In roughly 120 words, Sydenham Edwards captured the role, soul, nature and value of terriers:

“The terrier is querulous, fretful, and irascible, high spirited and alert when brought into action; if he has not unsubdued perseverance like the bull-dog, he has rapidity of attack, managed with art and sustained with spirit ; it is not what he will bear, but what he will inflict. His action protects himself, and his bite carries death to his opponents; he dashes into the hole of the fox, drives him from his recesses, or tears him to pieces in his stronghold ; and he forces the reluctant, stubborn badger into light. As his courage is great, so is his genius extensive ; he will trace with the foxhounds, hunt with the beagle, find for the greyhound, or beat with the spaniel.”

The words appeared in his Cynographia Britannica of 1800, and hundreds of years later, terriers haven’t much changed. Few descriptions of this creature over time have omitted the all important word, “spirit,” but one of our favorite quotes managed it:

“I’m sure my father was a terrier. Because terriers are problem solvers. They’ll do what you tell them, but only if it happens to be in line with what they wanted to do anyway.” We think the author, Garth Stein, (The Art of Racing in the Rain) must have known a terrier or two.

Image of Dopey and Gallant from the children’s books found on Pinterest

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