I imagine that were one of our great-grandfathers to be shown a specimen of the modern black and tan terrier he would be unable to recognize it as the same variety of dog that, when he was a boy, ran about the stable yards, destroyed vermin, and was usually a household pet. The original fox terrier was a black and tan terrier, at any rate many terriers used for the purpose of driving foxes from their holes were black and tan in colour, and from them must have sprung the “black and tan” as he is seen to-day, crossed probably with some lighter built dog, maybe with a small greyhound.
With his rich red-tan markings, his deep black colour, penciled toes, and thumb marks on the feet, elegant shape, sprightly appearance, and general gameness, he is know doubt a dog that might have had a popular future in store. But the fates decreed otherwise, and fashion suggested that he would look better with a portion of his ears cut off, and man carried out the needless mutation. This system of cropping, once so general, now happily discountenanced, illegal, and a thing of the past, I have already descanted upon in the chapter devoted to the bull terrier and the white English terrier, and there is no more to add on the subject. I am of opinion that has as much care been used in producing on the black and tan terrier a small thin drop ear, or a neat semi-erect one as there has been in breeding for colour, he would be a more popular and commoner dog to-day than is the case. He had everything to recommend him for a house dog. He is not too big, is smooth coated, handsomely shaped, intelligent, in expression, brilliant in colour, which being dark is less liable to show dirt, and therefore in advance of any white animal, in a town where grimes and smuts prevail and dirt forms one of the common objects of the streets.
I am not alone in the opinion that the ear cropping having continued for so many generations, has had a most injurious effect upon the health and general nature of the black and tan terrier, and I believe that his spirit has in many cases been destroyed thereby, so making him a less game and smart dog than he would have been if let alone. At least, this is my experience of black and tan terriers; and others who have kept them as house dogs bear a similar opinion to that expressed here. He is now a purely fancy dog, i.e., he is not used as an assistant to the gamekeeper or to destroy vermin, foxes and such-like creatures. He may kill rats and rabbits, indeed he can be trained until he is quite an adept at the first-named rude branch of sport.
It is much to be regretted that the endeavours to put a stop to “cropping” were not earlier successful. So far back as 1879, at the instigation of Mr. James Taylor, of Manchester, the Birmingham committee, or one of its members, gave special prizes for “black and tans” with uncut ears, and these prizes were continued for three years, though they received little or no support from exhibitors. Then the ole Black and Tan Terrier Club, established in 1884, followed in the same line, and offered prizes at many exhibitions up and down the country, but with no better result. They receive no encouragement in their good work from the Kennel Club. I know several admirers of the variety who gave up breeding their favourites because to compete successfully against what were perhaps inferior specimens the ears had to be operated upon. Perhaps now that their bete noir has disappeared they may return to their old love, and give us black and tan terriers, with small, thin ears, elegantly shaped bodies and as bright and distinct in their markings as the best of their race have ever seen.
To continue my subject, let me say that the black and tan terrier as he is found to-day is of modern manufacture. Daniel in his “Rural Sports” (1802) certainly describes a terrier of that colour common in his time, but this was a more stoutly built dog, made on the lines of a modern fox terrier and used for a similar purpose and as a gamekeeper’s assistant. Indeed, the common terrier of a hundred years ago was for the most part black and tan in colour, with white on his chest and on his feet.
The late Rev. T. Pearce (“Idstone”) tells us of the black and tan terrier which his family had sixty or seventy years since, and other writers follow in the same vein. These were bred for work and work only; the modern production is a purely fancy animal, whose “markings” are more of value than gameness, and his elegance of shape more than stoutness of constitution. Dog shows first brought him into prominence as a “fashionable beauty,” and at our earliest exhibitions he was extremely well represented. Still, he was not then so uniform in quality and markings as he came to be later on, and every class contained some dog or another that was badly marked, and by no means of the type that was then coming into vogue. There is no doubt that between 1850 and 1860 the old-fashioned dog was crossed with some other variety of a lighter build, and this may have been a small dark coloured greyhound. Anyhow, the “long lean heads” more often than not showed some greyhound cross, however remote it might be, and the black and tan terrier was and is more tucked up in loins and not so level in the back as most other varieties of the terrier ought to be. Then his feet are not so round and cat-like, a longish foot, though it might be thick enough, being preferred, as then the “penciling” on the feet-black marks on the tan ground-can be better defined when the toes are rather long.
