Examples of some typical breeds in this group: West Highland White Terrier, Parson Russell Terrier, Jack Russell Terrier, Bull Terrier, Border Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier; Smooth Haired Dachshund
Your dog is this type if he:
Enjoys exploring, digging and chasing and then pouncing on squeaky toys. He will also have a tendency to bark when excited, enjoys shredding paper and playing tug-o-war games. Terriers are often known for their tenacity, persistence, pluck and for their innate desire to explore tunnels and dark holes. Most are quite small with short or wiry coats.
Exercise and play
Terriers and Dachshunds love the great outdoors and have a lot of energy for their size. They are typically fast and agile, and will hunt any pests in the garden or out on walks, enthusiastically setting off after them through thick undergrowth, over or under fences and across all terrains.
Terriers are naturally a little more independent than many dog types, but they also usually make very loving pets and great companions. They are normally quite content to find their own amusement or play on their own if given the right safe toys.
A good game to play with a Terrier or Dachsund is ‘hunt the toy’, ideally using a treat-filled toy hidden somewhere in the garden where he has to dig for his prize, such as in a doggie ‘ballpit’. A dedicated digging area just for your dog and out of bounds for children that he can call his own will also help direct his innate need to dig away from your flower beds.
Terriers often enjoy destroying squeaky and soft toys, so make sure that there are no dangerous detachable pieces or other choking or swallowing hazards in them first. Check squeaky toys regularly to ensure the ‘squeak’ is in no danger of being removed and eaten.
If you hide some of his daily allowance of dry food in small individual cereal boxes, he will probably enjoy ripping them open just as much as getting to the food inside!
Playing with you
As well as taking your dog out on on-lead pavement walks to explore urban areas, your dog will also enjoy lots of off-lead running in safe areas – be it chasing balls on a beach or scurrying after squirrels and birds in parks and woodlands. Try and protect him by teaching good recall, but don’t be surprised if he doesn’t always listen when mid-chase!
Keep walks varied – these bright dogs enjoy new environments and smells where they can explore the undergrowth, dig and let off steam.
Tug-of-war is usually greatly enjoyed by Terriers; their strong jaws and a determination make them formidable opponents despite their size, but be careful to play gently with Dachshunds because their long backs can be sensitive. Only adults should play this with these types of dog to avoid potential accidents - even a small, friendly Terrier can pull over a child or accidentally nip a hand when over-excitedly grabbing a tug toy.
Many Terriers and Dachsunds are also very bouncy and love chasing and jumping at moving objects. Try blowing bubbles for them to pop - great fun for everyone, especially for children who get to combine blowing bubbles with playing with their pet. Alternatively, use a bubble machine made especially for dogs to blow meat-flavoured bubbles if you want to amuse him while you get on with other chores. These can be purchased online and from some pet stores.
Dogs in this group are often confident, spirited and extrovert characters. This is because their original work was to go underground hunting rats and badgers who were no easy adversaries, so they needed to be tough. Even Terriers who’ve never seen a rodent can have something of a reputation for being feisty with other animals, which is why early and thorough socialisation and training is especially important for them.
Although any Terrier or Dachshund can be socialised and trained to have good manners, they may be unlikely to back down if another dog picks on them, so recall training should be practised regularly and you should remain vigilant on walks for potentially difficult situations with unknown dogs.
If you are considering getting another dog as a companion, choosing a dog of the opposite sex dramatically improves your chances of a happy ongoing relationship, as the two sexes usually get on very well and rarely compete over resources. Discuss neutering one or both dogs straightaway with your vet. With Terriers, choosing a non-Terrier breed as the second dog can also work well. A Gundog or Scenthound for example, will want very different things in life to another Terrier and so they are unlikely to compete. Dachshunds usually get along well with other Dachshunds.
Whether you have one or more Terriers or Dachshunds, you can strengthen the bond between you and each dog through regular play, training and exercise. These are all crucial to your dog’s emotional and physical health, but don’t forget that just spending time together is also very important. If he’s been well exercised mentally and physically, he will enjoy simply snoozing at your feet or on your lap in the evening while you read or watch TV.
Terriers are quick to react to callers or unusual noises with a warning bark. Some are more reactive and persistent than others, and teaching a good response to the requests of ‘Speak’ and ‘Shush’ is very useful for a quiet life. If you teach your Terrier or Dachsund to bark when asked, it will not only mean he can have a good ‘shout’ when it’s convenient for you both, such as outside on a walk, but also that you can quieten him more easily when he barks indoors.
Many Terriers and Dachsunds enjoy sitting on a deep windowsill or other piece of furniture and simply watching the world go by. If your dog is quick to bark, however, it would be advisable to restrict his ability to see outside so as not to overstimulate him, and to teach him to be quiet on command.
On occasions when you can’t adequately exercise him outdoors, training exercises and games such as hiding treats around the house, will help to prevent boredom.
Terriers and Dachsunds generally take well to indoor kennels (sometimes known as crates) and enjoy the peace that comes with being in their own den-like space. Put a blanket over the top and three sides to make it as cosy as possible for a dog that likes to be ‘undergound’, and place some comfortable bedding and a safe tasty chew toy inside.
An indoor kennel is also a great place for him to rest unsupervised, keeping him and your household possessions safe. It is important to ensure these types of dog are accustomed to short periods of solitude from a young age so that they can happily snooze for a couple of hours in a safe, dog-proof room without you when required. Exercise him before you leave so he is toileted and ready to relax, and hide a safe reat-filled chew-toy for him to find in your absence. This should prevent him barking for company, or becoming destructive in order to entertain himself.
Since food is such an important part of what makes a dog happy, it makes little sense simply to offer a bowl of food to be eaten in seconds twice a day. Instead, make mealtimes longer-lasting and more interesting by devising different ways of providing your Terrier’s or Dachsund’s daily allowance.
This dog-type’s natural desire to hunt and burrow can be stimulated by putting up to 30% of his dry food in a ballpit, or scattering and hiding it around the garden on dry days for him to hunt for. Try placing up to 10% of his dry daily food allowance in a variety of food-dispensing toys for him to play with, and another 5% as rewards for obedience and tricks.
Feed the rest in two meals every day (morning and evening) so that your dog will always continue to see you as a ‘parental’ food provider.
If feeding wet food, use other more convenient treats as rewards in training, but be careful to include them when calculating his daily requirements. Feed him in at least two meals per day, but in one main meal of half his allowance and up to 4-5 smaller portions for the other half in varying locations so that he has to think and be active in seeking them out.
As long as you are following daily feeding guidelines (see dog food packaging) overall each day and monitoring your dog’s weight to keep him in ideal body condition, don’t worry if the resulting amount you put in his bowl looks small, and certainly don’t add more. Provided he has had his daily food allocation and you are feeding a complete diet, he will have all the nutrients and energy he needs to help him stay happy and healthy.