The Jack Russell Terrier is a fearless, highly energetic and highly intelligent working dog originally bred to hunt fox.
Jack Russell Terrier
Parson Russell Terrier
Parson Jack Russell Terrier (Great Britain)
The Jack Russell Terrier is named after John Russell, a parson from England.
Body: Small, square, well-balanced, powerful, hardy, and well-muscled with a strong, straight back, narrow chest, and sloping, well laid back shoulders.
Coat: Outer coat is harsh, rough or broken, dense, straight, and water-resistant with a short undercoat.
Color: White with black, tan or brindle markings.
Ears: Small, high set, v-shaped, moderately thick, held close to the head, and folded forwarded.
Eyes: Medium size, almond-shaped, and dark in color; expressively keen and intelligent.
Feet: Small, compact, and cat-like with white nails and hair between the toes.
Head: Proportionate to the body, moderately wide, flat skull narrowing to the eyes, defined stop, rectangular muzzle, and black nose.
Legs: Forelegs are straight, strong and well aligned. Hindquarters should be muscular and powerful with well-bent stifles and straight hocks.
Neck: Long, well-muscled and tapering out to the shoulders.
Weight: 13 – 17 pounds
Height: 12 – 14 inches
Tail: High set and usually docked on working dogs.
Recommended for experienced dog handlers
Love to dig
Can be barkers
The Parson Russell Terrier is an athletic, unbelievably fearless, and exceptionally intelligent breed with relentless focus when chasing prey. His speed enabled him to keep up with the horses on hunting expeditions.
AKC Standard says, “This is first and foremost a working terrier, one that is single-minded, tenacious, courageous, and clever. Although playful, overwhelmingly affectionate, and an excellent companion, the Parson Russell Terrier is a high-energy terrier with a strong hunting instinct and is not the dog for everyone.”
He is self-confident and keenly alert to everything around him. As any owner of the Parson Russell Terrier would attest to; it isn’t uncommon to have him disappear for hours, sometimes days, only to find him stuck in a hole with the dirt having fallen in behind him, after chasing a squirrel, mouse or other prey underground.
Michele Welton, author of Your Purebred Puppy, says “If any dog can top the high energy level and daring of a Fox Terrier, it is a JRT. If any dog can top the hard-as-nails working ability of a Border Terrier, it is a JRT. And if any dog can top the strong prey drive, determination, tenacity, and intensity of a JRT…well, that could only be another JRT!”
An experienced dog handler is best suited for this breed. The Parson Jack Russell is so intelligent that you will swear he is almost human. Without early obedience training to establish who is in charge, you can be certain he will place himself at the helm. Training should always be firm, respectful, and rewarding. Gentle correction of error, treat-type rewards, and lots of praise for a job well done will be appreciated and well received.
As my niece would tell you, if you want to own a Jack Russell you have to be willing to let them be the breed they are. If you try to put too much control on this independent and mighty little dog, you will destroy his spirit.
Jim, my niece Heather’s Jack Russell Terrier, works with her at one of the local nurseries. Heather is the grower there and Jim is in charge of controlling the rodent population. With his own coat and badge, and a salary of $10.00 each year on his birthday, he does his job eagerly and efficiently. Not only does he rid the nursery of unwanted vermin, he flirts with the consumers, especially the girls, and has his own customer following…so to speak!
As a puppy Jim grew up on a horse farm and gained his greatest reward for saving the farm cat from the jaws of a fox. Even though he did his share of chasing and teasing the cat he wasn’t about to let any harm come to her. Much to the dismay of the fox, Jim came to the rescue, not only saving the cat but laying down the law of the territory to the fox who was smart enough to find another source of food far away from Jim’s property.
This is not a dog for the faint of heart. Jim once chased a deer until the deer became so weary he broke his neck trying to jump a six-foot fence. Jim arrived home with a Foo Man Chu mustache around his muzzle from trying to pull the deer home by the tail. On another occurrence he found a dead deer and brought the head home for show and tell.
Jim also loves to swim. Until I witnessed it for myself, I didn’t believe it when I was told that he would swim for hours tirelessly. He will swim in the lake, blowing bubbles and snapping at them, for hours at a time never coming to shore for a rest. I grew weary just watching him.
These are truly amazing dogs. Did I mention how patient he is with the children in our family. It’s obvious from the expression on his face that he would rather be left alone but tolerates the attention with respect and gentleness giving only an occasional sympathy-seeking glance to Heather in hopes of being rescued from such “torment”.
AKC Group: Terrier Group
Originally bred to hunt fox, above or below the ground, in England by parson John Russell.
Care and Grooming
Exercise: This is a dog with a high level of energy needing lots of daily exercise such as running, hiking, swimming and hunting.
Grooming: His short coat can be easily maintained by lightly brushing him one to two times weekly.
Life Expectancy: 13 – 15 Years – have been known to live as long as 19-20 years
Legg-Perthes – deterioration of the femur (thigh bone)
Luxating Patella – dislocation of the knee cap
vWD – a blood disorder
CERF – for the eyes
Country of Origin
England – 1800s