The English white terrier became extinct because it was impossible to control deafness in a all white breed, and the bull terrier fanciers in England began to cross in another strain of bull terrier, which eventually became called the Staffordshire bull terrier, to add other colors to the breed to mitigate deafness.
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The Cradle of the White Terrier
Unfortunately, you cannot stun fellow bully lovers with a perfect understanding of this terriers origins. Nobody holds that pearl. Since the 18th century, terriers existed in all shapes and sizes in the United Kingdom, possibly even earlier. None were specific breeds as the term would define today. There were no pedigrees nor consistent form that passed between parent to offspring.
The term “terrier” was fixed to any dog going to earth and hunting prey underground, including rabbits, foxes, and badgers. Among this motley crew were individuals with white coats and perky ears.
During the 1860s and 1870s, ring craft mania hit England and enthusiasts began creating breeds left and right. Many so-called breeds popped up, often with invented histories to give the appearance of pedigree.
The White Terriers journey began when a small group of people singled out the white dogs and called it the English White Terrier. This was essentially its show name and not much else. From the start, the dog struggled to breed to form, as a pure-bred must. Owners claimed that those born with erect ears, which was the desired look, was a different breed from those with floppy ears. In truth, they were the same and puppies with both ear types were often found in the same litter.
During the dogs peak popularity, large numbers were shown and won prizes, despite the claims and physical differences among the dogs.
Even after breeding happened in a more controlled manner, no useful records were kept. If they were, no useful examples survive today which is a great pity. Such paperwork wouldve revealed which breeds enhanced the original white terriers. However, it isnt hard to see why the most popular contenders include the Whippet and Italian Greyhound.
Some English White Terriers were more stocky, but most had the Greyhounds swan neck and chest. They had the same beautiful slope to the body and the keen gaze of a sighthound. The earliest breeders in the 1800s did not introduce the hounds (if they were indeed the Whites ancestors).
To their credit, fanciers of the White did not invent a dazzling (and false) backstory for their breed. Some acknowledged the possible influence coming from the hound group, as well as not having a clue as to who created the prototype White before them and for what purpose.
An old photo showing a stockier example of the breed.
The English White had a lot in common with todays Bull Terriers. It was compact, with a ready energy, possessed a pure white coat, and also shared the “cat toes” and oval eyes. The White was among the earliest (some say the first) terriers to be bred for competitive showing. Weighing 12–20 pounds, the only color allowed was the black nose and eyes.
Unlike todays show bullies, a White with a patch or colored coat was disqualified. The ears were said to be graceful and hung close to the head. Some puppies were born with naturally erect ears, but they flopped over, the animals ears were commonly cropped to gain the same effect. The flat skull was wedge-shaped with lean cheeks and delicate lips.
Despite their frailty, the dogs were muscular. They had a very trim look that enhanced the elegance of their Greyhound-like curves. The neck was long and slender, the body short and the chest narrow. The legs were perfectly straight and placed directly under the body.
The tail was of average length, thick at the base and thinning towards the point. In some dogs, the tail appeared to be almost straight and ideally should never be carried higher than the back. The hallmark of the dog was, of course, the clean white coat. The hair was short, hard and glossy.
The young breed was doomed by three major factors: the desire for a porcelain coat, the use of defective studs and broods, and a weakening constitution. In the animal world, a white coat comes with a host of serious genetic disorders. In white dogs and cats, a propensity for deafness is common, and the English White was no exception.
Today, ethical breeders try their best to avoid matches that might produce such dogs. Sadly, English White specimens, known to be deaf or partially deaf, were bred regardless. This sped up the rate at which the problem affected the breed. Soon, so many dogs displayed some degree of deafness that the group as a whole was considered useless for hunting.
Nobody wanted a puppy with possible hearing problems. In the field, such an animal would fail to pick up on the preys movements. Since it was no longer a working terrier, the White began its slippery slide into physical frailty.
What is wrong with bull terriers?
The Bull Terrier is fairly healthy, but genetic health problems that have been seen in the breed include heart disease, deafness, luxating patellas and eye disorders, such as ectropion and keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or dry eye. … Bull Terriers are big eaters so it’s important to keep an eye on their weight.
Extinct. Not recognized as a breed by any major kennel club. The Bull and terrier is an extinct type of dog.
How did the English white terrier go extinct?
What is the original Bull Terrier?
The English White Terrier is partly known for the health issues they had, which was the main reason why they became extinct. Due to being inbred, most of these dogs were deaf. Many English White Terriers were even bred with the owner knowing that the puppies would be completely deaf.
Do all Bull Terriers have egg shaped heads?