Top 10 Terrier Types

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  • Terriers were originally bred to hunt vermin. That's why they love digging so much.
  • The terrier is the largest of the fearful breeds, standing 24 feet tall.
  • The Jack Russell Terrier is the most common type of terrier.

When considering a breed of dog classified as a terrier, it helps to know the origin of the word. Terrier means "burrowing" in French, and these dogs have a strong build and a resolute temperament, and they were bred to go down to the ground to find vermin like mice, foxes, and badgers. Some even jump into the water to prey on otters. Larger terriers were used in such a nasty past as dogfighting and bullfighting. But no matter how big or small they are, these loyal and exceptionally brave beasts are among the most popular pet dogs. Here is a list of 10 of the best terrier breeds.

#1. Bulldog

type of memes
Beautiful American Bulldog outside. Pit Bull Terriers are one of the most affectionate and non-aggressive dogs.

©Ivanova N/Shutterstock.com

Don't be afraid of pit bulls. Descendants of the pit bull and terrier types, including the Staffordshire bull terrier, these canids were originally used for dogfighting in the United States. In some places, they still exist, although the practice is illegal. This has given them a rough reputation, which is largely unearned, as well-cared for and well-trained bulldogs are loyal pets and great guardians of home and family.

Their appearance is unmistakable, as this dog appears to be muscular throughout, despite its not-so-massive build. Bulldogs stand 18 to 22 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 50 and 80 pounds. It had a large head with a thick skull, round black eyes, and a muscular jaw. The ears are usually small and short, the chest is broad and deep, the hindquarters are powerful, and the coat is short and hard.

Read this article for more information on the breed.

#2. bedlington terrier

type of hound
Originally bred for hunting, the Bedlington Terrier has since been used for greyhound racing, numerous canine sports, body show and companion dogs.

© iStock.com/slowmotiongli

The terrier is known for its lamb-like appearance and rabbit-like feet, though it's not at all lamb-like in temperament or tenacity. It was developed in England in the 1800s to hunt badgers, one of the meanest fossilized animals on Earth. It has a raised head that matches its curved back. It has a bun of silky curls, and pom-poms at the end of the ears are in style. The rest of its sturdy coat does look fluffy and needs a lot of grooming to keep it neat. Bedlington Terriers stand 15 to 17 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 17 to 23 pounds.

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Go here to learn more about the Bedlington Terrier.

#3. all-purpose terrier

type of hound
Big dogs are very intelligent, which means they can quickly learn tasks and tricks.

©Grisha Bruev/Shutterstock.com

This dignified looking dog is the largest of the terriers. While it's not as heavy as a pit bull as it typically weighs 44 to 50 pounds, it stands between 22 and 24 inches at the shoulder. It has a long skull, beard and majestic beard. Like the Bedlington, it was developed in England in the 1800's to hunt badgers. It was also bred to hunt otters and thus has a dense, strong, waterproof coat. The dog's coat is always tan, with an attractive black saddle that runs from the back of the neck to the tail. Big dogs shed their hair twice a year, and that's when they need to be shed.

Head here to learn more about the Genesis Terrier.

#4. boston terrier

type of hound
Boston terriers on the lawn outside. The Boston Terrier was the first dog breed developed in the United States.

© Lenka_N/Shutterstock.com

This little terrier doesn't have a lot of size, but he makes up for it with a lot of energy. Although it stands only 15 to 17 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs 10 to 25 pounds, the Boston Terrier is bred for hunting mice and baiting bulls. This pedigree can be seen in the face, which has a squashed muzzle and a broad head reminiscent of a pit bull. In fact, just like bulldogs, Boston terrier puppies often have to be born by C-section. Now, this popular dog is one of the few developed in America with a sweet and docile temperament. Boston Terriers come in three weight classes: one under 15 pounds, one at least 15 pounds but under 20 pounds, and one at least 20 pounds but not more than 25 pounds.

To learn more about Boston Terriers, visit here.

#5. cairn terrier

type of hound
Cairn Hounds fearlessly dig around the Cairn to hunt the rodents below.

© iStock.com/Bigandt_Photography

The puppy's origins can be traced back to 16th-century England, when it was bred to hunt foxes and mice, although it wasn't known as the Shorthaired Skye Terrier until 1909. You know what this dog looks like because Toto in The Wizard of Oz is a Cairn Terrier. For those who don't know, this dog stands 10 to 12 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs 13 to 16 pounds. Because it was bred to work outdoors and even go into the water, it has a water-resistant double coat that is bushy and somewhat shaggy. Although its skull is not as long as other types of hounds, the Cairndog has a surprisingly strong bite. Miss Gulch was not kidding when she said she was almost limping from the bite on her leg.

