Jack Russell Terrier
|Jack Russell Terrier
Jack Russell Terrier
|Country of origin
|Classification and breed standards
||Group 3 Section 1 #345
||Group 2 (Terriers)
|Not recognized by any major kennel club
|This breed of dog is
|Some kennel clubs consider this the same as a
Parson Russell Terrier.
The Jack Russell Terrier is a type of small
has its origins in
hunting. The name "Jack Russell" has been used for all of the several types
of Russell terrier but is now most commonly used for
terriers similar in form to Parson Russell Terriers. The
Parson Russell Terrier itself was known as the Jack Russell Terrier in
the United States until
2003. In England the name has been used to refer to the Parson Russell
Terrier and to the short-legged type, the Russell Terrier. In Australia
and other countries affiliated with the
Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) a fourth type, the
Australian Jack Russell Terrier, is also talked about but official name is
Jack Russell Terrier. These types are not always considered to be separate
breeds, definitions are still evolving and the naming of the breeds is still
Broken coated JRT
All Russells are small terriers; Jack Russell Terriers vary between 25 and 30
cm at the withers
and Parson Russell Terriers are between 32-38 cm.
They are predominantly white with black, tan, or tricolour markings,
particularly on the face and the base of the tail. They have small V-shaped ears
that usually fold sharply forwards, and strong teeth with a scissor bite.
They have a dense
coat that appears in three varieties: smooth coat, where the topcoat is very
short (approx. 1cm) and stiff; rough coat, where the topcoat is longer (as much
as 10cm long, though usually groomed shorter); and broken, which is used to
describe both dogs with topcoats of intermediate length and dogs that have
longer coats only on some parts of the body (always on the face, frequently on
the head and back, sometimes extending to the shoulders, occasionally everywhere
except the legs).
docking is banned in most countries, tails are often seen docked to about
four inches (100 mm) long and held high and upright. When not docked, the tail
should be straight for show dogs.
The breed has a sturdy and robust appearance and an outgoing character; breed
standards emphasize that the Jack Russell must have a 'keen expression'.
Jack Russells make excellent pets for the right owners.
Jack Russell Terriers are considered an intelligent, high-energy breed. Their
compact size, friendly and inquisitive nature, and intelligence make them
popular as pets. Built for speed and strength, they will always be ready to
play. However, they require consistent training and a good deal of attention and
exercise to maintain their temperament and to occupy their minds. Jack Russells
who are not trained on a consistent basis, or are not exercised regularly, may
occasionally exhibit aggressive or unmanageable behaviour, including excessive
barking, escaping from the yard, or digging in unwanted places inside and
outside the house. In America, several Jack Russell rescue networks have to work
constantly to find temporary and permanent homes for JRTs whose owners could not
meet these requirements for keeping JRTs as house pets.
They will bark if startled by a sound, which makes them a good security
A well-cared-for Jack Russell can live for over 15 years.
A young Australian Jack Russell
Russell terriers were first bred by the
Reverend Mr. John Russell, a parson and hunting enthusiast born in 1795. In
his last year of university at Oxford he bought a small white and tan terrier
bitch called Trump. She was the basis for a breeding programme to develop a
terrier with high stamina for the hunt as well as the courage and formation to
chase out foxes that
had gone to ground, but without the aggressiveness that would result in their
harming the fox, which was considered unsporting. The line of terriers developed
by John Russell was well respected for these qualities and, when he died in
1883, his dogs were taken on by other hunt enthusiasts.
The first split between the types of Russell terriers may have occurred early
in their history with dogs being sold by the sister of John Russell's kennel
man. These she described as "Jack Russells" but they may not have been part of
the line of terriers developed by John Russell. Instead they may have been
shorter-legged working terriers of variable heritage. Later, around the turn of
the century, the secretary of the Parson Jack Russell Terrier Club bred a strain
of terriers for
badger digging. These needed the brave character and endurance of the Jack
Russell Terrier, which were crossed with
Terriers to give a stronger and harder dog with shorter legs than the
original type. Again these were described as "Jack Russells".
Along with these changes the
Second World War had a great impact on the breed. Sporting dogs were needed
less and the numbers of working Russell terriers were drastically reduced during
these years. The original working Russells often became family dogs and were
crossed with other popular family dogs including
Chihuahuas and terriers such as the
Terrier and the
Staffordshire Bull Terrier. These crosses resulted in changes in form and
function and led to a new type of short-legged terrier with a variable
conformation. It is this form of the descendants of Trump that are now known as
"Russell Terriers", "shortie Jacks", or "Puddin' Dogs".
