Lakeland Terrier Breed Magazine - Showsight

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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