Re-paw-ter Douglas’s “Did ye ken?”
A wee series of fascinating facts about Scottish Terriers by Douglas
One: A brief wee history o’ Scotties and a famous statue o’ a braw wee dug.
Youse probably a’ ken aboot this wee dug here in the picture. He’s the maist famous dug in Edinburgh and his name is Greyfriar’s Bobby.
If ye dinnae ken aboot him, well he wis a wee Skye Terrier whase maister died in 1858. This braw wee dug then spent 14 years guarding the grave o his maister until he crossed the rainbow brig in 1872.
During those years the bairns o Edinburgh looked aifter him, and he was even gied the keys o the city. And a statue wis placed ootside the graveyard. He’s Edinburghs little mermaid, Nelson’s Column or Mannekin Pis.
For those o you what are keen at arithmetic you’d work out that this year is 150 years since he died. And us fowks and dugs in Edinburgh huv been marking his passing. Ye see he is so famous that he wis even played by Lassie in a film. Imagine that. A daft wee rough haired collie lassie playin a wee terrier laddie! Only they Americans wid dae that.
Ony way, whit’s this wee Skye Terrier got tae dae wi Scotties? I hear youse ask.
Well ah’ll tell ye.
Ye see- us braw wee diehard Scotties were no really officially recognized tae be the glorious wee beasties we are until 1883, even though we had been around for one or two years previously. Before that there wis a a general agreement that there were only twa types o terriers in the UK. The smooth haired and vastly inferior English terrier and the pure braw Scotch Terrier: ‘low in stature, wi a strong muscular body, short stout legs, a heid large in proportion tae the body. Generally of a sandy colour or black, wi a long matted and hard coat”
But the term scotch terriers was jist a generalization. Most folks even called them SKYE TERRIERS. See whaur am goin wi this?
It wisnae til a few years efter wee Bobby deid that the Scotch/skye terrier wis bred intae the various ones we ken the day: Skye, Dandie Dinmont, Westie, Cairn and, drum roll, Scotties!-and it wisnae until 1879 that the first recognizable wee Scottie was exhibited at Alexandra Palace. 4 years later the Birmingham dug show (crufts!) finally deigned tae differentiate and recognize oor superiority.
So- when wee Bobby popped his clogs, we didnae officially exist. We were a’ jist thocht o’ as wee Skye terriers like him.
That means, my fellow Scotties, that, even tho’ we look nuthin like him noo , we are a’ the bairns o’ this famous wee dug. His Skye Terrier blood flows through us all. Even though he hud floppy ears and a flatter face.
So, next time youse are in Edinburgh, go pay a wee visit tae his statue and give him a wee pat on his heid. He could be yer great great great great great great great great great great grandpaw.
And efter youse huv paid yer respects tae him- yer ancestor whaes bravery and fidelity are worthy o’ any Scottie dug- come and say hello tae ME.