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The Jack Russell Terrier Breed

Updated on June 1, 2012

Originally bred to hunt foxes, the Jack Russell Terrier is often mistaken to be the Parson Russell Terrier.

Primarily, Jack Russell Terriers have a broken or rough coat and are smooth and white bodied. Another variety which is more stocky than the Jack Russell is the Russell Terrier which has shorter legs, and often confused to be the Jack Russell as well.

Generally, Jack Russells are broad types, with sizes ranging between ten to fifteen inches. On the other hand, Russell Terriers are between eight to twelve inches and Parson Russells are limited to mid-ranges with size standards that are between twelve to fourteen inches. According to breed club standards, each breed has varying proportions physically.

Jack Russells were originally from the nineteenth century and bred from dogs utilized by the ReverendJohnRussell. With similar beginnings as Fox Terriers, Jack Russells are a breed which is energetic and heavily relies on high levels of stimulation and exercise.

This breed is somewhat free from serious complaints of heath and has evolved through the years, with different kennel clubs changing their standards of breed. Many times, Jack Russells have appeared in print ads, TV ads and films with many historically noted dogs.

Because Jack Russell Terriers are working dogs, they have remained unchanged for about two hundred years. They are tenacious, tough, sturdy and weigh between fourteen to eighteen pounds. The length of their bodies needs to be proportional to their height and the dog should portray a balanced, compact image.

Usually more than fifty one percent white in color, the rest of the colors can be tan or black. The breed exhibits a rough or a smooth combination known as a broken coat. Dogs that have broken coats can have longer hair on the face or on the tail compared to dogs with smooth coats.

There can also be a pattern of small brown or black spots that are called 'ticking' which are not apparent on the coat on the outside. All types of coats need to be doubly dense and should neither be woolly nor silky whether they are rough or smooth coats.

Your Jack Russell Terrier should always have the appearance of being alert and balanced. Since these are mainly terriers that fall under the classification of working dogs, the most significant characteristic of their physique is the size of their chest which should not be too large such that they are unable to go into their burrow.

Traditionally the Jack Russell Terrier's quarry is the Red Fox and Jack Russells should be small enough for chasing it. Originally, this breed was created for bolting a fox from its den in a hunt and was later utilized for many quarries that dwell on the ground including Grey Foxes, Badgers and Groundhogs.

This breed tends to be extremely vocal, fearless, athletic and intelligent. It is also common for them to be destructive or moody if not properly exercised or stimulated. They tend to become easily bored and when left alone, often create fun on their own.

For sports such as agility or fly ball, these dogs are especially suited since they have high drive and energy. For people planning to own this breed, classes for obedience are recommended. They can be aggressive and stubborn if no socialized properly.

Even if their size is small, this breed is not recommended for apartment or condominium homeowners due to their high energy. Even when socialized correctly, Jack Russell Terriers will portray friendliness towards children but will in no way tolerate even unintentional abuse.

Healthy and with a lifespan that is long, this breed has been protected from in-breeding thanks to careful breeders. On average, Jack Russell Terriers can live between thirteen to sixteen years when cared for correctly.

Some lines do have concerns of health, however, possibly due to recessive genes. These include von Willebrand disease, myasthenia gravis, ataxia, patellar luxation, congenital deafness, ectopia lentis and hereditary cataract.

Being driven to hunt, this breed will pursue many encountered creatures, such as skunks. Thus, Jack Russell Terriers can also be prone to toxic skunk syndrome from skunks.

In the year two thousand and seven, George, a Jack Russell Terrier, saved 5 kids in a New Zealand carnival from becoming attacked by 2 Pit Bulls.

Reportedly, George charged at the PitBulls and stalled them long enough for the kids to run to safety. Attacked to his death by the PitBulls, he was awarded the PDSAGoldMedal in two thousand nine post humously. In his memory, a statue in New Zealand's Manaia was erected.

In the year nineteen eighty-two, Bothy, a Jack Russell Terrier made history by joining the TransglobeExpedition. Being owned by explorers Ginny Fiennes and Ranulph Fiennes, he became the very first canine to visit the south and north poles.

This is an event not likely to be repeated since dogs are now banned by the Antarctic Treaty to go to Antarctica for the purpose of preventing disease-transmission to the population of seals.


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    • raincity profile image

      raincity 5 years ago

      Thanks for the info!

    • EclecticFusion profile image

      Lisa 5 years ago from Tennessee

      Nice information about Jack Russell Terriers. I have a mix myself. His name is Higgins and he is 1/2 Jack Russell and 1/2 Pekingese. He is smart and funny and very loving!