Historically the hunting terrier was a small type of dog which pursues its quarry into the earth. The name dates back to at least 1440, derived from early modern French (chien) terrier – from the Medieval Latin terrarius from the Latin terra (earth). With the growth of popularity of fox-hunting in Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries, terriers were extensively bred to follow the red fox, and also the Eurasian badger, into its underground burrow, referred to as ”terrier work” and ”going to ground”. The purpose of the terrier is that it locates the quarry, and either bark and bolt it free or to a net, or trap or hold it so that it can be dug down to and killed or captured.
The majority of the Swedish hunting foxterriers are still used in the same way, as an underground hunting dog for fox or badger. From later part of 1800 century until the later part of 1970th they were the dominating breed for underground hunting. Due to several different reasons the number of foxterriers decreased in Sweden from 1980th, the foxes that suffered of Sarcoptes scabiei, and new breeds like the german hunting terrier, and the borderterrier where introduced at the same time.
Today the breed has recovered and the number of registered litters after hunting parents has increased and people do appreciate the foxterrier, as a good foxhunter but also with hunting skills in other areas. Tracking of wounded animals (due to traffic or hunting accidents) is an area very well fitting for the foxterrier.
If you look into my web page it is shown that they can be used also in other hunting situations. The text is in Swedish, but some of “my” dogs are used also for elk hunting, deer and other animals that can be tracked.
Järvsöstigens Silva is used in very special ways. She is now owned by a good friend and they use her, of course for underground but also for tracking other animals. One person is holding her in a leash and she then follows a scent trail. Using this method 19 elks has been shot for her during three hunting seasons. Other animals that have fallen for her are fox, hare and deer. She is also often used as tracker for animals injured after car accidents or poor shots at hunting.