The Scottish Terrier; Their History, Characteristics, and Development; Green, 1894
This article is excerpted from A THE SCOTTISH TERRIER AND IRISH TERRIER, Their History, Characteristics, and Development to the present standard, etc., a book written by James E. Green and published in 1894. The book is in the public domain and is available in its entirety for download in several formats at the Internet Archive . This article represents the first portion of the book dealing with Scottish Terriers only. I included the book’s Preface at the end of the article to give you a sense of the author’s purpose and goal for writing the book. If you are interested in reading remainder of the book dealing with Irish Terriers please click on the Internet Archive link above.
Janet Tomlinson, Historian
I tried to keep the original English spellings wherever I could. Because I had to use an optical character recognition program to turn the book into an article suitable for publishing here, there may an occasional odd character; please overlook them. Now, on with one of the oldest breed history articles published on the STCA web site.
THE SCOTTISH TERRIER.
D. I. Thomson Gray writes in "The Dogs of Scotland":
"Towards the close of the famous Skye terrier controversy in English journals devoted to canine subjects and field sports, and when the editors of the various papers through which it was dragged refused to print any more letters on the subject, a fresh discussion arose on the ‘Scotch’ terrier. At first the letters attracted little attention beyond the small circle of those interested.
“Scottie's admirers, however, had adopted for their motto, ‘Persevere and succeed.’ and stuck doggedly to their purpose, and persistently kept writing, till they attracted attention. Although scant justice was often done them, and they were sometimes beaten off by editorial authority, they returned again and again to the charge, each time securing some little encouragement to renew their exertions. With such persistency did they pursue this line of action that it was said of them, 'they would, mite by mite, beg a cheese.' By and by the' fanciers' of what they called the pure and unadulterated Skye joined the ranks, and the discussion became very warm. The writers were far from agreeing on the type, and indulged strongly in personalities, which gained for them the character of cantankerous grumbling, disputatious, fighting Scotsmen, who had nothing to show to prove what they wrote, but simply wrote from pure love of argument. To judge from these letters, these remarks were partly justified. The writers could not agree as to the type; one held that his dog was the correct type; another that his dog was the only type and original' Scotch' terrier, and so on. To the uninitiated it was quite impossible, from the multitude of different descriptions which were given, to say what a 'Scottish terrier' should be. Some were described as 'Scotch,' others as pure Skyes, and a third as Aberdeen terriers. . . ..
.. To the initiated, the whole matter was clear. The dog which the Scottish writers were trying to get established as the Scottish was the Highland or Cairn terrier, – the terrier of the Highlands of Scotland. – known in some parts as the short-coated Skye, a sub-division of which is the Aberdeen terrier.
"For years previous to the commencement of the' dispute' in question, we had these terriers from Mr. McDonald, Dunvegan. Skye, and formed a high opinion of them. Our previous experience, however, would not allow us to call them the Scottish terrier, which, as recognized in the Lowlands of Scotland, was a leggier dog, more resembling the present type of Irish terrier. On this account, we objected at first to the name Scottish terrier being applied to them; and it was only after we found that the race of terriers described by old authors as the Scotch terrier was extinct in Scotland that we agreed to the Highland or Cairn terrier appropriating the name, as being the breed having the strongest claim to the title.
"We, however, hold that the race of terriers known for many years in the Lowlands of Scotland as the Scotch terrier is not extinct, but exists under the cognomen of Irish terriers. 'Stonehenge' was of the same opinion; for he refused at first to insert a description of these (Irish) terriers in his book, 'The Dogs of the British Islands,' as he believed they in no way differed from the old Scots terrier commonly met with in England in the early part of the present century, and about which no two seem to agree.
“ ‘Stonehenge,' in his early works, describes the' Scotch' terrier as closely resembling the English terrier in all but his coat, which is wiry and rough; and hence he is sometimes called the wire-haired terrier, a name perhaps better suited to a dog which has long been naturalized in England, and whose origin is obscure enough.
