A sturdy little dog – a working terrier

Origin of the Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier takes it name from the Reverend John Russell who bred one of the finest strains of terriers for working fox in Devonshire England, in the mid to late 1800’s. Rev. Russell (1795-1883), apart from his church activities, had a passion for fox hunting and the breeding of den dogs. It is also said that he was a rather flamboyant character, probably accounting for his strain of terrier’s notability and the name of our terrier today. His first terrier, the immortal TRUMP, is said to be the foundation of John Russell’s strain of working terriers.

The body of the Jack Russell Terrier is compact, of totally balanced proportions, the shoulders clean, the legs straight, and most importantly, a small chest (easily spannable by average size hands at the widest part behind the shoulders). The Jack Russell must also be totally flexible, allowing him to manoeuvre underground. This conformation allows the terrier to follow his query down narrow burrows. The fox is a good model for the Jack Russell-where the fox can go, so must the terrier.

Because originally bred for fox hunting, the Jack Russell is incredibly brave for it size, alert, but also fun loving, highly intelligent and extremely loyal. A good watch dog, the Jack Russell makes a great pet for both children and adults.

The Jack Russell has survived the changes that have occurred in the modern-day Fox Terrier because it has been preserved by working terrier enthusiasts in England for more than 100 years; it has survived on its merits as a worker. It should be the foremost goal of all breeders that the Jack Russell continues in that tradition.