Thursday, February 18, 2010

Badger Digging, 1917

This is how it used to be done -- a whole tribe of men to dig, and far more dogs in the field than make sense. Were any of the dogs pictured of any actual use?


Retrieverman said...

It says Cumbria, and Cumbria is in very rocky and mountainous terrain. That's where the Lake District is.

Look at the size of those European badgers. We have nothing in the US that digs a hole that is of that size.

It is very likely that the dogs were working the badgers, but it was likely that they weren't doing terrier work as you define it.

These dogs look like hound-terrier crosses. It's likely that the badgers were going into caves or rock piles. And the big dogs pushed them until they got bayed up in an area where they could be dug.

PBurns said...

There have never been too many badger in Cumbria, and the dogs normally used are the same as those used today: Lakelands, Patterdales, Fells, Jacks, crosses of various kinds, etc. All the dogs used today are under 15" at the shoulder and most are 12-13 inches.

Two of the dogs pictured look to be old-fashioned Bedlingtons (an extinct breed now, replaced by the roach-back linty-coated wreck of a dog that hobbles around the rink at a Kennel Club show under that same name).

Bedlingtons were never much used as a working terrier as they are really a bushing dog (and never too popular even for that).

This dig was near Salter Hall, about eight miles southeast of Whitehaven which is really on the far west edge of Cumbria, so the land there may be a bit better. I may see if anyone digs near there now .... be interesting to know!


Retrieverman said...

Bedlingtons are from Northumberland, which is an adjacent county to Cumbria. These are the northernmost counties in England.

Those dogs look like very dark liver Bedlingtons.

Beds have been used as retrievers, and although we usually talk about their poodle ancestry, I wonder it they might have water spaniel in them. One of those dogs in the front right of the photo looks water spanielish.

And the indigenous water spaniel to Northumberland is the one that is the ancestor of the golden retriever and probably the yellow Labrador.

I thought Patterdale was in the Lake District, so why they aren't using Fell-type terriers is a very good question.

PBurns said...

All the dogs are from the same stock (literally) and most are from the same regions too. Border Terrier come from Northumberland, and if you wan to see what an ABSURD hash is made of Border and Bedlington history, look at the pictures and description here >>

In fact, a Fell, a Patterdale, a Welsh Terrier, a Lakeland, a Border, a Black and Tan, and a Jack Russell are all the same dog with small variations in coat and color, with one fasing into the other, and with some dogs being shown as "White Lakelands" at one show and a Jack Russell at another.

Bedlingtons are a bizarre breed with some serious health problem and little us (in my opinion). Push it to extinction, and without apology!