Everything about the Jack Russell has fox hunting in mind - colouring, conformation, character and intelligence. The body is compact, of totally balanced proportions, the shoulders clean, the legs straight and most importantly, a small chest (easily spannable by average size hands at the widest part behind the shoulders). The Jack Russell must also be very flexible, allowing him to manoeuvre underground. This conformation allows the terrier to follow his quarry down narrow earths. In all respects the fox is a good model for the Jack Russell - where the fox can go, so must the terrier. Although originally bred for fox hunting, the Jack Russell is a versatile working terrier used to a variety of quarry including dassie and jackal. A good working terrier may be seen as the supreme solution to stock loss prevention by farmers experiencing such difficulties, and functional physical proportions, keen intelligence and working temperament are the the forefront of a real Jack Russells characteristics.
A Jack Russell Terrier may stand between 10" and 15" (at the shoulder), with broad variations in coats, markings, type, and for sure personality… they are ALL real Jack Russell Terriers. There is no "ideal" form…. the "ideal" is what suits their owner for what they want/need to do with their terrier. That is the uniqueness of the Jack Russell Terrier. The diversity within the breed standard is what makes the Jack Russell Terrier suitable for a variety of working and performance abilities - in contrast with the narrow, cosmetic breed standards of many show breeds.
The real Jack Russell Terrier has been preserved as a working dog. Every effort has been made to eliminate and prevent genetic defects/faults within the breed registry. Close inbreeding is prohibited for the mental and physical protection of the terrier.
JRTCSA judging, and all aspects of JRTCSA are focused on the working ability of the terrier. JRTCSA Judges are specifically selected from an international list of judges all of whom are committed to preserving the standard of the terrier and its working ability. Because of this, the real Jack Russell Terrier remains virtually unchanged over 200 years… it still has the structure, brain and heart to work underground, and is a mentally and physically sound terrier.
The working structure, brain and heart of the real Jack Russell Terrier is what gives this terrier the astounding character, athleticism and versatility that make it a great companion. A Jack Russell terrier is "the dog that does"…. from hunting to agility, surfing, flyball, bird retrieval, skate boarding, search & rescue, therapy dog… and is a forever entertaining pet and companion.
The working brain and heart of the Jack Russell Terrier gives it motivation to keenly interact with people, sharing and helping at every step. The real Jack Russell Terrier does not sit on the sidelines of life.
The JRTCSAs essential mission is to "Preserve, Protect and Work" the Jack Russell Terrier. This mission equally preserves the breed integrity for the most versatile, healthy, highly intelligent, loyal and affectionate companion you will ever find… the real Jack Russell.
So what then are these "other" terrier types we hear about today…. The Parson Russell, The Russell (shortie) Terrier, The Irish Jack Russell, the Miniature Jack Russell… and who knows what else?? They are simply variants of the Real Jack Russell Terrier… a type or size taken from within portions of the JRTCGB/JRTCSA breed standard to suit the whims of special interest groups/individuals.
What happens when all of these variants, with a now small gene pool, are bred together to "perfect" this narrow portion of the standard? Eventually they will change and become an animal that will look very different from the original Jack Russell Terrier. Inbreeding and breeding for the show ring will change the physical and mental structure of the dog. It will lose its purpose and its original character, as well as its mental and physical soundness, and will become something entirely different… whatever suits the whim of those controlling that variant of the terrier.
This is how the modern Fox Terrier of today once evolved from the original working fox terrier (now known as the Jack Russell Terrier). The original type of working fox terrier, the Jack Russell, will continue on with the Jack Russell Terrier Club of South Africa and the Jack Russell Terrier Club of Great Britain as its protectors. So please join the JRTCSA and help us ensure that the REAL JACK RUSSELL TERRIER will be here for another 200 years!
|Illustrated Breed Guide|
To measure a terrier's chest, span from behind, raising only the front feet from the ground (not from a table) and compress gently.
Directly behind the elbows is the smaller, firm part of the chest. The central part is usually larger but should feel rather elastic. Span with the hands tightly behind the elbows on the forward portion of the chest.
The chest should be easily spanned by average size hands (18"). Thumbs should meet under the chest.
The smaller and more flexible the better