Terrier Dog Breeds

The Terrier Group is made up of tough and resilient dog breeds. Terriers have high energy levels and respond instantly to anything unusual in their environments.

posted: April 13, 2012, 6 p.m. EDT

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Rugged, courageous and self-sufficient, Terriers were developed in England centuries ago. They were expected to hunt, eradicate vermin, guard their families' homes and serve as companions. Although all Terriers originally served as working dogs, many of the functions that Terriers once performed are now obsolete, and most Terriers today live primarily as companions.

Modern-day Terriers still retain the working traits of their ancestors. Short-legged Terriers, such as the Scottish Terrier and Cairn Terrier, were bred to pursue prey such as foxes and badgers underground. Long-haired Terriers, such as the Airedale Terrier, were developed to tackle larger prey and keep up with fast-running packs of foxhounds during a hunt. The Bull-and-Terrier breeds were designed to be strong, agile and tenacious for bull-baiting.

All Terriers are tough and resilient. They have high energy levels and enhanced reactivity, responding instantly to anything unusual in their environments. Their moderate sizes simplify many aspects of routine care, but their headstrong, energetic natures can pose training challenges. Without appropriate outlets for their mental and physical energy, they may devote their time to barking, digging and chewing.

Is a Terrier Breed Dog for you? Look at these 10 facts about the Terrier Dog to decide if it is the right dog for your life situation.

1. Vigilant and fearless, they make great alarm dogs.
2. They are adaptable to small living spaces and city life.
3. Their moderate sizes and extroverted temperaments can make well-trained Terriers good companions for children.
4. Shorthaired and wirehaired coats are protective and low maintenance.
5. Sturdy structures make them less prone to many common orthopedic disorders and injuries.
6. Terriers require firm, consistent training to discourage rough play and biting.
7. Without early, comprehensive socialization toward other dogs, some Terriers have the potential to become dog-aggressive.
8. They may not be reliable around small animals due to their strong predatory instinct.
9. If neglected or bored, they can become prone to digging, chewing and barking.
10. Bull-and-terrier breeds may be subject to breed-specific legislation.

Excerpt from the American Kennel Club's Meet the Breeds with permission from its publisher, BowTie Press, a division of BowTie, Inc. Purchase the AKC's Meet the Breeds.
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Darlene - 39897   Lockport, NY

9/10/2013 11:56:41 AM

Sherry - Do you have cats with your terrier? I am thinking of getting an Australian Terrier and have two cats. I want to know if I start with a puppy, can I successfully socialize the puppy with my cats?

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fancygril   gobles,

1/2/2013 2:45:51 AM

i have a baby gril she was found and gave to me and im in love with her dont know much about her but i love her and she wont play she just runs and she the love of my life thank god she came two me i lost my other two dogs to old age her name is fancy

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Sherry   San Jose, California

11/24/2012 8:13:08 PM

I have always been a cat person, but inherited a 5 year old Rat Terrier. Family could find no other option for him. At 11 years now, he is head strong, bossy, energetic still, and the love of my life. Hooray for terriers!

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