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.
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.