The Jack Russell Terrier is a small energetic dog with the same family lines as the Fox Hound. The breed originated in the UK in the early nineteenth century. It was developed by the Reverend John Russell. It was used to go into the dens of foxes and chase them out.
They make great family pets but, because of their high energy level, they are not for everybody.
The Jack Russell terrier is descended from a white terrier which was purchased by the Reverend Jack Russell while he was at Oxford University. It was developed to fill a need for a dog that would chase foxes from their dens without physically attacking them.
After Doctor John Russell's death, the breed was developed further and in some parts of England it was used for badger hunting. The first breed standard was written in 1894.
Fox and badger hunting declined considerably after World War 2. The demand for Jack Russell hunting dogs also declined and their use as a family pet grew.
The Jack Russell Terrier Club Of America was formed in 1976.
The modern Jack Russell Terrier still has a very strong hunting instinct. This cannot be trained out of them. The coat is predominantly white with a variety of other colours making up the balance (usually black or tan). In the early dogs, the white colour was favoured so that it could be easily distinguished from the prey animals in the field.
There are 3 different coat types: smooth, rough and broken. All three coat types tend to shed.
Jack Russell terriers have a sturdy muscular body. They are generally not higher than 15 inches.
They are very energetic and are never happier than when they are given a job to do along with their human companion.
They are ideal dogs for all types of agility training.
Jack Russells are alert and make good watch dogs. Sometimes excessive barking can be a problem. They will need socialising early if they will be sharing a home with other dogs or young children.
They are an assertive breed and can be aggressive towards other dogs. Training is essential. They are not suitable for an inactive life and would not be the first choice for apartment living unless they can be given lots of exercise.
They are a long-lived dog living to between 13 and 15 years.
Jack Russells are generally a healthy breed with few inherited problems.
The most common hereditary disorder (which, in fact is not very common) is lens luxation. This is where the lens of the eye becomes displaced. It appears in dogs between 3 and 8 years old. This condition appears in a number of terrier breeds as well as the Border Collie and Welsh Corgi.
They can also suffer from patellar luxation which is a hereditary condition affecting the knees. The knee cap slips out of the groove where it normally sits.
If you are looking for a high energy companion who is always ready for a game or adventure, the Jack Russell terrier could be the dog for you.