16 Types of Terriers: Which One is Best for You?

Types of Terriers: Which One is Best For You?

Types of Terriers - American-Staffordshire-Terrier

Ever been so emotionally attached to a dog, just like Victor from the movie ‘Frankenweenie,’ who uses electrical impulses to bring his Bull Terrier dog ‘Sparky’ back from the dead?

Yup, that’s how much a terrier dog can entangle your feelings with his charm, loyalty, and naiveté. We will definitely not recommend you to do such a silly experiment—because, sadly, that doesn’t work at all—but we do recommend you to select from different types of terriers and hold onto that one dog with all your heart.

Types of Terriers

Fierce. Plucky. Energetic. Hardworking.

Bred for hunting vermin, rodents, whales, otters, and even foxes, terriers are the impeccable mixture of these four traits. There are 44 types of different dog breeds that belong to the Terrier family. Generally, these dog breeds are categorized into three groups, namely:

  1. Long-legged terrier
  2. Short-legged terriers
  3. Bull-type terriers

In this article, we have gathered a list of popular purebred terriers from these three types of terriers.

Long-Legged Terriers

1. Airedale Terrier

Ranked as the 60th most popular dog in the US, Airedale Terriers are crowned as the ‘king of the terriers,’ because of its tall size of 23 inches—which is greater than other terriers—as well as its powerful and formidable demeanor that gives their personality a hint of royalty and bravura.

According to the results of the temperament tests conducted by the American Temperament Test Authority, Airedale terriers have a score of 78.2%, which means they are highly aggressive dogs and are good for guarding and protection.

2. American Hairless Terrier

‘A terrier for people having dog allergies.’

American Hairless Terriers are hypoallergenic dogs that require minimum grooming. This breed originated in Louisiana and is a relatively new breed—the American Kennel Club recognized this breed only in 2016.

These hairless terriers are known for their gentle and happy disposition as they get along with other dogs, kids, and strangers quite effortlessly. However, they still require obedience and socialization training to fit well with the outside world.

3. Bedlington Terrier

Bedlington Terriers have a shaggy, wiry, and rugged coat with the combination of soft and hard hair, but overall, their coat has a smooth texture and it feels good to slide fingers through their fluffy fur. Though these dogs have a thick coat, surprisingly they are hypoallergenic.

It’s because nature has designed their hair in such a way that in case of hairfall, the dead hair gets stuck in the web of their wiry hair. Thus, you won’t see your carpets, couches, and shoulders covered with their hair. However, it is recommended that you trim and strip their hair regularly, and get them brushed using a rubber curry brush or a hair-removing hand glove.

4. Border Terrier

Originally the Border Terriers were named Redesdale Terriers and Coquetdale Terriers because of their provenance. Later on, during the 1880s, the name was changed to ‘Border Terrier’ because of its long history with the Border Hunt in Northumberland—a country that lies at the borders of England and Scotland.

Border Terriers are included in the long-legged terrier list due to their average height of 12 to 15 inches.

5. Parson Russell Terrier

Parson Russell Terriers are named after Reverend Jack Russell, who is credited for the development of this breed during the 18th century. Russell Terriers were recognized by the Kennel Club of the United Kingdom in 1990, and by the American Kennel Club in 1997.

The average height of the dogs from the Russell breed lies between the range of 13 to 14 inches, and their legs are as long as the horizontal length of their body. Because of their height and boundless energy, these dogs are good at agility sports and other canine games that involve physical movements, such as flyball, running and chasing.  

6. Irish Terrier

As the name indicates, the Irish terrier dogs have roots in Ireland. These dogs are considered one of the most ancient dog breeds with a history that dates back to centuries ago.

Irish terrier is quite a popular dog breed and its popularity surged when F. M. Jowett wrote a book, titled ‘The Irish Terrier’.

Extolling the nature of Irish Terriers, the author said, “the poor man’s sentinel, the farmer’s friend, and the gentleman’s favourite…”

Though Irish Terriers have a serious outlook, they are cordial and friendly towards family and kids. However, they require socialization and obedience training to mix up with other dogs and strangers.

7. Miniature Schnauzer

Though referred to as miniature, these dogs are not that ‘small’ as they stand tall about 12 to 14 inches.  Miniature Schnauzers are smart, friendly, and obedient as well as healthy, long-living, and minimal shedding dogs. Their fur is dense and some dog lovers might think of it as a non-hypoallergenic dog. But it’s worth mentioning that although the fur is thick, their hair is entwined with each other. Thus, even if their hair falls, it gets trapped in that net.

It’s recommended to brush them regularly and also trim their hair around the eye and ear to prevent irritation and chafing.

Short-Legged Terriers

1. Australian Terrier

Australian terriers originated in Australia in the 19th century and were shipped to the US in the mid-20th century.

Though these dogs have a height of 10 to 11 inches, similar to that of long-legged terriers, they have short legs and their tummies are near to the ground. This type of physique helps them chase the vermin or rodents to the burrow and bring them out to the hunters.

2. Cairn Terrier

Similar to the appearance of Australian Terriers, Cairn Terriers have a short, sturdy, and furry body. As per a British breed club, Cairns is ‘the best little pal in the world.’

