English White Terrier

April 12, 2012

Did you know that the English Whiter Terrier is made famous by the contribution it has made to the development of other breeds? Rather than being recognized for its own working abilities, this breed that is also known as Old English Terrier and British White Terrier has been remembered as the forebear of other breeds of terriers. Yes, the White English Terrier is now an extinct breed. This breed has a short lived existence as it was gone as fast as it was created.

An English White Terriers is a looker. Weighing from 12 to 20 pounds, this stocky and muscular breed has an entirely brilliant white coat, black sparkling rather oval shaped eyes and beautiful thin drop ears that are commonly cropped. During the breed’s existence, these smart well bred dogs were kept as home companions. In the 1870s, these dogs are commonly kept as lap dog by dog enthusiasts in England. The dog does have a stocky and muscular conformation but it was rarely used for any type of work due to its small and fragile constitution. Moreover, this white coated breed is noted to have genetic health concerns caused by inbreeding. This white coated dog has the tendency to be partially or completely deaf making them useless hunters. These genetic concerns made the breed unpopular to the public and were considered as one of the causes for its extinction. After 30 years of being on the Kennel Club scene, the English White Terrier has completely vanished from the canine world. However, this breed has left a legacy. The crossing of the English White Terrier with the English Bulldog resulted to the Bull Terrier and the Boston Terrier. Trump, the dog from where the Jack Russell Terrier was developed is an English White Terrier. The Sealyham Terrier, the Parson Russell Terrier, the Fox Terrier and the Rat Terrier are the improved versions of the English White Terrier.

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Appearance

Terrier is a generic name given to earth dogs. These small working dogs have existed in Great Britain since the 18th century. For years, these dogs have existed without being separated into distinct breeds as the dogs were only classified according to size, coat color, coat type and area of origin. The white coated terriers were never considered as a separate breed until dog shows became popular in the 1860s. Breeders have rushed to “create” a new breed. In most cases, the new breed came with fictional histories to gain interest and to boost popularity. These terriers measure from 10 to 15 inches in height. The dog can have pricked or drop ears and can have rough, smooth or broken coats.

The English White Terrier was speculated to be one of these “created” breeds. The dog has an almost flat skull, a rather narrow wedge shaped head that has no cheek muscles though the areas beneath the eyes are well filled up. This breed has a strong muzzle that tapers to the perfectly black nose. Small black oval shaped eyes are set fairly close. An English White Terrier has beautiful ears that gracefully hang close to the head but cropping is commonly done to make the ears stand perfectly erect. The long muscular neck is attributed to the Whippet influence from where the dog has also inherited its speed and excellent sight. The neck that tapers from the sloping shoulders to the head is arched and free of throatiness. The dog’s rather short body curves upwards at the loin. The back is slightly arched; the narrow chest is deep. Legs of proportionate length are perfectly straight and moderately boned. Nicely arched feet have rounded and well set together toes. Tail of moderate length is thick at the base and tapers to a point. Tail is usually carried not higher than the back. The pure white glossy coat is short, and rather hard to the touch.

Personality

The development of the English White Terrier was spurred by the surge of the popularity of dog shows during the 1860s. This breed has been popular in the show ring for a while but the dog was mostly valued for being a lap dog. Terriers are also known as earth dogs because they follow the prey into their dens. The English White Terrier however is small and fragile. Apart from this, the breed is a rather useless hunter because the dogs are either partially or totally deaf thus the breed has excelled in being affectionate family companions. Because of the small the size, this breed has thrived even in small homes.

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History

The English White Terrier is a breed of dog that calls Great Britain home. With such a dignified name, this breed should be considered as the representative of its country of origin similar to the Welsh Terrier, the Irish Terrier and the Scottish Terrier. These three breeds of terriers along with the English White Terrier could have formed the British terrier quartet. Unfortunately, the English White Terrier is already an extinct breed. The precise origin of this breed is unknown. Who developed the breed and from what breeds it has descended from is still a puzzle up to this very day when the breed is no longer in existence. The origin of the breed may not be of importance if not for the fact that several outstanding breeds were developed from the English White Terrier. Can the breed be the Albino variant of the Manchester Terrier? Or is it the incarnation of the English bull Terrier? Some historians believed that this white coated dog was the downsized variant of the legendary and ancient breed of molosser, the Alaunt.

The rise to popularity of dog shows in 1860s has made enthusiasts of fancy breeds to rush to develop a breed. But since types of terriers have been in existence in England, what can be a better way of coming out with a new breed than getting one type of existing terrier and giving it a new personality. The “improved” terrier type will be given a new name and a fictional history. Various types of terriers were given different names. The English White Terrier is one of these “improved” breeds. A group of breed enthusiasts have claimed the pricked eared type to be a completely distinct breed. This assertion though has a number of loopholes. For one, a litter of this white terrier can have both prick and drop eared puppies. Moreover, these dogs were not widely accepted because of genetic defects. Pure white coated dogs are prone to partial or complete deafness as well as some skin problems. The breed was established as a distinct breed when the bulldogges and small Greyhounds were introduced to the white terriers. The existing white terrier’s blood was enriched with the introduction of the Whippet. This has truly improved the breed as the breeding program has resulted to elegant dogs noted to have the speed of the Whippet. Unfortunately the combination has resulted to a dog with mediocre fighting spirit and very poor stamina. The English White Terrier has excelled in the show ring but it became totally useless as a working breed due to its fragility. The delicate constitution, the genetic concerns that made the breed a useless hunter as well as the fact that the breed does not possess any extraordinary talent and intelligence have caused its extinction. In the late 1800s, the dog has enjoyed moderate popularity in the show ring because of its elegant beauty but in the early 20th century the breed has completely gone extinct. The English White Terrier may have had a short lived existence, the dog may have been an unsuccessful creation but this breed was used in many breeding programs. A number of outstanding breeds have descended from the English White Terrier.

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