Terriers: who are these dogs? What characteristics?

Very popular in homes as companion dogs, terriers are dogs of various origins and sizes. This dog family has ancient origins, and humans have always used it, for good, or unfortunately, for bad reasons.

The history of terriers

The first known terriers are the Cairn terrier, a breed that appeared in Scotland in the 12th century AD. From this breed, many have been created over the years. Most terriers are of British origin, although nowadays there are other origins, such as Australian or German terriers.

Originally, these dogs were used to hunt animals that live in burrows (hence their name), such as rabbits, rats, badgers or groundhogs. They were therefore useful for hunting, but also in towns to track down pests that devoured the peasants’ grain reserves. Some breeds, larger, were also intended for game hunting.

From the 19th century, man also used burrows for unfortunately much more cruel practices. A dastardly game where burrows were put in a pit with rats, and the men bet on which dog would kill the most rats.

Terriers were later used in dog fighting, those who practiced this cruel activity desired more agile dogs than the hounds they traditionally used. This is how certain breeds were created, such as the Bull Terrier, and all dogs bearing the designation “Bull”.

Fortunately, these practices were eventually banned, and a conscience towards respect for animals eventually developed, so that these terriers are now those faithful companion dogs that we know today.

Terrier dog breeds

Small terriers

Small terriers are those that were primarily used for hunting in burrows. Here are the breeds that are part of it:

  • cairn terrier
  • dandie dinmont terrier
  • Jack russel terrier
  • norfolk terrier
  • norwich terrier
  • scottish terrier
  • sealyham terrier
  • skye terrier
  • australian terrier
  • czech terrier
  • japanese terrier
  • west highland terrier

Medium sized terriers

Medium sized burrows were used for game hunting. They were able to stalk prey such as deer, fallow deer or even sometimes wild boar. Here are the corresponding breeds:

“Bull” type terriers

These terriers are the breeds created for this barbaric practice of dog fighting. These dogs, as agile as they are powerful, are indeed good fighters, but are also and above all dogs that are often very nice when they are well treated, and very attached to their master. Here are the races:

Terriers are a great family of dogs, despite their heavy history. Today, they are companion dogs, faithful, and as playful as they are funny, which adapt to children or other animals.

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