Terriers originated from Great Britain and were developed to hunt and kill vermin. The desired traits in these breeds were the ability to dig up the underground dens and burrows and ‘go to ground' whilst barking noisily to frighten out any inhabitants. The name terrier means earth or ‘terra'.
As a group, terriers are scrappy, independent, and fearless and are blessed with the joy of life. The common members of the group are the Jack Russell Terrier, the Smooth-Coated Fox Terrier and the Wire-Coated Fox Terrier.
Jack Russell Terriers are feisty, exuberant, crowd-pleasing and hyperactive bundles of muscle. They tend to be extremely intelligent, athletic and vocal dogs. It is not uncommon for the JR to become moody or destructive if not properly stimulated and exercised, as they have a tendency to bore easily and will often create their own fun when left alone - they love to entertain themselves!
The Jack Russell is truly a big dog in a small dog package. They can be stubborn at times, and may become aggressive towards other dogs and people if not adequately socialised. Obedience classes are recommended for these dogs and owners should be made aware of these tendencies and advised to keep an eye out for trouble in many situations. The JR is predominantly white in colour with black and/or tan markings. They have dense double coats which are either smooth or rough.
Fox Terriers, or ‘Foxy's' as they are affectionately known, were independently bred in England in the mid-19th century. There are two main breeds which are distinguishable by their hair coats. The smooth-coat is flat but hard and dense whereas the wire-coat has a broken wiry texture. Fox Terriers can be obstinate and strong-willed but, with persistence, can be obedience trained. Add a sense of humour, a talent for mischief and an insatiable curiosity and the character of a Fox Terrier is complete.
All three of these little rat-bags are a common addition to the working dog team on many farms and are equally popular as town-dwelling pet dogs.