Jack Russell Terrier - General Features, Temperament, Health

FCI # 345, Origin: Australia , Group 3.2 Small-sized Terriers.

Height: 10-15 in, Weight: 14-18 pounds

Grooming: Low, Shedding: Medium, Coat: smooth or rough.

Color: White with or without red, yellow or black markings.

Ease of training: High, Energy level: High, Span of life: 15-18 years.

Breed: Most of the Terriers were bred in the UK for burrowing hunting. The dog must climb into the hole and drive out the beast, or pull it out during the fight. Terrier should be small enough to penetrate the burrow and be able to freely move inside, so traditionally for the hunting Terriers the height at the withers did not exceed 38.5 centimeters. In the same time from such a dog were required strength, courage and powerful jaws to fight the beast, armed with his teeth and claws. Work in the barrow is hard: it's dark, narrow, the earth is crumbling, and on the way dog may even meet some blockages. Terriers with the smooth or wiry coats are the most suited for hunting in such a conditions.

Since the beginning of XVIII century in the UK was inculcated new agricultural technology, which included grazing a cattle. The appearance of fences around the fields nullified horseback hunting for deer, which has been so popular in Great Britain since the Middle Ages. Farmers began to hunt the burrowing animals, which became a national hobby and entertainment for the hunters on foot. The fox was chased by a flock of Foxhounds, and if the beast was trying to hide in the burrow, hunters were using Terriers. For this purpose, there were required Terriers with the pretty long legs so they could follow the Foxhounds. The preferred color was white, in order not to confuse the dog with a fox. But the Terrier getting out of the hole usually does not stay white - he is covered with mud and animal odor. So the Foxhounds very often were biting a Terrier instead of biting a fox. Terriers were also used by hunters to check on a burrows in advance: on the evening before hunting they were searching for a hole, so the next morning the hunters could enjoy hunting without spending a long time in the woods in vain.

English Reverend John Russell, known also as Jack was born in 1795 in Dartmouth, Devon, and lived for almost 87 years. He was a good horseman, passionately fond of hunting foxes with Terriers. In 1873 he became a founding member of the Kennel Club and has participated in developing of the Fox Terrier standard. However, he bred the wire-haired Terriers exclusively for hunting and never showed them at the dog shows, because at that time only the smooth-haired Terriers had a chance to succeed at the exhibitions. In fact, the breed that is today known as the Jack Russell Terrier, until 1900 was actually nothing, but the old type of Fox Terriers. Fox Terriers of the beginning of the century were no different from the modern Jack Russell Terriers. While studying at Oxford, Russell bought one of his most famous dogs - a white-haired female with red-brown spots on the head and at the base of tail. She was not like a short-legged Scottish Terrier, she was slender, proportionally built, approximately in size of a fox. Russell has made a numerous crosses with different breeds of Terriers. The purpose of his breeding program was to improve the hunting qualities and he was not paying any particular attention to the appearance of his dogs.

Up until the recent years there were held Jack Russell Terrier crosses with other breeds, but the resulting progeny did not correspond to the original type and was not used in the further breeding. In the XIX century in the UK many people were holding the whole packs of Terriers for hunting burrowing animals. Working dogs were allowed in breeding, regardless of their appearance. Terrier first of all had to be bold, brave and have an acceptable size. To some degree, the attention was payed to the ears (erect ears were undesirable, although they occur in some dogs today).

Some breeders have practiced crosses with the so-called bull-and- terriers (a mixture of the old Bulldog with various Terriers). As a result, the fighting qualities were improved in a hunting Terriers. After the prohibition of dog fighting in 1835, many of the fighting Terriers were gone. However, until 1912 the competitions between Terriers for biting rats were allowed, so small breeds of Terriers flourished.

Traces of the Bulldog's blood are still visible in some Jack Russell Terriers - especially in the white dogs with black markings. They have more heavy bodies and larger heads, also they are distinguished by the absence of a certain loud voice, which is required when working in a hole. In the late XIX - early XX centuries, many hunters have used for breeding in their flocks Sealyham Terriers (those, in turn, were often mated with Welsh Corgi). One of the last Terriers, who's blood was also added to the Jack Russell Terriers were the white  Lakeland Terriers, which were supposed to give Jack Russells more balanced characters and better coats.

