Knowing Terriers

Airedale, Irish, Kerrys

The Airedale Terrier is undoubtedly the king of Terriers. They are followed closely by the Irish terrier, Kerry Blues, Russian and Soft-coated Wheaten Terriers.

Large Terriers tend to be medium-sized dogs 18” to the shoulder and taller. Usually you need gumption to manage as they can be excitable meeting dogs but you can use their intelligence. These are rare breeds now and have their own active breed rescues. We rarely get them into terrier rescue as we are there for the terriers often found stray or where other Rescues have turned them away. To find out each breed rescues search on the internet. Most breed rescues are run by large breeders who are there for their dogs; some may look for proof of pedigree and not take ‘home bred or crosses’. Any behavioural problems may not be acceptable for returns. In our view owning a terrier, you have to be prepared to be nipped or bitten at some point in their lives and for you to accept the blame and review your management strategy; they are not soft toys. They will expect ‘Pedigree’ prices for their dogs and rarely neuter in preparation for rehoming. If they don’t have a suitable returned dog available, they may try and tempt you into buying an ex-breeder or a puppy.

Breed Rescues are more likely to give an honest view of the breed, rather than the flowery descriptions a breeder promoter is likely to give. You have to have a certain kind of stomach to accept your dogs kennelled most of their lives. ‘They adore their breed and couldn’t do it any injustice’! Their dogs are often bred from kennelled stock and haven’t lived ‘pet lives’, the danger of this is they are bred for show rather than temperament.

Border and Red Fells

Borders and Red Fells. Why have we grouped these? Border Terriers are close cousins of Fell Terriers after all they came from adjoining geographical areas “the Borders” are next to “the Lakes”. The colouring of the Red Fell Terrier with a broken or wire coat draws you close to the Border, especially Working Border types. Both are much blacker as pups. So cousins indeed and unless the Red Fell is smooth, the resemblance is clear with the Fell have longer noses and the border more snubbed noses. People will see the Red Fells and ask “Is there Border in there?” Truth is “There may well be” is always the reply, as with Terriers! Show Borders are KC registered but Fell Terrier were never bred for show, but for performance and the Terrier fans would not let the Kennel Club get their hands on restricting their genetics. In truth Terrier people often put a good performing Jack to a Border or Fell without a thought other than their ‘fancy’ and breeding for traits.

Red Fells are not so well known and indeed as ‘Black’ is the dominant gene, usually within a litter of Fells; there are more blacks than reds or black and tans, so they are rarer. Read up on the Fell Terriers on this website for Red Fells. ‘Show Borders’ are a recognised KC breed and have ‘pet generation’ lines so their working instincts have ‘softened’. You do get ‘Working type’ Borders (Like Belington’s) with strong working instincts, y=they look more rugged. Show Borders like Schnauzers are ‘softer’ and have a reputation of being ‘easier’ and have a strong Breed Rescue, so rarely come through our rescue. Lakeland border crosses signified by the border’s shorter nose do come through our Rescue.

Fell Terriers

Fell Terriers are real ‘Terriers!’ They weren’t ‘Frozen and defined’ into pedigree. They win their points in Terrier meetings not show circles. They are prized by their owners for performance chasing, challenging or catching wild life. After a hard day or nights work “hopefully” they are loved family pets. The term Fell comes from the Fells; the Lake District and are sold as “Lakelands” but are different to the pedigree Lakeland Terriers in colour and traits. Fells are ‘rugged’ and often bred by terrier fanciers or travellers. They are tough ‘longer legged’ small medium terriers. Watch them through the website you will see them and soon recognise them out on walks; sadly in rescue centres and especially on the website. Our roads aren’t 1950 roads and hedghogs; foxes; cats and terriers are the most at risk and a terrier could be fixated on any one of these are they fly across the road. They are courageous to a fault, can be a little bit too defensive for their owners liking. Not famed to hold back if challenged nor have it all under control if they are in a rush.

Sadly so many of our Fells sit with us waiting for their homes, because they so need responsible homes. People submit our homing questionnaire with ‘must come off lead’; ‘must be able to live with three cats’; ‘we have time now as we are rearing a family. How are they with babies?’ These are the reasons they have failed their homes because people don’t have respect for their terrier ways. Purchase any dog and go into their roots ?what were they genetically engineered to do. Lakelands are ‘working type’ terriers and need to be respected, managed and loved for what they ARE not for what they AREN’T. To place our terriers, we need to know your lifestyle; about visiting dogs; age of owners including intent to have a family or take in grandchildren for substantial periods and match accordingly. Many of our Terriers lose their homes and lives, because a baby comes; they can’t handle toddlers; or they lack of a terrier-proof garden.

We are looking for ‘feet on the floor’, sleeves rolled up people, with a lot of heart and forgiveness. A terrier person naturally blames themselves not their dog. They aren’t people to involve a behaviourist two weeks into homing because they get excited when the postman comes.

Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier are super terriers with verve, nerve and a huge fan club and we’re part of it! They come short legged; intermediate or long legged; latter are Parsons. To be ‘showable’ the Ken.Club defines the breed as 55% ‘white/cream’ coat with lineage registration. Within the same litter some can be born black; brown or black and tan as ‘Jack’ as the rest! “Working Type” Terriers, close to their roots, have instincts to match. People step back in horror with any evidence when they kill a soft toy or a mouse.

Jacks- are adored or avoided. We adore them and they are justifiably popular. We often ask people for their views on Jacks. If they are Jack shy then we suggest they don’t go anywhere near the Fell Terrier and seriously consider if they want a Terrier at all. Jacks have fantastic personalities, are first-class comedians but very serious in their own being. They need potential owners to have a sense of humour, fun and adventure. Natural ‘ratters’, rather like cats are natural bird catchers. If you want a tame ‘ever so’ lifestyle you need to choose your ‘Jack’ carefully. We do get what we call ‘little loves’. We also say if a terrier nips or bites it’s par for the course; it should NEVER be a death sentence. People do have to respect their independent, instinct bound behaviours. A Jack whatever its age adapts into your lifestyle, the “old dog new tricks” just doesn’t stack up when we see dogs who have been in kennels all their lives, fit into to a family ‘very nicely’ thank you in old age. Terriers are very adaptable and trainable but to a degree they ARE terriers, as tricks of training are often left at home for treat gain. The travellers are major breeders of Jacks and sell them off through free ads, no backup given!

Lakelands Welsh and Fox

Lakeland, Welsh, Fox, Border and Plummer Terriers are medium-sized terriers, small medium sized dogs. Their hunting ‘working’ roots shine through as they come into maturity (9-20 months). Their play reflects this and need understanding for people not to over react. They need socialisation, socialisation and socialisation as puppies and managed from there on. They are independent spirits and need to be negotiated with like toddlers and appreciated for being Terriers! So many people are attracted to their looks and are under the false illusion that with proper ‘training’ they will have a calm, dependable and delightful dog (on wheels) by 12 months. Then when they become 10 months they become bewildered because the adult terrier, with all its instincts surfaces. The owner forgotten they bought a ‘working type’ terrier. These ‘owners’ are rather keen to become ‘ex-owners’ and hence many change hands. They make good family dogs but are not ideal for live-in and visiting young children. They need their audience to be conscious, respectful and tutored. You manage a terrier with respect and attract them into the preferred behaviours.

The pedigrees are fairly rare breeds and have their own active breed rescues. Some of those rescues try to protect their breeds name and put to sleep returned terrier rather than understand their needs and bring them through. We help these breeds often. Most breed rescues are run by breeders who are there for their dogs; some may also be there for their own breed but will look for proof of pedigree and not take ‘home bred’. Their dogs are often bred from kennelled stock focused on the ‘show circuit’ and parents haven’t lived ‘pet lives’. The danger of this is they are bred for show rather than temperament. They will expect ‘Pedigree’ prices for their dogs and if they don’t have an ex-breeder available they may try to tempt you into buying a puppy. Breeders associated with Rescue work are more likely to give a more honest view of the breed traits, rather than flowery descriptions as promoter of potential. They adore their breed and couldn’t do it any injustice.

Parsons Jack Russell

Parsons are long-legged Jacks. They Jacks, but those long legs come from sighthound genetics and bring chase instinct together with prey instinct. Rather than ‘Ratting’ they were apparently used for fox and badger baiting. We have no interest in the working side of terriers but you need awareness of those instincts: They have been bred into them and are only apparent upon full maturity. Buying a Terrier pup and putting in TLC doesn’t make a hoot of difference in, terrier pups need heaps of socialisation to help dull their instincts so they learn to respect! This will influence the degree of control you have in trying to manage them. The long-legged Terriers tend to be more ‘aloof’ in nature which Terrier addicts appreciate as part of their independent spirit. Coat wise they come smooth, broken /rough on the back and beard or and wire/ rough coated. The rough coat is meant to protect their skin going in the brambles. We have a lot of Parsons come through pounds having ‘failed’ to return to their owners while ‘on the job’ or perhaps gone to ground for a while and become disorientated on alighting. You definitely have to microchip and have a clear stamped disc (not engraved) on your Parsons. IF you are chancing them off the lead, stay well away from roads; use a squeaky toy or high whistle to attract them back before they ‘engage’ with a sighting. No matter how trained they are, once their attention is focused, your call becomes a distant, familiar, almost annoying, “a flea in their ear!”

