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.
The club's points and description are as follows:
"The wire-haired fox terrier should resemble the smooth sort in every respect except the coat, which should be broken. The harder and more wiry the texture of the coat is, the better; on no account should the dog look or feel woolly, and there should be no silky hair about the poll or elsewhere.
"The coat should not be too long, so as to give the dog a shaggy appearance, but at the same time it should show a marked and distinct difference all over from the smooth species.
Head and ears..................
Shoulders and chest............
Back and loin.........
Legs and feet................
Symmetry and character
Grand Total, 100.
1. Nose white, cherry, or spotted to a considerable extent with either of these colours. 2. Ears prick, tulip, or rose. 3. Mouth much undershot"
This description is by no means satisfactory, especially so far as allowance for coat is observed. The points for an actually distinguishing characteristic are far too few, a correct coat is worth 20 points, and an absolutely soft one should be a disqualification. Personally, I would far rather own a white terrier with a "spotted" or "cherry-coloured" nose, and a hard close coat, than I would one with a black nose and a soft coat. Indeed, there is a belief in some quarters that the red-nosed dogs have keener olfactory organs than have those with black nostrils. I think, too, that, however little the dog is undershot, he ought to be disqualified, and one much overshot or "pig-jawed" should likewise be placed at a disadvantage. However, it is to be supposed that descriptions of dogs, like the animals themselves, can never be perfect to all alike, and one honest judge's opinion is pretty much as good as another honest judge's, if the public can only be brought to believe so.
It is no more than human nature that there is difference of opinion as to the merits or otherwise of a terrier. That which may be considered an almost fatal fault by one person, by another may be thought of little detriment. Some judges - men, too, who bear a deservedly high reputation as such, will put a terrier out of the prize list if it be even a trifle crooked on his fore legs or slightly heavy at the shoulders; whilst another dog, narrow behind and weak in loins, to my idea a far more serious failing, is considered pretty well all right so long as its fore legs are as straight as arrows. As a fact, there are judges who have recently gone to extremes in awarding honours to these so-called "narrowfronted "terriers. Such have been produced at a sacrifice of power and strength. Most of these very narrow-chested dogs move stiffly, are too flat in the ribs, they are deficient in breathing and heart room, and can never be able to do a week's hard work in the country, either with hounds or round about the badger earths or rabbit burrows.
A sine qua non with some persons appears to be a long lean head, and jaw long enough, figuratively writing, to "reach to the bottom of a pint pot." There is danger, too, in an exaggeration in this direction, for ninety-nine times out of a hundred the longest and narrowest heads, greyhound-like in shape, are found on that stamp of terrier fittest for coursing matches.
All admirers of the fox terrier must give and take a little from each other, for only by so doing can their favourites be produced to that perfection we are all desirous of seeing attained. A general uniformity of excellence must be the guide in the show ring, and that man is the best judge who makes his awards most nearly in accordance with this rule, and is not led away by a long, narrow head, beautifully coloured, or abnormally straight fore legs; let him find terrier character first, and rummage out minor fanciers' points afterwards.