Jack Russell Terrier.jpg
Breed Group Group 6: Terrier Breeds
Sub-group 6-B: Medium Terriers
Origin Country England
Weight Males: 11-18 pounds. Females: 11-18 pounds.
Height Males: 9-13 inches. Females: 9-13 inches.
Other Name(s) Jack Russell Terrier, Russell Terrier
Breed Type Pure
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Jack Russell Terrier

Breed Group Group 6: Terrier Breeds
Sub-group 6-B: Medium Terriers
Origin Country England
Weight Males: 11-18 pounds. Females: 11-18 pounds.
Height Males: 9-13 inches. Females: 9-13 inches.
Other Name(s) Jack Russell Terrier, Russell Terrier
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD

Breed Spotlight

Origins

Most dog histories don’t begin with the mention of one man; rather, they start with a time period or the use for which the dog was bred. The Jack Russell Terrier is an exception to that rule.

Even though the Jack Russell Terrier was bred for a certain purpose, this breed was actually named after Reverend John Russell (or Jack, as he was called), the man who developed the breed. The Reverend lived in Devonshire, England, from 1795–1883. He was quite the sporting man, and he had a passion for the hounds and Fox Terriers that he had grown up with. As an avid hunter, he became interested in developing a strain of terrier that would “bay” to scare up foxes, and then have the stamina to keep it running for the fun of the chase. It has been reported that John Russell was not interested in killing foxes. He said of the terriers: “A real Fox Terrier is not meant to murder, and his intelligence should always keep him from such a crime.”

The main breed on which the Jack Russell Terrier was originally based is the Fox Terrier, which, in turn, was bred from the now-extinct White Terrier. Many British hunting kennels kept their own strains of terriers that worked with their hounds. The hounds would follow the fox in chase and “put him to ground,” or corner him. The hounds and the field of riders following them would be moved back, and a terrier man or hunt staff member would enter a terrier after the fox. Quite often, just the presence of the baying little dog would suggest to the fox that he might wish to go elsewhere for refuge—and the chase would continue. Since the terrier ran with hounds and put in a hard day's work, good stamina and tenacity were required. Often the intelligent little dog had to know how to cut corners to catch up with the hounds, or even anticipate where the chase might end, to correctly do his job.

The reverend's foundation bitch was named Trump. In Russell's eyes, Trump was the ideal terrier. She was white with brown ears, a patch of brown over each eye, and a patch no larger than a British penny at the base of her tail. Her coat was reported to be thick, close and wiry. Her legs were as straight as arrows, her feet were perfect, and she was of a size that has been compared to a female fox. Russell said of this lovely animal, “Her whole appearance gave indications of courage, endurance, and hardihood.”

John Russell had definite thoughts on what made a good terrier, and to this we can attribute the quality of the dogs that he bred. He did not like the “show dog” look, but loved the working dog qualities of soundness and spunk. Strength made a better dog, and the ability to pursue the fox into its den was always important in his dogs.

Today, the Jack Russell Terrier makes a wonderful family dog that can participate in events like agility, obedience, and tracking. If trained correctly, the breed still excels at hunting.

Breed Characteristics

Head: Mesaticephalic skull-type, moderate in size, wedge-shaped, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The topskull (from stop to occiput) is of medium length and moderate width, being almost as wide as the topskull is long. From the front, the topskull appears flat between the ears. From the side, the topskull will appear flat or may be slightly curved. The skull tapers to a wide muzzle formed by strong jaws. The head is clean-cut and without excess skin or wrinkle. It should appear neither long, like that of the Fox Terrier, nor short, like that of the Border Terrier.
Eyes: Moderate in size, oval to almond in shape, and medium to dark brown in color. The eye rims are well-fitted and well-pigmented. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes.
Ears: Medium in size, set high on the skull and fairly far apart. They may be small to medium in size, V-shaped, and buttoned, dropped, or rose, so long as they are carried close to the head. When alerted, the tips of the ears should remain level with or above the corners of the eyes. The fold of the ear should be level with the topskull or just slightly above the level of the topskull. The ears are never long, hound-like, fully erect, or overly large.
Muzzle: The muzzle is full and broad. Upper and lower jaws have good bone substance, appearing strong and well-developed, never appearing snipy or weak. The lower jaw and upper jaw are equal in length.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black. The nostrils are well-opened.
Neck: Moderate length to allow for proud head carriage and powerfully muscled with a good arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut and without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep, not too broad, and never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows.
Body: Compact, solid, well-muscled, and good of substance. The body is never racy or refined. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Feet: Oval to round, compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.
Tail: Set high on the croup, thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. Carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, but never tucked. It is usually carried high when alerted or moving. It may drop to a neutral position when at rest. Tail may be left natural (preferred) or docked short. Natural tails are of a medium length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. Natural tails may be straight or gently curved. Docked tails should be cut long, with the tip being equal in height to the top of the dog’s ears.
Movement: The Jack Russell Terrier’s movement must be energetic, tireless, effortless, and efficient. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the centerline of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Temperament: The Jack Russell Terrier is well-known for his bold, lively, active, curious, engaging, and intelligent nature. A true terrier and sportsman, his hunting and digging instincts are strong and require training to either curb or enhance them, since the Jack Russell Terrier can become quite single-minded. Mature females tend to take life a bit more seriously, while males generally remain more playful. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
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Breed Standard

BREED GROUP 6: Terrier Breeds

Proportions: The Jack Russell Terrier should be easily spanned directly behind the elbows by average-sized hands.

The body proportions are rectangular and somewhat low-set without appearing achondroplastic. The length of the body, measured from the point of the forechest to the point of the rump, being greater than the height at the withers. The ideal length-to-height ratio is approximately 10:7. The body is well-put together, with sturdy substance and medium bone. The span behind the elbows should equal approximately 15-17 inches.

