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Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier (JRT) blasted onto the American scene in the 1980s and quickly grew to incredible popularity.  And why not?  The darling of the equestrian set, the dog originally appeared in stables and barns as a ratter with incredible physical and personality appeal.  It's compact size and big attitude made it an ideal companion and entertainer.  As its popularity grew so did the controversy among its fanciers to pursue or not to pursue AKC recognition.  In a move that can only be considered highly questionable to the best interest of the breed, the resulting split created essentially a second breed, the Parson Russell Terrier which is recognized by the AKC.  Originally, the only difference between the Jack Rusell and Parson Russell Terriers was the opinion of the people who owned them and whether registration with the AKC was pursued.  With the passage of time, there is little question (as indicated by innumerous references of the past) that the Parson Russell and Jack Russell Terrier will become more and more disparate and separate.  The Jack Russell Terrier is the original and still currently enjoys status with a strong group of fanciers and strong parent club which encourages rescue, many events a year and other aspects of enjoying their breed.

By Breed Name
By Breed Name
General Information
Group(s): Terrier Height: 10-15 inches
Weight: 9-16 pounds Longevity: high teens
Colors: brindle is disallowed, rather white over more than half the body with black, brown or tan Coat type: smooth, rough, broken but not woolly
Recognized Registries: JRT Club of Britian, JRTCA and others
Overall Appearance: Compact and muscular, the JRT is clearly a Terrier with its expression and square build. Small drop ears, alert expression and predominate white rough/smooth coat complete the picture.
Personaility - Behavior - Training
Energy Level: very high
General Nature: varies can be exceptional but tends toward reactive
  with Children: how well behaved are the children? If well socialized, the JRT should still be closely supervised with children
  with other pets: variable, they are a ratter after all and may see cats and other animals as prey
  with dogs: variable but often good if properly socialized
Socialization requirements: high
Ideal home characteristics: one that appreciates the quick, clever, comic, reactive and very energetic personality. Great choice for someone alone seeking a devoted companion.
Temperament Notes: It's compact size and easy coat would lead many to conclude it is a good choice for many homes. This is NOT true. The JRT is far too clever and active to fit into homes where the dog would be left alone for great chunks of time.
Training requirement: moderate: housetraining, socialization, basic manners and some ongoing activity they are a working dog after all
Trainer notes:

The trainer who hopes to shape the JRT must keep in mind that this is a dog bred to work independently.  As a result, his/her natural nature is not to look to a human companion for guidance in what to do next.  As a result, while basic obedience can be a bit of a challenge for the trainer that lacks a sense of humor, fun or patience, more advanced activities like Flyball, Agility and more can be an incredible adventure with the JRT as they constantly seek to improve their style and skill.  At the same time, woe to the family that does all the basics (or not even that) by the time the dog is a year old and then thinks they have a trained couch potato!  This is not the breed for an inactive home.

Background Information
Year range of first recognition: early 1800s
Country of Origin: Great Britain
Original Function: ratter
History: as they were developed purely for hunting ability without regard to type, it is difficult to pin down the 'origins' of the breed per se. Definitely descended from the greatest British ratters from the Middle Ages on.
Adoption Information
Deviations from Standard: too large
Health Notes: luxating patellas, eye problems, deafness
Health Testing: BAER, CERF
Questions to ask Breeder:  - The Breeder Questions as listed here provided with explanations and answers you will want to be looking for!
  • How long have you had Jack Russell Terriers?
  • Why do you have Jack Russell Terriers (show, performance, hunting, etc.)?
  • What do you consider to be the most important single characteristic of a Jack Russell Terrier?
  • What health issues have you seen in the breed?
  • What criteria do you set for your breeding stock?
  • Do you plan to keep a puppy from this litter?
  • How often do you have puppies?
  • Do you have a written contract and puppy guarantee?
  • At what age do you send your pups to their homes?
  • How would you describe the ideal Jack Russell Terrier?
  • How would you describe the ideal Jack Russell Terrier home?
  • Are your puppies whelped in your home?
  • What advice would you offer someone in raising and training a Jack Russell Terrier?
  • How do you assist or help Jack Russell Terriers in need of rescue?
  • Web Sites: -JRT Rescue by the JRTCA - Jack Rusell Terrier Rescue - Russell Rescue (whose name adroitly sidesteps the name issue) and was formerly  the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America Rescue - Jack Russell Terrier Rescue of Colorado - Arizona Jack Russell Terrier Rescue - Jack Russell Rescue - Pacific NW Jack Russell Terrier Rescue

    Other Resources
    Breed standard: - JRT Standard as per the JRTCA

    Breeder Ethics: - Code of Ethics of the JRTCA: An absolute MUST READ for anyone considering the breed

    Other: - Fabulous and passionate article about the impact of National Kennel Club/All Breed Registration on breeds and specifically their opposition to recognition by the AKC.

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