“Beyond this difference in externals, there is little to be said distinctive of the one from the other, - the colors being the same, but white being more highly prized in the Southern variety, and black-and-tan, when more or less mixed with grey, so as to give the dog a pepper- and-salt appearance, being characteristic of the true Scotch terrier; but there are numberless varieties in size, and in shape and color."
Youatt confirms that the old Scots terrier was a leggy dog, by saying:
“There is reason to believe that this dog (the Scotch terrier) is far older than the English terrier. There are three varieties: First, the common Scotch terrier, twelve or thirteen inches high; his body muscular and compact; considerable breadth across the loins; the legs shorter and stouter than those of the English terriers. The head large in proportion to the size of the body; the muzzle small and pointed; strong marks of intelligence in the countenance; warm attachment to his master,-and the evident devotion of every power to the fulfillment of his wishes. The hair is long and tough, and extending over the whole frame. In color they are black or fawn; the white, yellow or pied are always deficient in purity of blood.
“Another species has nearly the same conformation, but is covered with longer, more curly, and stouter hair, - the legs being apparently, but not actually, shorter. This kind of dog prevails in the greater part of the Western Island of Scotland; and some of them, when the hair has obtained its full development, are much admired.
"A third species of terrier is of considerably larger bulk, and three or four inches taller than either of the others. The hair is shorter than that of the other breeds, and is hard and wiry."
An illustration of a drop-eared, leggy dog, with docked tail, and shaggy, curly coat, heads the article just quoted, which goes to show that, besides the Dandie and Skye, there existed at that time a dog three or four inches taller than either of these, and with a short, hard, and wiry coat.
Brown, in “The Field Book,” published in London, by Effingham Wilson, in 1833, says:
"There are two kinds of terriers, - the rough-haired Scotch and the smooth English.
"The Scotch terrier is certainly the purest in point of breed, and the English seems to have been produced by a cross from him. The Scotch terrier is generally low in stature, seldom more than twelve or fourteen inches in height, with a strong, muscular body, and short, stout legs; his ears small, and half-pricked; his head is rather large in proportion to the size of his body, and the muzzle considerably pointed; his scent is extremely acute, so that he can trace the footsteps of all other animals with certainty; he is generally of a sandy color or black, Dogs of these colors are certainly the most hardy, and more to be depended upon; when white or pied, it is a sure mark of the impurity of the breed. The hair of the terrier is long, matted, and hard, over almost every part of his body. His bite is extremely keen. There are three distinct varieties of the Scotch terrier, viz.: The one above described. Another, about the same size and form, but with hair much longer, and somewhat flowing, which gives his legs the appearance of being very short. This is the prevailing breed of the Western Islands of Scotland. The third variety is much larger than the former two, being generally fifteen to eighteen inches in height, with the hair very hard and wiry, and much shorter than that of the others."
Mr. Hugh Dalzeil, a Scotchman, born in Kirkcudbridgeshire, and author of "British Dogs," writes, at the time when the dispute was going on, and before anything definite as to type had been agreed upon:
" .... The old hard and short-haired 'terry' of the West of Scotland, as I recollect him when a boy, was much nearer in shape to a modern fox-terrier, but with shorter and rounder head; the color of their hard, wiry coat, mostly sandy; the face free from long hair, although some showing a beard; and the small ears, carried in most instances semi-erect, in some pricked. The true old Scotch terrier should be a stoutly-built dog, leggy in comparison with the Skye, Dandie or Aberdeen, varying in size, as all breeds little cared for do, but easily to be kept near to a standard of fifteen pounds to eighteen pounds, which 1 hold to be the most useful for a working ‘varmint’ dog, even if he is not wanted to go to ground.
“The head rather short, and the skull somewhat round; the jaws being strong, and also short, more or less bearded; a long, lean punishing jaw, as the phrase goes, is a modern feature in terriers of any variety, and the idea is often carried to great excess.
"The eyes bright and keen, piercing through short, shaggy hair.
"The ears small, covered with soft, short hair, semi-erect, falling over at the tip.
“The neck short and strong.
