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.
This Venture was as good a terrier of his variety as I ever saw, without the slightest particle of bulldog appearance, built on proper lines, with a coat above the average in hardness and denseness, and a head in length and quality of the best; it was, indeed, ill luck that the incompetence of the judge so dishonoured him by withholding the first prize and giving but the second.
Between the years 1872 and 1880 comparatively few wire-haired terriers were shown at Curzon Hall; in the former year there were but two entries, but later some dozen or so appeared about the average. Most of the best dogs during this period came from the neighbourhood of Malton in Yorkshire. Venture, already alluded to, was by Kendall's Old Tip, a well-known terrier with the Sinnington Hounds; he had a successful career on the show bench, and to my mind was certainly the best of his variety at that day. In 1874, however, the "Stud Book" contained but four other entries of wire-haired terriers, and with one exception they were owned by Mr. Wootton. Wasp, first prize Manchester in 1873, has no sire or dam given, and Mr. Gordon Sanderson appears to be the only man at that day who kept the pedigrees of his terriers. The wonder was that he did so, as his favourites did not bring much money. For instance, Venture had been shown in a variety or mixed class, one in which different descriptions of dogs compete against each other; and, entered at thirty shillings, he was so good as to attract attention, and the man who gave seventy shillings for him was thought to have more money than sense. However, the purchaser, Mr. Holmes, of Beverley, was right, and such a dog as Venture would to-day command one hundred guineas at least.
A half brother to the last-named dog was called Tip, a white terrier with blue, badger-pied marks on his body and head, not an unusual colour then, but seldom seen nowadays. At Liverpool Show in 1889 a dog named Carlisle Young Venture similarly marked was benched, and Mr. Donald Graham, one of our oldest supporters and best judges of the variety, told me it was directly descended from Tip. The latter, a peculiarly heavily muscled dog, would weigh, I fancy, hard on to 2olb., he had such a strong back, and powerful bone. His head was a little too short, and his coat, though hard, was scarcely profuse enough. His small ears and determined dare-devil look out of his little dark eyes, gave an amount of character that is sadly deficient in the terrier of to-day, who possesses an advantage only on the score of neatness. After changing hands two or three times, Tip, who was born in 1872, went into Mr. Shirley's kennels, from whence he visited the shows and did a great deal of winning, but he was always to Venture in the wire hairs what Tartar had been to Old Jock in the smooth variety - the bull terrier of the party.
From the strains of these two dogs have sprung-most of the modern so-called wire-haired terriers, but, unfortunately, so many crosses have been made with their smooth cousins, that there is little chance of to-day finding the old blood pure and uncon-taminated.
There appears a semblance of strangeness that the wire-haired terriers from Devonshire have not been more used for show bench purposes, and by all accounts some of them were as good in looks as they had on many occasions proved in deeds. Those owned by the Rev. John Russell acquired a world-wide reputation, yet we look in vain for many remnants of the strain in the Stud Books, and the county of broad acres has once again distanced the southern one in the race for money. But, although the generous clerical sportsman occasionally consented to judge terriers at some of the local shows in the West, he was not much of a believer in such exhibitions. So far as dogs, and horses too, were concerned, with him it was "handsome is that handsome does," and so long as it did its work properly, one short leg and three long ones was no eye-sore in any terrier owned by the late Rev. John Russell.
Some of this "Russell" blood still remains in the West of England, Mr. C. G. Archer, of Trelaske,. Cornwall, has had it for thirty-five years or more.
The dogs are about 181b. in weight, bitches 151b. to 161b., white in colour with more or less black and tan markings, and in work their owner says he has never seen their equal with either fox, otter, or badger.
To come to the more modern strain, of which it has been said, and with truth, that Mr. W. Carrick's Tack, born in May, 1884, is the best of his variety that we have yet seen. He is a 171b. dog, and his chief defect lies in a scantiness of coat on his sides and ribs, and down his legs, but what there is, is of good, hard quality. Why the jacket is thin can easily be judged, for his sire Trick had for his dam Patch, a smooth-coated bitch by Buffet out of Milly, who was likewise a smooth-coated bitch descended from the Trimmer family. This Patch must not be confounded with other terriers of that name, as has been the case, for she was owned by Mr. A. Maxwell, and was not the bitch of Mr. Proctor's, that came from the same district of Durham. Tack's mother was the wire-haired bitch Lill Foiler, whose dam was said to be a granddaughter of J. Russell's Fuss, but whether this be the case is open to doubt. Lill Foiler, too, had the blood of the smooth strain in her veins, and possibly to Jester, sire of Trick, a pure terrier of the old stamp, he owes all his quality. Indeed, this dog has been of such service in promoting the excellence of at least one side of the present strain, that some description of him may be given.
Jester, by Pincher out of Fan, born in September, 1877, was bred by Mr. S. Rawlinson, Newton Morrell, near Darlington. There were three in the litter, all dogs, two died in puppyhood, and, his sire being sold, the alliance between him and Fan was not repeated. Jester's dam came from Mr. M. Dodds, Stockton-on-Tees, son of an ex-member of Parliament for that borough, and not from Jack Dodds, of whom Mr. A. Maxwell, Croft, purchased his favourite, and he always regretted the pedigree further than sire and dam could not be obtained. Pincher was a great prize winner about 1869-71, and was, with Mr. Donald Graham's Venom, considered the best specimen of his race about that time.