There is no doubt that when dog shows were first instituted the black and tan terrier was a much commoner animal than he is now; at any rate, the classes for him were much better filled then than is the case at the present time. For instance, at the Holborn Show in 1862 there were forty-two of the variety benched, divided equally in two classes, one for animals over 5lb. in weight, the other for dogs and bitches under 5 lb. At Leeds in the same year the classes were even better filled, the latter having thirty-six entries, the former twenty-seven entries; and at one of the London shows in 1863, that at Ashburnham Hall, there was an actual entry of ninety-five black and tan terriers, divided into three classes-for dogs and bitches over 7lb., for the same between 7lb. and 5lb. weight, and for others under 5lb. One is apt to wonder what a show committee would think were such an entry to be obtained to-day, and certainly as matters are at present, with about a dozen competitors in five classes, as was the case at Curzon Hall in 1895, the black and tan terrier has not become popularized with the spread of the dog show.
The most successful dog at the earliest shows was Mr. G. Fitter’s (Birmingham) Dandy, a good looking, terrier-like dog, illustrated in “Dogs of the British Isles,” but he had much more tan about him than would be deemed a recommendation to-day, nor were his “thumb-marks”-a black splash on the tan ground of the foot about the size of the end of the thumb-and “penciling” sufficiently distinct, still he was a nice terrier. Then as now the “black and tan” was mostly to be found in the Metropolis and in the large centers of the Midlands and Lancashire. Mr. J Wade, of Clerkenwell, about the sixties had a lot of smart terriers, so had Mr. Fred White, of Clapham, and Mr. W. Macdonald, who at the same time had more than a passing fancy for Maltese terriers and Italian greyhounds, and liked a “trotting horse” too. In Birmingham, Mr. James Hinks had them; Mr. Littler kept some good ones, and so did Mr. Jackson, at Wednesbury.
About this period there were two or three keen admirers of “fancy dogs” in Manchester and the neighbourhood, who devoted much time and trouble to perfect the black and tan terrier, and, however, good were the specimens produced by the south country fancier, the northern ones were better. Indeed, this terrier became so connected with Manchester, as to come bear its name, and the Kennel Club acknowledged it as the “Manchester” as well as by its own name of the black and tan terrier. The reason for such a fresh nomenclature was by no means obvious, but it remains to this day, and will possibly linger on until the variety of terrier is supplanted by perhaps a more useful but certainly by not a handsomer dog.
Great names in connection with “the black and tan” were those of Mr. Samuel Handley, of Pendleton, near Manchester, Of Mr. James Barrow, near Manchester, of Mr. W. Justice, Manchester, and of Mr. R. Ribchester, Ardwick, the latter’s Colonel being about the best stud dog of his day.
The pedigrees were very lax at these times before the “Stud Book” was published, and even for long afterwards. Pretty nearly all the sporting publicans and many of the working men of Cottonopolis and its neighbourhood kept and bred these terriers, and from them the best specimens were purchased by Mr. Handley and by others, who in turn resold them to the leading exhibitors.
To exhibit a black and tan terrier to perfection was not long ago one of the “arts” of dog showing. The ears were to be carefully attended to, i.e., any loose or unsightly hairs had to be shaved off, the whiskers were cut, and then there came the general “faking” or trimming, which, if found out, would certainly have led to the disqualification of the dog and its owner. Without going so far as to say that no black and tan terrier was ever exhibited successfully when in its natural condition, I certainly do not exaggerate when I say such was seldom the case; but the “art and mysteries of faking” are not followed to the same extent now, although this sort of thing is still carried on and even allowed by the Kennel Club. There might be white hairs to pluck out or to darken, on the chest or else where; the stern was to be trimmed; the hind quarters, which were often far to brown, had either to be plucked or again darkened; the tan, if rather pale or “cloudy” could be brightened up to any extent by dyeing or staining, and the “penciling” and “thumb marks,” without which no dog was supposed to have much chance of winning, could, if absent, be produced. I was told years ago that one of the most successful bitches that ever lived, and was thought to be quite invincible, was indebted to art, and to art only, for her thumb marks! This was the bitch Queen II., with which the late Mr. Henry Lacey, of Hedben Bridge, did so much winning about 1870-2. That this story is no exaggeration, the following will perhaps prove.
