Does size matter?
Submitted by Pat Waterhouse
There seems to be an increasing trend in many breeds of dogs to increase the size. Why is this the case? I’ve seen it happen in many of the breeds I’ve been in; Dobermanns being a prime example of this. I know many owners of Manchester Terriers bemoan the fact that they “aren’t the size they used to be” and are becoming bigger.
This trend is now very noticeable in the English Toy Terrier. Whilst it is totally undesirable to return to the pocket size they were many years ago, when does bigger become too big?
The breed standard is 10/12 inches, weight 6 – 8lbs yet few in the ring seem to achieve this.
Does this matter? Is it due to the introduction of the Toy Manchester Terrier?
I believe this is a major factor. Whilst I agree that the TMT was needed to widen the gene pool, I also agree with the wise words of a very well known and respected breeder, who has written the only book about the ETT.
He told me “you use them once and send them on their way”.
I do concede that TMT pups seem to be small when first produced from a cross mating, but when the offspring produce pups they do become heavier and taller. I need to delve further into pedigrees to see why this is the case.
Should the breed standard be changed to take the larger dogs into account? Does it need to be? Once again I believe not but, neither should the larger dogs be removed from the gene pool as with such a limited vulnerable breed we need every healthy dog to be available.
Personally I own varying sizes but all the bitches are within the current breed standard. The bitch seems to be the major influence regarding size.
Most of my boys are (to me) what I consider to be large, yet when used on a small bitch she produces small, healthy, strong pups.
One of my home bred boys has recently sired a litter of 8 pups when put to a larger bitch. All the pups are a good healthy size and doing well.
Do the smaller ones fit into everyday life? I can certainly confirm that they do! In fact their smaller size seems to be combined with a very large personality. I would hate to see them return to being ‘pocket dogs’. I equally would hate them to become more like the Manchester Terrier in size.
So yes, in my opinion, size does matter. Aim for the breed standard where possible and keep true to our beloved native breed, change the breed standard and we will lose this vulnerable breed for ever.