Books on Animals: Dogs

Breed books: Terriers

(Airedales, Bedlingtons, Black Russians, Borders, Cairns, Dandie Dinmonts, Smooth and Wire Haired Fox Terriers, Irish Terriers, Kerry Blue Terriers, Jack Russells, Manchesters, Scotties, Soft Coated Wheatens, Welsh and West Highland White Terriers).

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General overview

Terriers are 'earth dogs', from 'terra', Latin for 'earth, and they are born to dig and go down holes. They are also born to bite whatever they find there. So if you don't want a dog that digs, and can be a bit snappy, especially if not trained very carefully in bite inhibition, then terriers are not for you! Many terrier breeds also bark a lot, sometimes more than owners like, and they can give cats a hard time. So why does anyone have terriers? They are high-energy dogs with a great sense of fun. They are generally small, so don't eat you out of house and home. They are also generally healthy dogs, though flea allergies are quite common among wire-haired terriers. Working terriers are very efficient at vermin control, useful if you have rats, and can catch the odd rabbit. Terriers are also good watchdogs, in fact the Airedale, our first terrier, is of more use as a watchdog than going down holes.

Are they good with kids?

Opinions are divided on this. Terriers have the energy to keep up with kids. Kids and terriers can also wind each other up, which can result in the terriers getting overexcited and snappy. Small children who corner terriers and try to manhandle them can end up getting nipped. Sensible, older children who respect dogs can enjoy the company of terriers, but some, especially Wire Haired Fox Terriers and Jack Russell Terriers, are not really suitable for families with younger children, unless kept under very close supervision.

What about other dogs?

Terriers tend to be pushy and confident, and may take on dogs several times their size. They can get involved in brawls, especially if not socialized properly. Their confidence can, however, mean that well-socialized terriers can be good companions with bigger dogs, because they aren't intimidated. Many terriers get on well with a wide range of other breeds they meet on walks, rushing up to say hello, sometimes with an excited bark, and receiving a friendly sniff in return. Keeping more than one terrier can be a problem, since they can be quarrelsome, especially Jack Russell Terriers, though a terrier generally gets on well with a placid dog of a larger breed.

Good manners are best taught from puppyhood, because it's easier, but adult rescue dogs can still learn fast. The best time to teach good manners to a rescue dog is as soon as the dog arrives. That is when the dog is watching you to learn what the rules are. It's tempting to spoil the dog a bit, because you feel sorry for him or her. But it's kinder in the long run to let the dog know gently and firmly what you consider to be appropriate behaviour. Rescue centres usually have their own behaviourists and provide ongoing help for adopters. Gwen Bailey's 'The Rescue Dog' is also full of good advice


Airedale Terriers


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Airedales are among the most versatile of terriers, and have worked as retrievers and as service dogs. They are very sociable dogs, and are generally very good with children, because they are so affectionate. Children often have a great deal of fun with Airedales. They are the biggest of the terriers, and are quite bouncy, though, and they can knock small children over. They also tend to be strong willed and confident, and they aren't the easiest breed for children to take on walks, because they are so physically strong that it's not easy for a child to control them.

Airedales do like to do their own thing. They will tend to go and check out what they want to see before remembering that you had called them, and coming back to you. Jumping up can also be a problem with Airedales, especially if owners are not strict about this when they are pups. They can also be quite barky dogs, which is good if you want a watchdog, since they have deep barks, but not so good if you have thin walls and sensitive neighbours. They can be trained to quite a high level of obedience if you are patient and persistent, and it helps that they are affectionate, since their desire for attention can be very useful in training them.

Airedales need a fair amount of grooming, but less if they are trimmed regualrly. They do, however, tend to get very muddy on walks, and sometimes they can get stinky from jumping into ponds, because they like water.

Common health problems include hip dysplasia, eye trouble, von Willebrands, and allergies, including skin complaints. Dorothy Miner has written a very good introduction to this engaging breed. It is well illustrated, and written in a way that is accessible to both younger readers and adults. Particular attention is paid to the training needs of Airedales, which are important with such a large and robust breed, that can sometimes be a bit of a hooligan when young, but which offers so much potential.


