Category Archives: terriers

How a Dog is Helping to Save Sea Turtles

By Linda Coleridley terry ross

The Kemp’s ridley is the world’s smallest sea turtle. It’s also the most endangered sea turtle, with only about 1,000 breeding females left. Over-harvesting of eggs throughout the last century drastically reduced the population, and the turtle has had a hard time rebounding. To help keep these turtles from becoming extinct, a Cairn Terrier named Ridley and his owner have been working the beaches of North Padre Island in Texas, searching for nesting areas filled with precious eggs.

An adult Kemp’s ridley weighs 80 to 100 pounds and is 24 to 28 inches long, but a hatchling hits the scale at a mere 0.5 ounces and 1.5 inches. Their average lifespan is thought to be around 50 years. Found mainly in the Gulf of Mexico, they prefer diving in shallow waters. These omnivores swim to the bottom in search of crabs, their favorite food. They also eat other shellfish and jellyfish, and will dine on seaweed and sargassum now and then.

Sargassum is a brown seaweed that is found floating in clusters throughout the waters of the Gulf. To many people it’s considered worthless, especially when it washes up on shore. However, to marine life like tiny crabs, shrimp and other small sea creatures, sargassum is home and a place of refuge. For Kemp’s ridley juvenile turtles, this floating seaweed provides a place where they can rest and find food on their journey through the sea.

Read More »

EmailGoogle GmailBlogger PostTwitterFacebookGoogle+Share

Barn Hunt, an Exciting New Dog Sport

barn hunt 1By Linda Cole

Earthdog trials are geared for go to ground Terriers that have been bred to root out small prey from underground dens. Dogs in the Terrier Group are hardworking canines bred to hunt vermin, but breeds that don’t go to ground aren’t eligible for Earthdog trials. A challenging new dog sport called Barn Hunt works off the basic concept of Earthdog trials, with a twist, and is open to all canines.

Dogs have an innate desire to hunt, regardless of what they were bred to do. Even companion breeds from the Toy Group have a healthy prey drive, and some breeds are good ratters. Miniature Pinschers were originally bred to hunt rats and small prey, and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a true hunting dog that has retained his Spaniel traits.

The Standard Schnauzer, German Pinscher and Brussels Griffon have a history of hunting vermin, but they don’t go to ground to flush out prey. Barn hunt is designed to give dogs that have traditionally been used to hunt vermin above ground a sport where they can show off their rat hunting skills.
Read More »

Black Russian Terrier: The Black Pearl of Russia

By Linda Cole

The Black Russian Terrier is one of the world’s youngest breeds, created in the 1940s. Nicknamed the Blackie, BRT and the Black Pearl of Russia, this breed was developed to fulfill a specific need for Russia and her people at a time of rebirth and reinvention. Because the history of the breed is relatively new, how it was created is well documented.

World War I and II had a direct impact on European countries that sustained major damage to the people, environment, wildlife and domesticated animals. Many purebred dog breeds were reduced to very low numbers and were only able to recover when breeders searched out quality dogs to use in rebuilding programs after WW II.

Periods of distemper outbreaks took its toll on dog breeds. Russia also had to deal with the Revolution in 1917-1918 and economic issues. All of these events caused many purebred dogs in Russia to suffer immense losses, and many breeds in this country were on the verge of becoming extinct. But there was a need for working dogs, so a breeding program was developed to create a breed from the few purebred dogs left in the country, and from imports of other breeds.

The program was established at the Red Star Kennel in the 1930s. Colonel G. Medvedev of the Central Military School of Working Dogs was given the task of developing a working dog that would meet the needs of the military. His team included breeders and geneticists. Their goal was to create a working dog that was powerful, intelligent and adaptable to the harsh Russian winters.

Read More »

Difference between Parson, Jack Russell and Russell Terrier

By Linda Cole

The Parson, Jack Russell, and Russell terriers are actually three different breeds, even though they’re related and look much alike. The Russell Terrier was introduced at the National Dog Show in 2012 as a new breed recognized by the AKC. The Jack Russell is not a recognized breed, despite the dog’s popularity in this country. There is a good explanation as to why, but it can be a bit confusing.

The Parson, Jack Russell and Russell terrier breeds were all named after the Reverend John “Jack” Russell (1795 – 1883), a parson who lived in Devonshire, England during the 1800s. He was an avid fox hunter, when he wasn’t attending to his duties at his church. The Reverend was also quite fond of fox hunting dogs, and bred them. His first terrier, a female named Trump, was likely the foundation for Russell’s working dogs.

