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, Sarastro