Jack Russell Terrier - Wiki
Jack Russell Terrier
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[Photo] Working Jack Russell Terrier exits den pipe, PBurns, http://www.terrierman.com/tightpipe.jpg
The Jack Russell Terrier is a type of small, principly white-bodied, terrier that has its origins in fox hunting. The name "Jack Russell" has been used to describe a wide array of small white terriers, but is now most commonly used to describe a working terrier.
A Jack Russell Terrier is not the same as a Parson Russell Terrier which is a breed recently created by narrowing the Jack Russell standard. The Parson Russell Terrier is principly a show dog, and is rarely found in the hunt field.
The Jack Russell Terrier is also not the same thing as an Australian Jack Russell Terrier or Russell Terrier, which are dogs first brought into the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) in 2000 and the United Kennel Club in 2001, and which are maintained under a different breed standard and which are described are being dogs developed in Australia out of dogs that originated in England.
General Appearance of a Jack Russell Terrier
A Jack Russell Terrier is a working terrier, and the most important physical attribute of a working terrier is not coat color, gait or expression, but chest size. If a terrier is too large to get to ground it is virtually worthless as a working dog.
The red fox is the traditional quarry of the Jack Russell Terrier, and the quarry pursued by the Reverand John Russell himself. Red fox may den in a wide variety of locations from old badger settes and drain pipes to building crawl spaces, old rabbit holes and groundhog dens, but in all cases the working Jack Russell must be small enough to get up to its quarry, which is to say a Jack Russell’s chest should be no larger than that of the animal it is pursuing. Red fox size are variable, but across the world they average about 14 pounds in weight and have a chest size, on average of 12-14 inches in circumference when measured at the widest part of the chest. As Barry Jones, former professional terrierman to the Cotswold Foxhounds in Andovers Ford, and a former Chairman and President of the Fell and Moorland Working Terrier Club, and the founding Chairman of the National Working Terrier Federation noted in comments directed to those in the UK who were intent on pulling the Jack Russell Terrier into The Kennel Club as a Parson Russell Terrier:
The chest is, without doubt, the determining factor as to whether a terrier may follow its intended quarry underground. Too large and he/she is of little use for underground work, for no matter how determined the terrier may be, this physical setback will not be overcome in the nearly-tight situations it will encounter in working foxes. It may be thought the fox is a large animal - to the casual observer it would appear so. However, the bone structure of the fox is finer than that of a terrier, plus it has a loose-fitting, profuse pelt which lends itself to flexibility. I have not encountered a fox which could not be spanned at 14 inches circumference - this within a weight range of 10 lbs to 24 lbs, on average 300 foxes spanned a year. You may not wish to work your terrier. However, there is a Standard to be attained, and spannability is a must in the Parson Russell Terrier.
Jack Russell Terriers are predominantly white (more than 51%) with black, tan, or tricolour markings commonly found on the face and at the base of the tail. Jack Russell Terriers have small V-shaped ears that should fold downward, and strong teeth with a scissor bite. The body shape is approximately square.
Jack Russell Terriers come in three coat types: smooth, broken and rough. In all cases, the coat should be dense and not soft, feathery or linty. A smooth coated dog should be smooth coated all over, with a dense topcoat that is approximately 1cm long. A rough-coated dog should have a double coat with fur as much as 10cm long, and should be rough-coated over its entire body. A broken-coated dog is any dog with a topcoat of intermediate length, or a dog that is largely or pratially smooth with longer hair on some parts of its body.
Jack Russell Terrier tails are straight, held high and upright. Traditionally, tails are docked to around five inches -- the length of a hand grip. It is not a serious fault to leave a tail a little long, but too short a tail creates a less useful dog in the field and a dog that looks poorly balanced.
A Jack Russell’s legs should be straight. Dogs with crooked or “benched” legs resembling Queen Anne furniture are often a sign of Achondroplasia.
