Thursday, 16 February 2012

Terrier Nova

Terrier in transit.  Huxley seems to be a born traveller.  He may yet be the first English Toy Terrier to do the 'W' trek of Torres del Paine National Park.  Yesterday he whimpered quietly for perhaps 30 seconds during the three and half hour drive from Gloucester to Brighton.  Most of the time he snuggled up to our fingers through his crate, played with his toy tiger or just snoozed.

How could any sane person compare this divine creature to a species of vermin?  And look at his ancestry.  A Black and Tan royal dynasty.  Some fantastic names among his predecessors - particularly his American paternal grandpa's.  His mum's pedigree name is good too.  

Huxley has quite a bit of North American and Australasian blood in him.  According to Vanora (the lady who has H's mother),  two responsible breeders in this country brought in genetic stock from foreign parts because the breed in the UK started becoming prone to a knee problem and an eye defect.  That was the consequence of over-selection for small size by British EETs breeders.  OK, that's the 'science' bit.

Playtime and kisses with Pa Cotton, not long after Mr H arrived at his new house.  Note the coordinated collar and cardigan.

But there is a killer instinct behind those innocent eyes and cheeky chops.

The English Toy Terrier was developed as a breed in Victorian times for the sport of rat killing.   For entertainment, men put a load of rats in a pit and then put an ETT among them.    The people put bets on which dog would kill its quota of rats in the shortest time.   Apparently (Wikipedia), in 1848 there was an ETT called Tiny who got through 300 rats in under an hour.  

Even when the 'sport' was outlawed, the breed continued because it's so damned cute.  But today, the English Toy Terrier is officially an  endangered native breed so MJC and I are also doing our bit for national canine heritage.

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