Lesser Known Dog Breeds - The Shoeshine Terrier


Terriers have a reputation for being tenacious, and perhaps even stubborn at times, none more so than the Shoeshine Terrier, whose role in life is to keep doggedly polishing away to ensure that your shoes are kept in tip-top condition.

The breed originated due to the efforts of Gladwin Teaspoon, the owner of the legendary Sasstrypuss hotel in San Francisco, famed for being the first hotel in the world to offer hang gliding lessons off of its roof and predating the extreme sports craze by several decades.

Always on the look out for ways to enhance the guests stay, Teaspoon conceived of a pack of terriers to fetch, polish, and then return the guests shoes that they left outside their room for cleaning.

They soon proved to be most proficient at the task, and pups were subsequently sent to Teaspoons many contacts and fellow hoteliers.


Italian movie star, Luisa Mentholo, star of the classic "The Thing From The Kitchen Cupboard”,  always kept a Shoe Shine Terrier on hand to ensure that her footwear was kept mirror-like at all times.  Visitors to movie sets in the 1960s could usually find her terrier, Marcelo, curled up under her chair, ready to spring into action between takes. Autograph hunters were sure to request Marcelo's paw print to go alongside his mistresses signature.

Shoe Shine Terriers can still be found prowling the corridors of The Sassytrypuss hotel in the early morning, each one carrying a different colour polish brush in it's mouth to ensure that all hues of shoe are catered for.

In few remarkable cases the dogs have even proved adept in being able to help in the repair of footwear, helping the cobblers by chewing off loose soles to enable their replacement.


Some genetic trait, inherent to the breeds, ensures that Shoe Shine Terrier's coat can only ever be white. Which, unfortunately, isn't the best of colours when you are dealing with shoe polish all day long.