The Parson Russell Terrier
white fox-working terriers were bred by the Reverend John Russell,
a parson and hunting enthusiast born in 1795. In his last year of
university at Oxford he bought a small white and tan terrier bitch
called Trump from the milk man. Trump was purchased based upon appearance
alone. (Burns, 2005) She was the basis for a breeding program to develop
a terrier with high stamina for the hunt as well as the courage and
formation to chase out foxes that had gone to ground, but without
the aggressiveness that would result in physical harm to the fox,
which would have ended the chase, and so was considered unsporting.
The line of terriers developed by John Russell was well respected
for these qualities and his dogs were often taken on by hunt enthusiasts.
It is unlikely, however, that any dogs alive today are descended from
Trump, as Russell was forced to sell all of his dogs on more than
one occasion because of financial difficulty, and had only four aged
(and non-breeding) terriers left when he died in 1883.
only painting that exists of Trump was painted more than 40 years
after the dog died, and it was painted by someone that had never seen
the original animal at all. Russell said the painting was "a
good likeness" but in fact he may have been trying to be polite,
as the painting was commissioned by Edward VII (then Prince of Wales)
who befriended Russell in his old age, and had the painting done as
an homage to the old man. (Burns, 2005)
the day that the impoverished Rev. John Russell died, his old sermons
and other papers were found blowing around in the farm yard. Little
or no written record of Rev. John Russell survives to the present
it is often stated that Trump was "14 inches tall and weighed
14 pounds," there is no source for this statement, and it appears
to have been penned by someone who had never met Russell and had only
seen the painting of Trump (to which there is nothing to suggest scale).
Trump's appearance is murky, and her size a complete mystery, the
fox dens of Devon, England, where John Russell once hunted, are well
known. Terrierman Eddie Chapman, who has hunted those same Devon earths
for more than 30 years, notes that "I can state categorically
that if given the choice, ninety-nine percent of hunt terrier men
would buy an under 12" worker, if it was available, over a 14"
one." (Chapman, 1994). To this day most working terrier enthusiast
seem to prefer a dog around 12 inches tall and with a chest span of
Russells that are not trained and exercised regularly may exhibit
unmanageable behaviour, including excessive barking, escaping from
the yard, or digging in unwanted places inside and outside the house.
In America, several Jack Russell rescue networks have to work constantly
to find temporary and permanent homes for Jack Russell Terriers whose
owners typically were not aware that Jack Russells are not "docile"
dogs and could not meet these requirements. Prospective Jack Russell
Terrier owners are advised to be responsible.
Jack Russell Terriers get along well with children so long as they
are introduced carefully, but they are extremely protective of their
territory and have no tolerance of even unintentional abuse. Most
are outgoing and friendly towards other dogs (again, territorial invasions
notwithstanding), but a good number show same-sex aggression issues,
especially the males. JRTs are also known for a "Napoleon complex"
regarding larger canines that can get them into dangerous situations.
Their fearlessness often scares off a larger animal, but their apparent
unawareness of their small size can lead to a lopsided fight with
larger dogs if not kept in check.
is not uncommon for a Jack Russell terrier to be cat-aggressive (although
they have been known to get along with them over time in the same
house) and homes with other small fur-bearing animals in them (pet
hamsters, rabbits, etc) would do well to think through the ramifications
of bringing a JRT into the house as their hunting instincts are strong
Reverend Jack Russell did not have Jack Russell terriers – he
had white-bodied fox-working dogs that, in his day, were simply called
term “Jack Russell Terrier” was coined after the Reverend
John Russell was dead, and was used to differentiate small working
terriers from over-large non-working Fox Terriers that by 1900 dominated
the Kennel Club show ring and bench.
the term "Jack Russell Terrier" is used to describe a wide
array of dogs. Though there is a difference of opinion as to what
is a “true” Jack Russell Terrier, it is revealing that
the Reverend John Russell himself, never registered his own dogs with
the Kennel Club and described his own dogs as being very different
from those found on the show ring bench: "True terriers [my dogs]
were, but differing from the present show dogs as the wild eglantine
differs from a garden rose."
simplest way to think about Jack Russell Terriers is to divide the
entire lot of them into two groups as John Russell himself did: Those
that actually work in the field, underground, to formidable quarry
(what Russell himself valued), and all the rest -- pets and show dogs
a simple demarcation stood for more than 100 years, but ended in 1990
when The Kennel Club (UK) decided to add the Parson Russell Terrier
to its rolls. The American Kennel Club followed suit in 2001, as did
the United Kennel Club that same year.
Breed Clubs and Societies.
PARSON RUSSELL TERRIER CLUB. Sec: Mrs Jane Newport, Whitehills Farm, Shilton Road, Burford, Oxon. OX18 4PE
01993 822806 Jane@digaden.co.uk
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