Terrier dogs are a group of breeds originally bred for vermin hunting. They are characterized by their small size, wiry coat, and fearless temperament. Terriers vary greatly in size, ranging from 1 kg to over 60 kg.

Known for their spirited personalities, energy, and tenacity, terrier breeds include Border Terrier, Boston Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Jack Russell Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, Scottish Terrier, and Welsh Terrier, among others.

These dogs have a history of being used for various tasks and have become popular as companions due to their unique characteristics and traits.

Wire Fox Terrier

Terrier Traits, Behaviour and Personality

Tenacious Nature

Terriers are often described as tenacious and determined. This trait stems from their history as working dogs that were used to hunt and chase small animals like rodents and vermin. They have a strong instinct to pursue their prey and won’t easily give up, even in the face of challenges.

High Energy Levels

Most terrier breeds are highly energetic and require regular exercise to keep them happy and healthy. Their active nature means they enjoy activities like playing fetch, running, and participating in agility training.

Fearless and Bold

Terriers are known for their fearless and bold nature. Their original purpose required them to confront and tackle their quarry in confined spaces, which led to the development of a brave and courageous disposition.

Protective Instincts

Many terrier breeds have a strong protective instinct towards their families and territories. They can be excellent watchdogs, alerting their owners to any potential threats or strangers approaching their home.


Terriers are generally intelligent dogs that can quickly learn and adapt to new tasks. This intelligence, combined with their determined nature, makes them trainable and responsive to commands.

Strong Prey Drive

Due to their history as hunting dogs, terriers often have a strong prey drive. They may chase after small animals, which can be a challenge if not properly managed, especially in off-lead situations.

Socialization Challenges

Some terriers can display territorial and aggressive behaviours towards other dogs, especially those of the same sex. Early and consistent socialization is crucial to help them get along with other dogs and pets.

Lively and Spirited

Terriers are known for their lively and spirited personalities. They often have a zest for life and can bring a lot of joy and energy to their households.

Grooming Needs

Terrier breeds come in various coat types, including wiry, silky, and smooth. Each coat type has specific grooming requirements. Regular brushing, trimming, and occasional hand-stripping (for wire-haired terriers) are necessary to maintain their coats.

Jack Russell Terrier

History of Terriers

The history of terrier breeds in the United Kingdom is rich and varied, spanning centuries of development and selective breeding. Terriers are a group of small to medium-sized dogs that were originally bred for specific tasks such as hunting, vermin control, and guarding. The term “terrier” is derived from the Latin word “terra,” meaning earth, which reflects their original purpose of digging and burrowing to chase out prey.

The enduring qualities of terriers made them popular companions and their history is a testament to their tenacity and adaptability.

West Highland White Terrier

Terrier Breeds