When was a Terrier Part of the Sporting Group?

It’s mostly common knowledge among terrier fanciers that the Smooth Fox Terrier preceded the Wire Fox Terrier in the show ring by almost twenty years, and that it was a well known breed long before then. We know this because of a painting of Colonel Thomas Thornton’s terrier, “Pitch,” painted by Sawrey Gilpin in 1790. According to records, Thornton was the first person to have a white terrier, and perhaps this is why the portrait was commissioned.

Perhaps fewer know that Smooths were first classified with sporting breeds because of their keen nose, incredible eyesight, relentless endurance, and ability to track foxes and bolt them out of their lairs. We are actively researching when the Smooth was moved out of sporting and into terriers (presumably in the UK), and if anyone knows this, we want to hear from you.

Image: “Two Smooth Haired Fox Terriers” by Philip Eustace Stretton is available as fine art prints and in lifestyle and home decor items here

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