I think what makes a terrier is their jaunty gait, their love of life,
their humor, their confidence, their intensity, their hunting
instinct and their love of people. Terriers are feisty little
characters with fun in their hearts and love in their eyes,
self-assured and hard to frighten. For example, I was walking my Welsh terrier
Hoover when we met a little boy in an electric wheelchair. Most dogs
would be hesitant to approach such a strange contraption, but not
Hoover! He went right up to it so the little boy could pet him.
Terriers are also tough. Hoover holds his own running and playing with Great Danes and rambunctious Labs. He won't start a fight, but he stands up for himself, telling them when to back off.
Terriers, though intelligent, are independent thinkers, which sometimes makes them difficult to train. You have to convince them that they really want to please you. Terriers also make wonderful trainers themselves, training their owners well and usually without the owner's knowledge.
I love their gait. It is a cocky little strut that says, "Look at me! Aren't I wonderful?" Hoover has this wonderful way of bouncing over things. You can just see how much joy he has in jumping. He gives it his own style and makes it look effortless. Just watching him cheers me up. When I'm down he tries to make me laugh and feel better. Watching my Welshie run across the yard with a ball or prance along at the end of his leash cheers and soothes my soul.
They can Go, Go, Go...or be a couch potato. Terriers love to cuddle, if they are not too independent. The independent ones never admits they want to cuddle. They are the mischievous, clever little ones who delight in getting in trouble, and it is hard to be angry at those cute, fuzzy faces.
Terriers also have intensity and single-mindedness. You can see this when they chase squirrels and rabbits (or rats! Right, Hoover?). They can seem deaf at some of these times, but they are listening to you. They are just choosing to ignore you. Terriers love to be where the action is and with people they love. They are active and agile. Hoover once jumped on top of a round agility tunnel and balanced there just like a lumberjack on a log!
Terriers, like most dogs, are loving and loyal, but they add spice to life. You can't take life too seriously when you have a terrier by your side. He won't let you!