"The chest moderately deep; ribs strong, the back ones fairly developed; the back short as a fox-terrier's, with strong loins and good, muscular, square buttocks.
"The legs stout, well covered with hard hair; stifles only moderately bent; forelegs straight, all covered with hard, short hair; the feet compact, and hard in the sole, and the claws strong.
“The tail, if undocked, eight inches to ten inches long, bush-like, not fringed, the covering being hard hair.
“The prevailing color sandy; sometimes a dark grizzle; and I have occasionally seen them brindled.
“The coat hard and very dense, from one inch, or rather less than two inches, in length at the greatest.
“I give the above, written from memory, as a rough description of the Scotch terrier, as kept by my father, and such as were commonly met with in the West of Scotland some forty years ago."
Whinstone again quotes Myrick’s “House Dogs and Sporting Dogs,” and says the following ludicrous description of a "Scotch" terrier is given:
"The Scotch terrier is a shorter-legged and generally a heavier dog than either of the preceding varieties [Bull, English, and Fox-terrier]. He is equally plucky and clever, but not so active; and from this, and his thicker coat, is not so serviceable in hunting rabbits. His hair is long and matted, and often soft and silky. His color is usually a rich black and tan, sometimes mixed with grey; it is impossible to look at his coat and color, and not suspect a cross with the collie.
"In height he is seldom over fourteen inches, but sometimes weights more than sixteen or eighteen pounds. There are innumerable varieties of this breed...."
“We have quoted these authors – we cannot say authorities, after Myrick’s description. – to show that the old Scottish terrier was a leggy dog; but we do not lean entirely on them for support. Knowing how unsicker some of their foundations are. But from what we have seen with our own eyes, and what we have heard from the lips of old sportsmen and game-keepers who knew this breed in all its beauty.
“The usual color of the old Scottish terrier was sandy. No other word is so expressive of the color, and will be readily understood by all Scotsmen. There were other colors, such as grizzle and brindle; sandy was the popular one. They were not bred for ‘fancy,’ but for work; consequently the carriage of ears, and other little ‘points of beauty so greatly insisted upon by ‘fanciers,' were ignored, and only the sterling qualities of the animal prized. If he could kill rats, draw a badger, and face a cat without flinching, he was termed a terrier; if not, he was a 'guid-for-naething, useless brute,' looked upon with contempt and disgust, and often, I am sorry to say, kicked for his cowardice. That was before the days of dog-shows, and when the worth of a dog was according to the abilities he displayed at his work, - that of the terriers being the extinction of vermin. With the extinction of such vermin as the wild-cat, brocks (badgers), etc., in the Lowlands of Scotland, the old race of terriers gradually died out. Being leggy, they were not so well suited for hunting cairns, or going to ground after vermin, as the Highland terrier, and consequently were seldom met with out of the Lowlands. While possessing all the good qualities of terriers generally, their one great distinguishing character was their undying affection for their master. ...
"The breed is now extinct in Scotland. Some years ago we endeavored to ascertain whether any of the old breed were still extant; but we only came across two very old dogs, one of which was blind. Both have since joined their predecessors. Those who take an interest in the old breed, may find their counterpart in the Irish terrier, which is very highly spoken of as a sportsman's dog and companion."
Previous to 1879, the type of terrier now recognized as the Scottish terrier was comparatively unknown. This is not surprising, when we recollect that they were in the hands of sportsmen, fox-hunters, game-keeps and crofters living in remote parts of the Highlands and islands of Scotland, far removed from the influence of dog shows, and having little communication with the world. Many families in the Highlands seem to have had a strain of their own, of which they were proud on account of their gameness and pluck. This breed was first made prominent and popular over the border by Messrs. Ludlow and Blomfield, in 1883.
Mr. Rawdon B. Lee says, in his book, "Modern Dogs" (Terriers), Chap. XI. : " From what I have been told, and from what I have read, I believe that this little dog is the oldest variety of the canine race indigenous to North Britain, although but a comparatively recent introduction across the border and into fashionable society, - at any rate, under his present name. “For generations he had been a popular dog in the Highlands, where, strangely enough, he was always known as the Skye terrier, although he is so different from the long-coated, unsporting-like looking creature with which that name is now associated....
