by Lord Decies 1903
Sir, -i was much interested in the remarks in your last weeks edition of the Field on the Westmoreland and Cumberland working terriers, and, having kept a book for twenty years of particulars respecting the terrier i have had running with hounds in that district, i can give a good deal of information on the subject.
I do not think there is a terrier running with the Ullswater Foxhounds at the present moment which has not got the blood of my terriers in its veins. The terrier required in the mountain district is a very active, lathy one, rather leggy (to get up cliffs and to be able to jump the high sheep walls), with plenty of good weather-resisting coat, narrow in the chest, about 15lb, or 16lb. in weight, and most be able to creep into any wet drain and stay there without feeling the cold. I found fox terriers a perfect failure-they never stood the wet and cold. The punishment of the hill foxes is terrible, as in the cairns they are often above the terrier on a ledge, and cut them to pieces when trying to climb up and tackle them. The story of little Corby, mentioned as having killed three foxes in one hole is quite correct; the foxes weighted afterwards, and took 62lb. down on the scales. She was by my Sweep out of a Patterdale bitch full of my old terrier Blondin’s breed. The later was a dwarf pedigree Bedlington, and was much used as a stud dog to improve hill terriers; he had a grand nose, and could run a line as well as a foxhound. The principle terrier i have lent Bowman during the last sixteen years were Prince, a grizzled colored real hill terrier, the best i ever owned, and would face any drain nearly full of water; he was killed underground in Wales by two badgers after running with different pacs in Cumberland; Red Tinker, the tap root of many of the present day Patterdale Terriers, the longest-headed terrier i ever saw running with hounds, and very savage; he went bind from punishment at fox and badger, and had to be destroyed; Blondin, a dwarf blue Bedlington, and sire of some grand stock in the Ullswater district, was worried by the hounds in December 1887; Merry, blue and tan bitch, the best pluck, ran well with Ullswater Foxhounds, and was killed by a badger afterwards.
Tinker II, by Old Red Tinker out of the dam of Prince was a beautiful stamp, and ran with hounds before he was one year old; supposed to have got wedged into some cairn, where he died; he was last seen running with hounds and never turned up again. Glitter and Midge were hardy little specimens; the latter died out hunting. Old Spot, a perfect champion underground, dropped down dead when standing among the pack; was well known from his top lip being missing, having been torn off by a badger. Banter II, a little blue, black and tan, was an excellent stamp for fell hunting, and did well with hounds; unfortunately, a runaway horse killed him before he had sired any puppies. Jenny, a little cream-coloured bitch with a flesh colored nose, weighting about 14lb. was, perhaps, the hardest terrier that ever went to ground, and was killed in a pipe with otter hounds. When the drain was opened she was found dead and locked to the otter, her windpipe being severed.
Bowman thought her a perfect little wonder. Weasel, a beautiful little dark blue bitch, one of the handsomeness of them all, was drowned in Long Sleddale Beck when trying to swim over in a flood after the foxhounds, and her body was recovered the next day, April 1, 1896. Scamp, another terrier which got much good stock in the Fell district, was a black and tan with a coat as hard as iron, and was a wonder to climb up the ledges in the cairns; he killed the first fox he went to ground at-a 19lb. dog fox; he was not unlike a Welsh terrier in appearance.
Sweep, perhaps one of the hardest of all these terriers, and was the sire of much stock in the mountain district. A black-blue dog, he was the sire of the celebrated Corby and her equally hard sister Brandy, both coming to untimely ends; all his stock were lathe, active and dean game. Nancy, a light linty bitch, was the damn of the grand puppies. and herself was absolutely fearless; a mask of a 20lb. Fox she killed in an earth hangs near me as i write these lines, Bowman, the huntsman, always said she was about the best he ever had; she was lost out otter hunting and never seen again. A sire much used in the mountain country was a little blue dog i had called Piper, one of the very hardest. He had a peculiarity of standing perfectly quietly outside an earth until let loose and told to go; instead of straining and tearing all the time, he waited for his turn, be when he did do there was no chance of a fox living unless it bolted at once. He was much disfigured by the loss of a lip, and his fault was he settled all his foxes underground. Having kept a complete list of all the terriers i sent to Bowman for about 16 years, with their weights, colour, and breed, I can give any of your readers a good deal of information about Patterdale terriers and their breeding if they wish to go in for them. All the terriers i have mentioned belonged to me, and so i write with some knowledge as to the breed and their powers. I have had scores more, which i have no written about; but have given the names of the principal ones which were mostly bred from. The last i sent toBowman went by rail to him yesterday, and i hope will be as good as the former ones. I believe Bowman has haunted the Ullswater Foxhounds well over twenty years on foot and killed an immense number of foxes, and i do not suppose he has ever ridden a horse with them in his life, or bothered to take off a wet coat and dry it. I never owned a terrier which killed a wild badger. I read of its being done, and how badgers are dawn from their earth, &c., by terrier. When i see it down, i will believe in it being possible.