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Terrier Breeds – What Are The Most Popular Feisty Dogs

terrier breeds
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When you think of terrier breeds, the two words that come to mind are feisty and energetic. Those are their main traits. Some people and owners describe terriers as “eager for a spirited argument”.

Originally, terrier dogs were bred to dig and hunt for prey like foxes, badgers, rats, moles, and more. In addition to digging, they are supposed to guard the family’s home or barn and protect it from invaders.

Terrier breeds can range from fairly small and toy to large and grand breeds. The American Kennel group recognizes more than 40 different terrier breeds. Prospective owners should know that they make great pets, but they require huge determination, patience, and constant stimulation.

Today, we will talk about some of the most popular terrier dogs, according to the American Kennel Club. Also, you can always get a terrier mix.

Yorkshire terrier

Yorkshire Terrier

This little fellow might look like a toy breed, but he has the heart of a lion. You will be surprised by his courage to bark at bigger breeds. And yes, one of the common traits of terriers is that they bark, a lot.

The Yorkie is one of the most popular breeds in general and ranked 10th by the AKC. He is the highest-ranked terrier dog.

There are many reasons why the Yorkshire terrier is ranked so high. But probably the most important is that the Yorkie is a hypo-allergenic breed. That means he does not shed and is perfect for families with allergies.

The Yorkshire terrier was originally bred to hunt rats at barns, but today, he is mostly a designer dog. Despite his small size, he packs a lot of temperament and energy.

Boston terrier

Boston terrier

A dog many often confuse with the French bulldog. That might be the reason for his popularity, as the Boston ranks 21st on the AKC popularity list. Just for info, the Frenchie is fourth.

While the Boston terrier and the French bulldog look similar, they are quite different. For one, the Boston is larger and has a slimmer body. And more importantly, he is much more energetic.

The best way to describe his temperament is friendly, bright, and amusing. While he is stubborn, he is not like most of the terriers that try to be dominant over his owner and other dogs as well. The Boston is one of the rare terrier dogs that even novice owners can handle.

West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier

One of the more easily recognizable dog breeds, the Westie’s face can be found on many food brands. He is elegant, sophisticated, and frankly, a gentleman among the terrier world. He looks and walks graceful, and his long fur is his signature sign.

The Westie has charmed owners for more than 300 years. He is smart, confident, and always entertaining. Simply put, adorable.

Being a terrier, training is a challenge because of their independence. The West Highland white terrier will chase after anything that moves until you teach him not to. But thanks to their keen intelligence, loyalty, and faithfulness, the Westie can train and learn nicely. Of course, as long as you have the time and patience.

He is ranked 42nd on the AKC popularity list.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

This might not be a name that rings immediately when thinking of terrier breeds, but the soft coated wheaten terrier is ranked 53rd on the AKC list. And that is higher than some breeds like Jack Russell or Staffordshire terrier.

He is an exuberant Irish farm dog, and as such, he is happy, friendly, and deeply devoted to his family. Of course, he is also stubborn, just enough to remind you he is, after all, a terrier.

His unique wheaten coat is low-shedding, but he needs grooming and care to avoid matting. It is their silky and gently waving coat that sets him apart from other terriers. He is considered a mid-size dog, so something of a middle ground between large breeds like Airedale terrier, and small like the Westie.

Scottish terrier

Scottish terrier

Some say he is just the black version of the West Highland White terrier. But that would be an understatement. The Scottish terrier is much more. In fact, he is one of the more elegant terrier breeds. He walks with confidence, showing he is an independent and spirited dog.

He even has a dignified, almost human-like character. Some people among the dog world have given him the nickname “The Diehard”, due to his persistence.

He is not a dog for a family with other dogs. In fact, he is known to be uncooperative among other dogs. And he has strong hunting instincts, spelling trouble for cats around him. You will be surprised, but this small dog breed is actually a good watch dog.

The Scottie is ranked No.57 on the AKC list.

Airedale Terrier

Airdale Terrier

Considered to be the most elegant among terrier breeds, the Airedale terrier is truly a gentleman. And a royal dog. Due to his size and strength, he has earned the nickname “The King of Terriers”. And it truly suits him.

He is one of the most versatile dog breeds. He can be a hunter, athlete, and a companion, all at the same time. Because of all that, he is ranked at No.60 at the AKC popularity list.

He is the largest of all terrier dogs, with males standing at 23 inches at the shoulder. They have a dense and wiry coat of tan color, with black markings. His sporty beard and mustache, makes him look like a gentleman of keen intelligence.

