Jack Russell Terrier (or JRT) is a working terrier developed by Reverend John Russell of Devonshire, England, in the mid- to late 1800s. The Reverend Russell enjoyed fox hunting and wanted a breed of dog who could find, chase, and go-to-ground after the fox. He began with the Fox Terriers of the 1800s (who were quite different from today’s Fox Terriers) and bred a small, sturdy, energetic, feisty little hunting dog.
The Jack Russell Terrier Club of America (JRTCA) is the parent club in the U.S. (with the Jack Russell Terrier Club of Great Britain) and is devoted to guiding the breed into the future as a healthy working terrier true to its heritage. The club opposed AKC and UKC recognition, although both registries went ahead and accepted the breed. It is now known as the Parson Russell Terrier in the AKC, but remains the Jack Russell Terrier with the UKC. (For more on this, see the Parson Russell Terrier profile)
First and foremost, the Jack Russell Terrier is a tough little terrier that stands between 10 and 15 inches tall. The eyes are dark, the ears dropped and V-shaped. The coat is either smooth, rough, or broken but not wooly. White is the predominant color, with tan, black, or brown markings. There are variations in body form and type, but in all cases, the dog should present a compact, balanced appearance and be strong and fit. The tail is docked.
Jack Russell Terriers are a type, or strain, of working terrier; they are not a pure breed in the sense they have a broad genetic makeup, a broad standard, and do not breed true to type. Grooming the Jack Russell Terrier is not difficult. The smooth-coated Jack Russell Terrier dogs can be brushed with a soft bristle brush or curry comb twice weekly, while the rough or broken-coated Jack Russell Terrier dogs may need brushing with a pin or slicker brush a little more often. None of the coat types mats.
Vigorous daily exercise is needed to keep the Jack Russell Terrier dog breed happy. Although a long morning and evening walk will be enjoyed, that isn’t enough. This little dog will also need a couple of long, vigorous games of fetch, a game of flying disc, or a training session on the agility course. The more exercise the better, because without it, these little dogs will amuse themselves, and that’s rarely good.
Socialization and training are also important. Jack Russell Terriers are feisty and think for themselves; they need to be guided in the direction you wish them to go, and you need to make the training challenging and fun enough to keep them interested. Jack Russell Terriers have excelled in many canine sports, including agility and flyball. Although this breed can be good with people of all ages, the Jack Russell Terrier can sometimes be too pushy for small children or the elderly.
The Jack Russell Terrier is a tough dog breed for a first-time dog owner; a Jack Russell Terrier will do better with someone who understands the terrier temperament. The Jack Russell Terrier can be feisty with other dogs, and all interactions with small pets should be supervised. Remember, this is a hunting breed. The Jack Russell Terrier gets along great with horses and is often used as a stable dog, keeping horses company and hunting mice and rats. Health concerns include eye and knee problems and obsessivecompulsive behavior problems.