Terrier Dogs

Terrier Dogs - The Vermin Hunters

terrier dogsTerrier dogs are known for being energetic and friendly. They were originally bred to hunt animals like rabbits, mice, rats, weasels, and otters. Some of them could even go underground and chase vermin to the surface. Now though, they are companions and family pets.

Just because terrier dogs are good family companions doesn't mean they still can't be put to work. Some are still kept for hunting, and others are even big and strong enough for being guard dogs.

Terrier Dogs - The Breeds

The groups of terrier dogs varies quite a bit between the kennel clubs, so it can be confusing to understand some of them.

Airedale Terrier - Airedales are sometimes referred to as "King of Terriers" due to the fact they are the largest terrier. They were developed for hunting otters and also to assist the police. Airedales are bred for hunting and working and because of that, they're independent, stubborn, and intelligent. When properly trained, they can be great family companions, but they need a consistent owner.

American Hairless Terrier - Though commonly thought to be Chihuahuas, AHTs are a breed of their own. Like their name says, they lack hair, and so their skin is always exposed. They can get rashes or sunburns and even pimples. Like other terriers, they are extremely energetic and will do well with families if given ample exercise.

American Pit Bull Terrier - Pit Bulls are solid, medium sized dogs with short hair that originated in the United States. Though they have a reputation for being very aggressive, they are actually loyal to their families. They do have strong chase instincts, but with proper socialization and obedience training from an early age they will do well with strangers.

American Staffordshire Terrier - AmStaffs are medium, short coated dogs that became very popular in the early 1900s. They are known for having a lot of energy, being affectionate to humans, and being highly intelligent.

Australian Terrier - Aussies are small terriers with a shaggy double coat. They're a spirited breed with better than average obedience and working intelligence, making them easy to train. They can be bossy and aggressive around other dogs, so they need to be socialized as puppies. They naturally do well with their families and people in general, though.

Austrian Pinscher - Originally developed in Austria for farm work and to guard livestock, these pinscher type dogs are known for being pleasant companions. They have a playful temperament and thrive in suburban and rural environments. And while they do well as guard dogs, they are not suited for hunting.

Bedlington Terrier - These terriers originated in the United Kingdom and look like lambs but are as brave as lions. They're very calm compared to other terriers and have mild manners and a good nature. They are fast, agile, and excellent swimmers, and will do well with families. They're eager to please, but can get destructive if they're not exercised or given attention.

Border Terrier - These rough coated terriers were originally bred in England and Scotland and are eager to please and intelligent. They love getting tasks to do and excel in agility training. Because of their even temperament and love for people, they can do very well as therapy dogs. They usually do better with cats in the home if they are raised with them, otherwise they tend to want to chase them.

Bull Terrier - These English terriers are known for their distinct, egg shaped heads and small triangular eyes. These loyal dogs have been known to be aggressive in the past, though they're better known for being active, fun loving, and polite these days. They are good family dogs but need plenty of exercise. If they're not exercised, they can get erratic and a little too energetic around kids.

Cairn Terrier - These Scottish terriers are a very old breed developed to work, burrow, and hunt prey. They are often referred to as big dogs trapped in small dogs' bodies and are intelligent, loyal, adventurous, and surprisingly tough. They don't get along well with cats, and need to be trained while they're still puppies because of how stubborn they get as adults.

Cesky Terrier - These terriers from the Czech Republic have long heads, mustaches, eyebrows, and bushy beards. They're calm dogs and never aggressive, and known for being quiet and less active than other terriers. Because of this, they're actually not the best family pet as children might desire more. However, for the family that needs a very peaceful dog, they're an excellent choice.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier - Dandies are small terriers with short legs, long bodies, and top knots of hair on top of their heads. They have a fun loving and affectionate temperament and make very good companions. They are willfull, plucky, determined, and lively. Some can be aggressive, so early socialization is necessary. They tend to be protective of their families and a little reserved around strangers.

Dutch Smoushond - Dutch Ratters were originally bred in the Netherlands to get rid of mice and rats and are said to be related to Schnauzers. They're relatively uncommon outside the Netherlands and sometimes considered to be a rare breed.

Fox Terrier (Smooth) - Smooth fox terriers are mostly popular in show circles and for hunting, though many of the terrier dogs are said to have descended from them. These terriers have excellent hunting instincts and make great family companions if given sufficient exercise. If they're not given enough attention, they can chase smaller animals or try to escape.