Head

General Appearance: Mesaticephalic skull-type, moderate in size, wedge-shaped, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The topskull (from stop to occiput) is of medium length and moderate width, being almost as wide as the topskull is long. From the front, the topskull appears flat between the ears. From the side, the topskull will appear flat or may be slightly curved. The skull tapers to a wide muzzle formed by strong jaws. The head is clean-cut and without excess skin or wrinkle. It should appear neither long, like that of the Fox Terrier, nor short, like that of the Border Terrier.
Expression: Keen, alert, confident, somewhat mischievous, and capable.
Stop: The stop may range from shallow (more common in Parsons) to well-defined, so long as the dog represents the overall correct type. The stop should never be overly pronounced.
Skull: The ideal muzzle-to-skull ratio is between 1:1, and 3:2, with the topskull being equal to, or just longer than the muzzle.
The ideal muzzle-to-skull axis may be parallel, or may be convergent.
Muzzle: The muzzle is full and broad. Upper and lower jaws have good bone substance, appearing strong and well-developed, never appearing snipy or weak. The lower jaw and upper jaw are equal in length.
Lips or Flews: Lips are clean and fit tightly over the teeth and jaws.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black. The nostrils are well-opened.
Cheeks: The cheeks are well-developed, but not overly prominent.
Dentition and Bite: Forty-two strong, clean, and white teeth. Bite may be level, scissor, or reverse-scissor. Contact must be made between the top and bottom incisors. Missing or broken teeth as a result of routine work is not to be penalized.
Eyes: Moderate in size, oval to almond in shape, and medium to dark brown in color. The eye rims are well-fitted and well-pigmented. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes.
Ears: Medium in size, set high on the skull and fairly far apart. They may be small to medium in size, V-shaped, and buttoned, dropped, or rose, so long as they are carried close to the head. When alerted, the tips of the ears should remain level with or above the corners of the eyes. The fold of the ear should be level with the topskull or just slightly above the level of the topskull. The ears are never long, hound-like, fully erect, or overly large.

Body and Tail

General Description: Compact, solid, well-muscled, and good of substance. The body is never racy or refined. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Neck: Moderate length to allow for proud head carriage and powerfully muscled with a good arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut and without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep, not too broad, and never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows.
Topline: Level from withers to croup. The back is broad, strongly muscled, and straight, yet supple. The loin is taut, flat and level, or slightly arched, yet supportive. The back is never swayed or roached.
Croup: May be flat and level with the back, or gently sloped.
Underline: Slight tuck-up present. The underline is taut and firm, without any indication of sagging or excess weight.
Ribs: Long, well-sprung, well-laid-back, and oval-shaped, never barrel-chested or slab-sided.
Tail: Set high on the croup, thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. Carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, but never tucked. It is usually carried high when alerted or moving. It may drop to a neutral position when at rest. Tail may be left natural (preferred) or docked short. Natural tails are of a medium length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. Natural tails may be straight or gently curved. Docked tails should be cut long, with the tip being equal in height to the top of the dog’s ears.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: Forequarters are always in balance with the hindquarters. Forequarters are well-angulated with well-laid-back shoulder blades. Shoulder blades are approximately equal in length to the upper arm and forearm.
Elbows: Elbows are close to the body. The point of the elbows is approximately half the dog’s height at the withers.
Forelegs: Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle, of moderate bone, and parallel to one another.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.
Pasterns: Never weak or broken.
Hindquarters: Upper thigh and lower thigh are equal in length, strong, sturdy, of moderate bone, and well-muscled.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump or within one to two paw-lengths behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Stifle Joint: Well-angulated, with a good bend to well-let-down rear pasterns.
Angulations: Angulation of hindquarters is always in balance with angulation of forequarters.
Feet: Oval to round, compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.

Coat

Skin: Well-fitted, yet supple. The skin should never obstruct the outline of the dog.
Coat Type: The Jack Russell Terrier comes in three coat varieties: the smooth coat, the rough coat, and the broken coat. All coat types, regardless of variety, should have a strong, weather-proof outercoat, as well as a dense protective undercoat. All coats must be left in their natural state and free from excess trimming or clipping.

Smooth coat variety: The coat is short, smooth, and close to the body throughout, with a thick undercoat. Slightly longer on neck, forming a light ruff, and on the tail. No fringe or feather permissible.

Rough-coat variety: The coat is harsh, dense, and wiry. It is never soft or silky. The coat on the face may have wiry eye brow, beard, and mustache furnishings.

Broken-coat variety: The coat length is intermediate in length and texture between the rough and the smooth. The body coat may be somewhat smooth, with a harsher texture, and the head may have rough furnishings. A slight ridge of rough hair may be present on the back.
Coat Color or Pattern: White, or predominantly white with the following markings: black, black with tan points, black saddle with tan, or black with creeping tan. Tan markings can range from biscuit, lemon, or light tan to chestnut or grizzle (not brindle), all with or without ticking.

Movement

The Jack Russell Terrier’s movement must be energetic, tireless, effortless, and efficient. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the centerline of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.

Temperament

The Jack Russell Terrier is well-known for his bold, lively, active, curious, engaging, and intelligent nature. A true terrier and sportsman, his hunting and digging instincts are strong and require training to either curb or enhance them, since the Jack Russell Terrier can become quite single-minded. Mature females tend to take life a bit more seriously, while males generally remain more playful. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.

Faults

All dogs should be in proper healthy condition and free from disease or defect. Any departure from this description is considered a fault. Unless altered, all male dogs should have two fully descended testicles.