THE WIRE-HAIR FOX-TERRIER 215
as the coat is kept down when necessary. Bitches in whelp and after whelping, although ordinarily good-coated, seem to go all wrong in their coats unless properly attended to in this way, and here again, if you wish to keep your bitch free from skin trouble, it is a necessity, in those cases which need it, to use finger and thumb.
If the old hair is pulled out only when it is old, there is no difficulty about it, and no hurt whatever is occasioned to the dog, who does not in reality object at all. If, however, new or fast coat is pulled out it not only hurts the dog but it is also a very foolish thing to do, and the person guilty of such a thing fully merits disqualification.
Most of the nonsense that is heard about trimming emanates, of course, from the ignoramus ; the knife, he says, is used on them all, a sharp razor is run over their coats, they are singed, they are cut, they are rasped (the latter is the favourite term). Anything like such a sweeping condemnation is quite inaccurate and most unfair. It is impossible to cut a hair without being detected by a good judge, and very few people ever do any such thing, at any rate for some months before the terrier is exhibited, for if they do, they know they are bound to be discovered, and, as a fact, are.
When the soft-coated dogs are clipped they are operated on, say, two or three months before they are wanted, and the hair gets a chance to grow, but even then it is easily discernible, and anyone who, like the writer, has any experience of clipping dogs in order to cure them of that awful disease, follicular mange, knows what a sight the animal is when he grows his coat, and how terribly unnatural he looks.
The wire-hair has never been in better state than he is to-day ; he is, generally speaking, far ahead of his predecessors of twenty-five years ago, not only from a show point of view, but also in working qualities. One has only to com
pare the old portraits of specimens of the variety with dogs of
the present day to see this. A good many individual speci
mens of excellent merit, it is true, there were, but they do not