According to the American Kennel Club, there are 30 recognized breeds of terrier dogs. Terriers, often described as the little rascals of the dog world, are distinguished from other breeds with their hard, wiry coats, territorial natures and energetic demeanors. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Their name means earth in Latin, which fits because terriers are natural diggers who were once bred to hunt rodents. These dogs are intelligent and some of the easiest to train.
Some of the most well-known terrier breeds are American Pit Bull Terriers, Bull Terriers, Cairn Terriers, Jack Russell Terriers, West Highland White Terriers and Scottish Terriers. Each of these breeds has loyal qualities that make them protective family pets. However, these breeds are also curious and often climb fences or press their obedience by being mischievous.
Terriers with smooth coats are prone to shedding, while those with wiry coats can easily develop matted hair. To prevent mats and shedding, owners must pluck or strip dead hair with clippers and regular brushing to keep their coats healthy and shiny. Breeds that develop dreadlocks are susceptible to fleas, ticks and infections that could cost hundreds of dollars in vet visits to get rid of.