Terrier dog refers to a dog originally bred to hunt vermin such as mice, rabbits, otters, and weasels. It is specifically designed to go down narrow pathways or holes in the ground. In fact, the word terrier is derived from the Latin term terra, which means earth in reference to dogs hunting underground. This type of dog is registered in the breed registries of The Kennel Club under the Terrier Group category.


Terrier dogs have existed since ancient times or as early as the Middle Ages and have appeared on paintings, old documents and transcripts. Dogs in the Terrier category vary in shapes and sizes. Although they may exhibit some common traits such as a strong prey drive, tenacity, audacity, intelligence and high energy levels, each is unique on its own with distinct differences.

The Terrier Group is made up of three subgroups based on their size, types and functions:

  • Working Terriers are hunter type terriers that track and kill vermin, badgers, fox, racoons, and opossums. However, the Hunting Act 2006 has outlawed terrier work unless gamekeepers comply with the conditions.
  • Toy Terriers are original terrier dog breeds that were bred down in size to become family pets or companions.
  • Bull-type Terriers are mixed dogs from crossing terrier type dogs and bulldogs. These dogs were initially developed in the past for dog fighting and bullfighting, which are now banned.

Each country categorises every dog differently based on size or tradition. Some dogs in The Kennel Club registered under the Terrier Group are classified by other kennel clubs as belonging to the Utility, Non-Sporting or Companion Group.

Want a dog from the Terrier Group? Here is a list of all the dogs registered under the Toy Group of The Kennel Club in the UK.
Terrier Dog Highlights:
  • Terrier dogs are easy to groom.
  • They are intelligent, lively and playful.
  • They require a moderate level of exercise.
  • They are always up for a bit of cuddle.
  • Small terrier dogs are not costly to feed.

While most terrier dogs share certain common traits, some factors will likely affect how they will turn out as adult dogs. These factors include the environment, training and socialisation so before you decide to buy a terrier-type of dog, do your research.

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