Terriers were originally bred to hunt vermin. The majority originated in Great Britain, and were bred to hunt foxes in the earth. The style of work and structure of the terrier varied from breed to breed, depending on the terrain being hunted. One thing they all had in common was an intense drive to work tirelessly until the job was complete.

Jack Russells were specifically bred to bay at and cause the fox to bolt (leave its den), or stay with the fox until the dog and quarry were dug to by a terrierman. Terriers would face their adversary for hours or even days, in some instances. Carefully preserved as true working dogs for many generations, today’s terriers retain the same intense personality and drive to hunt.

Scotland's terriers had been grouped together as Scotch Terriers until 1873, when they were separated into two classifications-Dandie Dinmont Terriers and Skye Terriers. The breeds we now know as the Scottish Terrier, the West Highland White Terrier, and the Cairn Terrier, were included in classes for Skye Terriers. The Scottish, West Highland, and Cairn had developed from the same stock, originating in the islands and highlands of western Scotland. The three often were found in the same litter, distinguished only by color. A club for Hard-Haired Scotch Terriers embracing the three was formed in 1881, and a standard was approved in 1882. White markings were considered a fault, though an all-white dog was valued. A change of name to the "Cairn Terrier of Skye" was suggested for the Short-Haired Skye. (Cairns were piles of stones which served as landmarks or memorials. Common throughout much of Scotland, cairns were frequent hiding places for small mammals. Farmers used small terriers to bolt the animals from their rocky lairs.)

The primary purpose for which the Dachshund was developed was to hunt the badger. The Dachshund (translation: Badger Dog) required specific traits such as courage, stamina & perseverance beyond what is usually expected of any other hunting dog. The breed's deep sonorous bark is a special advantage, for it enabled the hunter to determine what was going on down in the badger hole. The authentic origin of the Dachshund as a breed can be traced to Germany during the years 1550-1850 when German foresters, gamekeepers, and sportsmen first selected their dogs because of their affinity to go underground and fearlessly fight the badger, a vicious, saber-clawed antagonists weighing anywhere from 25 to 40 pounds.

The Border Terrier was originally bred in the Cheviot Hills area near the border between England and Scotland to help farmers drive predatory foxes from their dens and kill them. This sturdy little fellow has long enough legs and enough stamina to keep up with a horse, even though he is quite small. The bold little Border Terrier has also been used to hunt marten, otter and the fierce badger. Due to his winning personality, adaptability and friendliness, the breed is highly esteemed as a companion dog today, yet he can still serve as a fine farm dog, helping to control vermin.

The roots of the Norwich were firmly planted in East Anglia, England. By the 1880's owning a small ratting terrier was a fad among the sporting undergraduates of Cambridge University. A popular strain developed of very small red and black-and-tan working crossbreeds from native, Yorkshire, and Irish den stock.

By the turn of the century one of these Trumpington Terriers moved to a stable near the city of Norwich. "Rags" was sandy colored, short of leg, stocky with cropped ears. A notorious ratter and dominant sire, he is the modern breed's progenitor. For the next two decades various horsemen bred other game terrier types to Rags and his descendants, including a half-sized brindle Staffordshire. So, from companions and barnyard ratters, there gradually developed a line of excellent fox bolters, and one of these introduced the breed to America in 1914.

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