Terriers are a type of dog bred specifically for their phenomenal ability to seek out rodents and other small animals. The word terrier invokes the French words for digging and burrowing, which are a testament to the working nature of the terrier dog group. Smaller terriers have experience in fleshing out animals such as rats and snakes while larger terriers are known to take on big prey like badgers. Terrier breeds originate from all over the world dating back several centuries. Many are regionalised, serving a purpose that is unique to the area in which they were originally bred. In modern times, the terrier breeds are kept primarily as pets, though some working dogs still exist, especially in rural areas. Since most are kept as companion dogs, breeds that have the terrier name may be considered part of other breed groups, including the toy group and the utility group. The following dogs are considered among the terrier group:

Appearance As with all dogs, there is a wide range of sizes among terrier breeds. Breeds such as the Cairn Terrier or Rat Terrier are among the smallest terriers while the Airedale Terrier and the Pit Bull Terrier are classified as some of the largest. Terriers can range from approximately 20-60 cm in height and 3-30 kg in weight. Most terriers have a thick coat that is wiry in texture. Grooming requirements tend to be moderate, as a majority of the terrier breeds require a process known as stripping that helps to keep the fur trimmed. Regular grooming and brushing also help promote healthy skin and a well-kept coat. Fur is often curly or wavy and as a whole the breed sheds only a moderate amount. The head of many terriers is long and narrow, which enabled it to peer into small spaces when it was bred to flesh out vermin. Tails are often docked in parts of the world where this practice is legal; otherwise tails tend to be long and tapered.

Temperament Terriers are a complex type of dog with several personality traits that are present amongst most terrier breeds. They are very energetic and focused on physical activities, particularly time spent outside digging or chasing small animals. Though they are no longer bred primarily for work, they retain their predatory instincts and will likely attempt to chase or herd small household animals such as cats or rabbits. The temperament of terriers tends to make them better suited for adults, as many breeds can be impatient with young children. With proper socialisation, a terrier can get along well with kids and other animals, particularly if it is raised with them from a young age. Terriers have strong personalities and may be prone to express themselves through barking. They enjoy attention and time spent with a single owner or a pair of owners. Terriers tend to be gentle and affectionate with those whom it is familiar, though they may be initially reserved with new people and animals. Dogs of the terrier variety tend to require a moderate amount of exercise. They need a daily walk and also enjoy time spent outdoors. Care should be taken if left outdoors in a fenced in yard, as the breed is known to dig. Terriers have a wide variety of personalities that make them well-suited for a broad range of people, but each dog’s potential is reached only when it has proper guidance from its owner.

Health The biggest threat to the health of a terrier stems from improper breeding. Inbred dogs are at a significantly higher risk for genetic disorders that affect the animal’s physical and psychological well-being. Bred properly, the terrier is a healthy type of dog without significant health issues. Smaller terrier breeds are likely to live longer than larger breeds. The average terrier lives to be 12-14 years of age.

Airedale Terrier
American Hairless Terrier
American Pit Bull Terrier
American Staffordshire Terrier
Australian Silky Terrier
Australian Terrier
Bedlington Terrier
Black Russian Terrier
Border Terrier
Boston Terrier
Brazilian Terrier
Bull Terrier
Bull Terrier (Miniature)
Cairn Terrier
Cesky Terrier
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
English Toy Terrier (Black & Tan) Fell Terrier
Fox Terrier or Foxy
Glen of Imaal Terrier
Irish Bull Terrier
Irish Terrier
Jack Russell Terrier
Japanese Terrier
Kerry Blue Terrier
Lakeland Terrier
Maltese Terrier
Manchester Terrier
Miniature Fox Terrier
Norwich and Norfolk Terriers
Parson Jack Russell Terrier
Patterdale Terrier
Plummer Terrier
Rat Terrier
Scottish Terrier
Sealyham Terrier
Silky Terrier
Skye Terrier
Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Tenterfield Terrier
Tibetan terrier
Toy Fox Terrier
Welsh Terrier
West Highland White Terrier
Yorkshire Terrier