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  • Dogs of SCOTLAND (part 2 – Terriers & Hounds)

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    November 30th, 2011Laura P (Editor)Dogs Of The World

    Every November, The Kennel Club hosts Discover Dogs at Earls Court in London. This is an opportunity for dog lovers to attend seminars and demonstrations, socialise, do some shopping, and, most importantly, meet and greet almost 200 different breeds of pedigree dog.

    In association with his event, and the Discover Dogs stands at Crufts in March, Dogs In The News aims to give you a brief preview of some of the dogs you might meet with our new “Dogs of the World” series. Today, Scottish dogs get the spotlight:

    Scotland is a prolific producer of some of the world’s most popular breeds. They can lay claim to a total of 14 breeds. Recently, we looked at their Gundog & Pastoral Breeds. Now, we’re back with a focus on the Terriers & Hounds.

    The only Hound to come out of Scotland is the gentle giant Deerhound. One of the Vulnerable Native Breeds, it is similar to the Irish Wolfhound, but less common. As their name suggests, they were bred to stalk and hunt deer, and are one of the oldest breeds of dog in the world. The invention of new rifles and development of new hunting methods meant a decline in popularity for this breed, but they are still kept by a handful of devoted pet owners. They have also featured in a number of historical films.

    Our next breed is more famous for his appearance in literature. The world famous Greyfriars Bobby, symbol of canine loyalty, was described by author Eleanor Atkinson as the “youngest and smallest and shaggiest” Skye Terrier.  As such, this breed enjoys a special place in the history of Scotland. Named after the Isle of Skye, they are low to the ground and long in the back, with oodles of Highland vigour. Unfortunately, the rising popularity of similar breeds means that the Skye Terrier is now one of the most Vulnerable Native Breeds, with just 37 born in 2010.

    The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is also known for his literary connections – he is the only breed of dog to be named after a fictional character (in Sir Walter Scott’s novel “Guy Mannering”, if you must know.) This breed originated from badger and otter hunting dogs used in the Scottish-English borders in the 17th Century, and is easily recognised by its bearded face and distinctive ‘top-knot’ of hair on the head. This is the final Scottish breed on the Vulnerable Native Breeds list – it is preserved by devoted owners and breeders around the world, including vocal campaigner Paul Keevil.

    The final four Scottish breeds, on the other hand, enjoy enduring popularity. Our next breed, the Border Terrier, is currently the 6th most popular breed in the UK. Anyone who knows one of these cheeky chappies, with their otter like faces and their wiry coats, will understand why. As well as being a popular family pet, they’ve also had success at agility competitions and get on well with horses. The Border Terrier is the breed of choice for the current Kennel Club Chairman, Steve Dean.

    The West Highland White Terrier (or “Westie”, as it is affectionately known) is another well known Scottish breed. As its name suggests, it originated in the West Highlands, and was bred to be white to make it stand out from the heather. These twelve inch high fellows are typical terriers and much loved family pets. They are also popular choices with advertisers, with their images being used to sell everything from dog food to whiskey.

    They are not to be confused with our next breed, the eponymous Scottish Terrier. These black dogs are also highly popular with advertisers, and are often paired with Westies to make a contrasting pair. They are two very different breeds however, with the Westie having a more rounded face and the ‘Scottie’ a more angular frame. (In fact, while Westies cannot be any colour other than white, the Scottie can occasionally be found with a wheaten (straw to nearly white) coat).  Also known as the ‘Aberdeen Terrier’, this breed’s distinctive shape has lent itself to characters in animated movies such as “The Lady and the Tramp” and “101 Dalmatians”.

    Finally, we have the Cairn Terrier, known for his big personality and shaggy coat – in fact, these dogs are often exhibited in the show ring looking like they just strolled in after a long walk! This is another breed which is no stranger to the big screen; Toto from “The Wizard of Oz” was played by a brindle Cairn Terrier called Terry.  The breed also comes in wheaten, grizzle, cream, red and sandy coat colours, and they are incredibly popular pets the world over. They used to be exhibited as “Short Coated Skye Terriers”, until the two breeds split in 1909.  The name “Cairn” refers to the mounds of stones erected as memorials or markers which dot the Scottish countryside.

    We hope you have enjoyed part two our little tour of the dogs of the Highlands and Islands.

    Don’t forget to check out the first part of the Dogs of Scotland feature: Gundogs & Pastoral.

    Plus, remember you can visit all these breeds and over 193 more at Discover Dogs at Earls Court in November and at Crufts in March every year.

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