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Jack Russell Terrier sitting in dog basket with toy.

Meet the Terrier Group

1 min read
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Two hundred and five American Kennel Club-recognized dog breeds compete for Best In Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, presented by Purina® PRO PLAN®.

Terrier Group

The two-night competition kicks off in New York City with the Group competitions. The Terrier Group is the seventh and final Group to take the ring before the Best In Show judging.


Terrier Group History

The word “Terrier” comes from the Latin word “terra,” which means “ground.” Their name is a nod to their ability to “go to ground” to pursue their quarry of rats, foxes and other vermin.

Almost every breed in the Terrier Group originated in the United Kingdom. The exceptions are the Australian Terrier, American Hairless Terrier and the Miniature Schnauzer.


Terrier Dog Breeds

The American Kennel Club (AKC) Terrier Group is full of spunky, fiery dogs, ranging from small to large. Their ancestors were bred to hunt and kill vermin.

Many continue to project the attitude they’re always eager for a spirited discussion. Most Terriers have wiry coats and need special grooming. In general, they make engaging pets. They require owners with the determination to match their dogs’ lively characters, though.

Terrier dog breeds include all the following dogs and more.

  • Airedale Terrier: As the largest breed in the Group, the Airedale is often referred to as the “King of Terriers.” Airedales worked during WWI and later as police and guard dogs, K-9 cops and more.
  • American Hairless Terrier: ;The American Hairless Terrier originated in Louisiana. Surprisingly, the breed comes in both hairless and coated varieties. The hairless variety makes an ideal pet for those with allergies.
  • Australian Terrier: The Australian Terrier is among the smallest working Terriers in the Group. They guarded against snakes and other small vermin. These fiercely loyal companions were the first native breed recognized in Australia.
  • Bull Terrier: The breed originated by crossing Bulldogs with Terriers to produce fighters. They were later refined to produce a more companionable temperament. Now, you may recognize the Bull Terrier as Bullseye, the mascot for Target®.
  • Cairn Terrier: The Cairn’s history dates back to the 1600s in Scotland. Farmers used them to flush out rodents from “cairns” or rock piles. You may know the most famous Cairn Terrier as Toto from the Wizard of Oz.
  • Miniature Schnauzer: The most popular of the Schnauzers, the Miniature’s lengthy history dates back to the 15th He’s the only breed in the Terrier Group with no ties to an existing British Terrier breed.
  • Parson Russell Terrier: Reverend John “The Sporting Parson” Russell created the breed which bears his name in the 1800s for foxhunting. Most PRTs do little foxhunting these days, but they’re still creative problem solvers.
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier: Although the Staffie’s history closely aligns with that of the Bull Terrier, this breed made a name for itself as a “nanny dog” for children.


Fun Facts About the Terrier Group

  • In 2019, the Wire Fox Terrier became the twelfth of the last thirteen Best In Show champions to choose the advanced nutrition of Purina PRO PLAN.*
  • The Norfolk Terrier, fueled by Purina® PRO PLAN®, earned the Group win in 2018.*
  • The Wire Fox Terrier is the winningest breed in the Group with 23 Group wins.**
  • Forty-seven Best In Show champions have come from the Terrier Group—the most of any Group.
  • The newest breed in the Terrier Group is the American Hairless Terrier. He made his debut at the 2017 WKC dog show.
  • The Miniature Schnauzer is the most popular of the Schnauzer breeds, but it hasn’t won the Group since 1947.

*The handler or owner of these champions may have received Purina PRO PLAN dog food as Purina ambassadors.

**Since the Group Competition started in 1924.