However, the hunters of a western Britain believe that dogs in the type of Lakeland Terrier are undesirable because they do not correspond to features of the hunt. Indeed, western British fox hunters have a certain ritual (clothes, course of action, music). The pack of Terriers is certainly participating in the hunt, but the dogs do not attack beast directly. This is a purely theatrical entertainment of aristocrats. For the hunters of northern mountainous part of the country, on the contrary, hunting is necessary to protect their livestock from predators, so their Terriers truly pursue and hunt a fox.

Currently, Jack Russell Terrier is very popular in Great Britain as a hunting dog, farm dog and just a companion. After the Second World War, Jack Russell Terrier came to the the continent.

General Features: This active and agile working dog is strongly built. This Terrier is a great hunter for the burrowing animals, during the hunt he is not far behind from the Hounds. Courageous and obedient. Movement are free, vigorous and well coordinated.

Skull is flat, moderately wide, slightly tapering towards the eyes. The transition from forehead to the muzzle is slightly noticeable. Muzzle is slightly shorter than the forehead. Nose is black. Eyes are almond-shaped, set quite deep, dark with lively expression. Ears are small, in a shape of the letter "V", ends are pointing forward.
Teeth of the Jack Russell Terrier must meet the scissors bite. Neck of a clean lines, muscular, rather long. Forelimbs are parallel and straight. Chest moderately deep. The back is strong and smooth, loin is slightly arched.

Hind limbs are powerful, muscular, with well-defined knee. Hocks are short, parallel set. Paws with tightly clenched fingers and firm pads. Tail is strong, highly set. Docking of the tail is optional.

Coat of a Jack Russell Terrier is thick and dense, regardless of the type - rough (with small beard and mustache, but not hiding the expression of the dog's muzzle). Color: pure white or white with patches of red, yellow or black, it is desirable that the markings will be only on the head and and base of tail.

Temperament: Jack Russell Terrier is considered unbeatable in hunting foxes and badgers (badger in the Great Britain is now under protection, so the animals caught in hunting are not killed, but set free). Terrier is involved in the work on the trail along with the Foxhounds, then he gets the biggest challenge - to drive foxes out of holes. But he is not only hunting foxes. With Jack Russell Terriers people are hunting hares, water rats. This is an excellent rodent fighter. The record-breaker was the Terrier named Vampire, who slaughtered in the UK in 1977 one ton of rats!

In France, these dogs successfully hunt in the bushes and in the woods, they retrieve a wounded game, including ducks, they are chasing rabbits and even deer, performing a task of Hounds. Very effective Jack Russell Terriers are at work on the trail of a deer, they do not disturb deer as much as the large Hounds, so the hunter may approach to the animal easier. The Jack Russell Terriers also help to drive the wild boar. Hunters in the Champagne, Ardennes and Picardie are increasingly using these small dogs to work on a blood trail. In short, the Jack Russell Terrier is a versatile hunter of small stature, bold, hardy and docile enough.

Despite his rather simple appearance, this funny and cute dog wins more and more admirers. We will not enumerate the great and famous people who already have Jack Russell Terrier as a companion, but we will just hope that the fashion will not destroy the valuable qualities of this breed, which, fortunately, are saved thanks to the efforts of followers of Rev. John Russell for more than a hundred years.

Jack Russell Terrier is fully vested with all the qualities of a true Terrier and without a proper training he can turn into a real devil. This Terrier is an adventurer at heart and he just wants to experience all sorts of fun in this life. Although he enjoys spending time with family, comfortably ensconced on the sofa next to the beloved master, but do not forget that, above all, Jack Russell is a hunter and sportsman. When raising a puppy of Jack Russell Terrier you must be aware of his need for movement and activity. Out of boredom he can dig the lawn in the garden or chew something, so you should always have something to occupy your dog: give him a bone to chew or a toy to tinker with. It is necessary to prevent immediately any attempts to prosecute domestic animals and birds. In the woods and beside the road this passionate hunter must be taken on the lead, because, carried away by an interesting smell he may not always obey the orders of the owner.

In general, dogs of this breed are different from many other Terriers by their more balanced behavior. They do not bark a lot, they are more gentle and compliant. Jack Russell Terriers accept training with pleasure, willingly follow their owner everywhere. Small size of this dogs allow their owners to take their beloved pet almost everywhere. In Great Britain, Jack Russell Terriers are leaders in mini-agility, they just love this kind of sports. With sufficient amount of mental and physical exercises this clever little dog is nothing else, but a cheerful and pleasant companion.

Health problems: Jack Russell Terrier is a quite healthy breed. Still attention should be payed for the eyes of this dogs. Some Jack Russells may also be deaf.

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