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( Originally Published 1920 )
These hardy little dogs are native to Argyleshire and the west coast of Scotland, sections of the country that are the natural home of the fox, the wildcat, the badger, and the otter.
It is a great mistake to believe that these dogs, on account of their general similarity in conformation, are an offshoot of the Scottish Terrier, produced by breeding together the albino sports, which are common in northern latitudes. On the contrary, the White Highland Terrier was of established type and ancestry years before the present Scottish Terrier had emerged from his heterogeneous ancestry.
Three hundred years ago King James the First of England wrote to Edinburgh to have half a dozen Terriers procured from Argyle and sent to France as a present, and there are other records to show that as early as sixteen hundred these white terriers of Argyle and the wind-swept western coast were the best in Scotland.
The West Highland Terrier has always been a workman. His conformation permits him to work through the crevices, under the rocks, and to go to earth after his prey, and he has the pluck to do so. The small, compact bodies of these dogs encompass an unusual amount of Terrier character. It is important that the jaws and teeth be strong, the feet slightly turned out, as better adapted for scrambling up rocks than a straight fox terrier foot.
Their color is most natural, for white has always been a favorite for working dogs as most easily distinguished. For a time these dogs were shown as Poltalloch Terriers, as a strain of unusual excellence was owned in that section for many years. Good specimens are to be found, however, at various places on the west coast.
In summing up this breed it can be said that they are intelligent, faithful, and as persistent in pursuit of prey and as desperate fighters as any dog that lives.
In the selection of White Highland Terrier puppies at the age of four months the same points should be looked for as in Scottish Terriers, with the variation in color.
The following is the standard and scale of points:
GENERAL APPEARANCE Of the West Highland White Terrier is that of a small, game, hardylooking Terrier, possessed with no small amount of self-esteem, with a varminty appearance, strongly built, deep in chest and back ribs, straight back, and powerful quarters on muscular legs, and exhibiting in a marked degree a great combination of strength and activity. The coat should be about 2I2 inches long, white in color, hard, with plenty of soft undercoat, and no tendency to wave or curl. The tail should be as straight as possible, and carried not too gaily, and covered with hard hair, but not bushy. The skull should not be too broad, being in proportion to the terribly powerful jaws, but must be narrow between the ears. The ears shall be as small and sharp-pointed as possible and carried tightly up and must be absolutely erect. The eyes of moderate size, dark hazel in color, widely placed, rather sunk or deep-set, with a sharp, bright, intelligent expression. The muzzle should be proportionately long and powerful, gradually tapering toward the nose. The nose, roof of mouth, and pads of feet distinctly black in color.
COLOR.-Pure white; any other color objectionable.
COAT.-Very important, and seldom seen to perfection; must be double-coated. The outer coat consists of hard hair about two inches long and free from any curl. The undercoat, which resembles fur, is short, soft, and close. Open coats are objectionable.
SIZE.-Dogs to weigh from 14 to 18 pounds, and bitches from 12 to 16 pounds, and measure from 8 to 12 inches at the shoulder.
SKULL.-Should not be too narrow, being in proportion to his powerful jaw, proportionately long, slightly domed, and gradually tapering to the eyes, between which there should be a slight indentation or stop; eyebrows heavy.
EYES.-Widely set apart, medium in size, dark hazel in color, slightly sunk in the head, sharp and intelligent, which, looking from under the heavy eyebrows, give a piercing look. Full eyes and also light-colored eyes are very objectionable.
MUZZLE.-Should be powerful, proportionate in length, and should gradually taper toward the nose, which should be fairly wide. The jaws level and powerful, the teeth square or evenly met, well set, and large for the size of the dog. The nose and roof of mouth should be distinctly black in color.
EARS.-Small, carried erect, but never drop, and should be carried tightly up, terminating in a sharp point. The hair on them should be short, smooth (velvety), and they should not be cut. The ears should be free from any fringe at the top. Roundpointed, broad, and large ears are very objectionable, also ears too heavily covered with hair.
NECK.-Muscular and nicely set on sloping shoulders.
CHEST.-Very deep, with breadth in proportion to the size of the dog.
BODY.-Compact, straight back, ribs deep and well arched in the upper half of rib, presenting a flattish side appearance; loins broad and strong; hindquarters strong, muscular, and wide across the top.
LEGS AND FEET.- Both forelegs and hindlegs should be short and muscular. The shoulder blades should be comparatively broad and well sloped backward. The points of the shoulder blades should be closely knit into the backbone, so that every little movement of them should be noticeable when the dog is walking. The elbow should be close in to the body, both when moving or standing, thus causing the foreleg to be well placed in under the shoulder. The forelegs should be straight and thickly covered with short, hard hair. The hindlegs should be short and sinewy. The thighs very muscular and not too wide apart. The hocks bent and well set in under the body, so as to be fairly close to each other either when standing, walking, or trotting. The fore feet are larger than the hind ones, are round, proportionate in size, strong, thickly padded, and covered with short, hard hair. The hind feet are smaller and thickly padded. The under surface of the pads of feet and all the nails should be distinctly black in color. Hocks too much bent (cow hocks) detract from the general appearance. Straight or weak hocks, both kinds are undesirable and should be guarded against.
TAIL.-Five or six inches long, covered with hard hairs, no feather, as straight as possible, carried gaily, but not curled over back. A long tail is objectionable.
MOVEMENT.-Should be free, straight, and easy all around. In front the leg should be freely extended forward by the shoulder. The hind movement should be free, strong, and close. The hocks should be freely flexed and drawn close in under the body, so that when moving off the foot the body is thrown or pushed forward with some force. Stiff, stilty movement behind is very objectionable.
VALUE OF POINTS.-General appearance, 5; color, 10; coat, 10; size, 7 1/2; skull, 7 1/2; eyes, 5; muzzle, s; ears, 7 1/2 neck, 7 1/2; chest, 7 1/2; body, 10; legs and feet, 7 1/2; tail, 5; movement, 7 1/2.
COAT.-Any silkiness, wave, or tendency to curl is a serious blemish, as is also an open coat, and any black, grey, or wheaten hairs.
SIZE.-Any specimens under the minimum weight or above the maximum weight are objectionable. EYES.-Full or light colored.
EARS.-Round-pointed, drop, semi-erect, also ears too heavily covered with hair.
MUZZLE.-Either under- or overshot, and defective teeth.