CHAPTER XXXII. THE SMOOTH FOX-TERRIER

To attempt to set forth the origin of the Fox-terrier as we know him to-day would be of no interest to the general reader, and would entail the task of tracing back the several heterogeneous sources from which he sprang. It is a matter of very little moment whether he owes his origin to the white English Terrier or to the Bull-terrier crossed with the Black and Tan, or whether he has a mixture of Beagle blood in his composition, so it will suffice to take him as he emerged from the chaos of mongreldom about the middle of the last century, rescued in the first instance by the desire of huntsmen or masters of well-known packs to produce a terrier somewhat in keeping with their hounds; and, in the second place, to the advent of dog shows. Prior to that time any dog capable, from his size, conformation, and pluck, of going to ground and bolting his fox was a Fox-terrier, were he rough or smooth, black, brown, or white.

The starting-point of the modern Fox-terrier dates from about the 'sixties, and no pedigrees before that are worth considering.

From three dogs then well known—Old Jock, Trap, and Tartar—he claims descent; and, thanks to the Fox-terrier Club and the great care taken in compiling their stud-books, he can be brought down to to-day. Of these three dogs Old Jock was undoubtedly more of a terrier than the others. It is a moot point whether he was bred, as stated in most records of the time, by Captain Percy Williams, master of the Rufford, or by Jack Morgan, huntsman to the Grove; it seems, however, well established that the former owned his sire, also called Jock, and that his dam, Grove Pepper, was the property of Morgan. He first came before the public at the Birmingham show in 1862, where, shown by Mr. Wootton, of Nottingham, he won first prize. He subsequently changed hands several times, till he became the property of Mr. Murchison, in whose hands he died in the early 'seventies. He was exhibited for the last time at the Crystal Palace in 1870, and though then over ten years old won second to the same owner's Trimmer. At his best he was a smart, well-balanced terrier, with perhaps too much daylight under him, and wanting somewhat in jaw power; but he showed far less of the Bull-terrier type than did his contemporary Tartar.

This dog's antecedents were very questionable, and his breeder is given as Mr. Stevenson, of Chester, most of whose dogs were Bull-terriers pure and simple, save that they had drop ears and short sterns, being in this respect unlike old Trap, whose sire is generally supposed to have been a Black and Tan Terrier. This dog came from the Oakley Kennels, and he was supposed to have been bred by a miller at Leicester. However questionable the antecedents of these three terriers may have been, they are undoubtedly the progenitors of our present strain, and from them arose the kennels that we have to-day.

Mention has been made of Mr. Murchison, and to him we owe in a great measure the start in popularity which since the foundation of his large kennel the Fox-terrier has enjoyed. Mr. Murchison's chief opponents in the early 'seventies were Mr. Gibson, of Brockenhurst, with his dogs Tyke and Old Foiler; Mr. Luke Turner, of Leicester, with his Belvoir strain, which later gave us Ch. Brockenhurst Joe, Ch. Olive and her son, Ch. Spice; Mr. Theodore Bassett, Mr. Allison, and, a year or so later, Mr. Frederick Burbidge, the Messrs. Clarke, Mr. Tinne, Mr. Francis Redmond, and Mr. Vicary. About this time a tremendous impetus was given to the breed by the formation, in 1876, of the Fox-terrier Club, which owed its inception to Mr. Harding Cox and a party of enthusiasts seated round his dinner table at 36, Russell Square, among whom were Messrs. Bassett, Burbidge, Doyle, Allison, and Redmond, the last two named being still members of the club. The idea was very warmly welcomed, a committee formed, and a scale of points drawn up which, with but one alteration, is in vogue to-day. Every prominent exhibitor or breeder then, and with few exceptions since, has been a member, and the club is by far the strongest of all specialist clubs.

It will be well to give here the said standard of points.

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