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Tenterfield Terrier
Scooter Tenterfield.jpg
A Tenterfield Terrier. Note they are quite small, around the size of a Jack Russel
Country of origin Australia
Traits

The Tenterfield Terrier is a small, lightweight terrier akin to Miniature Fox Terriers, and Rat Terriers. The Tenterfield Terrier has English origins but, like dog breeds such as the Miniature Fox Terrier, the Australian Terrier, the Silky Terrier, and the Australian Cattle Dog, was developed uniquely in Australia.

Contents

Appearance

TenterfieldTerrier.jpg

The Tenterfield Terrier is a small dog with a short, fine coat, predominantly white with markings in black, tan, liver or brindle. The preference is for a docked tail, but short tails or bobtails also occur.[1] They stand 27cm (10.5") and weigh around 5kg (10lb). While sometimes confused with the Jack Russell, the Tenterfield Terrier has a finer build and a slightly arched skull.[2]

History

As is so often the case, the origins of the breed are somewhat obscure. It is generally believed that smaller puppies from the litters of Fox Terriers were selected specifically for ratting. Certainly, by the late 1800s a dog type known as the Little Foxie or the Miniature Fox Terrier (known colloquially as "Mini Foxies") was well established in rural Australia. By the 1920s the dog was a fixture in urban households as well.[1]

The name "Tenterfield" is sometimes incorrectly stated to denote the terrier’s place of origin as Tenterfield, New South Wales. Rather, Tenterfield is only one of many Australian towns and villages in which small dogs of this type were known to exist. The town of Tenterfield is significant in Australian history, and the best-known owner of its saddlery was a man named George Woolnough, who was immortalized by his grandson, entertainer Peter Allen, as the "Tenterfield Saddler". Mr. Woolnough owned a number of small dogs; however, photographs of these dogs are not available.[1]

The name Tenterfield Terrier was suggested in the 1990s by television gardening personality Don Burke[2], and was adopted by the South Australian Miniature Fox Terrier club.[1]

Breed development

In 1991 a group of enthusiasts from the state of South Australia formed the autonomous Miniature Fox Terrier Club of South Australia, separate to the Miniature Fox Terrier Club of Australia, which had been operating for some time. In 1992 they met with owners from other states to discuss the future of the Clubs. At that time, it became evident that there were differences as to the preferred type of dog that would represent the Miniature Fox Terrier breed. Further, challenges to the name “Miniature Fox Terrier” were being mounted, and threatened to preclude recognition by an All-Breed club, which was a priority among some breeders. In 1993 fanciers from South Australia and other states formed the Tenterfield Terrier Club of Australia.[1] The breed standard of the Tenterfield Terrier differs from that of the Miniature Fox Terrier, and although they are sometimes confused, the two dogs have been developing along divergent lines for some time and are now separate breeds.

The tireless efforts of Tenterfield Terrier owners were rewarded in 2002 when the Tenterfield Terrier was recognized by the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) and placed in Group 2, Terriers.

As of 2004, the Tenterfield Terrier breed is still being refined. There is still variation in the types of dog seen in the show ring from state to state. These differences are small and of little interest to the average dog owner. For breeders and fanciers, however, ear shape, colour, and other details of appearance have the capacity to change the future look of a breed, and are of the utmost importance. Like breeders of all other dogs, Tenterfield Terrier breeders work to improve their breeding lines and to assure standardization of type.[1]

Health and temperament

Despite its small stature, the dog is friendly with an outgoing, adaptable nature, bold in the way of terriers and is intelligent. The coat is low maintenance for grooming purposes. Although they can live to 20 years in good health, the average lifespan is from 12 to 14 years. [2]

References

See also

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