I was judging a pretty strong lot of black and tans at a west country show some few years ago. Among them was a beautiful bitch which then appeared in the ring for the first time, and, notwithstanding that fact that she was absolutely without thumb marks on her fore feet, I gave her first prize. Some time after, in conversation with her owner, I alluded to his bitch, and said she was so terrier-like in body and general character that I had no hesitation in placing her where she was, notwithstanding her deficient markings. “Well,” said her owner, “the celebrated * * * never had a mark at all, other than was artificially provided, and the same man who ‘penciled’ and ‘thumb-marked’ her feet offered to do the same for my bitch, but I did not care about running any risk, and she is good enough without them.” I was well acquainted with all the parties concerned, and, at any rate, twenty years ago this “faking” of black and tan terriers was carried on to an alarming extent, and, as already stated, it required an expert to detect where deception had been practiced. Markings were, and still are a sine qua non in the black and tan terrier, more so, indeed, than in any other dog, not excepting either the Yorkshire terrier or the Dalmatian.
These dark or black markings on the brown feet of black and tan dogs of all varieties are more or less common, and are found defined to a certain extent on collies of that colour, and on black and tan Gordon setters. So far as the terriers are concerned, the marks come out more prominently, because they have been bred for, and dogs and bitches with the best markings have been mated together, with the result now seen in the terriers to which this chapter is devoted.
Soon after the formation of the first black and tan terrier club some interesting correspondence took place in the Field relative to the description of the variety. Mr. James Taylor, already alluded to, wrote on the subject, and so did the late Mr. Henry Lacy, who at one time owned the best kennel of “black and tans” that had ever been brought together. Moreover he had made the breed a life study, and it was said what he did not know about black and tan terriers was not worth knowing. However, neither gentleman agreed with the early description that the club had issued, which, however, remained open for revision.
A portion of Mr. Lacy’s letter and his description are producing, although his remarks as to cropping are valueless at the present time. He wrote as follows:
“In the first place,” says Mr. Lacy, “let me point out that black and tan terriers are essentially a Manchester breed, Use the phrase ‘Manchester terrier’ and any fancier knows at once what you mean. Hence, it is that all the most famous smooth black and tans have been reared in and around Manchester. Here are a few of their name: Old Gas; Barrow’s Pink; Handley’s Saff and Colonel; Laing’s Charley, Kade, and Jerry; Lacy’s Queen II., General, and Belcher; Justice’s Viper and Vilcan, and innumerable others of true quality.
“I will now lay down what I deem to be the true points by which the quality of a black and tan should be judged, taking a dog weighing from 17lb. to 18lb.
“Body.—Well formed and short. Girth of chest about 20in. Back nicely arched, falling gently to root of tail.
“Head.—In length, from occipital bone to tip of nose, 7in. to 8in.; skull, between the ears, almost entirely flat, with a slight hollow up the centre between the eyes, and no material drop at the eyes.
“Eyes.—Small, and set well together, neither too far apart, nor too near; colour, dark brown.
“Ears.—My opinion on this point is very decided, although I am aware that many fanciers do not share it. I admire a scientifically cropped ear, well up, and pretty long. This gives a sharp bright appearance to this particular terrier.
“Neck.—Not too long, and slightly arched, and betraying no coarseness at the point at which it joins the lower jaw.
“Feet.—Small, with the toes well together. The hind feet should be cat-shaped, but the fore feet should be rather hare-footed, and come to a point in the center.
“Tail.—The tail should be set on a level with the height of the shoulder, and carried straight or only slightly curved. It should be thick at the base, and taper gradually to the end, measuring from 8in. to 9in.
“Coat.—The coat should be short and fine in texture. I have invariably found that when the throat is entirely covered there is a tendency to a heavy coarse coat. I therefore do not object to lack of hair on the throat, as I consider it a distinct characteristic of the breed. I look for a fine silky coat of raven black, with a brilliant glossy appearance.
“Colour.—A rich mahogany tan, of as uniform a shade possible. Tan spots on the eyes and on each cheek. The tan on the muzzle should begin at the nostril, and continue by the ridge of the nose and then fall under the jaw. The division between this and the pea mark on the cheek should be decided and distinct. The paw mark on the forelegs should be equally pronounced, and each toe should be nicely penciled. The colour under the tail should be as nearly as possible of the same shade of tan as the other marks, and the tail should cover it almost entirely. There should be no breeching of tan on the hind legs, on the neck, nor behind the ears.
“I claim that if a black and tan possesses all these points, he is of the true breed, as it is accepted and understood by the best authorities in his native county of Lancashire.”
