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 had been favoured strains of fox terriers kept at many of the hound kennels; Mr. Slingsby, at Scriven Park, Yorkshire, had them, so had Mr. Donville Poole, Marbury Hall, Shropshire; Sir Watkin Wynne, in Wales, and Lord Hill, in Shropshire. The Rev. John Russell, too, had a good strain; Mr. Cheriton, likewise, in the West of England; Mr. Ffrance, in Cheshire; the Rufford; the Tynedale; the Grove; the Old Berkeley; Mr. Farquharson in Dorsetshire; the Duke of Beaufort, the Hon. T. W. Fitzwilliam, Ben Morgan, Will Goodall, George Beers, Lord Henry Bentinck, Burton, Constable, in Lincolnshire; Belvoir, Albrighton, Atherton, the Duke of Rutland, and the Brocklesby hunt, all had terriers of their own, which were valued highly, and to them one way and another are we indebted for the modern fox terrier.
One strain has, or at any rate should have, improved another, until an ideal and perfect fox terrier had been reached. But I am afraid the result has not, so far, been quite so satisfactory as it might have been. With all the material at hand one would have considered it easy enough to breed almost perfect fox terriers to order. Such is certainly not the case, and, although the multitude of breeders have given us a large number of second and third rate animals, I am almost afraid to state that those really first-class are not to be found in even as great numbers as was the case over twenty years ago. For instance, where could we now obtain two such entries of "champions" as appeared at the Crystal Palace in 1870? In dogs Trimmer was first, Jock, then being past his best, came second to him, and behind them were Old Trap, Rival, Harrison's Jocko, Tyrant, Hornet, Tartar, the Marquis of Huntley's Bounce, Quiz, and, last but by no means least, Old Chance. Nor were the bitches much less high class. Fussy was first, Themis second, Grove Nettle reserve, and following were Pilgrim's Gem, the Marquis of Huntley's Mischief, Nichol's Frisk, J. Statter's Kate, Sale's Nectar, and Gamon's Lively. Now I think he would be more than a bold man who would say he could pick out a score of terriers now, at the beginning of 1894, to match or equal those "giants," which all appeared in one show so far back as 1870. Such being the case the question comes, is fox terrier breeding a failure, or is the art of successful mating played out?
Exhibitors like Mr. T. Wootten, of Nottingham, the late Mr. J. H. Murchison, Mr. J. Gibson, and one or two others must be looked upon as the pioneers of the race, and they have been followed by Mr. Luke Turner, Leicester; Messrs. Clarke, of Nottingham; Mr. J. C. Tinne, Mr. F. Redmond, the late Mr. F. Burbidge, the Messrs. Vicary, and many others whose names need not be mentioned here, for there are more breeders of fox terriers in the country than there are days in the year, and fashion changes in terriers, if not with each season, at any rate pretty regularly.
Not so long ago the cobby type found favour, now the craze lies in the opposite direction, leggy, stiff, stilty, flat-sided, upright shouldered dogs being very much in evidence on the show bench, though I should like the judges in all cases to stick to one type, which they do not do. Take dogs like Mr. F. Redmond's D'Orsay, his Digby Grand, and until recently his Despoiler, all animals of a different type, still from the same kennels, and all winners. D'Orsay appears to have taken the place of Mr. Clarke's Champion Result as the chief winner of his day, but he is a dog I never cared for at all, his ears are most indifferently carried, he is stiff and stilty, and his shoulders are to my idea badly put on; he is a "corky" little dog. Digby Grand was first shown by Mr G. Raper, a game, determined, hardy-looking terrier of the old stamp; a little finer in muzzle and he would have been a Tyrant, still the best terrier of the trio. Despoiler is, on the other hand, a dog with an unduly long head, small, piglike eyes, and a bad expression - by no means in the first rank. There have in fact been few really first class fox terriers produced during the past two years or so, the Vicarys, from near Newton Abbot, having with few exceptions produced the best. Vesuvienne was the best of them for a long time, and may be so yet, but she has been followed by Vengo, Venio, Vice Regal (sold to Mr. S. J. Stephens, of Acton, for £470), Vicety, and others. I should say that at the present time, as has been the case for three years, this Devonshire kennel has been by far the most successful in producing winners, and they are of a stamp likely to be as useful at work as on the bench, and I know the Vicarys do not pamper their dogs in any way.
However, it was Mr. J. H. Murchison, of London, who gave the greatest impetus to the fox terrier as a show dog, he commencing to keep a kennel on a large scale about 1869. His dogs were kept at Titchmarsh, Thrapston, Northamptonshire; they were under the care of the late Mr. S. W. Smith, who at one time had 200 fox terriers, including, of course, puppies, in his kennels. For a long time Mr. Murchison won almost all the leading prizes, and whenever he saw or heard of a dog likely to be better than any of his own, he would purchase it. Trimmer, Bellona Vandal, Pincers, Old Jock, Trap, Grove Nettle, all belonged to him, and the three last he obtained when their show days were over in order to allow them to live quietly and well cared for to the end of their time. But with all the money Mr. Murchison expended on his dogs, it was far below the amount that has been paid to found a kennel at the present time.
A short time ago an interesting note appeared in the Fox Terrier Chronicle, relative to the formation of a kennel of terriers, and, being evidently inspired, is worth reproduction. Mr. S. J. Stephens, of Acton, was desirous of becoming an exhibitor and breeder of prize fox terriers, and at the Fox Terrier Club's Show at Oxford, in the autumn of 1892, he decided to purchase, if possible, the five bitches, Kate Cole and Ethel Newcome, belonging to Mr. J. C. Tinne; Vicety and Valteline, from Messrs. Vicary, and Pamphlet from Messrs. Castle and Shannon.