badger dog

Badger-baiting

Badger-baiting is a blood sport involving the baiting of badgers.

Background

The badger is a usually quiet and docile creature in its own domain; however, when cornered or when a threat is perceived it can possess impressive courage. Weighing up to thirty-five pounds when fully grown, the badger has an extraordinarily dangerous bite, which it is willing to use recklessly when threatened. In addition, badgers have extremely powerful claws, used for digging in hard earth, which are more than capable of injuring a dog. A formidable adversary for any dog, the badger was a sought-after participant for the fighting pit.

Drawing the badger

In order to use the badger's ability to defend itself to test the dog, artificial badger dens were built, captured badgers were put in them and then the dog was set on the badger. The badger would be placed in a box, which was furnished in imitation of its den and from there a tunnel led upward. The owner of the badger puts his animal in the box. The timekeeper is equipped with a watch and the badger's owner releases the dog for the fight. Whoever wants to pit his dog against the badger lets it slide into the tunnel. Usually the dog is seized immediately by the badger and the dog in turn grips the badger. Each bites, tears and pulls the other with all their might. The owner quickly pulls out the dog whose jaws are clamped obstinately onto the badger by its tail. The two are separated and the badger is returned to its den. Then the dog is sent back in to seize the badger and it again is drawn out with the badger. This scene is repeated over and over again. The more often a dog is able to seize the badger within a minute, so that both can be pulled out together, the more it is up to the task and is considered game.

Entertainment

Drawing the badger soon became a very popular sideshow in the pit. It provided a new opportunity to win or lose money by betting. Drawing the badger thus became a permanent part of the fight in the pit. Baits were staged outside the pit in cellars or taverns, as an interesting attraction for the guests.

Towards the middle 1800s Badger-baiting declined in popularity to be replaced by dog fighting.

Badger dogs

Some dog breeds were specifically developed for badger-baiting whilst several other breeds were used in this task in addition to more general vermin control. In the United kingdom and Ireland terrier breeds such as the Airedale terrier, Bedlington terrier, Blue Paul terrier, Fox terrier, Glen of Imaal terrier, Sealyham terrier, Bull Terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, Welsh terrier, Wheaten terrier and Kerry blue terrier were most often used. In other parts of Northern Europe Dachshund and Basset hound types were to the fore and in Southern Europe breeds such as the Portuguese Podengo were used.

Teastas Mor

Strict Irish Kennel Club rules governed the Teastas Mor (certificate of gameness). It was considered that the discipline ensured contests between dog and badger were fair. In the past, to become an Irish Kennel Club terrier champion, it was necessary for a terrier to be in possession of a Teastas Mor. These continued until the kennel ceased to license trials in 1968.

In addition, there were many other badger clubs; each had their own rules, which varied considerably. Frequently, the badger was afforded little protection.

Law

The Cruelty to Animals Act 1835 made badger-baiting illegal in the United Kingdom; however, it continued in London long after and continues to occur in rural areas of the United Kingdom.

See also

References

Further reading

  • Fleig, D. (1996). History of Fighting Dogs. pg 99 - 105 T.F.H. Publications. ISBN 0-7938-0498-1
  • Homan, M. (2000). A Complete History of Fighting Dogs. pg 111 - 120 Howell Book House Inc. ISBN 1-58245-128-1
  • King, H.H. (1931 1st ed.). Working Terriers, Badgers And Badger Digging. Read Country Books. ISBN 1-905124-20-1

External links

Badger-baiting

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