Such was the opinion of the cleverest judge of the variety we have known, and one who at one time held the most powerful kennel of the variety in the country, and he, with his man, “Bob” Carling (who was made the “horrible example” in the great cropping prosecution), could always be depended upon to send their terriers into the ring in proper fashion. The Rev. W.J. Mellor, then of Nottingham; Mr. S. Laing, Bristol; Mr. C. Harling, Manchester, Mr. W. Hodgson, Harpurhey; Mr. J.H. Murchison, Thrapston; Mr. T. Swinburne, Darlington; all had at one time or another excellent specimens of this variety. A little later, Mr. A. George, Kensal Town; the late Mr. W.J. Tomlinson, Mr. G.S. Manuelle, and Mr. Codman, of London, now in New York, owned some very good black and tan terriers indeed, and from what I know of them, they were shown without being unduly trimmed, but as companions they were not particularly brilliant.
Perhaps some of the best of the variety are now to be found in Scotland, where Mr. D.G. Buchanan, at Broxham, had a very excellent team, with which he won a large number of prizes. Mr. Webster Adams, at Ipswich, has another nice lot; Mr. J. Tucker, in Wales, was a noted breeder; and some time ago Mr. T. Ellis, Cheetham Hill, Manchester, had in his day, perhaps, the best modern kennel, as it contained several dogs which had been purchased for large sums; his terriers were known by their prefix of Bromfield. Mr. B. Lathom, Eccles; Mr. J. Howarth, Strangeways; Messrs.
Marsden and Johnson, Manchester; Mr. Tom Ashton, Lancashire; Mr. W. Barlow, Farnsworth; and Messrs. Hogg, Stand, near Manchester, are, or were, great admirers of the variety, and have possessed specimens quite good as were to be found in any other kennels. At the time I write Lieut.-Col. Dean, of Spital, near Birkenhead, appears to be one of our most earnest admirers of the black and tan terrier, and he owns many of the best specimens of the day. Miss E.A. Darbyshire, of Holywell, New Cross, is likewise a most successful up-to-date exhibitor; and similar remarks apply to Mr. H.C.B. Higgs, Broadstairs; Mr. J.W. Pestell, Southsea, and to some others. Undoubtly, the best of the variety now being shown are Starkie Ben, Sir Alfred II., Rising Star, Beswick Beauty, Benham Daisy, Royal Prince, Mr. Balshaw’s Mayfield Spy, Dingle Royal, Miltown Daisy, Stand Rose, and Stand Queen, Lancashire Queen, with Mr. Gamble’s Jerry and Mayfield Luce, the two latter under 12lb. weight. There is still an opening for an enterprising breeder and exhibitor of black and tan terriers.
The “black and tan” is still produced in considerable numbers round about Manchester, and the would-be purchaser is more likely to find suitable animals in that locality than elsewhere, though the London and Birmingham dealers could no doubt produce anything that might be required.
Owing to the various surroundings which I have named, the black and tan terrier is scarcely a dog that can be recommended for the household. Whether there is anything particularly attractive for the dog stealer in him I cannot say, but I have doubts on the matter, for at least three of my friends who resided in suburban London owned very nice black and tan terriers, and sooner or later the three of them rose on three separate mornings and found themselves three dogless individuals. Their “black and tans” had been stolen, nor were they recovered, and one of the three friends, who liked the variety very much indeed, had a second of the strain stolen. So he got an Irish terrier, which remains with him to this day. Possibly the local thieves couple the Irish politics, and, consequently, consider them better left alone.
There are three clubs established to look after the well-being of the black and tan terrier, one arising from the ashes of the original body and established in 1892, and called “The Black and Tan Terrier Club of England,” I presume to distinguish it from another club which has its headquarters in Scotland, and has but recently (1893) been established. The third is the “Manchester Terrier Club,” likewise organized during 1893.
From what I have written it will be surmised that this terrier is one of the most difficult varieties to judge properly and with satisfaction, for not only are the colours and markings to be taken into consideration, but sufficient knowledge is required to detect whether the dog is indepted to Nature alone for her perfections or whether art has been her assistant.
The description and points of the black and tan terrier as adopted by the English club are as follows; they are pretty much the same as those of the Manchester club, the chief difference being that the latter limit their weight to 18lb.
“Head.—Long, flat, and narrow, level and wedge shaped, without showing cheek muscles, well filled up under the eyes, with tapering tightly lipped jaws and level teeth.
“Eyes.—Very small, sparkling, and dark, set fairly close together, and oblong in shape.
Ears.—Small, and V shaped, hanging close to the head above the eye.
“Neck and Shoulders.—The neck should be fairly long, and tapering from the shoulders to the head, with sloping shoulders, the neck being free from throatiness, and slightly arched at the occiput.