"Our little friend has, perhaps, been rather unfortunate so far as nomenclature is concerned; for, after being called a Skye terrier, he became known as the Scotch terrier, the Scots terrier, and the Highland terrier; then others dubbed him the cairn terrier and the die-hard; whilst another move was made to give him the distinguishing appellation of Aberdeen terrier. Now he has been thoroughly wound up, and I suppose to suit those persons of teetotal proclivities who connected the word 'Scotch' with the national liquor called whiskey, has developed into the Scottish terrier. As such he is known in the Stud Books, and is acknowledged as of that name by the leading Scotch, or Scottish, authorities on the variety. 'Yell, he is a game, smart, perky little terrier, and I do not think that his general excellence and desirability as a companion are likely to suffer from the evolutions his name has undergone. Years ago, before dog-shows were invented, any cross-bred creature was called a Scotch terrier, especially if he appeared to stand rather higher on the legs than the ordinary terrier; if he were on short legs, he was an 'otter terrier.'
"Of the Original Scottish terriers, some there were with semi-erect ears; others with prick ears.
"The prick ears are acknowledged now as the more fashionable, though I fancy years ago the semi-prick ear was the more common. However, the fact must not be overlooked that, as puppies, the ears are usually carried thrown back or forwards, -some even not attaining the correct and erect position until six or eight months old. The hard, crisp coat, too, does not always appear until the puppy is casting its first set of teeth; and this hard coat is a sine qua non, and no prize ought to be given to any Scottish terrier unless the coat is thoroughly hard and strong, and crisp and close, -it is the hard-haired Scottish terrier, a fact which some judges have sadly overlooked. Another defect, too, common and often overlooked, is to be found in the bat-like ears, with round tips, which some breeders consider to point to a cross with an impure strain. However, they are very unsightly, and ought to act as a very severe handicap on dogs possessing such aural appendages."
"The Scottish terrier, in character and disposition, is charming; as a companion, most sensible and pleasant. He has no unpleasant smell from his coat, nor does he carry so much dirt into the house from the streets of the town and from country lanes as a terrier lower on the legs. Another advantage he possesses is, that he is not so quarrelsome with other dogs as many terriers are.
"He will fight, and punish freely, too, when he is attacked and really has to defend himself; but the few that I have owned were slow to set about it. But when they did! I never saw such little dogs with such big teeth, and which could make such big holes in the legs and ears of a bigger opponent."
They will go to water well, and to ground likewise. In fact, are bred to do all kinds of hard work both above and underground.
Mr. Thomson Gray says, in “Dogs of Scotland”:
"The greatest difficulty is to get straight legs and ears tight up.
“My idea of a first-class specimen is a very game, hardy-looking terrier, stoutly built, with great bone and substance; deep in chest and back rib, straight back, powerful quarters, on short, muscular legs; and exhibiting, in a marked degree, a great combination of strength and activity. Terriers built on such lines are very active in their movements; and for going a distance, or taking a standing leap, I do not believe there is any short-legged breed of terrier can equal them.
"The coat should be one and one-half inches long, thick, dense, lying close, and very hard, with plenty of soft under coat; tail straight, carried well up, well covered with hair, but not bushy; the ears should be as small and as sharp-pointed as possible, well carried forward, and giving the dog a ' varmint' appearance, The skull should not be too narrow, being in proportion to the terribly powerful jaw, but must be narrow between the ears, these being carried well up. If carried sluggishly, they spoil the appearance of the dog's head. The eyes should be small and deep-set; muzzle long and tapering, and, as already stated, very powerful teeth extra large for size of dog, and level.”
"The Scottish terrier can be steel or iron gray, brindle or grizzled, black or sandy and wheaten. The black-brindle seems to be the most fashionable; but the dark brindles are not seen as clearly in the dark as are lighter colors. White markings are most objectionable; but still, some of the best working dogs of this breed have been marked with white. Dogs should be of seventeen pounds to eighteen pounds, and bitches of fifteen pounds to sixteen pounds in weight. There has been a great cry, of late, in regard to straightening the legs of these terriers.
