Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rare as a Tiger and as Useless as a Shih Tzu


The last man to dig with a Kennel Club Sealyham was Jocelyn Lucas in the 1930s.


The Daily Mail has a piece on the Sealyham Terrier:

They look so cute it is almost impossible to believe these dogs have had their day.

But the Sealyham terrier, once beloved of Hollywood stars and royalty, is now ‘rarer than a tiger’ and on the verge of extinction.

The staggering decline in the popularity of the little white dogs is highlighted in the latest edition of Country Life magazine...

Right.

The Sealyheam is a rare terrier
, while Jack Russells are everywhere, and it's not hard to find a good Patterdale is it?

Why is that?

You will not get a useful answer from The Daily Mail who went to a Kennel Club spokesperson looking for an answer.  Her reply?  It was all due to the ban on tail docking and the rise in the popularity of Shih Tzus!

Nonsense.  Do they make up these answers whole cloth as they stumble out of the drinks tent?  It sure seems like it!  The Sealyham was as rare as frog hair long before the tail docking ban, and if the Kennel Club thinks a Shih Tzu and a Sealyham are interchangeable then they really have told us they think a Sealyham is a toy poodle.

In fact, the reason there are so few Kennel Club registered Sealyham's is that the Kennel Club Sealyham is useless as a working dog and undifferentiated (except by price) as a pet dog.

A working terrier cannot be thick in the chest, but that's exactly what has happened to the Kennel Club Sealyham terrier which is why there are no working versions of this terrier. 

Look at the picture, below, of a recent Cruft's winner. The dog is as big as a sofa cushion!





Terrierman Eddie Chapman has said it about as well as anyone when it comes to the small chest size needed for a working terrier:
"On the working side, I think if we look at the country as as whole [the U.K.], I think we will find that the most used size is between ten and a half inches and twelve and a half inches ... I have never seen a Russell of fourteen inches that was as small in the chest as a vixen.... I am a small man and have reasonably small hands, but in more than twenty years during which time I have handled well over 1000 foxes, I have never handled a full grown fox which came anywhere near the span of my hands. The biggest I can remember was a South Hereford fox that was one and a half inches smaller than my hand and that was without squeezing him."
-- Eddie Chapman,  "The Working Jack Russell Terrier"

Jack Russell Terriers and the Patterdale Terriers remain popular all over the world because they are true terriers, which is to say that they are small enough to get to ground to find their quarry, and they are tough enough to stay once is is found.   No, most Jacks are not hunted, but everyone wants a dog that could hunt and there are not many candidates in the terrier world any more.  A Sealyham?  It's a big Shit-zoo -- the Kennel club lady herself said as much! 
..

2 comments:

Jenn said...

Here in Phoenix, Patterdales are very easy to find.

Someone bought a dog or bitch from somewhere (There are a few breeders in California) and has been breeding and dumping. I picked up my girl from the Maricopa pound, and I see what are very likely siblings all over petfinder and petharbor. So far there've been two litters.

seeker said...

Humans have a thing about size, as in big, for horses also. Once upon a time Morgan Horses were 14 hands and strong as an ox, pulling plows and dislodging stumps with ease. The old working foundation Quarter Horses also were around this size. And the fabled Arabian endurance horse too. Now, the only riding horse to be found of this diminuative stature is the old Spanish Mustang. People who ride them are made fun of, until at least, the ponies leave the now gawky Quarter Horses, Thoroughbreds and other 17 to 18 hand monstrosities in the dust.
I do not comprehend why bigger is better when the animal cannot do the job it was originally bred to do. And, hey, they eat less.
Go figure.

Debi, the TX JRTs and her relatively small 15 hand Appaloosa.

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