The Welsh Terrier





This breed is near akin to the wire-hair Fox-terrier, the principal

differences being merely of colour and type. The Welsh Terrier is

a wire-haired black or grizzle and tan. The most taking colouring

is a jet black body and back with deep tan head, ears, legs, belly,

and tail. Several specimens have, however, black foreheads, skulls,

ears, and tail, and the black will frequently be seen also extending

for a short way down the legs. There must be no black, however, below

the hock, and there must be no substantial amount of white anywhere;

a dog possessing either of these faults is, according to the recognised

standard of the breed, disqualified. Many of the most successful bench

winners have, nevertheless, been possessed of a little white on the

chest and even a few hairs of that colour on their hind toes, and,

apparently, by the common consent of all the judges of the breed,

they have been in nowise handicapped for these blemishes.



There are not so many grizzle coloured Welsh Terriers now as there

used to be. A grizzle and tan never looks so smart as a black and

tan; but though this is so, if the grizzle is of a dark hard colour,

its owner should not be handicapped as against a black and tan; if,

on the contrary, it is a washed-out, bluish-looking grizzle, a judge

is entitled to handicap its possessor, apart altogether from the fact

that any such colour on the back is invariably accompanied by an

objectionable light tan on the legs, the whole being a certain sign

of a soft, silky, unterrierlike coat.



The coat of the Welsh Terrier slightly differs from that of the

wire-hair Fox-terrier in that it is, as a rule, not so abundant, and

is, in reality, a different class of coat. It is not so broken as

is that of the Fox-terrier, and is generally a smoother, shorter coat,

with the hairs very close together. When accompanied with this there

is a dense undercoat, one has, for a terrier used to work a good deal

in water, an ideal covering, as waterproof almost as the feathers

on a duck's back. The other difference between the Fox and Welsh

Terrier--viz., type--is very hard to define. To anyone who really

understands Welsh Terriers, the selection of those of proper type

from those of wrong type presents little if any difficulty.



As a show-bench exhibit the Welsh Terrier is not more than twenty-two

years old. He has, however, resided in Wales for centuries.



There is no doubt that he is in reality identical with the old black

and tan wire-haired dog which was England's first terrier, and which

has taken such a prominent part in the production and evolution of

all the other varieties of the sporting terrier.



There are several people living in or about Carnarvonshire who can

show that Welsh Terriers have been kept by their ancestors from, at

any rate, a hundred to two hundred years ago. Notable among these

is the present master of the Ynysfor Otterhounds, whose great

grandfather, John Jones, of Ynysfor, owned Welsh Terriers in or about

the year 1760. This pack of Otterhounds has always been kept by the

Jones of Ynysfor, who have always worked and still work Welsh Terriers

with them. From this strain some good terriers have sprung, and this

although neither the present master nor any of his ancestors have

concerned themselves greatly about the looks of their terriers, or

kept anything but a head record of their pedigrees. They are all,

however, pure bred, and are set much store on by their owner and his

family, just as they always have been by their predecessors.



Until about the year 1884 no one seems to have considered the question

of putting specimens of the breed on the show bench. About that year,

however, several gentlemen interested in the variety met together

to see what could be done in connection with the matter, the outcome

being that the Welsh Terrier Club was shortly afterwards founded,

the Kennel Club recognised the breed, and the terrier himself began

his career as a show dog.



The specimens which were first shown were, as may be imagined, not

a very high-class-looking lot. Although the breed had been kept pure,

no care had been taken in the culture of it, except that which was

necessary to produce a sporting game terrier, able to do its work.

One can readily understand, therefore, that such an entirely fancy

point as a long foreface and narrow, clean skull had never been

thought of for a moment, and it was in these particulars that the

Welsh Terrier at first failed, from a show point of view. Naturally

enough, good shoulders, sound hind-quarters, more than fair legs and

feet, and excellent jackets were to be found in abundance, but as

the body was almost invariably surmounted by a very short and

wedge-shaped head and jaw, often accompanied with a pair of heavy,

round ears, an undershot mouth, and a light, full eye, it will be

realised that the general appearance of the dog was not prepossessing.



The Welsh Terrier to-day is very much improved beyond what he was

when first put on the bench. This improvement has been brought about

by careful and judicious breeding from nothing but pure bred specimens.

No outside aid has been invoked--at any rate in the production of

any of the best terriers--and none has been required. It is a matter

for great congratulation that the breed has been kept pure despite

all temptation and exhortation.



The Welsh Terrier breeds as true as steel; you know what you are going

to get. Had popular clamour had its way years ago, goodness only know

what monstrosities would now be being bred.



The colour of the Welsh Terrier is, of course, against him for working

with a pack of hounds, especially in water. It is only fair, however,

to the breed to say that, barring this colour drawback, there is no

better terrier to hounds living. They are not quarrelsome, show very

little jealousy one of another in working, can therefore easily be

used, exercised, and kennelled together, being much better in this

respect than any of the other breeds of terriers. They also, as a

general rule, are dead game; they want a bit of rousing, and are not

so flashily, showily game as, say, the Fox-terrier; but, just as with

humans, when it comes to real business, when the talking game is

played out and there is nothing left but the doing part of the

business, then one's experience invariably is that the quiet man,

the quiet terrier, is the animal wanted.



On the formation of the Welsh Terrier Club a standard of perfection

was drawn up and circulated with the club rules. This standard has

remained unchanged up to the present day, and is as follows:--



* * * * *



HEAD--The skull should be flat and rather wider between the ears than

the wire-hair Fox-terrier. The jaw should be powerful, clean cut

rather deeper and more punishing--giving the head a more masculine

appearance--than that usually seen in a Fox-terrier. The stop not

too defined, fair length from stop to end of nose, the latter being

of a black colour. EARS--The ears should be V-shaped, small, not too

thin, set on fairly high, carried forward, and close to the cheek.

EYES--The eyes should be small, not being too deeply set in or

protruding out of skull, of a dark hazel colour, expressive and

indicating abundant pluck. NECK--The neck should be of moderate length

and thickness, slightly arched and sloping gracefully into the

shoulders. BODY--The back should be short and well ribbed up, the

loin strong, good depth, and moderate width of chest. The shoulders

should be long, sloping and well set back. The hind-quarters should

be strong, thighs muscular and of good length, with the hocks

moderately straight, well set down and fair amount of bone. The stern

should be set on moderately high, but not too gaily carried. LEGS

AND FEET--The legs should be straight and muscular, possessing fair

amount of bone with upright and powerful pasterns. The feet should

be small, round and catlike. COAT--The coat should be wiry, hard,

very close and abundant. COLOUR--The colour should be black and tan

or black grizzle and tan, free from black pencilling on toes.

SIZE--The height at shoulders should be 15 inches for dogs, bitches

proportionately less. Twenty pounds shall be considered a fair average

weight in working condition, but this may vary a pound or so either

way.



DISQUALIFYING POINTS: NOSE white, cherry, or spotted to a considerable

extent with either of these colours. EARS prick, tulip, or rose.

Undershot jaw or pig jawed mouth. Black below hocks or white anywhere

to any appreciable extent, black pencilling on toes.





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