Mr. Thomson Gray says, in regard to this:
"While I am in favor of having the legs as straight as possible, I would not sacrifice bone and muscle to get this point, or make it a sine qua non in judging, as most, if not all, of the best terriers of this breed are a little bent, and any really straight-legged specimens I have seen have been deficient in bone, inclined to be leggy and shelly in build. Now, it must be kept in mind that the Scottish terrier is, first of all, a compact, firmly-built terrier, showing extraordinary strength for his size; and to lose these attributes is to lose the strongest points in the breed. Straight legs may be made a fad as much as any other point, and fanciers are apt to run on one point to the detriment of the rest, thus spoiling the even balance of the whole dog.”
H. J. Ludlow, one of the oldest admirers of this breed, and also, we might say, champion in regard to straight fore-legs, gives this description of the Scottish terrier, in the catalogue of the dog show held in Toronto, Canada, September, 1893:
"Head long, with very powerful; eyes small, keen, and dark in color; ears prick, set close together, and carried well up; neck short and muscular. Body fairly short, well-ribbed back, with plenty of bone; upper coat very hard, and not too long; under coat shorter and softer. The tout ensemble should convey universal strength and activity, but with no approach to racing lines."
"During the ‘straight-legged’ war, a well-known scientist at the Natural History Museum, South Kensington, on being asked his opinion as to the crooked legs now found on many varieties of the dog, said: ‘The outward curve of the fore limbs (and I suppose of the Scottish terrier, although I do not know them so well,) is an inherited deformity, unlike anything in nature.' "
Mr. Ludlow writes :
"I take it that if nature thought bent fore-legs were a necessary formation for animals that depend upon burrowing for their safety, nay, for their , very existence, -she would have produced the requisite curve in at least some of them. I am satisfied to have Nature for my guide in breeding; and so long as I produce terriers that have to follow and do to death these straight-legged diggers, I shall be content with the spades that I find she has supplied her creatures with, rather than run after the ‘inherited deformities’ that some prejudiced persons go rabid over. Looking at the question from a show point of view, there can be no doubt that a terrier with straight fore-legs is a more taking animal than one with crooked limbs; and, for that reason alone, Scottish terriers are, sooner or later, bound to be bred with fronts as straight as those of the animals they are taught to look upon as their hereditary foes.”
The Scottish Terrier Club, established in 1889, has for its Secretary Mr. A. McBrayne Irvine, and there is also a Scottish Terrier Club for England,-the older establishment of the two. – of which Mr. H. J. Ludlow is Secretary. The description of the clog, issued by the former, is as follows :
"Skull (value 5)-Proportionately long, slightly domed, and covered with short, hard hair, about three-quarters of an inch long, or less. It should not be quite flat, as there should be a sort of stop, or drop, between the eyes.
"Muzzle (value 5)-Very powerful; and gradually tapering towards the nose, which should always be black, and of good size. The jaws should be perfectly level, and the teeth square, though the nose projects somewhat over the mouth, which gives the impression of the upper jaw being longer than the under one.
"Eyes (value 5)-Set wide apart, of a dark brown or hazel color; small, piercing, very bright, and rather sunken.
"Ears (value 10)-Very small, prick or half-prick (the former is preferable), but never drop; they should also be sharp-pointed, and the hair on them should not be long, but velvety, and they should not be cut. The ears should be free from any fringe at the top.
"Neck (value 5)-Short, thick, and muscular, strongly set on sloping shoulders.
"Chest (value 5)-Broad in comparison to the size of the dog, and proportionately deep.
"Body (value 10)-Of moderate length, not so long as a Skye's, and rather flat-sided; but well ribbed up, and exceedingly strong in hind quarters.
"Legs and feet (value 10) -Both fore and hind legs should be short, and very heavy in bone, the former being straight or slightly bent, and well set on under the body, as the Scottish terrier should not be out at the elbows. The hocks should be bent, and the thighs very muscular; and the feet strong, small, and thickly covered with short hair, the fore-feet being larger than the hind ones, and well let down on the ground.
