Showsight Presents The Lakeland Terrier


Let’s Talk Breed Education!


By Patricia Rock

T he Lakeland Terrier breed is one of the few terriers that still pro- duce individuals of con- formation and character to do the work the breed was developed to do. As the dogs enter the ring, look for the correct outline for the breed, Th e Lakeland has a long neck and in out- line a large head compared to its overall body size (the Lakeland ideal height is not as tall as the Welsh or the Wire but the strength of the head and jaws is every bit as formidable). Look for a ground- covering stride. E ffi cient running gear is critical to the breed’s purpose. Lakelands were developed to traverse rugged terrain on the way to the hills where they hunt- ed the fox, and they had to make it back home under their own power as well. A mincing, short strided gait is not cor- rect, nor are legs too short for the body. “Terrier front” does not mean “straight shouldered front”! Flexibility in the shoulder is paramount in an earthwork- ing terrier. If every judge of the breeds with a history of working to ground had actually observed terriers at work there would not be so many poorly contructed shoulder assemblies among the ranks of show winners. After you have seen the dogs on the move and assessed outline and sidegait, you will go down the line to look at head and expression. Key points to look for are: Full Muzzle Lakelands should have a broad nose bridge and a noticeably large nose, indi- cating large teeth in powerful jaws. Muzzle should not exceed the length of the skull. Moderately Broad Flat Skull Th e Lakeland does not have a nar- row skull. Th e cheeks should ideally be fl at without noticeable indentation as

the backskull meets the muzzle. Planes are parallel, but there may be noticeably heavier browbone. Do not mistake this heavier bone above the orbit for a down- faced conformation. Small, V4Shaped Ears Folding just above the level of the skull, the inner edge close to the side of the head complement the strength of the head. Th e dog should be able to use the ears and have complete control of them; they shouldn’t fold and then just hang there. Th is is not a breed that must have the ears glued during teething or otherwise “set” (read that surgically altered.) Correct ear leather is of medi- um thickness (not as thick as the Welsh and thicker than the Wire Fox).Eyes are set squarely in the skull, not tilted, not close together, and the dog should look straight at you. Th e expression is not beady eyed or “varminty,” but may vary from intense and determined to amused. Also while you are going down the line you can look at the entries for the characteristic narrow front, and fl at muscle. Lakelands do not have the spring of rib of some other terrier breeds; any opening that will admit a properly con- structed Lakeland head, should be large enough for the dog to squeeze its whole body through (requiring that fl exible shoulder assembly referred to above). On the table you will assess coat qual- ity. Th e coat is double, but the undercoat is removed from the body so the “jacket” will lie close and tight. Undercoat should still be apparent in the furnishings. Th ere is no requirement that the jacket be very short. A rolled coat (multiple layers of hair of di ff ering lengths) should be just as acceptable. Th e key to a proper Lake- land coat is the ability of the dog to work outdoors all day in a drizzling rain and the skin never gets wet. Because of the way the dogs today are groomed and the outcrosses that were made 75-100 years

ago to get more leg and face hair real working-type coats are no longer seen in the ring. All allowed colors are equally acceptable. Blue coats are particularly tricky as they often are perceived from a distance as being soft, and the entry is discounted as being out of coat. Th e band of color on Lakeland guard hairs is the narrowest of the long-legged wire coated terriers. It is much more di ffi cult to prepare a coat that is even in color than in some of the other breeds, hence the widespread use of colored chalk. Th e furnishings on a saddle marked or red or wheaten Lakeland should be the color of wheat. An occasional red will have deep- er toned furnishings especially when the leg hair is short (that banded characteris- tic—when short only the deeper colored tips of the hair shafts will be visible). Deep mahoghany is de fi nitely not typi- cal for a Lakeland. And day-glo orange is NOT a color mentioned in the standard! Lakeland Terrier temperament should above all be alive to the surroundings, and con fi dent, but not quarrelsome. Th ere are plenty of other attributes to a correct dog, and dog people enjoy argu- ing at length about topics like whether an incorrect shaped foot is more important than moving close, or how much “shelf ” to the pelvic structure is enough. As they say, di ff erence of opinion is what makes horse racing interesting. But please remember — all-of-a-piece heads with full muzzles end- ing in a noticeably large nose; moderately broad backskulls; long necks and fl exible shoulder assemblies; fl at muscled forequar- ters without pronounced ribspring behind them; eyes that look squarely at you; mobile ears folding just above the level of the fl at skull; ground covering gait—when these characteristics are allowed to disap- pear from the show ring, you’ve seen your last Lakeland Terrier. Original ly publ ished in “Lakeland Terrier Champions” 2007<2011, Camino Books, Inc. Incl ine Vil lage NV