“Chest.—Narrow but deep.
“Body.—Moderately short and curving upwards by the loin; ribs well spring; back slightly arched at the loin and falling again at the joining of the tail to the same height as the shoulders.
“Legs.—Must be quite straight, set on well under the dog and of fair length.
“Feet.—More inclined to be cat than hair footed.
“Tail.—Moderate length, and set on where the arch of the back ends, thick where it joins the body, tapering to a point, and not carried higher than the back.
“Coat.—Close, smooth, short and glossy.
“Colour.—Jet black, and rich mahogany tan, distributed over the body as follows: On the head the muzzle is tanned to the nose, with which the nasal bone is jet black; there is also a bright spot on each cheek, and above each eye, the under jaw and throat are tanned, and the hair inside the ear is of the same colour. The fore legs tanned up to the knee with black lines (pencil marks) up each toe, and a black mark (thumb mark) above the foot. Inside the hind legs tanned, but divided with black at the hock joint, and under the tail also tanned, and so is the vent, but only sufficiently to be easily covered by the tail; also slightly tanned on each side of the chest. Tan outside of the hind legs, commonly called breeching, a serious defect. In all cases the black should not run into the tan, or vise versa, but the division between the two colours should be well defined.
“General Appearance.—A terrier calculated to take his own part in the rat pit, and not of the whippet type.
“Weight.—Not exceeding 7lb.; not exceeding 16lb.; not exceeding 20lb.”
Scale of Points
Colour and markings…………….15
(including terrier quality)………..15
It may be interesting to compare the above with what Mr. Henry Lacy suggested eight or nine years ago, and what was considered good when he wrote would undoubtedly be considered so now.
Of late I have noticed that there is a tendency to breed the black and tan terrier too much of the whippet and Italian greyhound stamp, with tucked-up lions, arched back, and long feet. With such defects have come round, full, glaring eyes, instead of those smart, piercing, and almond-shaped which ought to be part and parcel of every terrier, whether kept as a companion or as a vermin destroyer. Breeders should check this tendency, which can easily be done by refusing to use such dogs and bitches in their kennels as are likely to perpetuate such glaring and mischievous defects. So recently as the Liverpool Show in 1894, in conversation with an old and successful exhibitor of black and tan terriers, I had my attention drawn to these prevailing weaknesses, although the variety was not well-represented at that exhibition.
Our dog-loving cousins in America do not appear to have shown any great affection for the black and tan terrier, nor have the few imported, chiefly by Dr. Foote, of New York, attracted any particular attention when they are benched. Perhaps on the other side of the Atlantic the natives do not possess sufficient knowledge of the breed to fully appreciate the rich colour and correct markings of this, to say the least, peculiar variety of the dog and one so difficult to produce in Perfection.
Before closing the chapter allusion must be made to the “blue” or slate- coloured terriers which are occasionally obtained from this variety, though the parents may be correctly marked themselves. Such “sports” are in reality as well bred as the real article, and are found of all sizes, perhaps more commonly amongst the “toys” and the small-sized specimens, than amongst the larger ones. Some are entirely “blue” or slate coloured, others have tan markings. In certain Lancashire towns they are far from uncommon, and have little value set upon them, not are they acknowledged on the show bench in the usual way. Still, at two or three of the earlier canine exhibitions special classes were provided for these “blue terriers,” and once or twice in London a fair entry was obtained.
Mr. Thomson Gray, in his “Dogs of Scottland,” mentions a dog called the Blue Paul, and earlier writers had also drawn attention to the same animal. I certainly refuse to acknowledge him as a variety, and consider him identical with the “blue terrier” bred from “black and tans.” Some specimens described may have been larger and generally coarser than a perfect black and tan terrier ought to be, but such variations were not sufficient to make them a distinctive breed. There are many well bred black and tan terriers up to 30lb.weight and over, and I have seen more than one “blue” dog bred from such, and what Mr. Thomson Gray would no doubt have considered “a find” as one of the last of the race of the so-called Blue Paul. Some time or other a fancier had a terrier called Paul, and it being a celebrity in its line, which was to kill rats and fight, and being “blue” in colour was called “Blue Paul” to distinguish it from other eminent dogs likewise called “Paul.” At Least, such is my idea of it’s origin, notwithstanding how I may upset local historians and others who have said it was named after Paul Jones, who had brought a specimen home on his return from one of his piratical expeditions.
* From the Personal Collection of Jo Ann Emrick, Wilane Manchester Terriers.