Reverend Russell, also known as “The Sporting Parson,” wanted a working dog that was feisty, strong and confident ,to hunt fox and go to ground to flush out fox or other prey from a hole. The Reverend lived in the southern part of England where the terrain wasn’t as hilly, and a short legged dog met his needs. The small dog ran with hunters on horseback, and hounds following a fox. When the hounds chased the fox underground, it was the terrier’s job to follow and flush the fox out of the hole so the hunt could resume.

It was after Reverend Russell’s death when the JRT breed began to evolve into the Parson Terrier. Hunters living in areas where the land was more uneven and hillier wanted dogs with longer legs that allowed them to better navigate rougher terrain so they could keep up with the hounds and horses. They were also more interested in hunting other prey, primarily badger. If a pup was born with shorter legs, they were kept at home as companion pets, to roam around the barn and home catching vermin, and as watchdogs.

Read More »

Terrier Dog Breeds: Big Attitudes in Small Bodies

Airedale Terrier

By Linda Cole

The terrier group of dog breeds is an interesting mix of canines, bred to do a variety of jobs from hunting prey to keeping rats at bay. They are feisty, energetic and small enough to fit into any home. This is a group with a variety of distinct personalities, but all have a “big attitude in a small body.” Digging is common in terriers because they were bred to go underground after their prey. Terra is the Latin word for “earth,” and terriers are certainly “earth dogs.” The American Kennel Club recognizes 29 different terrier breeds. Here is brief information on nine of them:

The Airedale Terrier holds the “King of Terriers” crown; they are the largest and most robust of the group. The Airedale is considered an all purpose dog, and was used during wartime as a guard dog, to run messages, control rodents, and as a hunting dog. Hypoallergenic; they stand 22-24 inches and weigh 40-64 pounds.

The Australian Terrier was the first breed recognized in 1868 as native to Australia. His job was to work alongside his owner in the Australian Outback to keep vermin and snakes in check. He was also a watchdog, and helped with livestock. Hypoallergenic; they stand 9-11 inches and weigh 12-16 pounds.

Bedlington Terrier

The Bedlington Terrier could easily be mistaken for a lamb because of his woolly, curly coat. The breed was developed in a mining shire in Northumberland, England, and that’s where its name comes from. The miners used the Bedlington to control vermin, and because they had excellent speed and endurance, miners also raced them. Hypoallergenic; they stand 15-18 inches and weigh 17-23 pounds.

The Border Terrier can get into most any size hole, and can race across different types of terrain after his main prey, the fox. The Border was bred as a working dog and protector of his owner’s livestock. In the old days living on a farm, this little dog had to be a good hunter because he had to hunt down his own supper. Hypoallergenic; they stand 11-16 inches and weigh 11-16 pounds.
Read More »

Small Dog Breeds for Active Lifestyles

By Linda Cole

People who love to run and enjoy the companionship of a dog by their side have a tendency to pick larger dogs as a running partner. Small dog breeds aren’t usually thought of as being able to keep up the pace over the long haul. However, the cool thing about all dog breeds, large and small, is their unique and varied energy levels.

Small dogs can have as much energy packed into their little bodies as a Border Collie or Labrador, and are ready to show you what they’ve got. If you have an active lifestyle, you don’t have to look far to find a small dog breed that will relish a stimulating hike or run. After all, many small breeds were bred as working dogs, and have the tenacity, energy and loyalty to fit into most lifestyles.

High Energy Small Working Dogs

A small dog is usually considered to be less than 22 pounds. Not surprisingly, terrier breeds dominate in the group of small dogs with the highest activity level. Dogs who run on high octane were bred to hunt small prey like rabbits, foxes and rats. These little dogs had to be brave, fearless and tenacious to follow whatever they were chasing underground to root them out. Many times, their prey turned out to be bigger than they were. Today’s terriers haven’t lost their desire to chase prey. A rabbit bursting out from under a bush can quickly find a terrier hot on his heels.

With boundless energy, these dogs are always ready for a good run, whether it’s jogging with his owner or chasing a neighborhood cat. Some examples of small dogs with lots of energy include the Parson Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, Bull Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Norfolk Terrier, Jack Russell Terrier, Wire Fox Terrier, Border Terrier, Australian Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, Basenji and Petit Basset Griffon. These breeds can learn to live with cats in the home, and they are great with children and other dogs in the home.

Read More »