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I t’s not just form that follows function in an animal; char- acter, too, is shaped in the crucible that forms a working or sporting breed of dog. Th e Lakeland Terrier is much more than one of an array of long-legged wire coated terrier breeds exhibited in the Ter- rier Group at shows around the globe. Th e fascination for those of us devoted to the breed is much more about what is going on in his devious mind than about his smart good looks. Consideration of the breed’s history and development explains their make and shape but also illumi- nates the virtues and foibles of Lakeland Terrier personality. Lake District farmers raised sheep. Foxes came down from the hills sur- rounding the farmland preying on the spring lambs to feed their kits. Out of sheer economic necessity groups of farm- ers sought to control the fox population. Doing so entailed long treks on foot for dog and man up into the mountainous terrain where the foxes had their dens. Hounds were used to follow the trail, but terriers were required to extract or kill the fox. A terrier up on leg was neces- sary because the foxes sought out ledges

carried in saddle bags and used to merely bolt the fox so the hounds could have another run. More often than not the ter- rier had to kill the fox underground. Fox- es in the fells might weigh upwards of 20 pounds; killing one unaided was quite a feat. At the end of the day the terriers had Kimberton All-Terrier Agility Trial Report Dazzle earned 3 Masters JWW legs with 2 +(' )%+ '  ,"#* )%  +,* +,'*%!+(,"4*+,)%'%!,(/*+ her TimeM2MBeatM3 title with 8 points. She earned (-%+' 4'#+" "*+,* ,'* Bronze title. Cooper earned 1 Q in Excellent ,'* /#,"  4*+, )% *# 4' *' "#+ (.#,#,%'/+*,#* *(&!#%#,0

and crevasses. Th e form of a successful terrier had to balance a fine line between being narrow enough to enter the rocky dens and possessing jaws and body of su ffi cient strength to engage the fox. For Lake District farmers this was not sport but pest control. Th ese were not dogs Lakelands competing in the Kimberton, PA All Terrier Agility the week preceding Montgomery 2013. (Left to Right) Bonnie Murphy & Murphy’s *0 4'(*  2*# 4'3 #%%-*)"0  (%%0*#* 11% 11%    2 11%3 ,,# &)%% (%%0*#* *&+#%    2#$#3*0#'* /#," (%%0*#*  *0 '* 2 *03  (%%0*#* %%  #* 2 (()*3

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to travel miles back home. It has been said that the real test of the terriers was the trip back down out of the mountains in the miserable weather typical of the area. During the development of the breed there was only one overriding principle: get ’er done! It mattered little what the dogs looked like or what color they were. Any dog that was sought for breeding had the following characteristics (in no particular order): 1) stamina, 2) courage, 3) judgement, 4) strength, 5) flexibility, 6) weather resisting coat, 7) tenacity and 8) addiction to adrenaline. Stamina was important all the way around. A successful working terrier in the fells had to be structurally sound to endure the distance travelled in a day’s hunt. On top of that, while engaged with quarry underground a dog had to be able to withstand punishment and yet keep fighting. Th e courage of terriers is legend- ary. No Marquess of Queensberry rules for these combatants! I have hunted with bird dogs and spaniels and rabbit dogs since I was a child. I have been awed by the intensity of their drive to find game, but earthworking terriers are light years more intense and determined. Th e ancestors of the Lakeland Terrier however would not be characterized as “courageous to a fault.” Th e overly bold would end up dead; therefore in no posi- tion to contribute to the gene pool. Judg- ment is one of the traits that contributes to the character of the Lakeland. Th ey are well able to assess the mettle of their oppo- nent and the limitations of the space they

are working in in order to avoid damage and seek an advantage. Properly raised in the company of other dogs a Lakeland can learn to “go along to get along.” Th e terri- ers were not hunted in packs, but they did accompany a pack of hounds and might reasonably be expected to tolerate anoth- er terrier or a few when the farmers got together to hunt the fox. Breeding for strength was a balanc- ing act; obviously bigger dogs would be stronger. But the size of the fox’s earth determined the maximum size of the ter- rier; the average diameter of a fox den in the Lake District is 6 inches. Flexibility was called for as well, and these two vir- tues did more to shape the form of the Lakeland Terrier than any others. Th e jaws needed to be as large and punish- ing as possible, which meant that they could not be over long, and the back skull could not be too narrow. To achieve flex- ibility the neck needed to be fairly long, and the shoulders not bulky. Th e shoulder assembly needed to be strong and sinewy, for at times it might be possible to draw the quarry from the earth to be then dis- patched by the hunters. Th e ribs needed to be well-sprung for heart and lung room, but decidedly more oval than round, once again to get the biggest possible dog in the small, narrow dens. Herein lies the key to breed type: the biggest, strongest, most flexible dog still small enough to seek the fox in his den. A weather-resisting coat was abso- lutely necessary due to the long day and long distance covered by the hunts.

