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.
Of the original Scottish terriers some there were with semi-erect ears, others with prick ears, as so admirably produced in Mr. Wardle's picture at the commencement of this chapter. The prick ears are acknowledged now as the more fashionable, though I fancy years ago the semi-prick ear was the more common. I have seen some excellent little dogs with semi-erect ears, as good as those with erect ears, but the tyrant Fashion at present holds only the latter the correct article, and by his opinion we have to abide. Classes have been provided for each of the varieties at some of the leading Scottish shows, but those for dogs with their ears "down" have never been well supported. However, the fact must not be overlooked that as puppies the ears are usually carried thrown back or forwards, some even not attaining the correct and erect position until six or eight months old. The hard, crisp coat, too, does not always appear until the puppy is casting its first set of teeth. And this hard coat is a sine qud non, and no prize ought to be given to any Scottish terrier unless the coat is thoroughly hard and strong and crisp and close - it is the hard-haired Scottish terrier, a fact which some judges have sadly overlooked. Another defect too common and often over-looked is to be found in the bat-like ears with round tips, which some breeders consider to point to a cross with an impure strain. However, they are very unsightly, and ought to act as a very severe handicap on dogs possessing such aural appendages.
There is no denying the fact, even if anyone wished to do so, which I do not believe is possible, that during the last half dozen years the Scottish terrier has advanced very much in popularity. It might have done so even to a greater extent had there not been the Irish terrier and the fox terrier, who had preceded him in the field. So far there has not been much change in his make and shape, although every now and then a cry out has been made about big dogs winning. The gradation to cause this is extremely simple and easy, and I believe that the climatic, domestic, and other surroundings of the Scottish terrier in the south have more than a tendency to make him grow bigger than he really ought to do. Originally few or any of the best strains ran to more than 181b. weight at most; the majority of terriers were 41b. below that standard. Still, when a dog is brought into the ring that in show form is 2olb., and he is good in all respects, it is a difficult matter to discard him on account of size. Thus he wins. Perhaps some time later he meets a still bigger dog, one that may run to 22lb. or 241b., and it would be very difficult to, as it were, disqualify the latter on account of size alone. And so we have bigger dogs than many people believe to be the correct size, winning prizes.
Dundee, perhaps, when owned by Capt. Mackie, and after, did as much winning as any Scottish terrier. I fancy he of late years when on the bench, having grown wide in front and thick, would weigh not less than 241b., and other dogs equally big have repeatedly been put into the prize lists at our leading shows. Indeed, one well-known English admirer of the variety says the great difficulty he has in breeding these terriers is to keep them small enough. In the show ring the only way would be for the club to make a hard and fast rule as to weight, and put each dog in the scale before awarding it a prize or a card of honour.
Another matter to guard against is the production of an inordinately long body and crooked fore legs. Now, it is all very well for Scotsmen to say that their terrier should have crooked fore legs, but why should he have them? There is no reason in the world why such a pretty little dog ought to be malformed, and crooked fore legs are a malformation. Until recently no trouble had been taken to have them as straight as they might be, and so the crooked legs cropped up, as they always have done and always will do with long heavy bodies to support - bodies indeed quite out of proportion to the limbs.
A well-known scientist at the Natural History Museum, South Kensington, on being asked his opinion as to the crooked legs now found on many varieties of the dog, said "the outward curve of the fore limbs of the dachshund (and I suppose of the Scottish terrier, although I do not know them so well) is an inherited deformity unlike anything in nature".
Mr. H. J. Ludlow, one of our oldest admirers of the variety, is likewise of my opinion as to the deformity of the crooked legs, and, in allusion to the above, says this statement from South Kensington is more of an argument in favour of straight fore legs in a Scottish terrier than all the asseverations that have been made by breeders of dogs crooked fronted, that a straight front means ruination. "I take it that if Nature thought bent fore legs were a necessary formation for animals that depend upon burrowing for their safety, nay, for their very existence, she would have produced the requisite curve in at least some of them. I am satisfied to have Nature for my guide in breeding, and so long as I produce terriers that have to follow and do to death these straight-legged diggers, I shall be content with the spades that I find she has supplied her creatures with rather than run after the 'inherited deformities' that some prejudiced persons go rabid over. Looking at the question from a show point of view, there can be no doubt that a terrier with straight fore legs is a far more taking animal than one with crooked limbs, and, if for that reason alone, Scottish terriers are, sooner or later, bound to be bred with fronts as straight as those of the animals they are taught to look upon as their hereditary foes".
We do not want the Scottish terrier as unwieldy as the Dandie Dinmont or as the dachshund. A more active animal than either is required - one that can climb over rocks both above and below ground, and follow hounds in his kind of fashion. We want him an active, symmetrical little dog, on short legs, with a deep chest, not too long in body - in fact, just such an animal as is produced on another page. Mr. Wardle has drawn me two Scottish terriers which, to my mind, in make, shape, character, length of head, etc, are perfection.