Rough Coated Terrier (now extinct)

Rough Coated Terrier 1864Rough Coated Terrier 1864

In 1848, of Scotsman Allan Captain McDonald of the 99th Regiment brought a 'very fine pack' of 'rough coated Terriers from the Isle of Skye to Tasmania[1]. He was part of the British military forces stationed in Hobart to fight in the service of Her Majesty Queen Victoria of Britain in the Maori Wars of New Zealand which took place from 1845 - 1872.

In 1862, the first Dog Show was held in Hobart, Australia. 21 Rough Coated Terriers were listed. As some of these were imported, in the absence of any further information it is logical to assume these came to Hobart with the 18,000 troops that were deployed from Britain during that time. By 1864 in Melbourne, 25 more Rough Coated Terriers were listed (over 7 lbs) including the one pictured. It is likely that these were a mixture of working Skye Terriers indigenous to the Isle of Skye, and other Terriers of Scotland.

Rough Coated Terriers during the 1860's

The working terriers first known as 'Skye Terriers' like those of the McDonald Clan, originated on the Isle of Skye. In 1842 when Queen Victoria acquired her first 'Skye Terrier', the breed changed. By 1864 the English recognised it as a Pure Breed in England and listed as a Pure Breed in the First English Stud Book. However, the Skye Terriers that remained in Scotland retained their working abilities and were later recognised by the Scots with a different Breed Standard.

That left the Cairn, Scottish and West Highland Terrier that were often collectively exhibited as 'Rough Coated Terriers'. In 1887 the West Highland White Terrier was recognised with the Scottish Terrier following in 1888. However the Cairn Terrier was nor separately recognised until 1924. That meant there were clear distinctions between these three Scotch Terrier breeds.

The Australian Terrier

Meanwhile, the Australian Terrier was developing from this rough-coated terrier in Australia. No wonder there was so much confusion! In 1907, they became separately recognised here as Australian Terriers. Further confusion arose when the Yorkshire Terrier was thrown into the mix!

That is why it was reported here in 1896 that:

There is always some difficulty in deciding the awards for the popular small terrier which some people call the Australian Terrier which is, in reality neither Scotch, Skye or Yorkie but a well-regulated mixture of these breeds eminently suitable for Australian climates and work.

Furthermore, this report went on to say:

Of these there are two distinct kinds, one more suitable for country and field work, while the other is specially adapted to become the pet of the children of the household.

These are differentiated particularly by their coats, which the former is required to be wire-haired, or broken haired i.e very coarse and thick, while in the case of the household pet, it is better to be silky and soft to touch, and above all, easy to be thoroughly washed and dried'[1].

References and Further Reading

[1] E.C.Ash,'The Cairn Terrier' Published by Cassell 1936 Page 14


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