A terrier is a dog of any one of many breeds or landraces of terrier type, which are typically small, wiry, very active and fearless dogs.

Most terrier breeds were developed in Great Britain and Ireland. They were used to control rats, rabbits, and foxes both over and under the ground. Some larger terriers were also used to hunt badgers. In fact, the word terrier comes from the Middle French "terrier", derived from the Latin "terra", meaning earth. The Kerry Blue Terrier and Airedale, however, are particularly noted for tackling river rats and otters in deep water.

The gameness of the early hunting terriers was exploited by using them in sporting contests. Initially, terriers competed in events such as clearing a pit of rats. The dog that was fastest in killing all the rats won. In the 1700s some terriers were crossed with hounds to improve their hunting, and some with fighting dog breeds to "intensify tenacity and increase courage". [cite book
last= Marvin |first= John T.
title= The New Complete Scottish Terrier
edition= Second Edition
date= 1982
publisher= Howell Book House Inc.
location= New York, N.Y.
isbn= 0-87605-306-1
pages= pg 20
chapter= 2. Background and Heritage of the Terrier Family
] Some of the crosses with fighting dogs, Bull and Terrier crosses, were used in the blood sport of dog fighting. Modern pet breeds developed from the Bull and Terrier, such as the Miniature Bull Terrier, are listed by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) under Bull type terriers. [cite web
url= http://www.fci.be/nomenclatures_detail.asp?lang=en&file=group3
title= FCI Breeds nomenclature
accessdaymonth= 03/28
accessyear= 2008
author=The Fédération Cynologique Internationale
work= www.fci.be

Today, most terriers are kept as companion dogs and make great family pets. They are generally loyal and affectionate to their owners but can be "big characters" requiring a firm hand.

Terrier types and groups

Most major dog registries today group all terriers in one Group; only the Fédération Cynologique Internationale subdivides the terrier group, into what the FCI calls Sections: Large and medium-sized Terriers, Small-sized Terriers, Bull type Terriers, and Toy Terriers.

Genetic analysis shows that most terriers are in the "modern/hunting" genetic cluster of dog breeds developed from the same pool of ancestors in Europe in the 1800s. A few terriers are found in the "mastiff" genetic cluster with Pomeranians, Labrador Retrievers, and other large-headed dogs, and the Tibetan Terrier is found in the older grouping of Asian and African dogs. [cite web
url= http://www.americanscientist.org/template/AssetDetail/assetid/55869/page/2
title= Genetics and the Shape of Dogs; Studying the new sequence of the canine genome shows how tiny genetic changes can create enormous variation within a single species
accessmonthday= 03/31
accessyear= 2008
last= Ostrander
first= Elaine A.
date= September-October 2007
work= American Scientist (online)
publisher= www.americanscientist.org
pages= page 2, chart page 4

In the 1700s in Britain, only two types of terriers were recognized, long- and short-legged. [cite web
url= http://clubs.akc.org/ddtca/about/history.htm
title= History of the Dandie Dinmont
accessdaymonth= 03/28
accessyear= 2008
author= Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club of America
work= DDTCA
] Different localities raised terriers suited to their hunting or vermin control needs. Terriers were crossed with hunting dogs, fighting dogs, and other terriers. In the mid 1800s, with the advent of dog shows, various breeds were refined from the older purpose-bred dogs. All of today's terrier breeds are bred primarily as pets.

A way of categorizing terriers:

*Hunting or working terriers - Still used to find, track, or trail quarry, especially underground, and sometimes to bolt the quarry. These dogs are usually of mixed breeding or of breeds not recognized as pure breeds. These include
**Fell terriers - breeds developed in northern England to assist in the killing of foxes and
**Hunt terriers - breeds developed in southern England to locate and kill or bolt foxes during a traditional mounted fox hunt.

*Toy terrier - Bred "down" from larger terriers, these terriers are shown in the Toy or Companion group. Included among these breeds are the English Toy Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier. While small, they retain true terrier character and are not "lap dogs".

