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.
At this period there was an opening for a popular dog; the fox terrier availed himself of the opportunity, the public gladly accepted his enterprise in so doing, and his progress from the stable and the servants' hall to the drawing-room was rapid.
At the Birmingham shows between 1864 and 1866, three of the great celebrities of those days appeared, viz., Old Jock, Old Trap, and Old Tartar, and the blood of one or the other is to be found in all the best strains at the present time. Of the first-named he was said to have been born in 1859 and bred either by Capt. Percy Williams, master of the Rufford, or by Jack Morgan, huntsman with the Grove. He was about 18lb. in weight, rather high in the leg, and not unlike some of the modern stamp, though with better sprung ribs and not so upright in shoulders; modern judges would call him loaded in the latter respect. He had nice ears, was a well-made, symmetrical terrier, and was said to have run two seasons with the Grove Hounds. Amongst the show people of that day when he was doing all his winning, and had been purchased for his weight in silver, which would be about £6o, he bore the reputation of being soft, and unable to kill rats.
Tartar was a more bull terrier-like dog, with very small ears, most symmetrical in make, short in head, and the very antipodes of Jock. In colour he was white, with a small mark of pale tan over one eye. He weighed 171b., was said to be a very game, determined dog, and he looked it. Mr. Stevenson had bred him at Chester about 1862, and Tartar was pedigreeless. He was not much worse for that, for the pedigrees of all these early terriers are quite unreliable, anyhow. In the early sixties Jock and Tartar were the acknowledged champions, won all the first prizes, and were considered to be most valuable animals. Jock I have written fetched about £6o, Tartar sold for £30, after being advertised in the Field for some time for less money.
Old Trap, the third of the "pillars," is also of doubtful pedigree. The "Kennel Club Stud Book" says: "Mr. J. H. D. Bayly purchased him of Mr. Cockayne, then kennel man to the Oakley Hounds, and later at the Tickham kennels. Mr. Cockayne bought him from a groom of Mr. Isted's, well known in the Pytchley Hunt."Mr. Luke Turner, one of our very oldest admirers of the fox terrier, believes Trap's sire was a dog called Tip, owned by Mr. Hitchcock, a miller in Leicester. This dog bore a reputation for extraordinary gameness, and was the favourite sire used by all the sporting characters in the district. The coachman of Mr. C. Arkwright, then master of the Oakley, put a bitch to this dog Tip, and the result of the alliance was Trap.
The late Rev. T. O'Grady informed the writer that Trap's dam was a heavily marked fox terrier - i.e., one with an unusual amount of black and tan colour on her body and head, and Mr. O'Grady's story was corroborated by the late Mr. S. W. Smith, who for many years was one of the leading authorities on the fox terrier.
Old Trap never realised a big sum, £25, when in the sere and yellow he was purchased by Mr. Murchison, being the most he ever brought. Trap was a 171b. dog, had a pale or mealy tan-coloured head, and a black mark on one side down the saddle, thus giving rise to the expression "a Trap marked" dog or bitch, as the case might be. His head was terrier-like, and of unusual length from the eyes to the nose, whilst his upper jaw was peculiarly powerful. His expression and brightness were much improved by his beautifully placed and perfectly coloured eyes. The ears, small in size, were nicely shaped, and sometimes, not always, well carried, for he had a habit of throwing them backwards, a peculiarity inherited by some of his descendants even as far as the third and fourth generations. He was a little too long in the body, and not nearly so elegantly formed in ribs, neck, hindquarters, shoulders, and elsewhere, as either of the terriers previously mentioned. His fore legs and feet were fairly good, he had more than an inclination to be cow-hocked, and his coat was a trifle long and at times rather too open, though generally of good texture.
Both Tartar and Old Jock, well nigh invincible on the show bench, had little check in their careers, which extended in the case of the former over eight years, and in that of the latter through four years only, whilst I believe Trap was not shown more than half a dozen times, his best performance being when he came second to Jock at Birmingham in 1862.
That extraordinary bitch Grove Nettle should be mentioned here, for to her quite as much as to any one of the couple and a half of terriers already named is due a share in the present production. Bred in 1862 by W. Merry, huntsman to the Grove Hounds, there does not appear to be any mystery as to her pedigree, she being by the Grove Tartar from the Rev. W. Handley's Sting. Nettle was a prettily shaped, tan-headed bitch, with a black mark on her side, a rather long, wavy coat, almost inclined to be broken haired. The Hon. T. W. Fitzwilliam, her owner, said "the difficulty was to keep her above ground." Another good judge said "there was not a more useful animal in the show when she was exhibited in the champion class at Birmingham in 1868," and he further described her as rather long in the body, and although possessing immense bone, not losing one iota in quality. At the Kennel Club, Cleveland-row, may be seen all that remains of this grand bitch, for she is there set up in a case, looking as hideous and unlike that which she was in nature as "stuffed" dogs do nine times out of ten.
Following such dogs as the above came Tyrant from Beverley, bred by Harry Adams, and shown by Mr. G. Booth and others, as good a terrier as I ever saw, all white, as game as they could be made, and a rare sire to boot; Venture, the famous Chance and Risk, of Mr. Gamon's; Mr. Sydenham Dixon's Quiz; Mr. Whitton's Badger all being by him, and as good terriers as man need possess. Mr. Sarsfield's bitch, Fussy, bred by Mr. H. C. Musters; Mr. L. Turner's Myrtle; Gadfly; Shepherd's Lille; Fan, and X. L., both bred by Mr. W. Allison, then residing at Cots-wold; Satire, Pilgrim's May, Mr. Bassett's Spot, Nectar, Trinket; Mr. Chaplin's Venom, were all great terriers about this time. Following them came Mac II., Hornet, Bellona, Trimmer, Vanity, Olive, with Foiler claimed by Mr. Gibson, of Broken-hurst, at Birmingham, in 1874, for £100, where he had been placed second to Tyke, who later on, though a dog with a brindled mark on his head, did a great deal of winning. The latter, when the property of Mr. F. J. Astbury, may be said to have monopolised nearly all the first prizes on the show bench until the dreaded "Rattler" came forward, and he, when the property of Mr. James Fletcher, of Stoneclough, and under the careful guidance of Mr. G. Hellewell, pretty well ruled the roast, especially at the north country shows, and so we are brought down pretty much to the present generation.