" Tail (value 2 1/2)- Which is never cut, should be about seven inches long ; carried with a slight bend, and often gaily.
" Coat (value 15)-Should be rather short (about two inches), intensely hard and wiry in texture, and very dense all over the body.
"Size (value 10) -About sixteen pounds to eighteen pounds for a bitch, eighteen pounds to twenty pounds for a dog.
“Colors (value 2 1/2) --Steel or iron grey, brindle or grizzled, black, sanely and wheaten. White markings are objectionable, and can only be allowed on the chest, and that to a small extent.
"General appearance (value 10)-The face should bear a very sharp, bright, and active expression, and the head should be carried up. The dog (owing to the shortness of his coat) should appear to be higher on the leg than he really is ; but, at the same time, he should look compact, and possessed of great muscle in his hind-quarters. In fact, a Scottish terrier, though essentially a terrier, cannot be too powerfully put together. He should be from nine inches to twelve inches in height.
"Muzzle - Either under or Over-hung.
"Eyes -Large or light colored.
"Ears -Large, round at the points or drop. It is also a fault if they are too heavily covered with hair.
" Coat -Any silkiness, wave, or tendency to curl is a serious blemish, as is also an open coat.
"Size -Specimens over eighteen pounds should not be encouraged,
Mr. Lee adds:
“I need scarcely say that the teeth must be large, powerful and white; and being undershot, even in the slightest degree, should ensure disqualification. An overshot or pig-jawed mouth ought to be a severe handicap, and, if very pronounced, likewise disqualification."
The following is from an article or extract from "A Paper," published in England, headed "The Scotch Terrier," and written by Hugh Dalzeil. The whole of Mr. Dalzeil's article is not quoted, as the compiler of this short sketch of Scottish Terriers does not intend to give any especial strain or any particular kennel a boom:
"Scotland is prolific in terriers, and for the most part these are long-backed and short-legged dogs. Such are the Dandie Dinmont, the Skye, and the Aberdeen terrier, the last now merged in the class recognized at our shows as the Scotch terrier; but the old, hard and short-haired ‘terry’ of the West of Scotland, as we recollect him when a boy, was much nearer in shape to a modern fox-terrier, though with a shorter and rounder head, the color of his hard, wiry coat mostly sandy, the face free from long hair, although some showing a beard, and the small ears carried in most instances semi-erect; in some, pricked.
The descriptions given by those eminent writers Youatt, Richardson, and Stonehenge, are in practical agreement, and apply to the kind of terrier we have spoken of as within our own recollection. There has, however, been of late years a re-arrangement of classes of terriers, and it is the sorts that have come uppermost, and are now recognized by the several clubs and show authorities, with which we have to deal.
The dogs now recognized as Scotch terriers are closely allied to the Skye terrier, and, by a number of gentlemen of Skye and the Southwest Highlands, were at one time called Skye terriers. We suggested that, as they presented sufficiently distinctive characteristics, they might form a distinct class at our shows, under the name of 'Highland terriers.' The idea, but not the name, has been adopted; and, indeed, the name has given rise to some discussion. ‘Cairn terrier’ was suggested, but not generally adopted, and they have been called the ‘Die-hards.’
‘Whinstone’ insists on the breed being called the Scottish terrier. This seems to us to be a case of unnecessary hair-splitting. Under the words' Scots' and ‘Scottish,’ Dr. Ogilvie refers to those who consult this dictionary to ‘Scotch,’ which, he says ‘is the established word.’ As long as, we get Scotch collops from Scotch bullocks, and Scotch whiskey from Scotch barley, to aid the digestion of the collops, we may surely have Scotch terriers; and, at all events, the terrier under any name will bite as sore.
“Mr. J. Gordon Murray, in the first edition of ‘British Dogs,’ described three strains of these terriers, according to the localities in which they were reared, and, as will be seen, differing only in minor points. Of these he says:
“The Mogstad Skyes ere of dark greyish color, with wiry hair from three inches to three and a half inches long, with body low but long, and measuring well in girth; legs stout and short, and well provided with very strong claws; the greater part prick-eared, and all of them excellent workers.
