Around 1999, I was on the look-out for a tiny Jack Russell terrier pup.
I had the exact image of what I was wanting:
Red head, with white blaze from nape to nose
more than 10" at the shoulder when fully grown, but preferably 8" maximum.
This proved very hard, but I knew they existed as I had seen a dog of this description in 1994, with a black bitch of the same size (and she was heavily pregnant).
I had my heart set on a tiny Jack, but then a good friend, Paul "Worzel" Raistrick, a true terrier man (who sadly passed away in January 2001), told me of his friend's Border Lakeland pups. So I went to see the 5 month old pups. He had 2 bitches left, 1 was black & the other was tan.
I fell for the black one, but my wife preferred the tan.
A bit of gentle persuasion, and I bought the black bitch and named her Ginny.
At 6 months old, I took her on her 1st hunting trip on a local farm that lets me hunt the rabbits.
As usual, the farm's 2 Border Collies came noisily to meet me, but Ginny was having none of it, and saw them both off with their tails between their legs.
I worked the top part of the land, well away from the farmhouse, and she happily followed the rabbit runs under the Gorse,
Brushwood, Heather & Brambles.
We didn't catch any rabbits, but I was pleased with how she worked the land.
A couple of weeks later I took her out again, I went to Malham, North Yorkshire, with a couple of friends George, Dennis & Rammy.
George took his .177 Theoben Sirocco 2000, 2 ferrets & his purse nets.
Dennis took a ferret.
Rammy took Doc his lurcher, 2 ferrets & purse nets.
I took Ginny, my .22 BSA Mercury S, 3 ferrets & my purse nets.
As we worked the land with the ferrets, Ginny was watching the pile of rabbits build up, and guarding them from Doc, George, Rammy & Dennis. Every time they came near, she would snarl at them, or chase Doc away.
One rabbit bolted from an un-netted hole, and Ginny set off after it. Doc spotted her in chase, and set off in pursuit, soon over-taking her & snatching the rabbit. So Ginny chased him back, and
then went back to guarding the pile of caught rabbits.
Dennis & Rammy went in one direction, and George & I went another. After about an hour of ferreting, with Ginny being a shadow (she walked in every footprint I made, and even followed me over a 6' wall as if it was a 2' staircase), we met back up & set off home with our large catch of rabbits.
That was Ginny's 1st expedition, and at 11 month old, she was entered to rat. Ginny has a real fire in her belly, and wants to kill anything that moves, regardless of its size.
In August 2001, a friend's terrier bitch had a litter of 5 pups, she had been mated to Ginny's Uncle. I went to see the pups, and I chose a dog when they were 5 week old.
I brought him home at 8 week old & I named him Tak, at
10 weeks old I took him on his 1st hunting trip to the local plantation.
I shot a grey squirrel with the air rifle, and presented it to Tak, who licked it and sniffed it for nearly 10 minutes. I made it move with my foot, and he pounced on it as if it were going to escape. After a game of toss & fetch, with the distance gradually increasing. Tak carried the squirrel readily.
Tak has developed a keen nose for squirrel, and will find any squirrel droppings in the plantation and roll in it with excitement. When a squirrel is shot in the trees, he runs for it as soon as it hits the floor. He has proved himself as a bushing dog, being self-taught by searching the Brambles & ferns for squirrels.
I eagerly await the day he will catch a squirrel himself, without me having to shoot it first.
In late Summer 2002, I bred Tak & Ginny, and got a litter of 6, all with homes waiting before they reached 5 week old. And in Autumn 2002, I had Tak castrated.
Ginny readily works rat, but Tak hasn't met one yet, I am currently looking for permission where I can work Ginny, and enter Tak to rat. Once he sees Ginny in killing mode, with rats running for their lives, I hope it will kick in with him too.
I don't see why it shouldn't.