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.
Some old pictures of terriers dating back 300 years illustrate cross-bred looking creatures, some of them bearing more or less the distinctive characteristic of the turnspit. Others show a considerable trace of hound blood, but not one, so far as the writer has come across, is hound marked, or bears any more white than is usually found on the chest or feet of any dog.
The Earl of Monteith over 200 years ago had an excellent strain of terriers, good at vermin of all kinds, but especially useful as fox killers. It has been said that James I. possessed some of these little dogs. That this sometimes called "most unkingly of monarchs" kept hounds is a matter of history, but whether he worked the terriers to assist them we are not told. Long before James's time, dogs had been found useful in conjunction with nets for the purpose of catching foxes, also to kill them as vermin. The wardrobe accounts of Edward I. show the following entries : "Anno 1299 and 1300. Paid to William de Foxhunte, the King's huntsman of foxes in divers forests and parks for his own wages, and the wages of his two boys to take care of the dogs, £9 3s." "Paid to the same for the keep of twelve dogs belonging to the King," etc. "Paid to the same for the expense of a horse to carry the nets".
However, perhaps more to the purpose than this extract is the copy of an old engraving which lies before me at the present time, entitled "James I. Hawking." Fawning at the feet of the monarch are four dogs, evidently terriers, though some persons might consider them beagles. They are certainly terrier-shaped in heads and sterns, though the dog most distinctly shown is hound marked, and possesses larger ears than the others. One in the corner, evidently almost or quite white, possesses what at the present time would be called a "well-shaped, terrier-like head," and, although one ear is carried rather wide from the skull, the other drops nicely.
With the commencement of the present century and towards the close of the last one, more was written about terriers, and, as useful little dogs, they were gradually becoming appreciated. Beckford alludes to black or white terriers, and from these two varieties white ones with black marks could easily be produced. The same author mentions a strain of terriers so like a fox in colour that "awkward people frequently mistake the one for the other".
Between the years 1800 and 1815, an unusually large number of sporting books and works on hunting and dogs were published, all of which dealt more or less with terriers. "The Sporting Dictionary," 1803, says, "Terriers of even the best blood are now bred of all colours - red, black with tan faces, flanks, feet, and legs; brindled, sandy, some few brown pied, white pied, and pure white; as well as one sort of each colour rough and wire-haired, the other soft and smooth; and, what is rather more extraordinary, the latter not much deficient in courage to the former, but the rough breed must be acknowledged the most severe and invincible biter of the two. . . . Four and five guineas is no great price for a handsome and well-bred terrier".
Here we have a description of the terrier very much as he still remains. There are the red or fawn in colour, which may be represented to-day by the Irish variety; the black with tan faces of the so-called Welsh terrier, or the black and tan terrier; and the white, and white and pied of the ordinary fox terrier".
In Bingley's "Memoir of British Quadrupeds" (1809), two terriers are beautifully etched by Howitt. The copy in my library has coloured plates, and one of them delineates two terriers, one of which, with a rather heavy coat, is apparently dark blue and tan in hue, with semi-erect ears and an uncut tail. The other dog is smooth-coated, with erect ears, black and tan in colour, and each would be about 2olb. in weight. In his description Bingley says, "The terrier is a fierce, keen, and hardy animal . . . some are rough and others smooth-haired; are generally reddish brown or black, of a long form, short-legged and strongly bristled about the muzzle".
Daniel, in his "Rural Sports" (1801), does not tell us anything particularly new about the terrier, nor does he attempt to throw any light upon its origin, but the "Sportsman's Cabinet," published two years later, gives an engraving from a picture by Reinagle, of these terriers, two of which are more or less white and patched, the other darker in colour, with a white collar and white on his muzzle, their ears are erect, their coats fairly dense or hard, and they are engaged at a fox-earth, or something of the kind. These terriers of Reinagle's were a noted strain in their day, and fetched from one pound to twenty pounds apiece. They were undoubtedly fox terriers.
The Dandie Dinmont terrier does not appear to have been noticed by our writers about this time, but that it is one of the old varieties of terriers, I believe, and, although it did not receive its distinctive name until about 1814, when Sir Walter Scott published "Guy Mannering," similar dogs were no doubt fairly numerous on the Border long before that time.
Between 1830 and 1840, writers tell us of the Scotch terrier and the smooth - haired English terrier, a contributor to the "Sportsman" (1833), and Brown, in his " Field Book" (the same date), giving the palm to the Scotch terrier as the finest and oldest variety. In the first-named publication, there is an engraving, said to be of a Scotch terrier, which, so far as shape, style, and character are concerned, would make a very good cropped Irish terrier of the present day. However, about this period and earlier, different localities were producing different kinds of terriers, and we now hear for the first time of one which answers the description of the modern black and tan or Manchester terrier.
The first writer to give any reliable particulars as to many of the now increasing varieties of the terrier was "Stonehenge," who, in 1855, published his "British Rural Sports." In the early edition of that valuable work, he mentions bull-terriers, smooth English terriers, both white and black and tan; a Skye terrier, a Dandie Dinmont, a rough-haired terrier, and a toy terrier, and at the same time conveys the impression that there are other varieties, as there no doubt were, of less general interest and importance. How the varieties have increased, or at any rate how they have been defined and distinguished, since that time is in evidence wherever we turn, and, forming an opinion from what has taken place during the past ten years, there may be more so-called varieties of the terrier yet to come.