Tenterfield Terrier Terrier
The Tenterfield Terrier is a small, lightweight terrier dog like the Miniature Fox Terriers, and Rat Terriers. The Tenterfield Terrier has English origins but, like dog breeds such as the Miniature Fox Terrier, the Australian Terrier, the Silky Terrier, and the Australian Cattle Dog, was developed uniquely in Australia.
The origins of the Tenterfield Terrier are somewhat obscure. It is generally believed that smaller puppies from the litters of Fox Terriers were crossed with the progeny of other small breeds. By the late 1800s a dog type known as the Little Foxie or the Miniature Fox Terrier was well established in rural Australia. By the 1920s the dog was a fixture in urban households as well.
The name Tenterfield Terrier was suggested in the 1990s by Don Burke, a television personality of the era, and was adopted by the South Australian Miniature Fox Terrier club.
In 1991 a group of enthusiasts from the state of South Australia formed the autonomous Miniature Fox Terrier Club of South Australia, separate to the Miniature Fox Terrier Club of Australia, which had been operating for some time. In 1992 they met with owners from other states to discuss the future of the Clubs. At that time, it became evident that there were differences as to the preferred type of dog that would represent the Miniature Fox Terrier breed. Further, challenges to the name “Miniature Fox Terrier” were being mounted, and threatened to preclude recognition by an All-Breed club, which was a priority among some breeders. In 1993 fanciers from South Australia and other states formed the Tenterfield Terrier Club of Australia. The breed standard of the Tenterfield Terrier differs from that of the Miniature Fox Terrier, and although they are sometimes confused, the two dogs have been developing along divergent lines for over twenty years and are now separate breeds.
The tireless efforts of Tenterfield Terrier dog owners were rewarded in 2002 when the Tenterfield Terrier was recognized by the Australian National Kennel Council and placed in Group 2, Terriers.
As of 2004, the Tenterfield Terrier dog is a breed under development. There is still variation in the types of dog seen in the show ring from state to state. These differences are small and of little interest to the average dog owner. For breeders and fanciers, however, foot shape, ear shape, color, and other conformation points have the capacity to change the future look of a breed, and are of the utmost importance. Like the breeders of all other dogs, Tenterfield Terrier breeders work to improve their breeding lines and to assure standardization of type.