The Airedale Terrier Today


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Janet Huxley's new book on Airedales is more in-depth than Dorothy Miner's book, and also costs a bit more. It is full of good advice and information, and is very well illustrated. It's meaty enough to interest experienced Airedale owners, as well as being written clearly enough for new owners of these lively dogs.


Bedlington Terrier (Pet Love)


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Bedlington Terriers are a very unusual looking breed with a number of fervent devotees. They look very much like lambs, especially with the usual Bedlington trim, which accentuates this resemblance. They have whippet in their ancestry, and are fast-moving dogs. Many people like Bedlingtons for their looks, and because they are quite quiet for terriers, but they can still be barky, and are dogs who like to be active, and can be a handful if they don't get enough exercise. They like hunting, and should only be let off the leash in very safe areas, since their recall is usually non-existent if they spot a rabbit.

They will tend to dig, so make sure that fences go below ground. Bedlingtons can be very good with children, so long as the dogs are trained well in house rules from when they are pups, and the children take part in the training programme, because Bedlington Terriers tend to be quite pushy dogs. They vary in terms of how well they get on with other dogs. Some Bedlingtons are quite relaxed, while others are a bit too bossy for most dogs.

This breed doesn't shed much, but does need a fair amount of grooming and a regular trim. Common health problems include an inherited liver disorder which affects how the body deals with copper, thyroid problems, knee and eye trouble, and allergies. Muriel Lee is a terrier specialist, and her introductory guide to the breed gives a very good overview of what to expect, and how to care for your Bedlington.


Black Russian Terrier


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Black Russian Terriers are a modern breed, created as a working dog by the Russian army in the 1940s. The breeders sought a physically tough dog with a stable temperament, breeding for temperament first, and looks second. The physical appearance was then stabilised. There were some 20 breeds used to create Black Russians, including Airedales, giant schnauzers, and rottweilers. These dogs have striking looks.They are a little larger than Airedales, with thick, black, waterproof coats, and coarse guard hairs.

As might be expected with working dogs, Black Russians need commitment from their owners. They like human company, so are relatively easy to train if the owner sets out ground rules from the start. They can be protective, so owners need to be able to command them to stay, and go to their beds when visitors arrive! They are not easily spooked, so can get into trouble as pups, and it's worth aiming for a solid recall right from the start. Generally, Black Russian Terriers get on well with sensible children, and are quite tolerant. They are not usually dog-aggressive, and can get on well with other dogs in the same household, though generally they get on better with smaller, younger dogs, and dogs of the opposite sex.

Common health problems include hip dysplasia. Emily Bates has written an engaging, up to date breed guide, with a fascinating account of the breed's history, and good advice on raising Black Russian Terrier puppies.


Pet Owner's Guide to the Border Terrier


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Border Terriers are tough little dogs, which were bred to keep up with hunters on horseback. They are tireless, with a strong drive to work. Early socialization is important, since they can become dog-aggressive, and despite efforts to socialize them, they will tend to want to pick and choose their own canine friends. Much of their 'aggression' is simply noise and posturing, however, and many other dogs don't take Borders seriously, still making friends with them despite the barking. Border Terriers bond well with their owners, but don't seek attention as much as some other terriers, and don't always want to greet strangers effusively, the way that more outgoing terriers tend to do. Barking can be a problem with this breed, and they can be good watchdogs, though Border Terriers will often make friends with strangers after barking at them, if the strangers respond by greeting the dog. Are they good with children? Generally, yes, they can be very good companions for sensible, older children, though they can also be a trial for children who take them for walks, because Border Terriers often make rude noises at passing dogs. Border Terriers will chase small prey, and dig, as is true of most terriers. They have waterproof, wiry coats, and don't need a lot of grooming, though they benefit from a trim. Common health problems include back trouble, hypothyroidism, seizures and allergies, including skin complaints, though they are generally very healthy dogs. Betty Judge has written a concise guide to Border Terriers, and she is someone who clearly has a passion for the breed. This is a short book, but it's packed with tips and humour, and is excellent value. It's the best choice for first-time Border Terrier owners, and gives a clear idea of what to expect from this feisty and engaging little breed, as well as providing advice on how to prevent and tackle problems that Border Terrier owners are likely to face.