Parson Russell Terrier
The original longer-legged forms were also preserved and, in England, were
called "Parson Jack Russell Terriers". This form was recognised by the
Kennel Club (UK) in 1990 and gained provisional recognition by the
international breeds association, the F.C.I, in the same year. The name of the
breed was changed to "Parson Russell Terrier" in 1999 by the Kennel Club (UK)
and gained full recognition by the F.C.I under this name in 2001.
In the United States a group of enthusiasts opposed to the registration and
regulation of the working breed registered "Parson Jack Russell" as a trademark.
This led to the long-legged breed being recognised by the
American Kennel Club under the name "Jack Russell Terrier". This name was
changed to the "Parson Russell Terrier" in 2003 to conform with the nomenclature
in other countries. Breeders of the unregistered, working strain continued to
use the Jack Russell name for their dogs. Currently there are few differences
between the two types, although working Jack Russell Terriers are sometimes
smaller than Parson Russell Terriers. However, it is likely that the differing
approaches to breeding and the restricted gene pool of the registered type will
result in divergence between the types, possibly leading to two very different
In England, the Kennel Club recently re-opened its registry to allow the
inclusion of some Jack Russell Terriers under the Parson Russell name. The
standard was extended to include slightly smaller dogs to about 10 inches (25
cm) high but still with the longer-legged form. Individuals registered with the
Jack Russell Terrier Club of Great Britain or the British Jack Russell Terrier
Club and with registered parents and grandparents were accepted for
registration. This may have a delaying effect on any divergence of the two
types, but many breeders remain opposed to registration and are likely to
continue to breed outside the Parson Russell standard and to continue to use the
"Jack Russell Terrier" name.
The working strains of Jack Russell Terriers are not recognised by the FCI,
or by any major registry. Some breeders have campaigned for recognition either
as part of the Parson Russell Terrier breed or separately. However, other
breeders, such as the
Jack Russell Terrier Club of America, feel that this working breed should
not be restricted by the standardisation and limits to breeding that this would
involve. Most large registries recognise and register only breeds that they
regard as "purebred", that is, dogs who breed true to form, within a set
standard, and whose parentage is known to be of other examples of the breed
meeting these criteria. For working-terrier enthusiasts this may not always be
acceptable. They want to breed for function rather than form, which might
include using dogs of variable ancestry to improve the working abilities of the
Jack Russell (short legs) excelling at dog agility
In 1990 Jack Russell Terriers were given full recognition by the Australian
National Kennel Council. The FCI followed with recognition in 2001. This breed
is sometimes called the "Australian Jack Russell Terrier" to distinguish it from
the other forms of Jack Russell terriers found in other countries. Its form is
very similar to the Parson Jack Russell and to working Jack Russell Terriers,
although its standard form is for the body to be longer than it is tall. This
gives it a form somewhere in between that of "shortie" Jacks and the taller
formation of other Jack Russell Terriers and of Parson Russell Terriers.
Because of the recent nature of these changes there is still considerable
variation in the names used for the different types of dog. Additionally,
controversy over registration, conformity to set standards and breeding
restrictions may still lead to other variations in the naming and classification
of these dogs.
Jack Russells on screen
The Jack Russell's endearing facial expressions, feisty personality, and
make it a natural choice for
and the cinema.
Some famous Jack Russells include
Wishbone, the title character of a popular children's television series in
the United States, Milo from the hit movie
played by Max, Rimshot from the comical
Ernest P. Worrell movies, and Bijoux the policeman-hating dog from
There was even a Jack Russell in the movie Crimson Tide, and in the movie the
character played by Gene Hackman introduced the dog breed as one of the smartest
in the world.
Some Jack Russell Terriers have near-superstar status, including
Eddie, the clever, irrepressible dog belonging to character
Crane on the
sitcom Frasier. Eddie was played by a dog called
Moose, but later in the series, Moose also had a stunt double; his son
Enzo stepped in for the more physically demanding tricks to spare his aging
sire. Moose and Enzo also appeared in the movie
Skip. Also prominent is
Soccer, the dog star who portrayed Wishbone, a veteran performer with many
commercials to his credit. He reportedly hated swimming and had two
doubles and a
dog, Krypto, in
the older DC
books, was possibly a Jack Russell Terrier. The dog which accompanies
on his ventures is a Jack Russel Terrier, named "Chalky".
Jack Russell is also the name of the protagonist of
| Jack Russell Terrier
| Japanese Chin
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| Japanese Terrier
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