty-five years old through wading in the water when otter hunting." I can see the young woman now as I saw her that day, when, leaning on my pole, I watched old Rally (young Rally then) trying every little stone by the beck to find the missing scent, and I often wondered why she so addressed me. Happily, wading in the water, after either hounds or fish, has not yet "crippled me wi' rheumatiz," although I heeded not the gipsy's warning.
Perhaps sc>me of our terriers were descended from "Piper Allan's," who was immortalised in Dr. Brown's "Horae Subsecivae" (1858), where he said of one of his dogs that it was "of the pure Piper Allan breed." Piper Allan (Thomson Gray says, in "Dogs of Scotland," 1891) was the son of William Allan of Bellingham, Northumberland, who was born in 1704. This William "had much shrewdness, wit, and independence of mind, and in early life he became a good player on the bagpipes. For a livelihood he travelled about the country mending pots and pans, making spoons, baskets, and brooms, and was an excellent fisherman. He married a gipsy girl, and had six children, James (the "Piper") being the youngest, and born in 1734.
Dr. Brown says: "This Piper Allan lived in Coquet Water, piping, like Homer, from place to place, and famous not less for his dogs than for his music, his news, and his songs. The Earl of Northumberland of his day offered the piper a small farm for one of his dogs, but after deliberating for a time, Allan said, "Na, na, ma lord, keep yir ferum; what wud a piper do wi' a ferum?"
No doubt this dog was one of the same strain with which the piper's father had hunted the otter, about a dozen of which he kept for the purpose. It was he who said of one of his crack dogs, "that when Peachem gives mouth I dare always sell it otter's skin ! " Another well-known dog of his was called Charlie, which, after doing some excellent work in assisting to kill otters in a fish pond of Lord Ravensworth's, at Eslington Hall, the steward wished to buy at Allan's own price. This was, however, refused with the expression that "the whole estate wad nae buy Charlie." These stories certainly favour the supposition that there was a strain of hound in such terriers - otter hound, of course, and, judging from their appearance and characteristics, I believe this was the case.
But I have already wandered too much in Borderland and enjoyed myself in the realm of supposititious history, and must advance into the region of fact; this I will commence with a summary of an interesting letter from Mr. James Scott, of Newstead, writing to the Field in 1869, under the nom de plume of "A Border Sportsman." This letter was brought about by others that had previously appeared in the same journal, just at that period when the Dandie Dinmont terrier was becoming popularised.
In 1800 James Davidson (he died in 1820) was presented by Dr. Brown, Bridgeward, with a bitch called Tar and a dog named Pepper, both very small and very short in the leg, with long bodies, large and long heads, ears large and pendant, like a hound's or beagle's, but a little more pointed in the lower end. About this time Mr. Davidson took the Hyndlee farm, and shortly afterwards Mr. Stephenson, the tenant in Plinderleigh, procured for him another of those small terriers. It was no relation to those he already had, being from Roth-bury, where that peculiar small breed was to be found in the greatest perfection, and bred by the Aliens, Andersons, and Anguses. This Rothbury specimen was very dark in colour and rough in coat. The descendants of these three form the first of the pepper and mustard, or Dandie Dinmont, race of terrier.