About the Border Terrier


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This book is a joy for border terrier owners, with lots of anecdotes about the breed, as well as practical advice on how to care for and train border terriers. It's clearly written, and easy to use, as well as giving insights into the character of this feisty little breed.


Border Terrier (Pure-bred S.)


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This is a well-illustrated, in-depth guide to border terriers. The authors have extensive, long-term involvement with the breed, and provide a wealth of information on the history of border terriers, as well as how to care for them. It's a bit pricey, but the illustrations and welath of tips make it worthwhile.


Cairn Terrier


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Cairn terriers have a lot to recommend them. They are entertaining, tough and sociable. They are the breed that is closest to the ancestor of Scotties and Westies, and, as a 'natural' dog, are relatively healthy.

They were bred to be ratters, and love digging. A dog sandpit is one solution to their wanting to help in the garden. They can be territorial with other dogs, and don't want to back down from challenges when they meet dogs on walks, but they generally get on well with other dogs they live with, and can get on well with other dogs if socialized carefully. They like to chew, so should have their own supply of permitted chewing objects. Cairns aren't especially bad as barkers, but do like to communicate. They chew and bark less if taken on regular walks.

Like most terriers, they should only be let off the lead in safe areas, well away from traffic, since their recall is often non-existent if they are following prey. One Cairn of my acquaintance spent 36 hours trapped by her lead wrapped round a bush, after taking off in pursuit of a rabbit with the lead still attached to her. A barkier dog would have advertised its presence, but she stayed quiet all the time. She recovered well after her ordeal.

Cairns don't shed much, nor do they need much grooming, but they benefit from a regular trim. They love attention, and usually get on well with children, though both need to respect each other. All terriers need special care taken with teaching them bite inhibition, and small children need to learn not to be rough with little dogs like Cairn Terriers.

This breed is generally healthy, but there are a number of inherited health problems which can affect the breed, so it's especially important to ask about the longevity of the ancestors of any pup you are interested in. Eye, liver, and heart problems can affect the breed, as can hypothyroidism, blood disorders and allergies, including flea allergies.

Robert Jamieson's book is an excellent guide to Cairn terriers. He deals with the history and origins of the breed, and gives good advice on general care, such as house training and dealing with and preventing flea problems. There is also a lot of good advice on bringing up Cairn Terrier puppies.


Dandie Dinmont Terrier, a Complete Guide: A Complete and Reliable Handbook


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Dandie Dinmont terriers are unusual looking dogs, with short legs and long backs, like Dachshunds. They have a mix of silky and rough fur, with a silky topknot, and need a fair bit of grooming to show off their looks. Their fur can become matted if they don't get a regular brush, though they don't shed much. Dandie Dinmont terriers don't need a lot of exercise, in fact, too much exercise of the wrong sort can damage their backs.

Like dachshunds, it's best not to let them jump off high places, or rush up and down stairs, and they need proper support when they are lifted. This breed is not the ideal choice for a family with children, though they can get on well with sensible, older children. They are too easily damaged by being roughly picked up, and also have a strong independent streak. Some individuals can be aggressive with dogs of the same sex, especially if they are close in age.

Dandie Dinmont terriers were originally bred to be vermin catchers, and they should be kept on the lead if you take them for walks where there is a chance they might spot a cat! They can be content just having off-leash time in a garden, and make good watchdogs, with their surprisingly deep bark. This breed is generally free of health problems, apart from the vulnerability to back trouble, and hypothyroidism in some lines.

The Kirby's guide to the breed is short, but is packed with useful advice, and is well illustrated. It's a good introduction to the breed, though experienced owners are likely to want a more in-depth guide.


Wire Fox Terrier, a Complete Handbook: a Complete Handbook


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Wire-haired Fox Terriers are attractive dogs, which need careful training and a lot of exercise, or they can be very difficult to live with. They can be snappy, very barky, and get involved in altercations with the local dogs. They were designed to harass foxes, and unsocialized Fox Terriers will sometimes harass other dogs. They are also a very active breed, and good at escaping, especially if there is a cat on the other side of the fence. However, they can also be good companions, if they are trained and socialized properly, with house rules set out from when they are pups, and if they get enough exercise.

