- Advice to Would-be Purchasers
Oh, these are those new dogs that are so fashionable just now!" I overheard this remark at a Kennel Club Show. Only British shyness prevented my audible correction. Indeed, James I. sent six from Argyle to France as a present, with the imperative direction that they were to travel in two or more ships, "that they get no scaith on the way!"
Cannock and Dileas. Cannock is the sire of the famous champion Kiltie, a dog seldom defeated
Photo, Russell & Sons, Crystal Palace
No new freak of canine fashion is the sturdy little Highlander, but a distinct and ancient species. The attempts of some breeders to destroy his character by imparting to him the type valued in the modern Scottie are, I trust, doomed to failure. White Scottie he is not, and never was. He lacks the long, lean head, heavy bone, and general carthorse appearance of his brother Scot, and is altogether smaller. He has a more lively expression, and a shaggier look, thanks to the sensible law which permits him to be shown untrimmed.
To understand what a good West Highland white terrier should look like, note these points. In colour he should be white, though he is often distinctly creamy, or with a creamy tinge down bis spine, and, incidentally, is none the worse on that account. Still, with most judges, whiteness of coat is considered an essential point. In this connection it should be noted that the original dog was just as often sandy, steel grey, cream, or brindle, and in many families owning their own strain, as have the Malcolms of Poltalloch for over a century, white coats were regarded with disfavour.
In texture the coat should be soft underneath, and longer, more wispey, and coarser above. On the head the hair is fairly short and hard, but is longer on the jaws, legs, and feet. There should be soft hair between the pads of the feet. The neck, however, by nature is adorned with a frill, and the flanks are covered with fairly shaggy hair.
The body should be of medium length. though the taste for short backs is affecting this point as with the Scottie. The ribs should be well sprung, the loin muscular, and the quarters powerful, so as from behind to present a square appearance. The legs must be short, strong, and straight, and the bone solid, but not coarse.
The shoulders, which are fairly wide, should slope, and be well set into the dog's back. The chest should be deep, though not so deep as that of the Scottie, and for this reason the legs will seem to be higher. In fact, the West Highlander should be essentially an active, quick-moving terrier, full of fire and elan.
The head, perhaps, differentiates him most sharply from the Scottie. It is more wedge-like in shape, and though of reasonable length, not so long and lean. It should taper sharply from ears to nose, and look somewhat more foxlike than that of the Scottie. The skull should be slightly domed, the "stop," or break in the profile between eyes and muzzle, being well defined. The eyes should be set far apart, and the muzzle well filled in beneath them. In colour they should be dark, not too small, slightly oval in shape, and be shaded by thick eyebrows; their expression is more kindly than that of the Scottie. The ears should be pointed, erect, small, and rather wider apart than those of the Scottie. Drop-eared specimens are discouraged, though they are often found in a litter.
Mrs. Burrell's Littlebury Rhona. a charming and typical little specimen Photo, Russell & Sons,, Crystal palace
The feet must be firm and compact, and the dog's weight borne equally on all the pads. The front ones, as with the Scottie, are bigger than the hind ones, and the left foot often turns outwards more than the right. The stifle, or joint of the hind leg, corresponding to the human knee, should be well bent, so as to bring the hind feet well under the body.
The tail should be short, thick at the base, and tapering to a point, thickly covered with hard hair. It should be carried gaily, but not curled.
The movement of the dog should be good - free, long, smooth, and devoid of all stiltedness.
In expression - a most important point with all terriers - the Highlander should be bold, intelligent, fearless, yet benevolent and affectionate, without any of the piercing hardness or dourness of his cousin. It should express his disposition, which is that of a gay, active sportsman, peace-loving, but no coward.
Dazzler Sands, bred by Mr. Dixon Teage, a famous winner sold to
America in 1910 for a record price. Dazzler is typical in coat, size, expression, and of pure colour
Photo, Russell & Sons, Crystal Palace
His weight should be less than that of the Scottie, being about 16 lb. to 17 lb. for a dog, and 15 lb. for a bitch.
His treatment should be that of the Scottie, and it must always be borne in mind that though a smaller and "prettier" dog, he is as truly a sporting terrier, and, as such, is ruined if treated as a lapdog. He is hardy and fond of exercise and sport, and to do well should have plenty of both. If, therefore, he can be preserved from the machinations alike of that breeder whose ideal is a terrier like every other terrier, barring only size, and the fashionable lady who feeds dogs on sugar and deprives them of all true "dogginess," then his future welfare and popularity are assured.
At present the price of these dogs runs high, Glenmohr Model fetching £200 from an American buyer in 1910, though with increase in his numbers it will doubtless fall. See, therefore, that you pay a fair price to a breeder above suspicion, or the chances are that you may secure an animal whose only claim to the name of a West Highland white terrier may be that he has a white coat. If you have no reliable friend to guide your choice, then select a dog whose general appearance in no way is that of a Scottie, but of the smaller dog which has been described in this article.