Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier is a small dog breeds, principally white-bodied, smooth- or rough-coated terrier that has its origins in fox hunting. The name "Jack Russell" is used to describe a wide array of small white terriers. Commonly confused with the Parson Russell Terrier -- the American Kennel Club (AKC) and affiliate variant -- and the Russell Terrier (a shorter legged, stockier variety), the working Jack Russell Terrier is a unique terrier which has been preserved in working ability as well as appearance much as it existed over 200 years ago.

Jack Russell Terriers are sturdy, tough, and tenacious, measuring between 10" and 15" at the shoulder. The body length must be in proportion to the height, and the dog should present a compact, balanced image. Predominantly white in coloration (more than 51%) with black and/or tan markings, they exhibit a smooth, broken or rough coat. The skin can sometimes show a pattern of small black or brown spots -- referred to as "ticking" -- that do not carry through to the outer coat. All coat types should be dense double coats that are neither silky (in the case of smooth coats) nor woolly (in the case of rough coats). The head should be of moderate width at the ears, narrowing to the eyes, and slightly flat between the ears. There should be a defined but not overpronounced stop at the end of the muzzle where it meets the head, and a black nose. The jaw should be powerful and well boned with a scissor bite and straight teeth. The eyes are almond shaped and dark colored, and should be full of life and intelligence. Small V-shaped ears of moderate thickness are carried forward on the head. When the dog is alert, the tip of the V should not extend past the outer corner of the eyes. The tail is set high and in the past was docked to approximately five inches in order to provide a sufficient hand-hold for gripping the terrier. It is a serious fault for the dog to have its tail down when in the show ring. The Jack Russell should always appear balanced and alert, As the Jack Russell Terrier is primarily a working terrier, its most important physical characteristic is its chest size, which must not be so large that it prevents the dog from entering and working in burrows. The red fox is the traditional quarry of the Jack Russell Terrier (JRT), so the working Jack Russell must be small enough to pursue its quarry. Red foxes vary in size, but across the world they average from 13-17 pounds in weight and have an average chest size of 12-14 inches at the widest part.

Jack Russells are first and foremost a working dog terrier. Originally bred to bolt fox from their dens during hunts, they are used on numerous ground-dwelling quarry such as groundhog, badger, and red and grey fox. The working JRT is required to locate quarry in the earth, and then either bolt it or hold it in place until they are dug to. To accomplish this, the dog must bark and work the quarry continuously. Because the preservation of this working ability is of highest importance to most registered JRTCA/JRTCGB breeders, Jack Russells tend to be extremely intelligent, athletic, fearless, and vocal dogs. It is not uncommon for these dogs to become moody or destructive if not properly stimulated and exercised, as they have a tendency to bore easily and will often create their own fun when left alone to entertain themselves.

Their high energy and drive make these dogs ideally suited to a number of different dog sports such as flyball or agility. Obedience classes are also recommended to potential owners, as Jack Russells can be stubborn at times and aggressive towards other animals and humans if not properly socialized (a process that should be continued throughout their whole lives). Despite their small size, these dogs are not recommended for the condominium or apartment dweller unless the owner is ready to take on the daunting task of providing the dog with the necessary amount of exercise and stimulation. These are truly big dogs in small packages, a fact which can sometimes lead to trouble involving larger animals. The JRT owner must be aware of these tendencies and keep an eye out for trouble in many situations.

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