They can find good canine playmates among the more active breeds, so long as they are properly socialized with other dogs as pups so that they learn good play manners. They are not the best breed for families with children, unless you are prepared to put a serious effort into training them, because of their potential for snappiness and excitability.

Well-trained Wire Haired Fox Terriers can get on very well with sensible children who have been brought into a training programme, and make sure that the dog obeys them. This breed doesn't shed much, and doesn't take a lot of brushing, but does need occasional professional grooming and trimming to look its best. Common health problems include eye trouble, skin complaints, seizures, hypothyroidism, and deafness.

This is a short guide to the breed which is very good as far as it goes, though it is a bit expensive for such a slim volume.


The Fox Terrier (The World of Dogs)


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This guide to Fox Terriers covers both Wire Haired and Smooth Fox Terriers. They are very similar in character, both active and strong-willed breeds, but Smooth Fox Terriers are generally a little easier to live with, and tend to get on a little better with other dogs.

This is a very good guide to fox terriers which covers a lot of ground, from choosing a pup to general care, training and showing.


Irish Terrier: A Complete Handbook (Complete Handbook)


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Irish Terriers are a very old breed which has many fans. They look very much like a smaller version of Airedale Terriers, with a solid red, wheaten or yellow colour rather than the Airedale's black saddle, and share a number of similarities with Airedales, but Irish Terriers also have a number of advantages.

Both Irish Terriers and Airedales are lively, bold and affectionate, with a strong streak of independence, and both are versatile breeds, which can take on a range of roles once they are trained. Because Irish Terriers are smaller than Airedales, however, they are less likely to pull you over on walks, and they are generally quieter, or less barky than Airedales. While both breeds can get on well with children, Irish Terriers are easier for children to manage.

Like all terriers, they need exercise, careful training, and socialization. Special care should be taken with socializing them with other dogs, since they have a tendency to pick fights. They should not be allowed to bully other pups in puppy socialization classes! Calm, confident older dogs are often invaluable in teaching canine manners to this breed. Well socialized Irish Terriers can get on well with other dogs, however, especially those from more robust breeds. This breed doesn't shed much, and doesn't need a lot of grooming.

They are generally healthy as a breed, though can suffer from skin complaints and flea allergies. This book is a short introduction to the breed from terrier expert, Muriel Lee. It's a very good introduction to be breed, with nice illustrations, but is a bit pricey for what you get.


Irish Terrier (The World of Dogs)


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This is a comprehensive breed guide to Irish Terriers from Lucy Jackson, who writes well, and conveys her love for this affectionate breed. There is a lot of useful information about the breed, and helpful advice on caring for your Irish Terrier. The book is also very well illustrated.


 Parson and Jack Russell Terriers: 3rd Edition: Complete Pet Owner's Manual


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Jack Russells are tough little dogs that can both delight their owners, and present them with serious challenges. They are very energetic and loyal dogs, and they will bestow their attentions on people they like, who are usually people their owners likes. This can involve the JRT climbing up to give your guest a rapid face wash, before the guest has a chance to protest. JRTs can also nip the ankles, or worse, of people they don't like, and it's worth putting a lot of effort into socializing them with people. This should include pretend examinations with someone taking the role as a vet, since vets are often nipped by JRTs. It helps to prime your vet with treats, so he can make friends with your dog, before doing uncomfortable things to him.

Jack Russell Terriers like to be active and entertained, and will get up to mischief unless they have plenty to do. They can be entertained with ball games. These dogs have a very strong prey drive, which means that walking them can be a problem. They can easily become engrossed in hunting, and not want to follow their owners, and have been known to get stuck in rabbit holes. JRTs have a much higher than average chance of being killed in road traffic accidents, so they should only be let off the lead well away from traffic. They are champion escape artists, since they are so active and agile, and can get through small holes in fences. They also like to chase cats, a habit which should not be encouraged, since chasing cats can mean the JRT escapes from your garden or gets lost on walks (and it's unfair to the cats). They are not really safe with any pet rodents you might have. They can learn to respect your cat, if they have grown up with the cat from when they were puppies, They are still likely to see other cats as fair game, even if they happily coexist with a cat at home.