The Jack Russell is a working terrier. Terrier work requires a dog that will bark at prey so that the dog can be located underground and be dug out if necessary. As a result, JRTs are most definitely vocal dogs.
Jack Russell Terriers are also very intelligent, high-energy dogs ??? requirements of a working dog which must problem-solve in the field and work tirelessy against often formidable quarry.
Due to their compact size, friendly and inquisitive nature, and intelligence, Jack Russells are popular as pets. Prospective buyers should be aware, however, that while these dogs may enjoy sitting in a lap, they are not “lap dogs” ??? they are dogs that require training and regular and consistent exercise to maintain their temperament and to occupy their minds.
Jack Russells which are not trained on a consistent basis, or are not exercised regularly, may exhibit 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 these dogs as house pets. Prospective Jack Russell Terrier owners are advised to do their homework.
Most JRTs easily mingle with children, though they do not tolerate even unintentional abuse. Most are outgoing, and very friendly towards other dogs, but a good number show same-sex aggression issues. Some JRT's exhibit a "Napoleon Complex" regarding larger canines that can get them into dangerous situations. Their fearlessness can scare off a larger animal, but their apparent unawareness of their small size can lead to a lopsided fight with larger dogs if not kept in check.
It is not uncommon for a Jack Russell terrier to be cat-aggressive, and homes with other small fur-bearing animals in them (pet hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs, etc.) would do well to think through the ramifications of bringing a working terrier into the house.
A well-cared-for Jack Russell can live for over anywhere between 14-21 years. Health concerns with the breed include hereditary cataracts, primary lens luxation, congenital deafness, medial patellar luxation, cerebellar ataxia, Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, myasthenia gravis, atopy, and von Willebrand's disease. Responsible breeders will have their puppies BAER tested for hearing before sale (this test is good for the life of the dog). Prospective dams and sires should be CERF tested and OFA inspected before breeding in order to reduce the chance of passing on congenital eye or joint problems. Prospective puppy buyers are encouraged to avoid dogs sired or whelped by dogs under two years of age as congenital problems in the sire or dam may not yet have expressed themselves.
Small white fox-working terriers were first bred by the Reverend 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 from the milk man. Trump was purchased based upon appearance alone. (Burns, 2005) She was the basis for a breeding program 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 physical harm to the fox, which would have ended the chase, and so was considered unsporting. The line of terriers developed by John Russell was well respected for these qualities and his dogs were often taken on by hunt enthusiasts. It is unlikely, however, that any dogs alive today are descended from Trump, as Russell was forced to sell all of his dogs on more than one occasion because of financial difficulty, and had only four aged (and non-breeding) terriers left when he died in 1883. (Burns, 2005)
The only painting that exists of Trump was painted more than 40 years after the dog died, and it was painted by someone that had never seen the original animal at all. Russell said the painting was "a good likeness" but in fact he may have been trying to be polite, as the painting was commissioned by Edward VII (then Prince of Wales) who befriended Russell in his old age, and had the painting done as an homage to the old man. (Burns, 2005)
On the day that the impoverished Rev. John Russell died, his old sermons and other papers were found blowing around in the farm yard. Little or no written record of Rev. John Russell survives to the present day.
While it is often stated that Trump was "14 inches tall and weighed 14 pounds," there is no source for this statement, and it appears to have been penned by someone who had never met Russell and only seen the painting of Trump (to which there is nothing to suggest scale). (Burns, 2005)
While Trump's appearance is murky, and her size a complete mystery, the fox dens of Devon, England, where John Russell once hunted, are well known. Terrierman Eddie Chapman, who has hunted those same Devon earths for more than 30 years, notes that "I can state categorically that if given the choice, ninety-nine percent of hunt terrier men would buy an under 12" worker, if it was available, over a 14" one." (Chapman, 1994). To this day most working terrier enthusiast seem to prefer a dog around 12 inches tall and with a chest span of around 14".
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