Fun on four legs
Plucky, versatile and ready for anything, the terrier is tough to beat as the ultimate countryside companion, says die-hard fan Johnny Bluck
What is it that makes the terrier the ideal choice when contemplating an addition to your working team? For me, and for many others, it can be summed up in one word: adaptability.
The terrier by its very nature can take on many different roles in the hunting field, something that other breeds are unable to do to the same degree. The terrier’s enthusiasm and willingness to please are truly embedded in its personality.
Breeding is always a key factor when deciding to buy any working dog. Some lines of terriers are not for those who prefer a quiet way of life. The DNA of such terriers can be translated into “do not approach”.
But like all working lines, it pays to take a little time to delve into the history, as by doing so you stack the cards in your favour and hopefully end up with a winning hand. Wellreared and socialised puppies turn into well-balanced adults, allowing you to extract the best from them in terms of work.
My own line of Jack Russells ticks all the boxes in terms of what I need them to do. Their nature is balanced with little or no aggression ever displayed inappropriately; I can allow them free
28 • SHOOTING TIMES & COUNTRY MAGAZINE roam on the lawn without the worry of a massacre taking place.
With so many different breeds of working terrier to choose from, you must consider carefully which one will meet your needs effectively. Each breed has different characteristics and traits, so do some research, speak to some owners and make your choice wisely.
Once your choice has been made, what can you get up to with terriers in the countryside? First on the list and an introduction for most young dogs will be ratting, often an action-packed event that serves the landowner, farmer and gamekeeper very well indeed.
Lamping rats at night with one or two well-educated terriers can also be great fun. I remember visiting the local duck ponds after dark as a teenager, armed with only my
“Terriers and spaniels often suffer with a wellknown condition, referred to as selective hearing”