The American Kennel Club recognizes 30 breeds of terrier. They include the Skye terrier, the Staffordshire and American Staffordshire bull terriers, the Sealyham and the Airedale. These spirited and tenacious dogs were bred to hunt vermin, and in the case of the Staffordshire bull terrier, to fight. 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.
The Airedale terrier is the largest British terrier. It weighs between 44 and 66 pounds and can stand 23 to 24 inches tall at the shoulders. This dog originated in Yorkshire, England.
The Dandie Dinmont terrier is one of the smaller terriers but is no less persistent than the others. It was bred to hunt badgers. The Dandie Dinmont was named after a terrier-owning character in Sir Walter Scott's novel "Guy Mannering."
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.