Filed in Dogs, Getting a New Puppy/Dog
Dogs of the terrier group are full of energy and widely known as feisty. They are also smart so, you must be prepared to spend time training them unless you want your dog to control you. Terriers were bred to hunt small animals and rodents and they tend to be aggressive with other dogs and like to talk back to humans. Their wiry coats may require special grooming, but a good terrier is worth the effort because his enthusiasm and antics will continually amuse you.
Crossed with the Otter Hound to produce a dog of good scenting and swimming abilities, the Airedale is the giant of the terrier group. She works as a police and war dog and stays aloof from other dogs and strangers. Her agreeable disposition makes her popular as a faithful friend and family protector.
American Straffordshire Terrier
From England and Ireland comes this strong and sturdy dog. His courage and grace are noteworthy. He sports a short glossy coat that can be any color. An able guard dog, he's reliable and confident. He likes children, is happiest when surrounded by family and can live in country or city surroundings.
A relatively new breed, this terrier was developed to hunt small animals in the Australian bush country. He's small, weighing only 12-14 pounds. Also used as a sheep herder and guard dog, he likes to show his spirit and courage. His coat sheds minimally, and his quiet manner makes him a good indoor dog.
This hunter of badgers and rats comes from England. A determined spirit drives her in relentless pursuit of her prey. She's prized as well for her lovable and easy-going nature. Her coat can be liver or blue in color and requires slight trimming that you can learn to do yourself. This hardy dog is an excellent companion in the house but loves a good daily run.
One of the oldest working terriers, this breed lived in almost every homestead of the Border Country between England and Scotland. His job was to protect the farm animals from marauding foxes and to guard home and family members. Tough and tireless, his double coat protects him in all kinds of weather. His big heart wants to please.
A cross between the Bulldog, English Terrier, and Spanish Pointer produced this sturdy, medium-sized terrier. She can be all white or colored, and her coat needs little grooming. A strong and agile fighting dog, she can defend herself and her human companions, but she never looks for a fight. She's friendly and affectionate so won't like being separated from her human friends. She loves to play ball and to be outdoors.
This working terrier hunted otter and foxes among the rocky cliffs and cairns of his native Isle of Skye in Scotland. He sports a wiry outer coat and soft undercoat that requires no trimming. A hardy and active dog, he'll look for your love and attention with large intelligent eyes. He likes plenty of exercise and could misbehave if you ignore him.
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Her name comes from a farmer that owned six of these charming dogs in a novel by Sir Walter Scott. Bred to hunt otter and badger around the farms of the Border Country, she is also an excellent housedog. Wise, careful with children, and a protector of home, she may give you a look of defiance before doing what you ask of her.
Fox Terrier - Smooth
The Fox Terrier developed from old English breeding. This smooth coated mostly white dog needs weekly brushing. She possesses keen eyesight, scent and determination, traits she developed as a hunter of foxes. You may have to train her not act out that hunter's instinct to dig. A lively dog, she's easy to housebreak.
Fox Terrier - Wire
Also a predominately white dog, his wiry coat is dense and rough. Quick, alert, and expectant, this terrier was bred to chase and capture animals in their dens. He has lots of energy and does well in obedience training. With absolute self-assurance, he'll let you know if someone is coming near and be your loyal friend.
Another one of the old terrier breeds, he looks like a miniature Irish Wolfhound. He's an adaptable and hardy dog who has hunted small and large animals and served as a war dog. He's a natural in water. Happy in either a city or rural environment, he plays well with children and takes seriously his job as guardian of the home.
Kerry Blue Terrier
The national dog of the Irish Republic, the Kerry Blue is a working and sporting terrier. She excels at hunting and retrieving small game and herding sheep. Easily trained and adaptable, she's one of the best companions and watchdogs. She'll live a long life, if properly cared for and remain active into old age.
