If you are a person considering adopting a terrier as a pet you may have asked yourself the question “which terrier is right for me.” Choosing a terrier as a pet can sometimes be difficult since there are many breeds of Terriers, with each one having distinctive attributes and natures specific to their breed.
Terriers originated in the British Isles where they were first trained to hunt foxes and rats on top of and under the ground. And as their name implies, “terrier” came from the word “terra” which means “earth”. Terriers can be identified by their prominent physical characteristics but they are still divided into specific breeds that differentiate them from one another.
They are divided into several subgroups:
Toy Terriers– smaller versions of the terrier breed that are basically categorized as companion dogs;
Show Terriers– bred as small dogs and used for pet show competition;
Bull and Terrier Types– a result of breeding between bull dogs and terriers. In the late nineteenth century breeders began to separate bull dogs from terrier dogs and created separate breeds;
Hunting and Working Terriers- primarily bred for hunting.
Here are profiles of a few terrier dog breeds that will help you in understanding their very different natures and deciding which terrier is the right one for you:
Airedale Terriers are the largest dogs in the Terrier breed. They have both a beauty and elegance that make them fit for both dog obedience trials and show rings. They have an excellent sense of smell and are terrific swimmers.
Australian Terriers are a cross-breed between the forerunner of Dandie Dinmont and rough coated terrier and is believed to have been imported into England. The result is a smaller dog with the characteristics of a terrier, yet they make good watchdogs.
Border Terriers are working dogs, distinguished by their medium builds. They are agile and alert and can fit through narrow gaps if used for hunting. They also make good family pets.
Bull Terriers were originally bred for dog fighting and bull baiting, and are courageous and especially resistant to pain. They were mainly used for dog fights in England during the 1800s until the practice was banned.
Terrier dog breeds come in all sizes and types. The difficult part is choosing which type of terrier is right for you. Visit your local animal shelter and take a good long look at any terriers that may be in residence at the moment. If you find the perfect mate there, both of you will be great companions to one another for the rest of your lives.