Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The American Book of the Dog, 1891



This picture is from a book published in 1891 entitled The American Book of the Dog.

The dog is described as a smooth-coated fox terrier, and yet it looks nothing like the keel-chested long-faced dogs seen in the American Kennel Club today.

Indeed, it looks like a JRTCA smooth Jack Russell.  Specifically, it looks like a much less well-muscled version of my own dogs, Mountain and Gideon.

Why do I say it looks like a JRTCA Jack Russell Terrier rather than a "Parson Russell Terrier"? 

Simple:  because in the description of the dog, we find it is supposed to actually hunt, and not simply walk around at the end of a string lead.

Being intended, to hunt with and for his master, he should be ready and eager to attack the object of the hunt, entering into its hiding-place and indicating the locality by giving tongue or drawing out the game in the open. It is not desirable that he should close with and kill the game,
as a Bull Terrier would do.
The author goes on to warn people that this dog is a type of working dog, and not a paper breed.

Here and there a clew is given by some author or artist to white and pied Terriers, both smooth and rough coated; but there is no such thing as an absolute and exact type traceable in the Fox Terrier, as is the case with Greyhounds and different species of Hounds used in the chase for centuries past. It will have to satisfy the Fox Terrier lover who desires to establish the claim of his pet breed to purity of blood, to say that the best Foxhound kennels in the beginning of the century were possessed of good Terriers, and are known to have given their breeding the most careful attention; so that when recourse was had to such kennels as the Grove, Belvoir, and Quorn to build the present breed of Fox Terriers upon, Terriers were easily found in and about those kennels as true in type as the best of today, although perhaps not so perfect in the special points which breeding purely for the bench shows has since produced.

Of course, if you go on to read the rest of the text you discover the author has no actual hunting experience himself, and is entirely obsessed with show points and who is winning.

Is there any question how the Fox Terrier in America was ruined? It started here!.

1 comment:

HurricaneDeck said...

Where I grew up in Texas all of the little terriers that my family owned were called Fox Terriers - a general name for a button eared feist, I think, during my childhood.

It took me forever to find a "Fox Terrier" that looked like the ones I grew up with - turned out to be now called a Rat Terrier!