“I am because my little dog knows me”.
I love this quote. It would apply to any dog that blesses our lives with their endearing character and noble souls. I met a little dog recently. An exceptional little dog. Back in March, I put out a model call for breed champions in order to create a series of fun blogs that look to the past where dogs were bred for specific tasks to help humans. Now, don’t get me wrong, mixed breed dogs have regal bearing and make wonderful assistants/companions in life. I’ll have a model call for a rescue/mix breed later this summer. For the purpose of this series, though, I am looking at detailed distinctions that go back hundreds to thousands of years. The first model of the series is named, Waffles. She is a Smooth Coated Fox Terrier. A sensational little gal with a completely secure self awareness. We had an incredibly fun session. Ground squirrels? Read on!
Waffles full registered name is GCH Wildwoof Raylynn Coal Miner’s Daughter. Pretty, isn’t it? The GCH stands for “Grand Champion”. You may be asking, “why the long name?” and it would be an excellent question. Or, as The BFG would say, “You asked me right”. Long names became tradition and then preferred as a means to identify breeding kennels. A potential buyer could look back many, many generations to determine the legitimacy and health of the dog they were buying. It also lent a brand, if you will, for the purpose of creating a recognizable kennel. In some ways, the process is very similar to racehorses whose names are combinations or parallels of the sire and dam. With dogs, it is up to the owner or kennel to add in a “call name” (the name with which the dog will be spoken to/called). I’ve seen it done with and without the call name.
As for the Grand Champion title, a dog must “obtain a total of 25 points with three major wins (a major win is worth three points or higher) to become a Grand Champion” [akc.org]. I’ve learned over the years how hard it can be to earn majors in our neck of the woods. We don’t have a lot of unusual breeds in the West. To earn a major, you have to attend a show with a certain number of your breed entered. The number entered determines the points given. And, you have to find as many shows as possible with good numbers of entries. Whew! It is hard! For that reason, I was impressed to hear that Waffles was not EIGHTH but actually the SIXTH Smooth Coated Fox Terrier in the nation last year! So close to the top four which are invited to the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club show. I think Waffles would have been number one, if I were a judge. She is gorgeous!!!
Smooth Coated Fox Terriers were once a hardworking breed. They are believed to have originated in England in the 18th century. In fact, it is noted that a large number of terrier breeds originated from the Fox Terrier during this time. They were developed by dog breeders looking for “a game, fearless, hardy workmanlike terrier, intelligent, active with an exceedingly good memory and quick enough to catch rats and other vermin above ground, whilst small enough to go to ground, all combined with being a very good looker” [http://www.smoothfoxterrierassociation.co.uk]. Although, they were most often used to flush fox from dens. Fox hunters preferred them because they did not look like a fox (less chance of harming the dog during the hunt) and respected the terrier tenacity to pursue prey. Pictured below is an image of Waffles seeking out a ground squirrel we found during our session. She was so animated and focused! It was fascinating to watch the carefully bred genes at work. Disclaimer: I promise no ground squirrels were hurt! We left it in peace to continue on as it wished.
Waffles was the first Smooth Coated Fox Terrier I have met, in person. She was so enjoyable, causing me to smile with her various expressions and to laugh from her kisses. If you’ve never seen one, go visit a local kennel club show to watch this and other breeds. We have a local show coming up, in fact. The Spokane Kennel Club annual show arrives May 27 & 28th at the fairgrounds. Just keep in mind that terriers are not inclined toward obedience and their super high prey drive make them unreliable off leash. They are a challenge, for sure, but so fun! Wonderful little dogs.