Home Articles The Rarest Breeds in Canada – Part 4: The Terrier Group

The Rarest Breeds in Canada – Part 4: The Terrier Group


Part 4 of 7 – The Terrier Group

In part 4 of this series we venture into Terrier territory. Previously we explored the rarest breeds found in the Sporting Group, the Hound Group and the Working Group.

We have looked at the individual registration numbers for years 2016, 2017 & 2018 and combined those three years to come up with the numbers for the rarest breeds. As a point of interest we have also looked at data from the Kennel Club (UK) for these same breeds when available.

The write up for each group and breed copied from the CKC.

The Terrier Group

Breeds: From the Latin word terra‚ meaning “earth,” comes the name “terrier,” an appropriate appellation for dogs bred to “go to earth” or dig after vermin and small game. Most of the breeds are either smooth or wire-coated such as the two Fox Terriers, but the Skye sports a long, flowing coat, the Kerry Blue wears a dense wavy jacket and the Soft-coated Wheaten is clad in a soft and silky coat.
Activity level: Feisty and ready to roar, the average terrier is game for any sort of action. What else would you expect from breeds expected to do battle with rats, badgers, foxes and weasels?
Size: Terriers range from the medium-sized Airedale down to the diminutive spunky little Norwich and Norfolk that measure just 25 centimeters (10 inches) at the withers.
Trainability: The trick to training terriers is to keep them active, challenged and entertained. Some terriers learn their lessons quickly, while others have their own agenda.
Characteristics: The urge to dig is ingrained in most of the terrier breeds. If you’re fond of plants and flowers, you might consider a hanging garden.

5th Rarest Terrier Breed

Dandie Dinmont Terrier

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier comes in at number 5, with a three year total of 49 individual registrations (13 in 2016, 28 in 2017 and 8 in 2018). The number of individual registrations in the UK are much higher than here in Canada, with 145 registrations in 2018 alone.

“The first named Terrier and the only breed to be named for a fictional character, the Dandie Dinmont acquired its unique name after Sir Walter Scott penned the novel Guy Mannering in 1815. In the book, the character Dandie Dinmont kept a strain of pepper-and-mustard terriers used to kill badger, fox and otter. The book was an instant best seller and people wanted “Dandie Dinmont’s Terriers”. The apostrophe was eventually removed. Queen Victoria owned and bred them. Sir Walter described the courage of the breed by writing, “… they fear naething that ever cam’ wi’ a hairy skin on’t.” Despite the liquid hazel eyes and soft expression, the breed can be fearless. The Dandie is incredibly loving and loyal and combines this affectionate and dignified nature with a streak of independence. The adaptable Dandie can fit into a rugged outdoor existence or luxuriate in a comfortable city apartment. This hardy terrier enjoys a daily walk. The height should be from 8-11 in (20-28 cm) at the shoulder and the preferred weight is 18-24 lb (8-11 kg). The coat is about 2 in (5 cm) in length with a mixture of crisp and soft hair. The underbody hair is softer. The distinguishing feature of the breed is the unique soft white topknot that entirely covers the skull. Dandies are either “pepper” or “mustard”. Pepper ranges from dark bluish black to light grey while mustard varies from reddish brown to pale fawn. Both colours have the distinctive white topknot. The Dandie does not shed, but the crispy coat requires stripping to remove dead hair once or twice a year. Other than that, the breed needs only regular brushing and combing.” (CKC Breed Profile)

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4th Rarest Terrier Breed

Bedlington Terrier

The Bedlington Terrier comes in at number 4, with a three year culmination of only 46 individual registrations (17 in 2016, 11 in 2017 and 18 in 2018). The number of individual registrations in the UK for 2018 is 307, significantly higher than here in Canada.

“In the 1870s, coal miners in England’s Northumberland county came up with a terrier-of-all-work that could swim down an otter, draw a badger, dispatch vermin, run down a rabbit and hold his own in a fight. To add to its swiftness, it was crossed with the Whippet, giving it its present-day conformation. Once known as the Rothbury Terrier, it was eventually renamed the Bedlington Terrier. The breed’s gameness and talents caused it to become the poacher’s greatest asset and in some places, it’s still known as the ‘Gypsy Dog.’ In time, it was adopted by the elite and developed into the stylish pet we see in the show rings today. Despite the lamb-like appearance, the Bedlington is all terrier. He is alert and possesses immense energy and courage. With the body outline of a sighthound, the Bedlington is capable of galloping at great speed. Gentle in repose, he likes a certain amount of action and has never lost his proclivity for work. He requires regular moderate exercise. The preferred height for the breed is 16.5 in (42 cm) for a male, slightly less for a female. Weight should be proportionate to height and in the neighbourhood of 17-23 lb (8-10.5 kg). The thick and linty coat is a distinctive mixture of hard and soft hair that stands out from the skin and shows a tendency to curl. The accepted colours are blue, sandy or liver, with or without tan markings. The lighter blue-grey shade is the colour seen most often. Maintaining the breed’s unique appearance takes time, talent and a fair amount of scissoring skill on the part of the owner. The alternative is a regular appointment with a professional groomer.” (CKC Breed Profile)

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3rd Rarest Terrier Breed

Sealyham Terrier

The Sealyham Terrier comes in at number 3, with a three year culmination of only 26 individual registrations (6 in 2016, 5 in 2017 and 15 in 2018). The number of individual registrations in the UK are again higher for this Terrier than here in Canada, with 107 registrations in 2018.

