Breeder, Exhibitor, and Fudge
In a previous short article (page 2735, Vol. 4) the history and points of the smooth-haired fox terrier were dealt with. It is now the intention of the writer to deal with the wire-haired variety of this breed.
At present (1911) it is distinctly fashionable - due, no doubt, in a large measure to the fact that Caesar, the late King Edward's favourite dog and constant companion, is a wire-haired terrier, and a very fair specimen of his breed. He was bred by Her Grace the Duchess of Newcastle, and after being successfully exhibited at one of the London shows, was presented to his late Majesty.
The show points of the two varieties, with the exception of coat, are identical, and as these have already been enumerated in the article referred to, it will not be necessary to reiterate them. But very great stress must be laid upon this one differentiating point. The real wire coat is something extremely difficult to obtain, and when once established in a strain, not by any means difficult (with a little injudicious mating) to lose again. Briefly described, it should be of medium length, extremely dense, straight, and of the texture of pin-wire. There should be no soft woolly coat any-w h e r e - particu-larly about the head and ears, on the sides, and also underneath.
Champion Dusky Siren - probably the very best of her sex ever exhibited. She was bred by Mr. Redmond, and bought by Miss Hatfeild, for whom she won many prizes
As the coat in this variety is an all-important point, it may be of interest to the novice to learn that some excel-1 e n t specimens have been bred (as in the case of the writer's kennel) from a cross with the smooth-coated breed. In a litter from such a mating there will be, as a rule, specimens of both varieties, and it quite possibly may be that a perfect wire coat will be amongst the progeny.
Of course, it is quite within the bounds of possibility to improve vastly the texture of a wire-coated specimen, and that quite legitimately. It should be mentioned incidentally that the rules of the Kennel Club, which govern dog exhibitions in general, are very stringent on this point, and inflict all sorts of pains and penalties for what is usually termed, by the doggy fraternity, "faking" - that is, altering the texture of the coat so as to make it appear good, either by loading it with alum or some other chemical which has the property of making it hard and brittle, or by applying solutions which have the same property. Both processes, of course, are highly reprehensible, and should never be resorted to.
The following few hints, however, may quite safely be followed, and, from personal experience, with eminently satisfactory results. First of all, if in health, a wire-haired terrier should never be washed, as it is quite unnecessary. Instead, he should be brushed thoroughly with a stiff dandy brush for a few minutes daily. This is of the utmost importance if he is to be kept in the best of condition. Also once or twice weekly, the owner should rub into his coat a little of the best whiting (the kind used for whitening ceilings serves the purpose admirably), and then one of the ordinary combs, with teeth about one-eighth of an inch long - supplied by all the best known providers of kennel appliances - run through his coat a few times. The comb must be held at right angles to the coat, and it is. not necessary to use much pressure. Simply hold the comb firmly in the fingers, and run it through. Used in this way it removes all dead coat, and also any stray matter, such as thorns and brambles, that may have found its way in in the course of the morning gallop, or possibly while at work in covert or hedgerow.
After the comb has been used in the manner described, the dog must, of course, be brushed, and finally given a rub with a clean duster or a dog bather.
It may be added that the operations above described should be carried out either in a room where dust is of no consequence - as there will be of necessity much flying about after the whiting has been used - or out of doors. Likewise, the operator should wear an overall of some kind. The light linen coats worn by motor-drivers are excellent for the purpose.
As detailed above, the combing and brushing may appear to the reader, who is possibly an owner of a wire-haired fox terrier, as a very lengthy and troublesome process, but in practice it only occupies a very few minutes, if done regularly, and the enormous difference in the appearance as well as the comfort and health of his pet and companion will amply repay him for the slight trouble entailed.
The principal breeders of the variety are her Grace the Duchess of Newcastle, whose success has been due to her excellent bitches and her skill in mating them ; Miss Hatfeild, whose terriers' names all bear the "Morden" prefix ; and Miss Lewis, of Paignton ; and of the sterner sex the names most widely known are those of Mr. Redmond, Mr. W. S. Glynn, Mr. Cody, Mr. Raper, Mr. Mutter, Mr. Brumby, Mr. Mowlem, Dr. W. E. Pitt Pitts, and Mr. A. E. Hill.
The photographs illustrating this article are those of the late King Edward's favourite, Caesar, and Champion Dusky Siren, once the property of Miss Hatfeild, and probably one of the very best of her variety ever seen. Mention should be made of the Duchess of Newcastle's world-famous Champion Cackler of Notts, winner of endless firsts and championships, whose name appears in the pedigree of most winning dogs of this variety.
Caesar, the late King Edward's favourite dog and constant companion, is a wire-haired terrier bred by her
Grace the Duchess of Newcastle Photo, W. S. Stuart
Prices for this terrier average the same as for the smooth variety. A nicely bred puppy will cost, at a few months old, anything from three guineas upwards, according to its promise of future appearance. If chosen from a well-known strain and a breeder of repute, he will be a healthy, handsome little dog. not difficult to rear, and capable of being trained for the field as well as the house.