By NEIL KILGORE
There are a number of different dog breeds that you might come across on a daily basis. Much like humans, dog breeds and, more specifically, dog breed types, all have some very unique and very distinct characteristics and history.
Spaniels, for example, where bred and prized as hunting dogs, able to keep up with day long hunts and chase game through dense brush. Terriers are another example of a dog breed group that applies to a good number of individual breeds. But what exactly is a Terrier?
One of the best parts about looking at dog breeds is seeing the rich history your faithful pup actually comes from. Terriers have a long standing history, stemming originally from Great Britain and Ireland. Terriers, like spaniels, were also used for hunting purposes and helped to keep the population of rats, rabbits and foxes under control. Larger breeds of terriers were even tough enough to take on badgers.
One of the distinct differences between terriers and other hunting breeds is that they can chase their game both above and underground. Even the word “terrier” stems from the Latin root, terra meaning “earth” and shares the modern french word, to burrow. However, terriers aren’t just good for digging holes, there are breeds of terriers that can hunt river rats and otters in deep water, making them very capable swimmers as well as diggers.
Due to the versatility of this hardy little breed, terriers were bred to hunt all manner of game. Terriers mixed with both hunting and fighting breeds made them scrappy, tenacious and very capable hunters. While the needs for hunting dogs has gone down considerably as most meat and other food are commercially available, Terriers have found their way into many homes as family pets.
Most people tend to forget that Pitbull is a shortened name for an American Pitbull Terrier. This breed came to be due to the crossing of a terrier with a stronger fighting breed of dog, in this particular case, a bull dog. This is one of the reasons why pit bulls get such a bad reputation as most people don’t understand that they’re the result of a very strong dog mixed with a dog that is very stubborn and willful. This is why proper training and socialization is critical if you own a pitbull as terriers in general can be quite a bit more stubborn when it comes to training.
Overall, terriers make for a fantastic family pet. Their small size makes them a good companion for people who live in apartments or who don’t have a lot of room for a dog to run around. These dogs are typically very affectionate and loyal, however they are very willful and sometimes downright stubborn. Because of this, firm and consistent training is required when it comes to owning a well behaved terrier.
If you’re bringing a terrier into a home with younger children then it’s important to make sure that both your children and your pup know how to play with one another to make sure that they get along together. All in all, if you’re looking for a little dog who likes to play and has a lot of love to give, then a terrier makes for an ideal choice for a family pet.
Neil Kilgore is a guest contributor for The Buzz Insider and is the Jack (Russell) of all trades at Greenfield Puppies in Lancaster Pa. He regularly blogs about dogs, breeders and puppies at the GreenField Puppies.
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