The Heritage of the Working Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier carries the name of the famous sporting Parson of Devonshire, England. The Reverend John Russell (1795-1883) kept his strain of fox working terriers purely for the enjoyment of fox hunting and never for the show ring. It was said of the Parson that he evaluated his terriers on their working ability, having no use for a terrier that entered the ground to kill the fox. Instead, Reverend Russell demanded a smart, flexible terrier that would follow the fox to ground in order to bolt the wiley red from his den so that the sport of the chase could continue.

Although the Reverend John Russell was a founding member of England's Kennel Club in 1873, his only experience in judging fox working terriers in the show ring left him saddened because he claimed that show ring specimens lacked the qualities so necessary to work red fox in the ground. It has been reported that he never exhibited his own terriers, much preferring to breed them for the hunt field. If the Reverend had a motto, it may well have been something like, "Breed them to work and not strictly to look at."

A Jack Russell Terrier must be built to be able to enter the earth and follow his quarry. As such, he must possess a laid back shoulder, good length of neck, a well-angulated rear and above all must have a spannable, chest and flexible body. There can be no compromise on the spannable chest of a Jack Russell Terrier. Jack Russell Terriers are square, balanced terriers with the length of back about equal to his length of leg. The legs are straight and never bowed, curved or benched. The proportions of a Jack Russell Terrier are much like a good Thoroughbred horse, and the terrier should move like a field hunter with a long, low, ground-covering stride.

In order to maintain the working characteristics of this marvelous earthworking terrier and keep them as the Parson intended, it is necessary to actually work them and breed only those individuals that work. We subscribe to the 10" to 15" height standard for the Jack Russell Terrier and believe the true merit of a Jack Russell Terrier can only be judged in the hunt field. It is exactly this challenge we have accepted and strive to accomplish within the range of this terrier's conformation breed standard.

There is nothing like being a partner with your Jack Russell Terrier in the hunt field and watching him do what he has been bred to do for over a century. We sincerely hope if you haven't had this unparalleled experience that you will in the not-too-distant future. We promise that there is nothing you will ever do with your terrier that is any more exciting for either of you.

Happy Hunting!