A 15-17 pound terrier doesn’t have a lot of body mass. Cold rain will lead to hypothermia if the rain penetrates the coat. For this reason Lakelands have con- siderably more undercoat than many of the other terriers. Th e undercoat acts as a thermal blanket so the dog’s body heat can be maintained in a layer around the dog, provided there is a tight wiry jacket which allows the rain to run o ff . Tenacity is another character trait absolutely essential in a working terrier. It might take hours to dig down to a terrier that has cornered a varmint. In the case of the Fells, the rock might prevent digging and the dog was on his own. Th e follow- ing is quoted from Th e Lakeland Terrier by Sean Frain: “It was during the 1930s …in rather dramatic circumstances. Tommy Rob- insons was hunting his pack of Lunes- dale Foxhounds in the Bishopdale area and they ran a fox to ground at a bad spot, a large rock earth that was rather a stronghold for foxes. Breay entered two of his bitches into the earth and, after killing their fox, they became trapped to ground. Digging com- menced and, after a long grueling ses- sion on the exposed fells, one of the bitches, Barker, was reached and got out safely, but it looked bad for the other terrier, so bad, in fact that after a few days, Cyril had given up any hope of reaching her. It was then that Wal- ter Parkin turned up at the scene and told Breay that he knew a chap who might be able to help. Cyril agreed that

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this chap could come and see what he could do, but still had no hope of see- ing his game bitch again. The weather had turned very nasty by this time and snow blizzards plagued the dig- gers, chilling them to the bone and dampening morale until gloom and pessimism reigned. Things looked bleak indeed. “ Th e outgoing and cheerful Frank Buck soon turned up, along with a few quarrymen, lightening the tense atmo- sphere and creating a more optimistic one, with Buck immediately com- mencing operations , setting explosives in certain places and blasting the hard rock until, finally, and after several days, the terrier bitch was freed from what was about to become her grave. She had endured unbelievably freezing and di ffi cult conditions, but was nev- ertheless in relatively good shape. Buck was impressed, Th is was known as a bad earth and the bitch had worked wonderfully well and had survived conditions that would see o ff less hardy earthdogs. Breay o ff ered Frank money for h is e ff orts, but he refused, asking for a puppy out of the bitch instead.” If Lakelands were humans, they would be into sky diving, mountain climbing, car racing—the typical pursuits of adrena- line junkies. Th eir nervous systems are hair trigger, their flight-or-fight response lightning fast. Th ey have a combination of finely honed survival skills, and the ability and willingness to disregard danger. What does all this history mean to the modern Lakeland fancier? Th e early fanciers organized Th e Lakeland Terrier Association in England in 1921. Th e first Lakeland Terrier exhibited was at an agri- cultural show in 1928. Of note is that dogs were o ff ered through the LTA a challenge cup for any dog earning a working certifi- cate with one of the fell packs. Th is indi- cates that work was of paramount impor- tance to breeders. It is very helpful in a breed to examine the evolution of the breed standards. While size has not changed appreciably over the years (thankfully), the early breeders made clear their inten- tion of keeping the dogs of a size to do the work they were developed for. Height was

not to exceed 15 inches, and dogs were to weigh 17 pounds or less, bitches 16 pounds or less. Th e Lakeland was recognized by AKC in 1934. While the numbers have remained small, the quality is remarkable. And the personality that is typical of this breed that underwent such selective forces is intriguing, exasperating, admirable, puzzling and frustrating all in turn. Noted terrier trainer Pat Muller says, “ Th e best things about a breed are also the worst things.” So very true of Lakelands. Th ey are wicked smart, but may use their intelligence for nefarious purposes, espe- cially when bored or frustrated. A large dose of obsessive-compulsive genes are invariably present (for the ability to con- tinue a behavior for hours if necessary, a requirement for earthwork). Absent a job to do, Lakelands may amuse them- selves with compulsive behaviors that are self-rewarding. Such behaviors are simi- lar in origin to head-banging toddlers in cribs—they figure out that the repetitive behavior releases endorphins (feel-good brain chemicals). Favorite games might be stainless-steel pan hockey (skittering the pan along concrete especially—the sound can be heard for half a mile) or pulling vines o ff of fences, or licking fence posts or toys, or biting the spray from the garden hose. One of the most endearing traits of the breed is their optimism; they think the world is wonderful and every day brings new thrills. Th is trait makes them wonderful hunting dogs and Agil- ity competitors and show dogs. But the flip side of the coin is that, for example, turning over the trash can is instantly rewarding (all those smells and textures!) so that any expressed disapproval on your part just can’t trump the adrenaline rush from the naughty behavior. Th e pup with the potential to grow up to be a top Agility contender or top ranked showdog is the same pup that in the wrong hands might end up surren- dered to a shelter for behavioral prob- lems. Actually there was a BIS winning top ranked Lakeland back in the 80s that had not once but twice been given to a shelter before she was adopted by a show fancier!

Photo courtesy of Juanda Anderson.

Photo courtesy of Sue Thurlow.

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