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.
Following the above came that good bitch, Bramble, of Mr. G. F. Richardson's, size being her only fault (she was 2olb. weight), which was the common one about this period, as Balance, another first-class terrier, was too big. Mr. Lindsay Hogg's Topper, Jack Terry's Pincher, Mr. Colmore's (Burton-on-Trent) Turk; Splinter, Teazle, Toiler, were all excellent terriers, better almost than any we have now, and so was Mr. R. F. Mayhew's Brittle, which is now in America.
Mr. F. Waddington's Briggs (which afterwards went to Lord Lonsdale), the hero of an assize trial, was perhaps, a terrier second only to Carlisle Tack, and Miss Miggs, Mr. F. H. Field's (and Lord Lonsdale's), was by some good judges supposed to be the best bitch of the variety ever produced. Then Mr. W. Carriers Vora was a great favourite of mine, and so was Mr. J. W. Corner's Eskdale Tzar, a little dog that excelled in eyes, character, and hardness of jacket. When the above were in their heyday the North had the wire-hairs pretty much to themselves, for Yorkshire had been one of their homes, and Mr. W. Carrick, at Carlisle, and Mr. A. Maxwell, at Croft, near Darlington, great enthusiasts in the variety, were giving much attention to them and spending money on them likewise. The former, however, after showing a young dog called Tyro at the Alexandra Palace, in 1889, when but twelve months old, which won the challenge cup and other prizes to the amount of £92, shortly after gave up exhibiting, consequent on the disqualification, six months later, of the same dog for having his ears tampered with to make them drop properly. This was a severe blow to the "fancy," and when, some time later, Mr. Maxwell likewise gave up exhibiting, the wire-haired terriers ceased for a time to prosper to any great extent.
Mr. C. W. Wharton's Bushey Broom was placed in Tyro's position, a good all-round dog, a great-grandson of Topper's on the one side, and a grandson of Teazle's on the other; and Mr. Wharton showed good judgment when he bought him for £25. The next good dogs to follow him were Mr. Harry Jones' (Ipswich) Jack St. Leger and Jigger, two characteristic terriers, brothers, and for the most part their pedigree is confined to the blood of the smooth variety. Jack St. Leger made his successful debut at the Crystal Palace Company's first show in 1889, but good dog though he is, I should place him a position lower in the scale than either Tack or Bushey Broom. After scoring various successes with his two terriers, Mr. Jones disposed of them to Mr. A. E. Clear, of Maldon, Essex, who at the time I write has the largest and best kennel of wire-haired terriers in the country. However, I anticipate.
Other good dogs before the close of the eighties were Pickering Nailer, Cavendish, Jack Frost, Barton Marvel, Liffey, Lord Edward, and Quantock Nettle. Nor must Filbert, better known as Pulborough Jumbo, be forgotten, a black-headed dog, which after being purchased for £7 found a new owner for £ 100. He had no pedigree, was taken to be drowned as a puppy; an accident saved his life then, as another mishap did a little later, when he had been sentenced to death by hanging to the nearest tree. However, he survived to be an ornament to the show bench. These wire-haired terriers were generally game, and one called Ajax, to which I had given sundry prizes in the North of England, I afterwards met at the Sherbourne Hound Show, when exhibited under the name of Lynx, by Moss, Lord Portman's huntsman; he took premier honours for terriers that had run with hounds. On inquiry I learned that he was as good at driving a fox out of his earth as need be desired.
During the past two years I do not think wire-haired fox terriers have made much, if any, headway; rather I fancy they have retrograded. Many of the old exhibitors and breeders of them have dropped out of the show ranks; Mr. Percy Reid, Mr. Lindsay Hogg, Mr. S. E. Shirley, Mr. Mark Wood, Mr. Harding Cox, Mr. F. H. Field, Mr. Colmore, and Mr. Carrick to wit. Nor have their places yet been occupied. Mr. Clear gives, as already stated, his kennels to the wire-haired fox terriers, and so does Mr. C. W. Wharton, and in Devonshire Mr. A. Damarell does likewise; Mr. Rotherham Cecil, at Dronfield, near Sheffield, had for a short time a number of good terriers; at Beverley Mr. E. Welburn at times turns out some dogs of more than usual excellence, and in the Darlington and North Yorkshire district the strain is still kept and valued highly. But, all round, the wire-haired terriers now are not what they were six years ago, when a team of them could, and did, compete successfully against the smooths at the best of our shows. Mr. Clear might bring out a good team now, but we do not know anyone else who could do so at the present time.
Mr. F. Baguley, Mr. C. Burgess, Mr. C. Bartle, and Messrs. Castle and Shannon, and Mr. J. Izod may be mentioned as having special interest in the variety to which this chapter is devoted; and the best specimens now being shown are Jack St. Leger and Jigger, already alluded to; Mr. A. J. Forest's Prompter and Ebor Turmoil, Mr. A. E. Clear's Cribbage, Mr. W. Beacall's Sunfield Frost; Cauld-well Nailer, once owned by Mr. Harding Cox, and sold at his sale for £35 to Mr. Thurnall, his present owner, who after purchasing him for less than £20 had transferred him to Mr. Cox for about a hundred guineas; Mr. E. Bairstow's Rustic Marvel, Mr. H. Stewart's Belle of the Ball, Mr. A. Mutter's Surrey Janet (now in the United States), Rydale Pattern, Daylesford Brush, Valuer, and Velocity; but not one of the above is actually in the front rank.
It may be that the continual breeding from the smooth-coated variety, instead of going back to the old wire-haired strain, is now having its most injurious effect, for, however successful a first cross of this kind, or of any other kind, may be, the succeeding ones seldom or never succeed. Again the modern wire-haired fox terrier requires "trimming" to be shown to advantage; the hair is in fact plucked off his face and from other parts of the body; indeed, one can scarcely say how far this "tittivating" of the show dog does go. I do know that occasions are not isolated where a wire-haired terrier has been purchased, which in a month has grown so much coat as to be scarcely recognisable under his altered conditions. Of course, this cannot be laid down to the "smooth cross," although it may be owing to neglect in the contrary direction a few generations back. It has always been a matter of regret that the Kennel Club has not dealt with the "trimming" or "faking" of some terriers in a high-handed fashion; as a fact some members of the Fox Terrier Club have been on the point of moving the omission of the wire-haired fox terriers from their books solely on account of the so-called "trimming" to which so many of the variety are subjected.