The Jack Russell terrier is a small breed of dog from England, originally bred for foxhunting in the early 19th century. The small white or white and brown terriers we know today were first bred by Reverend John Russell, a parson and also a hunting enthusiast who was born in 1795.
An important attribute the Jack Russell possessed was its tempered aggressiveness, which provided the necessary drive to pursue and bot the fox, without harming it, which was considered unsporting. by the start of the 20th century, the Fox terrier had evolved more towards the modern breed, but in some parts of the country, the old style of John Russell’s terriers remained, and it is from these dogs that the modern Jack Russell descended.
Following World War II, the demand for hunting dogs declined, and with it the number of Jack Russell terriers, until they started being used as family pets and companion dogs. Further, crossbreeding occurred with Welsh corgi’s, chihuahuas and other small terrier breeds, the results of this were known as Puddin dogs, Shortie Jacks or Russell terriers.
In 1976 Alisa Crawford formed the Jack Russell terrier Club of America, size ranges for dogs were kept broad, with the ability of working dogs awarded higher than those in conformation shows, An open registry was maintained with restricted line breeding, registration for the club was given when the dog reached adulthood, rather than at birth, this was to ensure the breeds qualities remained, given the open registry.
During the 1970s several clubs appeared in Great Britain to promote the breed, these include the Jack Russell club of Great Britain ( JRCGB) and the South East Jack Russell terrier club (SEJRTC). While the JRCGB sought to ensure the breeds working abilities remained through non-recognition with other breed registries, the SEJRTC actively sought club recognition for the breed. The breed was recognised by the Kennel club in 1990 as the Parson Jack Russell terrier, the Jack was dropped from the name in 1999, and the recognised name became the Parson Russell terrier.
Due to their working nature the Jack Russell hasn’t changed much over the last 200 years, they are sturdy and tenacious, measuring between 10 and 15 inches at the withers, and weighing between 14 and 18 lbs. The body length should be in proportion to the height, and the dog should present a compact balanced image, all coat types should be dense double coats which are neither silky (in the case of smooth coat) or woolly (in the case of the rough). The head should be flat between the ears and of a moderate width, with narrowing eyes and a black nose, the jaw should be powerful and well boned with a scissor bite and straight teeth. ,
The Jack Russell should always be balanced and alert, as it is primarily a working dog, the Jack Russell and the Parson terrier are very similar, sharing a common origin, although the Parson can have a longer head and a larger overall body size. For its size the Jack Russell as a tremendous amount of energy, so need regular exercise, they never seem to tire even after the owner as called it a day, they are good with children but won’t tolerate abuse, even if it is unintentional.
A loyal dog which can be stubborn at times, the Jack Russell terrier as a reputation for being healthy with a long lifespan, on average ranging from 13 to 16 years.
Famous Jack Russell terriers include Nipper, born in 1884 he was the inspiration for the painting His Masters Voice, which later became the logo for HMV, others have appeared on film and TV in a variety of roles.