For The Love Of Terriers: National Terrier Day

Hello terrier lovers! We are so excited that National Terrier Day is almost upon us, an entire day dedicated to our favourite breed group. Terriers may often get a bit of a bad rep, but at Scruffy Little Terrier, we’ve got nothing but love and admiration for the headstrong awesomeness of terriers. 

And so, it felt only right that there should be at least one day a year that is completely devoted to all things terrier!

I do hope you’ll join us for National Terrier Day on the 27th of March. 

Why National Terrier Day

For a long time, terriers were one of the most popular breed groups in the UK, and we want to make terriers one of the nation’s most loved breeds again!  National Terrier Day unites terrier lovers and shines a light on what is a determined and very special group of dogs.

There are 27 recognised terrier breeds on the Kennel Club list, which is why the 27th of March was chosen for National Terrier Day. Although there are other terriers who fall into the Toy, Utility, and Working Groups… but that’s a blog for another day! 

According to the Kennel Club, in 2020, Jack Russell Terriers and Norwich Terrier’s popularity increased dramatically, by a whopping 58% for Norwich Terriers and 30% for JRT. 

However, the number of terrier breeds on the vulnerable list is sadly much greater. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier, English Toy Terrier, Smooth Fox Terrier, and Glen of Imaal Terrier are all on the Kennel Club’s 2020 list of vulnerable breeds in the UK. 

And there are four terrier breeds on the watchlist – Bedlington Terrier, Irish Terrier, Parson Russell Terrier, and Welsh Terrier*. 

These breeds are at risk of disappearing from our parks and streets, simply because people don’t know they exist or because they aren’t considered fashionable.

Kennel Club

It would be a tragedy to see these wonderful terrier breeds decline further. I hope that by coming together to celebrate terriers in all their glory, we will help to raise awareness for incredible dog breeds that we’d like to stick around. 

Why are some terrier breeds declining in population?

I think it’s probably fair to say that terriers are a bit of a Marmite breed. Some of us love them so much we create a National Terrier Day, and some are quite scathing about the character traits that we adore. 

Breeds go in and out of being on-trend. In the 90’s it was all about Labradors, Rottweilers, and German Shepherds, and in the Noughties, French Bulldogs, Dachshunds, and Spaniels. 

Outside of trends and fashions in dog ownership, there comes the fact that some breeds are less well known and simply overlooked, even though they may be the ideal breed for a person’s lifestyle.  

You can read more about the UK’s top ten terrier breeds as voted by Scruffy Little Terrier fans here.

Why we love terriers

Despite the decline in popularity for some terrier breeds, there is a lot to love about terriers. 

Early terrier breeds were used to control vermin. They were chief pest controllers, strutting around getting rid of nasty intruders. 

And even though most terriers are no longer put to work, most seem to have retained their hereditary duty of pest controllers… Only what they think is a pest vs. what you think is a pest may vary somewhat! 

The terrier spirit, tenacity, and sense of adventure are something to behold, and I think they’re quite inspiring characters. Life with a terrier is never boring. They have a zest for life that is to be admired… Whether you like it or not! Did I mention terriers are determined and driven?

You can read more about the terrier traits that we know and love here

Terriers are best in show!

Crufts has been judging the Best in Show since 1928, and in 1929 the first terrier won! Hoorah!

The first terrier to take the crown was a Scottish Terrier named Heather Necessity, perhaps rather aptly since Scotties are so dignified! 

Between 1959 and 1979, terriers really shined at Crufts. Terriers won Best in Show 9 times over this period. With Welsh Terriers, Airedales, Westies, Wire Fox Terriers, and a Kerry Blue enjoying some time in the limelight!  

More recently, a Scottish Terrier named McVan’s To Russia With Love took the title in 2016. This little globe trotter, also known as Knopa, has also won titles in Russia and America – flying the terrier flag around the world!

In 2016 a Westie won Best in Show at Crufts. Burneze Geordie Girl was just two years old when she took the title. Her breeder and owner Marie Burns said, “I can’t believe it, it was amazing. She is a typical terrier, a bit of a tomboy, very independent and fun to be around.”

Will a terrier return to take the title this year? I do hope so!

How the terrier role has changed

Terriers were originally bred to control vermin such as rats, foxes, badgers, and even moles! 

The original earth dog, the name terrier, comes from the Latin term ‘terra,’ which means ground. No wonder terriers love to dig so much!

As humans needs changed, there was a necessity for dogs smaller in stature to manage pest control in more urban environments. And so, the breed was developed to produce smaller terrier breeds to meet this demand.   

Now we see terriers more in pet homes, and so we look for ways to channel those early terrier instincts in ways more appropriate to our lifestyles. Terriers are certainly still game for a chase, keen to dig, and full of enthusiasm. If you don’t find an outlet for your terrier’s prey drive and abundant energy, then you will have a very bored and perhaps troublesome dog on your hands! So what can you do to keep your terrier happy and your sanity intact?

Fun ways to channel terrier energy

There are some great ways to encourage your terrier to use their terrier energy appropriately to let them have some fun. 

If you have a digger on your hands, then a dedicated digging pit in the garden is brilliant…. and may even keep your flower beds intact! 

If your terrier likes to tear up their toys and put their terrier shredding instincts to use, then enrichment activities that use cardboard and paper destined for recycling are an easy and free way to unleash their instincts. 

To calm your terrier down (a little), snuffle mats, and long-lasting natural chews help to encourage your terrier to relax and settle. 

You can find more enrichment toys and games your terrier will love here.

National Terrier Day - picture of a border terrier chewing on a toy

A day of good press for terriers

We really hope that you’ll join us to celebrate our love of terriers on National Terrier Day. Terriers are a fabulous breed who deserve at least a day of good press. 

All terriers are worthy of a bit of recognition and fame, and hopefully, together, we will make terriers famous, if only for a day!

From movie star dogs to war heroes and everything in between, you may enjoy reading about some famous terriers who’ve made the big time in one way or another over the years.

National Terrier Day is on the 27th of March. You can download your free pack of terrier goodies to help you get involved here. Or why not join the fun over on the National Terrier Day Facebook page, post a picture of your terrier telling us all about him/her. Let’s get terriers trending! 

woofs & licks signature from Michelle Barney & Sandy Scruffy Little Terrier

(*Source: https://www.countryliving.com/uk/wildlife/dog-breeds/a30958830/popular-dog-breeds-kennel-club/)
National Terrier Day picture of a staffordshire bull terrier's smiling face wearing a red bandana

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