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Why Weight?


While breed standards in the rest of the world re- flect an ideal height only for Manchester Terriers and both an ideal height and weight for English Toy Terriers, in North America the breed is and always has been judged according to weight. Wonder why? Well, the answer speaks directly to the original de- velopment of the breed almost 200 years ago.


The most convincing evidence of this can be found through examining writings on the breed and its forebearers over time. For example, early historical references from the late-18th and early-19th cen- turies make no mention of weight and, in fact, very little reference to size at all. As the sport of rat bait- ing became more popular from 1830 to the 1850s, however, weight became a common accompani- ment to descriptions of black and tans and com- petitors in general.


KEEPING SCORE


In the world of rat baiting, the number of rats a dog had killed at the end of a match was paramount— and a source of many arguments.


To quell fights, a simple method of determining if a rat was dead or alive was designed. Using chalk, a circle about the size of a dinner plate was drawn. Questionable rats were placed in the centre of the circle. The poor rat would receive a sharp whack to its tail with the edge of a piece of wood and, if this “encouragement” inspired him to wriggle out of the circle, he was pronounced alive.


If he was too


far gone or mortally injured to do so, he was pro- nounced dead – whether he agreed or not!


The reason for this is likely one of competition rath- er than practicality. While breeds that were bred to


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