Most Terrier Dog Breeds were developed in Great Britain and Ireland. They were used to control rats, rabbits, and foxes both over and under the ground. Some larger Terriers were also used to hunt badgers. In fact, the word Terrier comes from the Middle French Terre, derived from the Latin terra, meaning earth.
If it weren't for the fact that most Terriers, such as the Cairn and the Norfolk, are fairly small, their tenacious nature and boundless energy would make them hard to control. Due to some unscrupulous breeders and unmindful owners, a few Breeds within the terrier group have developed rather notorious reputations. The crossing of Bulldogs and Terriers for the express purpose of creating fighting dogs has produced several dog breeds that can be dangerous in the wrong hands.
Today, most Terriers are kept as companion dogs and family pets. They are generally loyal and affectionate to their owners but can be "big characters" requiring good training.