* Bull type Terriers - The Bull and Terrier types were originally combinations of bulldogs and terriers as general mixed breed pit dogs. In the late 1800s, they were refined into separate breeds that combined terrier and bulldog qualities. Except for Boston Terriers, they are generally shown as terriers. Responsible breeders have made modern Bull type terrier breeds, such as the Bull terrier, suitable as family dogs and show terriers. A descendent of the Bull and Terrier types, the American Pit Bull Terriers, are among the dog breeds still raised for illegal dog fighting.

Listed at the bottom of the article are all Terrier breeds.

Variation in categorization among Kennel Clubs

What is considered a terrier varies in the many of the major kennel clubs, including the Fédération Cynologique Internationale, AKC, Australian National Kennel Council, Canadian Kennel Club, The Kennel Club (UK), New Zealand Kennel Club, and UKC as well as the myriad hunting and pet registries. For example, the Miniature Schnauzer is in the Terrier group in the American Kennel Club but not a Terrier according to the United Kingdom Kennel Club. Boston Terriers are true terriers although not put in the terrier group, while the Tibetan Terrier and Black Russian Terrier are terriers in name only and not true terriers at all.


ee also

*Terriers of Scotland
*Working terriers
*Dog type
*List of dog types

External links

* [http://www.terrierman.com/historypics.htm A Pictorial History of Terriers]
* [http://www.terrierman.com/hunting.htm Hunting with Terriers: The Basics]
* [http://www.terrierman.com/tunneltips.htm Tips for Tunnel Training Terriers] ------

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • terrier — 1. (tè rié ; l r ne se lie jamais) adj. m. 1°   Terme de féodalité. Papier terrier, registre contenant le dénombrement des particuliers qui relevaient d une seigneurie et de leurs redevances ou obligations. •   Dites aux femmes ce que c est que… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Terrier — Ter ri*er, n. 1. [F. terrier, chien terrier, from terre the earth, L. terra; cf. F. terrier a burrow, LL. terrarium a hillock (hence the sense, a mound thrown up in making a burrow, a burrow). See {Terrace}, and cf. {Terrier}, 2.] (Zo[ o]l.) One… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Terrier — Sm (eine Hunderasse) erw. fach. (19. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus ne. terrier, dieses aus frz. chien terrier der zur Erde gehörige Hund . Gemeint ist eine Hunderasse, die die Jagdtiere bis in die Höhle verfolgt (vor allem Foxterrier).    Ebenso… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • terrier — (n.) mid 15c., from O.Fr. chien terrier terrier dog, lit. earth dog, from M.L. terrarius of earth, from L. terra earth (see TERRAIN (Cf. terrain)). So called because the dogs pursue their quarry (foxes, badgers, etc.) into their burrows …   Etymology dictionary

  • terrier — [ter′ē ər] n. [ME terrere < MFr (chien) terrier, hunting (dog) < terrier, hillock, burrow < ML terrarius, of earth < L terra, TERRA] any member of several breeds of generally small and typically aggressive dog, orig. bred to rout… …   English World dictionary

  • terrier — Terrier, C est une caverne dans terre où les connils font leur retraicte, leur tasniere et repaire. On dit aussi le terrier d un renard. Pour la cachette et tasniere d iceluy par mesmes raison …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • terrier — ► NOUN 1) a small breed of dog originally used for turning out foxes and other animals from their earths. 2) a tenacious or eager person. ORIGIN from Old French chien terrier earth dog …   English terms dictionary

  • Terrier — Ter ri*er, n. [CF. L. terere to rub, to rub away, terebra a borer.] An auger or borer. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Terrĭer — (engl.), Hunderasse, s. Hund, S. 646 …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Terrier — Terrĭer, engl. Hunderasse, s. Foxterrier …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Terrier — Le nom vient bien sûr de terre, mais il est difficile de savoir ce qu il désigne au juste : une butte sans doute (toponyme), mais peut être aussi le tenancier d une terre …   Noms de famille