The love of a tyke

Defin­ing what makes a Lake­land or a fell ter­rier can be a chal­lenge, but, which­ever it is, it’ll be a hard-work­ing hand­ful, ad­vises Adrian Dan­gar

Country Life Every Week - - CONTENTS - Pho­to­graphs by Sarah Farnsworth

The Lake­land or fell ter­rier may be hard to de­fine, but it’ll def­i­nitely be a hand­ful, ad­vises Adrian Dan­gar

Ter­ri­ers ea­ger for the fray are a fa­mil­iar sight to any­one who’s hunted with the fell foot packs in the steep and spec­tac­u­larly beau­ti­ful Lake Dis­trict, where foxes are the age-old en­emy of Lake­land sheep farm­ers. Of­ten bro­ken-coated and al­ways long in the leg, these tough lit­tle work­ers were bred for the stamina to run all day with hounds in all weathers and the courage to de­stroy foxes in rocky fortresses deep un­der­ground.

Their work and un­con­di­tional loy­alty are cel­e­brated in hunt­ing verses still sung to­day: ‘Al­ways re­mem­ber your ter­ri­ers/pro­tect them from wet and from cold/for the love of a tyke for his master/can never be mea­sured in gold.’

Tommy Dob­son founded the es­kdale and en­nerdale hunt in the mid 18th cen­tury with light-framed fell hounds famed for their in­de­pen­dence and abil­ity to tra­verse slopes that would spell cer­tain death to their low­land cousins. At the same time, he be­gan de­vel­op­ing a suit­able stamp of ter­rier to work along­side his pack by de­ploy­ing a po­tent mix of racy Bedling­ton blood, lines from across the ir­ish sea and other game strains of ter­rier. The re­sult was a leggy, nar­row-chested black-and-tan dog that was able to with­stand the harsh Lake Dis­trict weather thanks to a thick weath­er­proof coat. The de­scrip­tion was agreed at a meet­ing in White­haven in 1921, af­ter which the cel­e­brated Yel­low earl (5th earl of Lons­dale) be­came the first pres­i­dent of the now de­funct Lake­land Ter­rier Club.

in 1928, the breed was of­fi­cially recog­nised by the Ken­nel Club (KC); work­ing and show strands of the Lake­land ter­rier have taken divergent cour­ses ever since, with a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the show­ing side, stingray of Der­ry­bah, tri­umph­ing in 1967 as cham­pion at both Cruft’s and the Amer­i­can equiv­a­lent.

Al­though the breed­ing of Kc-reg­is­tered Lake­lands is sub­ject to of­fi­cial scru­tiny, other work­ing strains have been ju­di­ciously re­fined over the past cen­tury. With lit­tle public trans­port and a slow ru­ral pace of life, many ar­eas of the Lakes boasted their own stamp of ter­rier, based on the sound prin­ci­ple that ev­ery out­stand­ing worker was bred from.

Above: Bot­toms up: Pete Smith’s Lake­land, Ber­tie, in­ves­ti­gates. Right: Ted, Char­lotte Camp­bell’s Lake­land-bor­der cross, on home ter­ri­tory

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