Sunday, March 1, 2009

In comparison to Fox Terriers--Speed 1895

With regard to the growing popularity of that undesirable modern addition to the ordinary duties of a fox terrier, viz., rabbit coursing, something must be said. Not content with him as a companion, either in town or country, some of his ill-advised admirers have endangered his good name by endeavouring to place him on a par with the " whippet," or snap dog, and utilising him for the chasing of rabbits in an enclosure. Nature never intended the fox terrier for a rabbit courser. Had she done so his form would have been much more slim than it actually is, and his lines built upon those of a greyhound in miniature rather than upon those of a sturdy terrier. p. 127

An ordinary fox terrier has not pace to compete successfully with a rabbit on its own ground, nor until the present time has any attempt been made to breed him for speed alone. Daniel, writing eighty years ago, said speed was not one of the peculiar properties of the terrier, although it possesses the power of keeping up the same pace for a considerable distance. He mentions a match which took place in 1794, when a very small terrier, for a very big wager, ran a mile in two minutes, and six miles in eighteen minutes. This is rather an extraordinary performance, and I do not know that there is a fox terrier to-day that can at all equal it. Anyhow, there are the little " snap-dogs " or " whippets" (and Daniel's dog might have been one of them), which can course rabbits, and run races better than any fox terrier. For such purposes they are kept in many parts of the north of England and elsewhere. Those who wish for rabbit coursing I would recommend to keep two or three of them, for what is worth doing at all is worth doing well, and I am pretty certain that even a moderate " snap dog" or "whippet" would give the best fox terrier ever slipped at a rabbit, twenty yards start out of forty, and beat him into the bargain. p. 130

A History and Description, with Reminiscences, of the Fox Terrier
By Rawdon B. Lee, Arthur Wardle
Edition: 3
Published by H. Cox, "The Field" Office, 1895

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