Patterdale Brown Black Fells

Patterdales originate from Patterdale village within the Lake District. Patterdales are not an exact science; thankfully the Kennel Club haven’t been interested in them! Could they cope! They are ‘Black Fells’ but can have some white on their chest, they can rarely be middle to dark brown. They can have any length of leg, any length of coat but you know one when you meet one. There is a Patterdale type called a ‘Nuttal’ originally bred by Brian Nuttal with smooth haired, smaller, stockier Patterdales with sweet natures. Rumour suggested they have some Staffie in their genetics. One couple who recently collected theirs & stated there was a black Staffie in amongst the dogs there. A key factor in Terrier genetics is they are derived from sighthound and Bull breed roots. The sighthound is their visual fixation, horizontal gaze and chase! The bull breed is the loving people focus and tenacity. In terrierrescue, rather than defining the breed, we’re interested in the dog! Black terriers are Scotties; Russian terriers; Staffies or Patterdales. (Schnauzers are honorary terriers!)

Patterdales like ‘Fells’, are close to their working roots and instincts. As with the ‘working type’ Terriers they need to be understood and respected for what they are and not resented. “You bought a Patterdale…your fault not theirs, for you not doing your homework”. They are well known as so many are found stray and end up in Rescue Centres homed as “Terrier crosses”. People can’t believe it when they stumble across our website and say ‘My Inkie’ was a Patterdale but I had no idea. One home has a long line of past Pet portraits all Patterdales. They had no idea what they had owned. We can tend to paint too honest a picture of their traits, as truly you have to be geared for a dog that will have their moments with other dogs; has ‘kill instincts with soft toys and furry friends’, are interested in next door’s garden, and can get over-excited with visitors, running children etc. Often we find when we ‘unpick’ dramatic statements they have caught clothing rather than bitten; rough played with ‘just wet fur’ rather than fought. But that’s what comes of being in inexperienced hands. We get the calls all the time, “It could be a child next time”; “I can’t trust the dog any more”. They get a ‘bad’ write up on the internet as, in the wrong hands; they can get themselves in trouble, lost, killed or put to sleep. A terrier is feeble hands has its life in constant threat. That is why we have huge kennel bills, as we have to take them in, to save their lives whenever we can.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Staffies are quite a different type of terrier and easier to manage and train than their cousins. They are stocky, smooth coated with ‘rose’ ears usually and a keen interest in people as affection exchangers and food is usually a keen interest. To come up close to a Staffie is to engage in such friendliness and their lickability is second to none. They willingly engage in a ‘face washing’ service, if you’ll play game, if not a paw shake offered to the less brave hearted. Yes in this respect they are very dangerous dogs! They often love to play ball because they are engaging with their people. They are famed for stick acquisition and carriage. Some will share happily but others can be a little possessive of their prize. Staffies usually give very clear bodily language.

Staffies rub along with other dogs and we home many in with other dogs; cats or kids. They adore children and usually deferent and respectful towards them. Staffies will settle when left, providing they get an interesting walk prior. They may protest whimper as you leave, heaping on the guilt. You leave feeling you have mortally wounded them but a peep 5 mins later you’ll hear their snoring coming from the sofa. Staffies are clowns; they laugh and make you laugh. As adolescents that intensity to make contact can lead to ‘leaping lords’ which is an issue families have to manage them to greet you with 4 paws touching the ground. So what of Staffies and other dogs outside? Well actually no different to any other dog, and in our opinion easier than terriers as they tend not to be interested in other dogs. They’re into their walk, may tell a bouncy off lead dog off, as they don’t like dogs in their face. On most accounts you have told the other dog off before they speak and tell them off! Yes a big feature with Staffies is, perhaps due to their deep bond and identification with their humans, is they really to try to speak to you; sing to you, but seldom bark. The public have been wrongly hyped about the breed from a misinformed, ‘headline hunter’ press. We don’t recommend Staffies come off a extender so you are always engaged in their public encounters. They then can‘t be accused of being out of control and you can take command ask others to get their dogs under control. A Staffies owners night=mare is the Labrador owner who runs over or calls from a distance ‘He only wants to play!’ Off lead with such a sociable nature, you’ll spend you time trying to get your dog back, they having joined a family across the way! Baffoons is the word to describe Staffies, they have you in stitches.

Terrier Cross

The Terrier in crossbreeds usually shines out in their eyes and stance. On greeting the dance of delight hopefully brings a smile. We help many terrier crosses but what we are finding when people want a ‘cross breed as they are healthier they then only want a best of both cross. When to cross 2 breeds or with ancestry even more; you have a blend. This is where the designer breeds with all their salacious names make us laugh Jug the Jacks x Pug. The Pug fans don’t actually want the terrier nature shining through. The Jack fans are perturbed by the looks and oddness of looks. Another recent was a Westie x Jack. She was a ‘Westie on speed’ and wanted to run and run. Terriers crosses are all unique and little treasures. You have to just love them. They are unique persons all in their own right. Isn’t that truly what we should view with all our K9 friends?