“The Sealyham was named after the Welsh family estate of its creator, Captain John Edwardes, who set out to develop the ultimate working terrier – one fast and fearless enough to work with his Otterhounds as a hunt terrier as well as tough and agile enough to slip down a badger hole in pursuit. Edwards kept no records but experts assume the breeds that went into the development of the Sealyham included the Corgi, Dandie Dinmont, Flanders Basset plus the West Highland White, Wire Fox, Old English White and Bull Terriers. After Edwardes’ death in 1891, others continued the strain and produced a breed as powerful and determined but more docile than the original. The Sealyham is outgoing and friendly, yet a good watchdog with a big-dog bark to discourage intruders. The breed is easily trained but may be inventive. Keen and alert, the Sealyham is a size that fits into most households. He thoroughly enjoys a daily walk. Height at the withers should measure about 10.5 in (27 cm) and weight should fall in the range of 23-24 lb (10-11 kg). The hard, wiry outer coat tops a soft, dense undercoat. Sealyhams are all white but may have lemon, tan or badger markings on the head and ears. The Sealyham’s non-shedding coat means that dead hair must be stripped or combed out at regular intervals. Considerable grooming is needed to keep the coat in correct trim and condition.” (CKC Breed Profile)

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2nd Rarest Terrier Breed

Skye Terrier

The Skye Terrier comes in as the second rarest Terrier breed in Canada. The Skye Terrier has a three year culmination of only 17 individual registration (2 in 2016, 10 in 2017 and 5 in 2018). The number of individual registrations in the UK are higher than here in Canada, yet still concerning, with only 50 registrations in 2018.

“A native of Scotland, the Skye was described in writings dating back to the 16th century. Court physician Johannes Caius wrote that the Skye was “brought out of barbarous borders fro’ the uttermost countryes northward…. which, by reason of the length of heare, makes showe neither of face nor of body.” A fearless working terrier used to track otter, badger and weasel, the long-coated, short-legged Skye was a favourite with Scottish lairds. From 1842, the breed caught the fancy of Queen Victoria and catapulted into the role of fashionable pet. This sturdy, elegant breed is twice as long as he is high and his ears may be either prick or drop. Though he may be reserved and cautious with strangers, the Skye is friendly and gay with those he knows. Fearless, good-tempered, loyal and canny, the Skye possesses the temperament of a typical working terrier. His sometimes aloof nature deters him from being the ideal pet for every family. Though an active working terrier breed, the Skye is inclined to be a bit more relaxed than most terriers. With his short legs, his exercise needs are minimal, making him a good choice for city life. The ideal Skye measures 10 in (25 cm) high and 20 in (51 cm) long. The hard, straight, flat outer coat hangs down to a length of 5.5 in (14 cm). The hair on the head is shorter and softer, veiling the forehead and eyes and presenting a moderate beard and apron. There’s a short, soft undercoat. The colour may range from cream to black, preferably with darker ears, muzzle and tail tip. Regular, thorough brushing is required.” (CKC Breed Profile)

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The Rarest Terrier Breed

Cesky Terrier

The Cesky Terrier comes in at number 1, the rarest Terrier breed in Canada, with a three year registration culmination of only 16 individuals (8 in 2016, 8 in 2017 and 0 in 2018). In the UK the Cesky Terrier is as a rare breed, official KC records show just 19 registration in 2018.

“Czechoslovakian geneticist Frantisek Horak wanted a breed of terrier that would work well in the open field as well as go to ground so he crossed the Scottish and Sealyham Terriers to create the Cesky Terrier in 1949. Also known as the Bohemian or Czech Terrier, the Cesky was developed with a narrower chest and smaller head than its two ancestors to allow it to go to ground after vermin more easily. It was recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) in 1963 and is now finding friends on this continent. The Cesky has a calm disposition and is not prone to excessive barking. He is usually attentive and obedient. Though not aggressive, the Cesky makes a good watchdog. Though game and relatively fearless, the Cesky is not a hyper breed. They enjoy regular activity but their small size makes it easy to meet their exercise requirements. The short-legged Cesky stands 10.5-13.5 in (27-34 cm) at the withers and tips the scales from 13-20 lb (6-9 kg). The coat is soft and silky. There are two colour variations in the Cesky – blue-grey or brown. The grooming style is similar to that of the Sealyham but unlike the Sealy whose coat is hand-stripped, the Cesky is clipped or scissored.” (CKC Breed Profile)

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Honorable Mention

Lakeland Terrier

The Lakeland Terrier only had 51 individual registrations in Canada over a 3 year period (22 in 2016, 15 in 2017 and 14 in 2018), compared to 139 individual registrations in the UK in 2018.

“This small working terrier originated in Britain and was developed in the border county of Cumberland in the early 19th century. Unlike terriers in the south of England that were used to rout foxes from their dens, the Lakeland was bred to go in for the kill. This necessitated strong jaws and a slender, agile body to follow the fox through narrow crevices. The background breeding used to create the tough Lakeland is only a guess and several breeds have been suggested such as the Border, Bedlington and Fox Terriers. To add to the confusion, the breed has been known by a variety of names including Patterdale, Fell, Cumberland and Westmoreland. In 1921, a breed association was organized and its first president was Lord Lonsdale whose family had been breeding Lakelands for over 50 years.” (CKC Breed Profile)

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Stay tuned as next week we will bring you Canada’s rarest Terrier Breeds!

Previous articleBlast from the Past – August 21st, 2019
Next articleBehind The Scene with Ed Thomason
Rob is a long time purebred dog enthusiast. Starting out in obedience sports, his main interests morphed into conformation and breeding. Rob is a breeder and exhibitor of Golden Retrievers under the Conquerer prefix.



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