“The Drynocks are another very splendid breed of the original pure Skyes, closely resembling the common Scotch seal in color; short, wiry hair, with a body of a medium size, a good deal like the Mogstads, and all of them first-rate workers.
“The Camusennaries are another famous breed of the very real and pure Skye terriers, and derive their name from a wild and mountainous tract of land in Skye, extending from Coirnisk on the west to the Spar Cave on the east. The breed was originally reared there by a Lieutenant Macmillan, long passed away; the whole of them short, wiry-haired, like the afore-named breeds; color almost always dark all over, middle part of hair in many instances grey, but again dark next the skin, no white on feet or chest; a thin, medium-sized prick ear, and very pointed: and in every third of fourth litter a reddish-yellow one.
“Among Scotch fanciers Captain Mackie did a great deal towards improving the breed, though his first love was for a dog of a type not now recognized, namely, the long, low, bat-cared Skye form. He was a man of remarkable force and energy, and, as is often the case with such men, of a singularly frank and generous disposition. On the subject of this terrier he was an enthusiast, and undertook voyages among the Hebrides, and long and arduous journeys through the Western Highlands, collecting information, and purchasing the best specimens of the breed procurable, from the oldest known strains. The story of at least one of these journeys of discovery is excellently told in the' Dogs of Scotland,' to which we refer readers for details. The result was that Captain Mackie soon got together a kennel of these Highland terriers of acknowledged superiority.
“As companion dogs of the terrier tribe, the Die-hards possess qualities that recommend them to many. They are hardy and plucky, will stand any weather, and are good for any amount of sport. Disposed to be impetuous and self-willed, they often require more than ordinary care in training: but that is well repaid, for the material is good to work upon. Another advantage to many people is that. – the coat being of a length and quality that does not long hold we and dirt, - they can be allowed a place on the hearth-rug or door-mat: and those who want a dog, of whatever breed, to be really obedient, lovable, and well-behaved, cannot have the animal too much with them.
“With regard to the popularity of the Scotch terrier in this country, this is undoubted, and no better proof can be adduced than that afforded by their numbers at big canine gatherings of the present day. Take the late Kennel Club Show, at which Scottish terriers took sixth on the list in the matter of entries; while amongst the different breeds registered at Cleveland Row, during 1893, they occupy a similarly high position in the list. One has but to carry one's mind back even a decade ago, to fully recognize the headway the compact little tyke has made in the fancy. Though in this respect, of course, not to be compared with the Fox-terrier and one or two other breeds that might be instanced, yet he has made a bold bid for the favor of the dog-fancying public; and the measure of success attained could hardly have been anticipated by even the dog's warmest admirer’s.”
SCOTTIE'S WORK IN HIS NATIVE LAND.
Scattered throughout different mountainous parts of Scotland, there are immense cairns of stones, where the fox takes up his abode; and it is to drive Reynard from his retreat among these stones that the terriers are employed.
In olden times, each district had its tod-hunter, and, as will be seen from Captain Mackie's interesting notes (“Dogs of Scotland,” Whinstone), that functionary still exists in different parts of the Highlands.
