The perfect description for terriers is enthusiastic, energetic, independent, dominant, tough, and enjoyable.
The name "terrier" comes from the Latin word “terra,” meaning earth. Terriers were originally bred to hunt and kill vermin, and their bodies designed to get into tight places to track down their intended prey. Hunting vermin often involved digging in the dirt, and as many owners know, today’s Terriers still enjoy a good dig in the mud!
Terriers are very territorial dogs, always seeking to dominate towards people and animals who want to get into their territory. A terrier will bark up a storm at any person or animal who approaches “their turf”!! The terrier's instinctive desire to chase small animals makes them ideal for single-pet homes only. Cats beware! These breeds typically do not enjoy the company of other dogs, unless they are raised together from a young age.
It is not recommended for families with small children to adopt terriers. They lack the patience for children, and they much prefer to be the centre of attention at all times.
The coat of dogs of this breed group varies but mostly is harsh and dense, with a unique appearance. They require special grooming (known as “stripping”) to maintain a characteristic appearance. Terriers require lots of exercise each day – even the small breeds. They are smart dogs, and when they get bored, they can become a handful. Exercise helps keep their bodies and minds active. Regular exercise also staves off obesity, a common problem in small terrier breeds.
Terrier breeds can be a handful to train. They have minds of their own, and they like to choose whether they participate in an activity. If training is made to be a fun and exciting game full of praise and rewards, owners can make some headway.
For all of their quirks, Terriers do make excellent companions. They are often silly, and "perform" for their owners. They soak up attention and have lots of love to give. When they are properly socialised, Terriers make ideal pets for seniors, empty-nesters, or families whose children are a bit older.