Edward Armfield was a prolific and popular artist who specialised in paintings of terriers ratting and sporting dogs. Terriers had long been used for sports other than fighting and for centuries had been used to control vermin. The Victorian era was age of pet portraits, with the most important influence on their popularity being Queen Victoria who owned an extensive number of dog breeds including terriers. This created a demand for portraits of dogs and artists such as Armfield flourished. Although he had a large output, Armfield occasionally completed a picture far superior to his other paintings, as in this example here. His style is similar to that of George Armfield (1820-1893) to whom he is thought to have been related.
A number of his works can be found in museums and art galleries including the Leamington Spa Art Gallery and the Brighton & Hove Museum.