Jack Russell Terriers have a higher than average chance of being euthanased for behavioural problems, because of their strong prey drive and nippiness. These not the best dogs for families with children, since JRTs can still be a little nippy, despite training in bite inhibition, and children damage easily. However, JRTs can be good companions for very sensible, older children with a good understanding of dogs and dog training. Any children in a family with a JRT should be brought into the training programme for their own and the dog's safety. Good training classes will welcome children as handlers and spectators, and one advantage of JRTs is that they are less likely to pull children over than some of the larger breeds. Training should include the 'drop' command, best taught while the JRTs are little pups. Children need to be careful when picking up a ball which a JRT is interested in, since these dogs can nip to try to retain possession of the ball, not with the intention of hurting, but small fingers can get in the way of a JRT's teeth as he tries to grab hold of or adjust his grip on the ball to hang on to it. Many owners like to pick up a ball with the JRT still attached, just for fun, since the dog won't usually let go. This is not good for the dog's health, and makes hanging on a game, whereas the aim should be to teach the dog to let go. Tug games are fine, so long as a 'drop' command is incorporated into the game, and the pup drops the tug as soon as he is asked to. 'Drop' can be taught with treats.

Jack Russell Terriers can make rude noises at other dogs they meet on walks, and are not always safe with small breed puppies, which may be because their prey drive leads them to see small pups as similar to rats or other prey. However, well socialized Jack Russell Terriers can get on with a wide range of dogs, and can form strong bonds with dogs of other breeds, and enjoy playing with them. Keeping two JRTs of the same sex in the same household is not recommended, nor is keeping a Jack Russell Terrier with another terrier breed of the same sex. They often get on well with placid large-breed dogs who don't mind being bossed around by a power-crazed terrier. They don't need a lot of grooming. Barking can be a problem, at passing crows, paper boys, and any other suitable target, though this is less of a problem if the dog has enough exercise. Common health problems include hypothyroidism, von Willebrand's, eye trouble, and skin complaints, including flea allergies.

This book helps you understand your Jack Russell's traits, and helps you deal with typical Jack Russell behaviour, and the challenges it presents, with advice on training. Caroline Coile also manages to convey some of the delights of owning dogs of this feisty breed of hunters. A good introduction to the breed.


Complete Jack Russell

comp jrt

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James McKay gives a very good account of the character of this breed, as well as its history. This is perhaps the best breed guide for Jack Russells, since it covers so much ground, and James McKay clearly knows a lot about his subject. It's more expensive than Carline Coile's book, but is more comprehensive. It's also clealry written and easy to follow.


The Complete Jack Russell Terrier

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This is more than a breed guide, it also takes a close look at JRTs as hunting dogs, and is very funny, with numerous anecdotes. There's a lively guide to the history and origins of the breed, there is help with choosing and bringing up a JRT pup. There's also some advice on breeding, showing, and health care. It's clear that the author has a love for the breed, and a great deal of experience.


Kerry Blue Terrier (Pet Love)


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Kerry Blue Terriers are one of the larger terrier breeds, about the same size as Irish terriers, and were developed as all-purpose farm dogs in Ireland. They share some similarities with Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, which are also versatile, intelligent, Irish farm dogs. Kerry Blues are perhaps not as spectacularly good-looking as Soft Coated Wheatens, but they are an easier breed in that their coats are usually worn shorter, so they need much less grooming than a Wheaten, with its long, blond locks, and they are prone to fewer health problems than Wheatens. Their blue colouring is also unusual, and adults look real characters with blue-black curly hair and bushy eyebrows.

Like all terriers, Kerry Blues are quite strong-willed, and have a strong prey drive. They can be protective, so need to be socialized well with humans, and can be dog-aggressive, despite socialization with other dogs. They do respond well to a firm but gentle approach to training, and are very versatile dogs. Kerry Blue Terriers were used in a range of roles on farms, and can do well in a range of tasks as pets, for example in obedience and agility. This is an intelligent breed, which can get bored in training, so it helps to vary the routine to keep these dogs alert. They can also react badly to rough treatment.