He is alert and willing, and as other terriers, quite stubborn. He is patient with kids, but will not back down when protecting his home. And because of his do-it-all attitude, he excels in all kinds of sports and activities.

American Pit Bull Terrier

The American Pit Bull terrier is not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club. But it is still a separate breed. While the AKC doesn’t recognize this dog breed, the United Kennel Club recognize it as a separate breed.

In the US, the term is basically an umbrella term for four different breeds. Those are American Bully, American Bulldog, American Pit Bull Terrier, and American Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

One of the biggest myths about the American Pitbull terrier is that these dogs have a locking jaw. But that is not true. They are nothing like their bad reputation. Many people consider them aggressive and dangerous, but the American Pitbull terrier is one of the most affectionate and loving dogs you will find.

Bull terrier

The Bull terrier was originally bred in England to appear in dog fighting rings. Because of that, he too has a bad reputation like the American Pit Bull Terrier. Once the brutal sport was outlawed, the breed has been changed into the sweet companion he is today.

You also have to make the difference between the Bull terrier and American Bully. This dog is full of personality and has one of the most unique facial expressions in the canine world.

Kerry Blue Terrier

This working dog terrier originated in the mountains of County Kerry, Ireland. He was originally bred for talents like hunting, retrieving, and herding.

Here is a fun fact. All Kerry Blue Terrier puppies are born black. But then, their coat gradually fades into the distinctive blue-gray color as they mature.

Their eventual color can vary from a deep slate blue to light blue-gray. They do not shed, and are considered hypoallergenic dog breeds.

Fox Terrier

Same as many other terrier types, he was bred for hunting. In this case, the name tells it all. This terrier breed was bred for hunting foxes. Nowadays, they are more of a family pet.

The Fox terrier is available in two varieties, with smooth coat and wire coat. In other words, you can get Smooth Fox terrier or Wire Fox Terrier. They are a highly intelligent dog, and need owner and pet parent that will provide enough exercise and mental stimulation.

American hairless terrier

Among the many terrier dog breeds, the American Hairless terrier is a unique one. While some terriers come in different smooth or rough coat, this one is a rare case.

This small-to-medium-sized terrier breed is intelligent and curious. The American hairless terrier is completely without hair, yet, some can have whiskers and eyebrows.

The loving and affectionate companion dog gets along with children and other animals. That makes him a good choice for a family pet. And while there is no such thing as 100% hypoallergenic dog, this one comes close to it. The American Hairless terrier dog is a great option for allergy sufferers.

The only downside is they do have a tendency to bark.

Norfolk terrier

Like many other terrier types, the Norfolk terrier originates in Britain. Most terrier dog breeds originate in Britain. And most of them were used for hunting, either vermin or large game.

The Norfolk terrier gained recognition in 1964, as a variety of the Norwich terrier. The difference is Norfolk terrier has drop ears. These two are among the smallest working terriers.

While many think of him as a working dog, the Norfolk is a sociable and affectionate dog. They do get along with other dogs, and need a moderate amount of exercise.

While they will gladly curl up in your lap and cuddle, they are nowhere near the lap dogs. Do not mistake their size for a lap dog. These feisty and confident dogs crave adventures.

American Staffordshire terrier

American Staffordshire terrier

This dog has quite a bad reputation, which is why he might be ranked low on the popularity list. Staffordshire terriers are often left by their owners. Why? Because they are too much to handle.

Not only they are stubborn as terriers, but they are also quite muscular and strong. And their bad reputation comes only due to humans, who use them for dog fights. The reality is that the Amstaff is actually good-natured and wonderful with family members. He is a delight to have at home.

Their courage is second to none. But a responsibly bred, and well-socialized Staffordshire will be a loyal and trustworthy friend. It all depends on whether his prospective owner will make him that way.

His AKC rank is 85th.

Jack Russell terrier

Jack Russell terrier

If there is one terrier that perfectly paints a picture of the lively personality of terriers, that is the Jack Russell. His energy is contagious, but also limitless. Owners often say that their dog is always ready to play.

Upbeat, and friendly, the Jack Russell was developed for the hunting of foxes. He looks like a plush toy, but he is an eager and tireless working dog. He packs quite a personality into his small and compact body.

Among the terrier breeds, he is one of the most dominant and aggressive if not socialized. JRTs require early socialization with other dogs to combat his aggressive and dominant behavior. Simply put, he wants to be the alpha in every situation. And his confidence is legendary, you won’t see him back away from any challenge.

Do not mistake the Jack Russell Terrier with the Parson Russell terrier. They are a completely different breed. Jacks are also among the popular choice for a terrier mix.

His personality has earned him No.82 at the AKC popularity list.

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