In 1819, John (Jack) Russell, a student
of theology and also a keen hunter, bought a bitch named Trump in Oxford.
It was a predominately white terrier with a brown spot over eyes and ears
as well as at the base of its tail. She had excellent hunting abilities
and represented the type that Parson John Russell aspired to breed. So
Trump became the founder of the Jack Russell terrier strain. John Russell
was a parson, which is the reason why his dogs were named
"Parson" Jack Russell terrier. The English Kennel Club
officially recognized this breed by 1990.
With the breed recognition in 1991 by
the FCI, the world canine organisation, the breed number 339 was
established. This standard is for a short rectangular terrier 33-35 cm in
height at withers (considered the ideal height for bitches or males) with
straight legs and V-shaped ears laying flat on the head. The coat should
be naturally coarse, tight and dense and either somewhat broken or flat
and primarily white with tan or black markings, preferably confined to the
head and base of the tail. Recognized colours are white/tan, white/black
and tricolour (white/tan/black). The tail must be strong, straight and set
high and customarily docked "to a length which affords a good
grip". The characteristic Jack Russell terrier is fond of children,
fearless to something of a daredevil, lively, persevering and easy to lead. One could say that he has "power steering".
Because the Jack Russell terrier has
mainly been a working terrier and not a show dog for decades, we still
find a wide range of heights, profiles, colours and coat types. Although
smaller dogs with a minimum height of 26 cm are still absolutely
acceptable, the bow-legged long-backed dog with pricked ears no longer
fits into the present standard of the breed.
Text: Dr. J. Willi,