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Terrier Dog Breeds

Terrier Dog BreedsTerrier Dog Breeds

Terriers can be described as busy, feisty, and active.  They prefer to be part of the action and have a real zest for life. 

They make awesome family pets for people who do not keep small pocket pets such as hamsters or gerbils.  Terriers look at these smaller mammals as vermin that must be eliminated. 


Most terriers are easily identified as belonging to this group because "terrier" is part of their name:  Cairn Terriers, Irish Terriers, Scottish Terriers, West Highland White Terriers.

However, Yorkshire Terriers, Tibetan Terriers, and Biewer Terriers are not considered terriers at all according to the American Kennel Club, so don't rely on the name to help you classify these dogs. They are considered Terriers in other organizations such as the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI).

Modern day Terriers can trace their roots back to the British Isles and were originally kept by peasants to control the pest population. 

Many were proven to be tireless "ratters", loyal and determined to serve their humans.  Over time, they became companions as well as working dogs.

Why so Many Different Terrier Dog Breeds?

Why do you need so many different types of terriers to kill a rat or two?

There were a wide variety of terrains in Britain and early terrier breeders had to develop dogs that could adapt to the local conditions.  Some terriers were long-legged and others had short legs. 


Some had smooth coats and others rough ones. Some have silky or wavy coats or even mixed coats.

Eventually some of the members of this group became known as fighting dogs, a sport that has been banned in Britain and the U.S. 

Some of the dogs not recognized by the AKC have terrier blood in their pedigrees.

Terrier Dog Breeds:  More Alike than Different

  • High Energy
  • Intelligence
  • Strong Prey Drive
  • Independent Streak
  • Bark
  • Dig
  • Dog Aggression

What do Terriers Have in Common?

As a group, even though there are differences, terriers are more similar than different.  Beyond size, leg length or coat type, they are all agile, fast and athletic.


They are intelligent, impulsive and very clever.  They are capable of coming up with solutions to problems, whether we agree with their answers or not.

Terriers are also independent and stubborn (at least many are considered stubborn).  Some can be dominant and demanding.  Some are challenging to own, especially when you combine high energy, independence, courageousness, persistence and curiosity. 

All terriers have a strong prey drive and none can be 100% reliable around small pets such as hamsters, gerbils and guinea pigs. 

All have a degree of dog-on-dog aggression. 

All dogs bark and most will dig.


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AKC Terrier Dog Breeds

Airedale Terrier

American Hairless Terrier

Terrier Dog BreedsAmerican Hairless Terrier

American Staffordshire Terrier

Australian Terrier

Terrier Dog BreedsAustralian Terrier

Bedlington Terrier

Border Terrier

Bull Terrier

Cairn Terrier

Terrier Dog BreedsCairn Terrier

Cesky Terrier

Terrier Dog BreedsCesky Terrier

Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Terrier Dog BreedsDandie Dinmont Terrier

Glen of Imaal Terrier

Terrier Dog BreedsGlen of Imaal Terrier

Irish Terrier

Terrier Dog BreedsIrish Terrier

Kerry Blue Terrier

Terrier Dog BreedsKerry Blue Terrier

Lakeland Terrier

Terrier Dog BreedsLakeland Terrier

Manchester Terrier

Miniature Bull Terrier

Terrier Dog BreedsMiniature Bull Terrier

Miniature Schnauzer

Norfolk Terrier

Terrier Dog BreedsNorfolk Terrier

Norwich Terrier

Terrier Dog BreedsNorwich Terrier

Parson Russell Terrier

Terrier Dog BreedsParson Russell Terrier

Rat Terrier

Terrier Dog BreedsRat Terrier

Russell Terrier

Scottish Terrier

Terrier Dog BreedsScottish Terrier

Sealyham Terrier

Terrier Dog BreedsSealyham Terrier

Skye Terrier

Terrier Dog BreedsSkye Terrier

Smooth Fox Terrier

Terrier Dog BreedsSmooth Fox Terrier

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Terrier Dog BreedsSoft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Terrier Dog BreedsStaffordshire Bull Terrier

Welsh Terrier

West Highland White Terrier

Wire Fox Terrier

Terrier Dog BreedsWire Fox Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier

More Terrier Dog Breeds (Non- AKC)

These dogs may be AKC breeds but classified in a different group, such as the Yorkshire Terrier.  Yorkies are part of AKC Toy Group. 

Others are not recognized by AKC, but may be recognized by another large Kennel Club.  A good example of this is the American Pit Bull Terrier.  Pit Bulls are recognized by the United Kennel Club. 

Where appropriate, I have tried to list the kennel club that recognizes the breed.

American Pit Bull Terrier:  UKC

Australian Silky Terrier:  FCI

Austrian Pinscher:  Recognized by the UKC

Brazilian Terrier:  FCI

Danish Swedish Farm Dog:  Recognized by the UKC

Dutch Smoushond:  UKC

German Pinscher:  UKC

German Hunting Terrier (Jagdterrier):  UKC, ANKC

Jack Russell Terrier:  UKC, ANKC, FCI

Japanese Terrier:  UKC, FCI

Mountain Feist:  UKC

Patterdale Terrier:  UKC

Sporting Lucas Terrier:  UKC 

Teddy Roosevelt Terrier:  UKC

Tenterfield Terrier:  ANKC

Treeing Feist: UKC 

Yorkshire Terrier:  FCI

Next Group -- Sporting Dog Breeds

Sporting Breeds


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