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Read here to learn more about the Cairn Terrier.

#6. german pinscher

type of hound
German Pinscher running on summer meadow. German Pinschers make excellent watchdogs because of their vigilant and watchful nature.

©Dora Zett/Shutterstock.com

Bred in Germany in the 1800s, this dog looks a lot like its Doberman pinscher brother, but at 16 to 19 inches tall at the shoulder, it's much smaller, weighing between 25 and 35 pounds. Still, the German Pinscher is large for its size for a terrier. Its appearance is simple, the coat is one or two colors, chocolate brown, black or black with brown highlights. It has a clean back, muscular neck, long muzzle and deep chest. The toes are well arched and the ears are well folded. Because it is a large hunting dog, it was bred to guard livestock and hunt vermin.

Read more about the German Pinscher here.

#7. Dandy Dinmont Terrier

type of hound
The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is considered one of the rarest dog breeds native to the British Isles.

©iStock.com/CaptureLight

The "sausage dog" of the terrier originated in England and the Scottish borders in the 1600s and is named after a character in Sir Walter Scott's novel Guy Mannering. Although its front legs are so small that its back slopes upward, its long, low body is designed to hunt badgers and even otters. It also has drooping shaggy ears, a soft tousled bun, a moustache, and a fairly broad black nose. Its fur has an interesting texture as it is a mix of bristly and soft fur that is pleasantly crisp to the touch.

Read more  Sheephead

#8. Parson Jack Russell Terrier

type of hound
Jack Russell Parson Terriers are not only affectionate and charming, but they are also very easy to manage and train.

© hecke61/Shutterstock.com

This popular beagle has a lively, playful personality. Developed in Devon by the Reverend Jack Russell in the 1800s, but not recognized by the United Kennel Club until 1991, it was bred to catch rats on the ground. It is a muscular dog with powerful neck and hind legs. The coat may be smooth, broken or rough, and in most purebred dogs it is mostly white, with a brown or black head and white spots around the muzzle and nose. The Parson Jack Russell Terrier stands 14 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 16 and 18 pounds.

To learn more about the Parson Jack Russell Terrier, visit here.

#9. yorkshire terrier

type of hound
Yorkshire Terriers are generally big dogs trapped in small bodies, always looking for adventure and maybe even a little trouble.

© iStock.com/Attila Fodemesi

While this little dog might strike many as overkill, that wasn't always the case. Like other terriers, what it lacks in size it makes up for in robustness, as the Yorkie was bred in the 1800s to hunt rats in the mines of the West End of Yorkshire. Now, it's known for its stunning lush, long, silky coat that's steely blue on the back and tan on the front. The coat is long enough to hide the dog's feet, which require a lot of grooming. Because of this, most owners will trim their fur to a manageable length. The dog also has erect triangular ears, a medium-length muzzle, straight legs, and sparkling dark eyes. Newborn Yorkies are black and develop their coat color as they mature.

Learn more about the Yorkshire Terrier here.

#10. czech terrier

type of hound
Czech terriers are fairly small terriers who are sensitive and energetic, but not as excitable as some other terrier breeds.

©Dora Zett/Shutterstock.com

Developed in Czechoslovakia until the 1940s and not recognized until 1963, this dog is undoubtedly a new breed of hound. Although it is a terrier, it was actually bred as a watchdog to be friendly and obedient. It has a silky coat, a bushy beard, bushy eyebrows, and a long, delicate head. The new beagle measures 10 to 14 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 12 and 18 pounds. Besides being the best watch dog, it is also a good dog in families with young children.

Read this article to learn more about the Cesky Terrier.

Here is a summary of the 10 terrier breeds

  1. czech terrier
  2. yorkshire terrier
  3. Parson Jack Russell Terrier
  4. Dandy Dinmont Terrier
  5. german pinscher
  6. Dandy Dinmont Terrier
  7. boston terrier
  8. all-purpose terrier
  9. bedlington terrier
  10. Bulldog

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Types of Terriers
Types of Terriers

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about the author

Heather Hall


I'm a freelance writer with 22 years of experience. I live in the Pacific Northwest surrounded by nature. When I do my daily runs, I often see herds of elk, deer, and bald eagles. I have two dogs that take me on hikes in the mountains where we see coyotes, black bears, and wild turkeys.

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