Fox Terrier (Wire) - Wire fox terriers are easy to recognize and were bred separate from their smooth cousins. They have a huge amount of intelligence and energy and need attention, stimulation, and exercise. They are desirable family dogs because of their tendency to enjoy being on couches and beds, and even love to go swimming. They'll do well in obedience training if they have a consistent owner.

German Hunting Terrier - Also known as Jagdterriers, these working dogs were bred to hunt quarry above and below ground, such as raccoon dogs, badgers, and foxes. They are skilled at driving rabbits and wild boar out of thickets. They have a high level of intelligence and can make good family pets if sufficiently socialized and given obedience training and exercise.

Glen of Imaal Terrier - Wicklow terriers are one of the four Irish terriers and originally bred during Elizabeth I's reign. They're very intelligent and energetic but need discipline and a strong owner. They are very friendly around people, though they can be aggressive if not socialized properly. That shouldn't be a problem, as they do well with obedience training.

Irish Terrier - These compact and active terriers do well in city and rural environments. They have harsh red coats that protect them from any weather. They can be very playful and hyper if appropriate but they are also able to clam down in the home. They're good with children but can be challenging to train, so being consistent is necessary.

Jack Russell Terrier - Jacks were originally developed in England for hunting foxes. They are very similar to and often confused with Parson Jack Russell terriers.

Kerry Blue Terrier - Bred originally in Ireland, Kerry terriers were used for work, including sheep and cattle. Their main job was controlling rabbits, otters, foxes, hares, and rats. They are still used for work, but they're also good family companions, albeit a rare breed. When it comes to dog agility, tracking, and obedience they do very well and are gentle around children.

Lakeland Terrier - Lakeland Terriers originated in England and have independent personalities but make excellent companions. They aren't terribly popular outside the UK, and they like a lot of play time and exercise. They should not be aggressive or shy, and are known to be relatively simple to train if kept interested.

Kromfohrländer - Kroms are companion dogs bred in Germany. They are usually described as a cross between beagles and retrievers. They can be long haired, wire haired, or short haired. Because they were bred to be companions, they are extremely good natured. They're also skilled at hunting.

Manchester Terrier - These smooth haired terriers were developed in England to combat the increasing rat problem and have slowly become more popular around the world. They look like a smaller, miniature sized Doberman Pinscher and are loyal, active, intelligent breeds that do well with consistent obedience training.

Miniature Bull Terrier - Like standard Bull Terriers, Miniature Bull Terriers have glossy, fine, and short coats which don't need much grooming. These terriers have full bodies and muscular builds to complement their egg shaped heads. They're loving dogs that do well in small places. They can be stubborn at times however, and need a consistent owner.

Norfolk Terrier - These terriers from Great Britain used to be a Norwich Terrier variety with drop ears. Now, the two types of terriers are known as the smallest working terriers. Despite their size, these dogs are fearless, though they are not supposed to be aggressive. They make good pack dogs and will get along with other pets, and love children.

Norwich Terrier - These tiny terriers from the UK were bred to hunt rodents and vermin. They have affectionate and courageous temperaments and are very intelligent. They love activity and shouldn't be shy or aggressive. They need a gentle owner because they're sensitive to scolding. It's not recommended that they be put in kennels or kept outside as they're happier inside with their family.

Parson Russell Terrier - Parsons are white terriers that descended from Fox Terriers. These energetic and feisty terriers are athletic and do well with other animals and children alike. If they receive enough exercise each day, they'll be able to relax in a home, but if left alone and unexercised they can bored and destructive. There are several health issues associated with PRTs, so they need regular veterinary visits.

Patterdale Terrier - These working dogs from England can have several variations in their coats. They can have smooth, rough, or broken coats in bronze, chocolate, black, and red, possibly accompanied by tan. Their puppies are confident and bold, and they grow up to be vocal, energetic dogs. They can do well with other dogs and cats, and don't do well if they feel confined or don't get enough exercise.

Rat Terrier - These terriers have pretty colorful backgrounds that contributed to their skills as a hunting companion and farm dog. They're very recognizable because of their alert expressions and naturally erect ears. They're similar looking to Jack Russell Terriers, but have sleeker bodies and more refined heads. They're also less aggressive, and are able to actually lounge around if their owners want them to. They are fairly easy to train, and make excellent family pets if socialized early on.

