The Terrier can be either a ‘”terrier breed” or a “bully breed”, and both are Terriers!

Terrier dog breeds are generally small, high energy dogs. Bold and lively, these dogs love to exercise and play. They can be quite tenacious but they make delightful pets.

A Terrier can make an excellent pet, and these are a favorite type of dog. Terrier breeds range in size with most being small dog breeds, but there are also some large dog breeds. They are quite intelligent and need to keep busy. If not provided with activities, they will often find their own, which true to their nature is often digging up the flowerbed. Terriers require owners that can match their determined characters and high energy.

Terrier dog breeds include the Traditional Terriers that were originally developed to hunt and kill vermin, dig out prey or burrow into dens. These terriers are noted for peppiness and tenacity. But they are not known to have a lot of tolerance for other animals, including other dogs.

Other types of Terriers include the Bully Breeds, known as the Bulldog and Terriers, These are from terrier breeds that were crossed with bull-baiting dogs, and used as fighting dogs. Despite a fierce reputation, these breeds are generally extremely friendly with people, often more so than the traditional breeds.

Terrier Breeds Backgrounds

   The terrier breeds were mostly developed in Great Britain and Ireland. They were especially favored by the working class and used on farms and underground in the coal mines. These bold and aggressive dogs helped to control vermin and partook in hunting. Rats, rabbits, foxes were common quarry. Some of the larger terriers were used to hunt badgers and to guard and protect the family property.

   Terriers like the Kerry Blue Terrier and The Airedale Terrier, were used in water to hunt river rats and otters.These water bred terriers are not the dog called the Rat Terrier. The Rat Terrier is an American bred dog and is currently considered more of a ‘type’ rather than a breed.

   The name terrier, is derived from the Latin word terra, meaning earth. Much of the terriers traditional work was to enter tunnels or dens in order to chase out small animals. Some were bred to bolt the prey while others were were bred to catch and kill. Digging and burrowing is still a primary characteristic of the Terrier today.

Types of Terriers – Breed Information

   The Terrier breeds consist of two general types of Terriers. There are the traditional Terriers such as the Norwich Terrier, Border Terrier and larger breeds like the Airedale Terrier. The others are the Bull and Terrier types, the ‘bully’ breeds, like the American Pit Bull Terrier, Bull Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Traditional Terrier Types:    The original Terrier development was based on breeding dogs that demonstrated the desired traits and characteristics for vermin control. To be affective in tunneling, many terriers were small, stocky, and muscular. The larger terriers were used as guard dogs as well as vermin control, so are more long legged. Protective wiry hair, a docked tail, a keen expression with a lively and tenacious nature are trademarks for the breed. Up until the 1900’s these dogs were bred for their service rather than for appearance.

Bull and Terrier Types:    The Bull and Terrier types, also known as the bully breeds, were developed in the 1700’s. Crossing tenacious terriers with fighting dog breeds, the bull-baiting dogs, heightened their fearlessness and tenacity. These terriers, also dubbed Pit bull terrier, were used for various bloodsports and dog fighting. The bully breeds reflect the build of the Bulldog. They are stocky and muscular, and lack the protective wiry coat of the traditional Terrier.

Popular List of Terrier Breeds

   Of the top ten most popular types of terriers, six breeds are low-shedding, they are said to be hypoallergenic if kept well groomed, These six are:

  • Miniature Schnauzer or Mini Schnauzer
  • West Highland Terrier or Westies
  • Scottish Terrier or Scotty
  • Cairn Terrier
  • Airedale Terrier
  • Wheaten Terrier

   The other four of the top ten are:

  • Bull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Parson Russell Terrier or Jack Russell terrier
  • Wire Fox Terrier.

   The popularity of different types of terriers doesn’t stop here however, there are many favorites. Some other popular terriers included on the list of terrier breeds are:

  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Boston Terrier
  • Miniature Bull Terrier
  • Norwich Terrier
  • Border Terrier
  • Welsh Terrier
  • Smooth Fox Terrier
  • Norfolk Terrier
  • Irish Terrier
  • Australian Terrier,
    Bedlington Terrier
  • Dandle Dinmont Terrier
  • Glen of Imaal Terrier
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Lakeland Terrier
  • Manchester Terrier
  • Sealyham Terrier
  • Skye Terrier

Dog Care Tips for Terriers

   Terriers are high energy dogs that love to play. Today they are mostly kept as companion dogs and make great family pets. They are generally loyal and affectionate to their owners but they are quite fearless and often project themselves as a ‘big dog’. These tenacious small dogs require a firm hand, and will benefit from training and good socialization.

   The temperament of a Terrier is important to understand. Most Terrier breeds make wonderful companion dogs and family pets. The Bull and Terrier breeds are known to be extremely people oriented and very good with children, though some are not always good with other dogs. Some of these breeds can actually be much more affectionate and social than traditional Terriers. Some Terriers will tend to be an unsafe companion around cats and other small pets, but with good training and socialization, most can become trustworthy.

  All terriers were originally ratters. traditionally terriers were bred to kill vermin both for practicality and sport. These traits were heightened in the Bull and Terrier types to engage them in bloodsports, such as bull baiting and dog fighting. This background, and some continuing illicit use today, causes the concerns about their temperament. It is important as puppies, to provide Terriers with specialized training and as much socialization involving good dog experiences as possible.

   Many of these dogs are passionate diggers, and will quickly jump down a hole in pursuit of quarry. It is strongly recommended that they be kept on a leash when in unfamiliar places. Another aspect of their drive to dig into a burrow after prey, is to bark. This is still a trait of some Terriers today, and they can be vocal.

Featured Image Credit: anetapics, Shutterstock