Well-trained Kerry Blues and sensible children can get on fine. They are a reasonable size for children to take on walks, and are less likely to knock or pull children over than Airedales, though the Kerry Blue propensity for aggression against other dogs can be a problem for children walking this breed. Kerry Blue Terriers don't usually bark a lot, or shed much, and are generally healthy and long lived, though problems reported in the breed include eye and hip trouble, cysts, allergies and skin complaints.

This is a good, up-to-date introductory guide to the breed, with advice on general care at all stages of the dogs' life, and on behaviour and training. It is suitable for new owners and people considering the breed, though is unlikely to have enough new information to interest experienced owners.


Manchester Terrier: A Complete and Reliable Handbook


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Manchester terriers are sleek, black and tan dogs which look like a smaller version of a dobermann. They come in two sizes, the toy, and the standard Manchester terrier. Like dobermanns, they are a short-haired breed, and their coats give them little protection from the elements, though they are easy to groom. They like warmth, and may look at you in disgust if you ask them to go out and pee in very cold, rainy weather. They are also sensitive to heat, so should be protected from extremes of temperature, and given jackets for walks on very cold days.

Manchester terriers love walks, and need a lot of exercise. They are fairly biddable for terriers, and enjoy active sports, like agility, though they need consistent training from the start, since they have the terrier independent streak. This breed can do well with sensible, older children, though they are not the best choice for younger children, since Manchester terriers need careful training, and do not always behave well when let off leash, especially if there are cats around! They are very fast movers, and need extensive training to reinforce recall, before being let off in an agility field. Manchester terriers make good watchdogs, though their barkiness can be an irritant, so it's worth while teaching them when they can stop barking, because you have got the message.

They are generally healthy dogs, though von Willebrands has been found in some lines. Philip Shane's book is a good introduction to the breed. It is well-illustrated, and gives a good guide to the history and care of Manchester terriers, though experienced owners are likely to want a more in-depth guide.


Manchester Terrier (Pet Love S.)


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Muriel Lee has written a very useful, up-to-date guide to Manchester terriers, which covers training and behavioural issues, as well as advice on how to care for the breed.


A New Owner's Guide to Scottish Terriers


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Scottish Terriers are small terriers with dignity, which were bred to deal with rats and other vermin. They behave like typical small terriers on walks, tending to rush off after rabbits, so they can only be let off the lead in very safe areas, well away from traffic, since they go deaf when in pursuit of small prey. They need daily walks, and will exercise themselves if allowed off the lead with undergrowth to explore.

Scottish Terriers need a firm, but gentle hand in training, and can react badly to rough handling. They are independent dogs, and can be difficult and snappy as adults if not trained properly, especially if bite inhibition is not taught when they are young. However, well-trained Scotties are very good companion dogs, more serious and reliable than many small terriers, and are generally good companions for children, so long as the children respect them. Well-socialized Scottish Terriers are generally sociable with other dogs.

Scottish terriers aren't especially noisy, just enough to be good watch dogs. They don't shed much, and don't need much grooming, so long as they are given a regular trim. This breed is generally healthy, but can suffer from inherited health problems. Common health problems include Scottie cramp, which is treatable, and Von Willebrand's Disease. They can also suffer from hypothyroidism, knee problems and seizures. Like most small terriers, Scotties tend to be sensitive to fleas. This book is a good introduction to the breed, with advice on general care and training, as well as an account of the history of the breed.



Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, a Complete Guide


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Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers are an Irish breed of terrier. They are medium-sized dogs, originally bred as all-round farm dogs, for controlling vermin, hunting, and guarding. They are good looking dogs with blond coats that need regular grooming. They are intelligent and versatile dogs, and can perform well in obedience, agility and tracking events. Like all terriers, they can be strong-willed, so need patience in training, though they are easier to train than most terriers. They also like attention, and can be hurt if owners get cross with them! They are generally friendly with people and other dogs met on walks, though like all terriers, they need careful socialization, and can be pushy with other dogs, sometimes showing aggression against dogs of the same sex. Wheaten Terriers are generally good with sensible children.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers aren't a very barky breed, though they will tend to bark when visitors arrive, after which they are likely to be friendly, especially if greeted by the visitor. They don't shed much, and don't tolerate heat well, but can stand cold. The most serious drawback to the breed is vulnerability to some conditions like food intolerances. Wheaten Terriers are also sensitive to anaesthetics, and some individuals may possibly be sensitive to some vaccinations. Some Wheaten Terriers may suffer behavioural problems as a result of their sensitivities to food or chemicals in the environment, or veterinary pharmaceutical products. Kidney trouble is also common, and they can suffer from eye and hip problems.

