Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Standard for a True Working Terrier

The preening pretenders over at the Kennel Club
have made a joke of themselves by embracing a nonworking dog out of Australia as a "Jack Russell Terrier," and never mind if the dog bears little resemblance to the dogs worked and loved for over 200 years in the U.K., and never mind that the largest and oldest Jack Russell Terrier club in Great Britain has protested.

The pet people at the Kennel  Club have a standard, they will tell you, and never mind if it is not a standard that includes either health or work, and never mind if it is a standard invented yesterday by nameless, faceless people who have never dug 3 feet to plant a rose bush, and never mind if it will be changed soon enough, as all the others have.  Ironically, there is nothing "standard" about these standards!
And yet, in the world of the true working terrier, there has always been a standard, even if it has never been one written by humans.  The standard is the work, and it's not a "one and done" affair is it?

Many years back, the the Fell and Moorland Working Terrier Club gave a nice summary of  "the standard" of a working terrier, and it's worth noting here:

A WORKING TERRIER should be terrier-like in appearance and should have an acute and powerful motivation to work.  
HEAD: should be strong, and encased in the skull should be a brain capable of showing intelligence and a fair amount of obedience and respect with some affection. 
NECK: should be strong and muscular, joining the head to the body. 
CHEST: should be big enough to hold the heart of a lion, but small enough to enable its owner to follow the quarry into extremely tight corners.= 
LEGS: should be long, or short, according to the work envisaged by the terrain of the area where he is to be employed. The legs should be powerful enough to carry the owner through a hard day. 
FEET: four, one at the end of each leg, with extremely tough pads. 
COAT: whether rough or smooth, white or colored, should be dense and tight, to keep its wearer warm and facilitate cleaning without holding too much earth and water. 
BACK: strong and supple. 
TAIL: for preference, a working terrier should have a tail. 
EYES: of great assistance above ground. 
EARS: yes, two. 
NOSE: should be able to detect and evaluate any slight scent. 
TEETH: should be as large and as strong as possible, firmly secured in a muscular jaw, capable of biting powerfully and holding a firm grip. 
In temperament, the animal should be fairly docile and tractable, with a tremendous staying power and great love of his task. He should enjoy going to ground and should not appear at 10 minute intervals to see if his owner is still waiting for him. He should disregard wounds and see his job through at all times. He should be of sensible disposition and not easily ruffled or upset. 

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