The following graphic description of the tod-hunter and his gang, with their modus operand, was given by a correspondent in a letter to the “Fanciers' Gazette”:
“In many districts of Elgin, Aberdeen, and Naim, foxes were a great scourge. Lambs, sheep, and poultry, were frequently taken by them in open day, and I have known as many as twenty lambs slaughtered in one night. I can remember being in a certain church where, after sermon and before the blessing was pronounced, the precenter, - i.e., the leader of the singing (Lord love you’ such singing then in the auld kirk), - rose up and exclaimed: ‘Noo, lads, min’, we’re gaun tae hunt the tod on Tuesday; be a’ up at tae laird’s house in quid time, and Johnie Fraser’s comin’ wi’ a’ his doogs.’ This last was quite a character in his way. He hailed from Glenlivet, and well I mind on ould Johnie’s dogs. He had a few hounds, -large, heavy-headed animals, much resembling in appearance the description given of the Irish wolf-hound; they were not so fast as the present race of fox-hounds, but could stick to a scent a great deal better, -no losing, once on it, and the deep baying they made, when following was enough to frighten ‘Auld hoofy’ himself. In addition to these great dogs, Johnie had a few small Skyes, perfect devils to work, and which always kept as near to the hounds as possible. Several tods would frequently escape from the coverts and take to the hill cairns, in spite of the old Queen Anne muskets of the farmers. On went the hounds, followed by old Johnie and his little varmints, and gunners and beaters, till they came to where the tod had taken refuge, frequently in some huge cairn, perhaps a quarter of a mile in circumference. The big dogs and Queen Annes surrounded the cairn, an outer line was composed of the beaters, while old Johnie advanced on to the boulders, and at the words, 'Hie in, my darlin's!' off they were, just like so many' ferrets in a rabbit-warren, and the fox had either to come out and face death in a gentlemanly sort of way, or be hilled by these game little dogs.”
A terrier, to go into a fox's earth, must necessarily be small, and, besides being small, must be flat in the rib, to enable him to work his way into borrows, which he has often to do on his side; and, besides these natural qualifications, he must have the necessary pluck to tackle game, and force the quarry to bolt, or die in the attempt. This is just what the Scottish terrier will do, and it is on that account termed a “Die-hard.”
It is said that George, Fourth Earl of Dumbarton, had a famous pack of Scottish terriers, which were so noted for their pluck and determination, that they were termed “Die-hards,” and that his regiment, the Royal Scots, was named after his favorites, “Dumbarton’s Die-hards.”
THE compiler of this short essay on the Scottish Terrier has given nothing but what has been taken from well-known writers upon the breed. His intention has been to give their origin, their use as both house-dogs and field-workers, and, in a way, to answer the question so often asked, - What claim has the present dog seen at shows to be called a Scottish terrier? That he is of old descent seems clearly proven. They have remained longer in Scotland than the old Scotch terrier so well known in America twenty years ago. Captain Mackie, who made, some years ago, a trip through the Western Highlands, to gain information about these gamey little dogs from men who had them for work, says:
“Knocking about amidst wild scenery, and among Gaelic-speaking folks, I have come across those who looked upon me as terrier daft; others fancied I was a blackguard dog-tax collector; while others reciprocated my liking for the wee dog, and gave me all the information they possessed. It is this information, along with what I have seen, that I desire to convey to the reader. I cannot immortalize the ‘diehards,’ as Sir Walter did the Dandies; but if I describe the types of terriers that I have seen, tell who they belong to, and what they are used for, I may be doing the breed a service."
These notes are compiled in the same spirit as Captain Mackie wrote his, and with the hope that one of the best little clogs will soon take the highest place among "the fancy," the lovers of true sport, and the general public, as his worth deserves.
SCOTIA'S TOWSY TYKE.
I ken the terrier o’ the North, I ken the towsy tyke; Ye'll search fra Tweed to Sussex' shore, But never find his like
For pluck and pith, and jaw and teeth, And hair, like heather cowes, Wi’ body lang and low and strang, At hame in cairns or knowes,
He’ll face a foumert, draw a brock, Kill rats and whiterits by the score; He'll bang tod-lowrie frae his hole, Or stay him at his door.
He’ll range for days, and ne'er be tired, O'er mountain, moor or fell ; Fair play, I'll back the brave wee chap To fecht the de'il himself'.
And yet beneath his rugged coat A heart beats warm and true; He'll help to herd the sheep and kye, And mind the lammies, too,
Then see him at the ingle side, With bairnies roond him lauchin'; Was ever dog sae pleased as he, Sae fond o’ fun and daffin'?
But gie's your hand, my Hielan' man, Guid faith! we maunna sever ; Then, "Here's to Scotia's best o’ dogs, Oor towsy tyke for ever.”
Gordon Stables, M.D.
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