Origin of the Breed   General Appearance   Cost

Origin of the Breed - General Appearance - Cost

In a charming article, Mr. Coulson Kernahan once said very truly that "having an Aberdeen terrier is like having a son in the ministry."

The word to which the lovers of that unparalleled terrier will take exception is

Aberdeen." "There ain't no sich person," as Sairey Gamp would rightly have said. To the lucky owner and the canine expert alike he is the Scottish terrier. It is like his sagacity and general smartness that, in a land swarming with terriers of different sorts, he has annexed the proud title of the Scottish terrier! So, reader, beware of the dealer who attemps to sell you, perchance an ignorant Sassenach, an "Aberdeen" terrier, as distinct from a Scottie. As Mr. Mccandlish drily observes, the chances are he is trying to foist upon you an extremely bad Scottish terrier.

Origin Of The Breed

Like many another dog aristocrat, the exact origin of the Scottie is wrapped in. mystery. The best authorities agree that a rough-coated, short-legged terrier has ex-isted in the Highlands for many centuries, and it is probably to this ancient strain that the modern Scottish terrier, the Skye ter-rier, and the West Highland white terrier owe their origin. Their individual peculiarities are not necessarily due to any mixed blood, but to the fact that in a wild and rugged country with _ little intercommunication, such as was Scotland in former days, the strains in the course of time, owing to various local causes, came to exhibit differences which local taste approved and found useful, and therefore perpetuated.

The history of the Scottie begins, for modern purposes, about 1880, and was recounted in a monograph by Mr. Thomas Gray, in 1887, so that a period of about twenty-five years or so marks his introduction to the public and the show-ring.

For a time the name of the breed was unsettled, for he was called indifferently the Cairn or the Highland terrier. The exact reason for the still-used name " Aberdeen " terrier is doubtful, possibly because some of the earliest dogs shown came from that district. But no other term than Scottish terrier is now recognised officially. " Die-hard," from his sturdy character, or "Scottie," as a friendly diminutive, are the only permissible variations.

'winkle  Photo, M. I. Hunt

'winkle" Photo, M. I. Hunt

Property of G. K. Chesterton, Esq.

As a pure-bred dog costs no more in licence and keep than a mongrel, and is certainly as intelligent and affectionate - though there is a popular fallacy to the contrary - it is of interest to the prospective buyer to know what famous names of bygone founders of the breed may, and should, appear in an extended pedigree. Two dogs, Mr. Chapman's Heather Prince and Mr. Kinnear's

Seafield, account in some form or other for almost all present-day dogs of importance. Seafield Rascal, with the famous Heworth Rascal, Seafield Admiral, Bonaccord Sandy, Camowen Laddie, Bonaccord Peggy, and Seafield Beauty are also later-names that may appear, as also the names of dogs, and bitches bearing nowadays the well - known prefixes of Bonaccord, Ems, Laindon, Seafield, Heather, Bapton, Hinton, Heworth. In the space of a short article it is not possible to go into the respective merits of different strains, nor does the order of the above-mentioned imply at all their order of respective importance; the names are merely given as they came into the mind.

General Appearance

To describe the general appearance of a good Scottie. In size he should be small, not over twenty pounds for a dog, and about sixteen to eighteen pounds for a bitch. But, with all small breeds, good specimens have a tendency to "come" large, as in large breeds to "come" small. So we must look to other points than size.

The back should be as short as is consistent with activity in a short-legged terrier. Powerful thighs and quarters and well-sprung ribs, with a deep chest, are most essential details in this breed. The ears, lor preference, should be prick, though semi-erect ears are permissible by the club standard; they should be small, covered with velvety hair, and set nicely back on the skull. The distance from ear to eye, or "stop," should be the distance from eye to nose.

The head should be long and well balanced, with a distinct "stop," or break, in the profile, and slightly domed in shape. It should taper in muzzle towards the nose, and be well filled in in front of the eye. The mouth should be level, and filled with strong teeth, large for the size of the dog.

Champion Laindon Locket Property of H. R. B. Tweed, Esq.

Champion Laindon Locket Property of H. R. B. Tweed, Esq.

The eye should be piercing, somewhat sunken, and dark in colour. Its correct placement, too, is of importance in giving correct terrier expression to the face. The legs should be short and strong in bone, the forelegs well set on under the body, either straight in shape (which is now preferred) or very slightly bent.

The hocks should be bent, the feet small, strong, and thickly covered with short hair, the front being larger than the hind feet. The tail should be from seven to eight inches long, never docked, and well carried, usually at an angle of 45 degrees, or, if excited, at right angles; never curled or twisted.

In colour, black, brown, sandy, wheaten, and the many varieties of brindle are all allowed, but, except on the chest, white markings are objectionable.

The coat, a most important point, should be intensely hard and wiry in texture, dense all over the body, and about two inches in length, except on the head, legs, and tail, where it is short. There should be a double coat, short, furry, and soft underneath, and the straight, harsh, and wiry hair above. A neat yet broken-haired appearance should be the correct idea of a Scottie's coat. A single coat - that is, without the close soft undercoat - or a soft one are both bad, the former being by far the worst defect.

To sum up, the Scottie should be a big dog in a small compass. This ideal is difficult to attain; the best dogs are apt to be of the size that the club standard says is "to be discouraged," and the small dogs are apt to be deficient in bone. Of two evils, choose the dog of good substance but somewhat big for the show-bench.

Remarks On Cost

As with all breeds, the price to pay for a puppy varies, according as a companion or a show animal is bought. In any case, seek a breeder of repute, and if you are a novice, enlist the help of a more knowing friend. Even then, if you choose a puppy from the nest, or at any age less than six or eight months, do not think you have been cheated if he turns out less than you expected. It is impossible so young to do more than hazard a guess as to how the youngster will turn out. You must be a sportsman, and accept your luck.

In any case, if you have but paid a "companion" price, you have not much of which to complain, for a healthy, well-bred Scottie, if well trained and properly fed, makes an ideal friend and companion, hardy, affectionate, and full of sport. He is one who minds his own business, and is not prone to trail his coat on all occasions, like his Irish brother; he is a clean and watchful house-dog, and his sturdy independence and quaint ways - no two of this breed seem to be alike - render his owner his staunch ally.

To ensure getting the utmost pleasure and value out of your pup, attend most strictly, and, at all risks, personally, to his food and exercise. If you care to study this subject more' in detail, read " The Commonsense of Dog Feeding," by that true friend of dogs, Mr. Nicholas, the well-known "Great Dane," also that standard work the "Scottish Terrier," by Mr. Mccandlish, whose beautiful Ems dogs appaar on so many pedigrees.

A group of typical  Scotties  [Photo, M. I. Hunt

A group of typical "Scotties" [Photo, M. I. Hunt

Last, but not least, remember that his breed is classified as a sporting one, and do not attempt to make him a lap-dog. Not that you would be likely to succeed.