Russell Terrier - These working terriers have an extremely strong desire to hunt quarry underground. Overall, they are longer than they are high, and can have broken, smooth, or rough coats. They're fearless and bold, active, alert, and lively. They're known for being quietly confident and intelligent as well.

Scottish Terrier - Aberdeen terriers originated in Scotland and are a rugged and independent breed. These alert, feisty dogs are territorial, playful, self-assured, and intelligent. Even though they can be very stubborn, they attach themselves closely to their families. They also make good watchdogs because of their tendency to bark around strangers, though some are more reserved.

Schnauzer (Miniature) - These very popular schnauzer type dogs come in black and silver, salt and pepper, white, and black. These dogs do shed, but it is very little compared to other dogs. They're easy to train for the most part, and are territorial enough to act as watchdogs that will bark at strangers. They are not aggressive, and need to be socialized.

Sealyham Terrier - These terriers were originally bred in Wales and always have a white coat. They're a very active breed when young, but as they grow older they tend to get lazier. A mature Sealyham is relaxed and calm and displays an even temper. Walking them regularly is important to keep them at a healthy weight, as they are not very active on their own.

Skye Terrier - This low, long, hardy breed has a straight, hard topcoat and a moderate beard. They require regular brushing to prevent their coat from getting tangled, though they don't require trimmings. They are an extremely rare breed that is actually in danger of extinction. Because so few are born every year, it is estimated that the breed will no longer exist around 2040.

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier - Originally bred in Ireland, these terriers have single coats that hardly shed. Their fur can either be mahogany, white, brown, or red. They're playful and energetic and need a patient and consistent trainer. With proper socialization, they will get along with other dogs. They are not an aggressive breed, but tend to bark at strangers.

Sporting Lucas Terrier - These small terriers were named because of Jocelyn Lucas, a British politician of the Conservative party. They have short legs and shaggy coats, and were originally bred in an effort to allow Sealyham terriers to go to ground. Now, they're used mostly for show and as family pets.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier - Staffies are old time English breeds. They're stocky, medium-sized, athletic, and muscular. They have quite a bit of tenacity, a high level of intelligence, and plenty of courage. They can be very quite, stable, and affectionate, making them fantastic all purpose dogs. Staff puppies train very easily, so they're a good dog for beginners.

Teddy Roosevelt Terrier - These American hunting terriers are lower set with short legs and a more muscular body than American Rat Terriers. They do well in all lifestyles, whether you are interested in having a family pet, a dog for agility trials, or to show off in conformation rings. In most cases, they are preferred as family companions.

Tenterfield Terrier - These small and lightweight terriers were originally bred in Australia. They have bobtails and mostly white coats. They are outgoing, bold, and intelligent and have adaptable natures. They don't need a lot of grooming because of their low maintenance coat, and have been known to live as long as 20 years.

Toy Fox Terrier - These tiny, athletic dogs are direct descendants of Fox Terriers and have the same distinct erect ears. They're loyal and lovable towards their owners, and actually do well in spaces as small as apartments. Because they're active, they essentially exercise themselves. With proper training, barking can be avoided.

Treeing Feist - These small hunting dogs were bred in the southern United States. They are silent when on track, and bark after treeing squirrels. They look similar to and are often mistaken for Jack Russell Terriers. The Treeing Feist's have smoother and softer coats, however, as well as longer legs and shorter tails.

Welsh Terrier - Bred originally to hunt badger, fox, and rodents, Welsh Terriers are now primarily used in shows. They are compact and sturdy and have a coat with two layers. They're lively, happy, and rarely timid, but they need non-aggressive and firm training, however. For the most part, they're friendly towards people and other dogs, but they don't back down when they feel threatened.  

West Highland White Terrier - Westies have very distinct white coats and, despite theier compact size, are too energetic to make good lap dogs. They have very self confident personalities, partially due to the fact that they were originally developed for digging out badgers and foxes. These recognizable terriers are featured in several logos for small and large brands.

Terrier Dogs - Should You Get One?

Terrier dogs can be excellent pets if you plan on exercising them quite a bit. Some do well in small spaces, others do not enjoy it. If you're looking for a nice calm lap dog, they usually don't fit the bill. However, they do well with families for the most part, especially if they are socialized early on.

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