Cairns is an extremely cordial dog and loves to play with kids, other pets, and outsiders. However, don’t get fooled by their innocent disguise. Sometimes, they exhibit their terrier ancestry by digging and barking. Their favorite pastime is to give runs to small animals, such as cats, rodents, snakes, etc.

3. Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Though Dandies apparently have the same body structure as that of an Australian or a Cairn terrier, these dogs can be distinguished by their unique fur. They have a dense double coat that grows thicker and longer around their head, legs, and tummy.

Only two of the coat colors —mustard and pepper— are recognized by the American Kennel Club for this breed. Because of their bright-colored fur and their usual tendency to dig their paws into the mud, Dandie Dinmont terriers can easily get dirty and sweaty. Thus, they should be groomed regularly to prevent dust accumulation and keep them looking clean and clear.

4. Glen of Imaal Terrier

The Glen of Imaal Terrier breed got its name from the Glen of Imaal in County Wicklow, Ireland. Also referred to as ‘big dog on short legs,’ Glens have a unique physique with a large head, long muzzle with half-prick ears, tiny and bowed legs, and a sturdy and muscular torso that is covered by silky smooth fur.

Glens have a good amount of energy stored in them and require frequent physical activities to release them. The more they play, the more calories they burn, and the more they get hungry. Though they have tiny stomachs, they demand more food than other small dogs. To stay healthy, they would require 1.5 to 2 cups of premium quality dry dog food.

5. Norwich Terrier

Norwich terriers have a short body both in vertical and horizontal dimensions. The best thing about this breed is that they are all-rounders—they are good for apartment-dwellers, novice owners, other dogs, strangers, and kids. They are intelligent, so have high trainability; their coat sheds minimally, meaning that they are good for people having dog allergies; they are easy to groom; and, they have an excellent potential for playing different games.

What’s more?

They are long-living dogs with an average life span of 10 to 15 years. For decades, they ranked high on the AKC’s list of most popular dog breeds. but due to multiple crossbreeding by unauthorized dog breeders under unfavorable environments of puppy mills, the breed has lost most of its qualities and so the ranking. At present, it’s ranked 108th out of 200 most popular dog breeds, lower than its earlier standings.

6. Scottish Terrier

Next on the list of types of terriers are the Scottish terriers. Dogs from this breed look like Schnauzers with short legs. Intelligent, independent, and agile, it is the 57th most popular dog breed in the US. They have a devilishly attractive appearance, making them endearing to all and sundry.  

The first glance at Scottish Terriers gives one the impression as if the dog is wearing a furry skirt that’s hiding his legs. If the hair between their legs and around their tummy is not trimmed, you may get the feeling that they don’t have legs at all and they are just tiny wheeled boxes moving on the floor.

7. West Highland White Terrier

Recognized by their white coat and cute black snout, the Westies are quite famous in the US owing to their intelligence, agility, friendliness, and low grooming needs.

They are affectionate and will make excellent pets for families of all sizes. Their high self-esteem does not let them withstand loneliness and boredom and may exhibit symptoms of small dog syndrome if ignored.

Bull-Type Terriers

The bull-type terriers were developed by the crossing of terriers with bulldogs to polish their fighting abilities. With time, the demand for fighting dogs declined while the demand for companion dogs increased, so the breeders tended towards making these dogs friendlier. Therefore, most of the bull-type terrier breeds that we see around are known for their amicable behavior.

1. Bull Terrier

Whether you have a bull terrier or not, it would be unbelievable if you don’t know about this dog breed. Bull Terriers have been cast in several movies, such as Frankenweenie, Patton, It’s a Dog’s Life, and the Incredible Journey, to name a few.  If you don’t know him by any of the mentioned movies, there is a chance that you may know about Walter dog—a dog famous for its iconic meme.

Bull Terriers have a distinct face shaped like an egg and are cherished for their lovey-dovey behaviors with anyone that crosses their path.

2. American Staffordshire Terrier

Types of Terriers - American-Staffordshire-Terrier

The last on our list of the types of terriers are American Staffordshire Terrier. Often employed for the protection and guarding, American Staffordshire Terriers have a bite force of 328 PSI. These dogs are highly aggressive and destructive, but they also have a high trainability. They can be easily trained for obedience and socialization that helps them get along with the outside world.

Other Breeds of Terrier Dog Family

  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Lakeland Terrier
  • Manchester Terrier
  • Rat Terrier
  • Russell Terrier
  • Smooth Fox Terrier
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Welsh Terrier
  • Wire Fox Terrier
  • Cesky Terrier
  • Norfolk Terrier
  • Sealyham Terrier
  • Skye Terrier
  • Miniature Bull Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The pure-bred terrier dogs were mainly categorized by their sizes. However, after the breeders crossed them with other groups such as fighting and hunting dogs, it’s difficult to sort them by their sizes only. Rather, they are distinguished by their coat, function, and energy levels.

With that said, the terrier dog family is the flag-bearer of strength and vigor and all different types of terriers exhibit these key features of their ancestors.

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