One of the oldest of the working terrier breeds, he lived with farmers in the mountain districts of England. His job was to keep the fox away from sheep herds and he can follow a fox underground for great distances. He wears a weather-resistant double coat of black and tan. Despite his active nature, he's quiet and companionable.
Possibly a cross between a terrier and the Whippet, the Manchester retains that breed's curved back, unusual for a terrier. She has a sleek look of slender body and glossy ebony coat. Her short hair and exceptionally clean habits make her a good dog for indoor living. A smaller version of this handsome dog is classified in the Toy Group.
Miniature Bull Terrier
This smaller version of the Bull Terrier comes from the same breeding line. His short flat coat shines with a fine gloss and is either pure white or colored. Smart and strong, his disposition is even and he responds well to discipline. You'll enjoy his cheerful personality and his efforts to make you laugh at his playfulness.
Derived from the medium-sized Schnauzer of Germany, this smaller version is less aggressive than the true terriers but robust and active. Her small size makes her suitable for indoor city life, and she is not likely to wander from home. An intelligent and even-tempered dog, she also likes children. While not a fighter, she's good at guarding her home.
Another small working terrier, the Norfolk weighs about 12 pounds. Drop ears distinguish him from his close relative, the Norwich. His wiry coat and dense undercoat keep him weather-proofed. An active and compact dog, he follows foxes to their dens and tackles rodents with fearless intent. Yet he's even-tempered, friendly and loyal to people. He won't like it if you leave him alone.
Originally classified with the Norfolk, her pricked ears eventually separated her from the breed. Her great skill is hunting rodents. A true all-weather dog, she's small but stocky and has a real terrier personality. She's easy to have in the house because her short coat sheds dirt easily and requires no trimming. She'll be forever loyal to her human companion.
Bred in Scotland, the Scottie is well known for his distinctive looks -- long head, short legs, thick and muscular body and wiry coat that can be black, wheaten, or brindle. A dependable and dignified dog, he can be willful in true terrier fashion. But he's also sensitive and, with understanding of his nature, he'll be a good friend.
In her native Wales, the Sealyham was famous for hunting badger, otter and fox. She's small, quick, and able to dig into the liars of her prey and fight underground. Her double coat is white with tan or yellow markings on the head. She loves people and will be a good and loyal family dog who adapts well to indoor living.
This dog's elegant looks have remained nearly unchanged for four centuries. His long outer coat protected him from the bites of the animals he was bred to pursue on the northwestern islands of Scotland. The hair falls down on either side of his body and must be combed weekly to prevent matting. He likes to form a strong bond with one person.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
A rare terrier of single coat, the wheaten colored hair is soft, silky and wavy and flows when she moves. This dog from Ireland weighs from 30 to 40 pounds and lacks the aggressiveness of other terriers. She's of steady disposition, self-confident, and affectionate with people. Her happy exuberance lasts her entire life.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
A cross between the game terrier and bulldog, the Staffordshire is sound of body, intelligence, and spirit. His muscular frame weighs between 30 to 40 pounds. He's quiet and trustworthy and affectionate with family and children. Able to live in city or country, he does require regular exercise and is a good all-purpose dog.
This medium-sized dog descends from an old breed developed to hunt otter, fox and badger. Despite his hunting abilities, he won't pick a fight and is easy to handle. Sturdy and long-legged, his coat is coarse and black and tan in color. He's able to show self-control despite a spirited nature. Friendly and obliging, he'd be a good city or apartment dog.
West Highland White Terrier
A spunky and determined little dog, the "Westie" is a fast and clever hunter. She is equally desirable as a faithful companion. Too hardy to want special treatment, she loves to play in the snow and go for long hikes. Her coat requires no trimming and daily brushing will keep her looking bright and white.
For more information about any of the terrier breeds described here, visit AKC .
Margaret Cullison is a freelance writer who in past years has provided a home for a variety of dogs, cats, hamsters, rats, lizards, parrots, fish, and snakes. Currently she lives in the East Bay area of Northern California with a Burmese cat named Kona.