by C.R. Stavely 1910
Sir-I notice that the discussion on “working terriers” has again made its appearance in your columns. Though a breeder of working terrier for over thirty years i have never so far joined in the “worry”, but at last, with your permission, i will “give tongue”.
Having started with Jack Russells over thirty years ago with puppies direct from Parson Jack’s kennel, i have lately found myself in need of another fresh strain of hard blood to counteract such long in-breeding. After considerable inquiry i came to the conclusion that i was mostly to find what i required from a cross with West Highland or Sealyham blood. As West Highlanders have now for several years been seized upon by the show people, i finally decided on Sealyhams, for of late I had seen several staunch specimen of this breed working with hounds. I eventually obtained a little daughter of Huntsman from Mr. F. W. Lewis, and at last have what i want, for she is a “real” worker. like others i have seen with the breed., and the puppies i have breed from her are all i desire.
I think “Game’un” may rest assured that there are greater percentage of good workers among Sealyhams than any other breed, but he should remember that great “thief” may be bred from the staunches of race horses, and a great “skirter” from the best Belvoir blood.
An adept working terrier does not get much marked, though a clumsy had dog will do so, as will a bad boxer, but the wounds, though formidable at first, seldom leave much of a permanent scar of properly treated. In my opinion, a terrier that gets much mauled is incompetent and a nuisance, and does not bolt his fox or otter and quicker than a competent performer who escapes scatheless. Personally, i do not find badgers or foxes in 6in apes, but have known otters to seek refuge in such, when it is best to flood them out. Sealyhams are good terriers for otter hunts, being splendid water dogs and fine climbers. They are only suitable for fox-hunting establishments where they are carried, as in the shires; they are too short in the leg and slow to run with foxhounds, as is the custom “down west” and with the most provincial packs. From pictures i have seen of show terriers is appears that “show points” are already beginning to spoil them. I already notice the alligator jaw so beloved by the “show man” and which has in the English fox terrier been produced to the extent of the greyhounds mask.
The longer the jaw the slower will be its closing. Fox, otter and badger have all short pointed muzzles with broad jaws under the ears. A working terrier should be built on the same lines, such was the conformation of all of them in the old days. Only dogs that seize their prey during movement above ground, such as greyhounds and foxhounds, requite lantern jaws; this nature has provided for. Why breed against her?
In conclusion, i would say that it is not a fact that there was any breed of Jack Russell terrier, though we are always reading about such. “Parson Jack” used to collect in the best country every good little terrier he came across. He bred and bought them indiscriminately, on the principle of “handsome is as handsome does” His kennel was a mixture of all sizes and shapes of real good workmen. They was no type or breed about them, as understood on these show days.