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From the Latin word terra‚ meaning “earth,” comes the name “terrier,” an appropriate appellation for dogs bred to “go to earth” or dig after vermin and small game. Most of the breeds are either smooth or wire-coated such as the two Fox Terriers, but the Skye sports a long, flowing coat, the Kerry Blue wears a dense wavy jacket and the Soft-coated Wheaten is clad in a soft and silky coat.

Activity level

Feisty and ready to roar, the average terrier is game for any sort of action. What else would you expect from breeds expected to do battle with rats, badgers, foxes and weasels?


Terriers range from the medium-sized Airedale down to the diminutive spunky little Norwich and Norfolk that measure just 25 centimeters (10 inches) at the withers.


The trick to training terriers is to keep them active, challenged and entertained. Some terriers learn their lessons quickly, while others have their own agenda.


The urge to dig is ingrained in most of the terrier breeds. If you’re fond of plants and flowers, you might consider a hanging garden.