Wheatens can still live to a long age. It is important to check the longevity of ancestors of any pups you are interested in, and whether they have had particular sensitivities or other health-related problems. Shoemaker's guide to the breed is short but informative. It's very clearly written, and relates the history of the breed very well to its character.


Welsh Terrier


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Welsh terriers look like small Airedales, and, like Airedales, tend to be very amiable, cheerful dogs. Welsh terriers are relatively calm and tolerant, so are one of the better terrier breeds for families with children, though they still have that independent terrier streak, which can be a challenge for child handlers, and they are more suitable for families with older children. Welsh terriers learn fast, including learning from their owners inconsistencies, so it's safer to try hard to be consistent from day one!

This breed needs a fair amount of grooming, with occasional attention from a professional groomer. They are also quite high-maintenance in terms of exercise, and need an active life, or they can develop annoying habits, like barking a lot. Some owners have found them to be good agility dogs, so long as they are well-trained in basic obedience beforehand. Generally, Welsh terriers are healthy dogs, though seizures and eye trouble have been found in some lines.

Hugh Owen's guide is a good, up-to-date introduction to the breed, with tips on training and behavioural quirks, as well as advice on basic care, including health care.



A New Owner's Guide to West Highland White Terriers


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West Highland White Terriers are extremely popular. They are perhaps the best known of all the small terriers, and may attract novices because of this, and because of their undoubted cuteness and charm. This popularity among novices could be why they have a much higher than average chance of being killed in road traffic accidents, and a slightly higher than average chance of being euthanased for behavioural problems. If you are considering a Westie, and you just want a cute, active, charming white dog, maybe a Bichon Frise would suit you better! Westies are proper terriers, with all that implies. They are similar to Cairns, and are high-energy dogs which like chasing and digging, and can be very excitable. They are also very vocal, more vocal than Cairns, and are perhaps the barkiest of the terriers. Westies are a good choice if you know enough about training to teach house rules while they are pups, and if you don't mind the barking, and are able to control it. They often bark for attention, so owners need to be careful not to reward them for this. Westies are generally affectionate with their owners, and outgoing with strangers and other dogs. A well-trained West Highland White Terrier can be a very good companion for older children, because these dogs have so much energy, are affectionate, and enjoy attention from children. Younger children need careful supervision with Westies, so they don't try to manhandle these small dogs, or get them overexcited.

West Highland White Terriers do need to get out and about for a daily walk, or at the very least, have a daily session of active games in the garden, since they are an active breed. They are much less likely to annoy you by barking if they have had a good run, and are much easier to obedience train if they get enough exercise. Common health problems include skin disorders, and von Willebrands. Knee and hip trouble, liver disorders and seizures can also affect the breed, though they are generally long lived.

This is a very helpful guide for new owners, covering all stages, from choosing a pup to house training for pups and obedience training for pups and adults, and general care, including feeding and grooming. This edition is geared to US readers, but the breed has the same characteristics in both continents, as Westie owners will recognise.


Traditional Working Terrier


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This is both a practical guide for people using terriers as working dogs, and an interesting account of their history. There's a good account of how the different terrier breeds are used in pest control, and there is a lot of helpful advice on caring for terriers.

It's clearly written enough for novices to follow, and there is enough information to interest experienced owners and handlers of working terriers. It's well worth reading, just to get an idea of what your terrier was bred to do, and to understand why he behaves the way he does.


The Sporting Terrier


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This is a very entertaining book on terriers as working dogs, with a full account of their history in Britain, from the Middle Ages, through the emergence of different breeds in the 19th century, to modern times.

There are descriptions of over 20 breeds, and explanations of their different uses.

It's a very entertaining book, which will delight both owners of working terriers, and people who have terriers as companion dogs.