Jack Russell Terriers are our Breed-of-the-Month! And there are lots of interesting things to know about these vivacious pups!
Holy Dog, the Jack Russell Terrier breed originated 200 years ago by Reverend John Russell, who was known as ‘The Sporting Parson’. He was an avid hunter and bred the Jack Russell Terrier from the same origins as the Fox Terrier and extinct White Terriers. The story goes that The Reverend’s inspiration was a white and brown terrier that he adopted from his local milkman. Her name was Trump! He thought she was the perfect hunting dog, as she was white, fast, smart and had high stamina. Se was the basis of his breeding endeavors. For years he bred the dogs and perfected the breed. By the 1850’s, the Jack Russell Terrier was recognized as its own distinct breed.
Looks and Personality:
Even after 200 years of breeding, the Jack Russel Terrier is quite similar to its relatives. They are typically white with brown patches, but can also have some black and tan markings. The coat is not silky, or coarse, but a nice middle ground. The coat can be short, longer or mixed, which is called a ‘broken’ coat. Although there is nothing broken about any of these strong, agile and sturdy dogs. They weigh in at about 15 to 18 pounds, are muscular and tight, and they have ears that ‘flop’ over and are V shaped. Because they are working dogs, bred to get foxes out of dens, they are good diggers. They are also fast, sleek and smart! They are fearless and athletic dogs. Because they are so smart, they get bored easily if not in constant training and activity. They, like any bored dog, can be destructive so it is important to cherish their temperament and encourage them to use their brains through training and sport! These can be amazing dogs if their traits are respected- you’ll not find a better frisbee pal or fetch player! Jack Russell Terriers love to please their owners, and they love to learn new tricks. They are good with older children who are respectful- Jack Russell Terriers will not tolerate much if any abusive behaviors. They are also quite stubborn, so an experienced owner is best with this breed.
These dogs, bred for hunting foxes, will also ‘hunt’ and pursue other animals too! However, there is one animal that can actually be deadly to the Jack Russell Terrier- a skunk. There is a chemical in the skunk’s spray that can cause ‘Toxic Shock Syndrome’. It is important to get the dog to the vet right away- there are treatments to flush out the toxins, but they must be administered immediately.
These wonderful pups don’t need much trimming. Typically the hairs around the face are made tidy, and just enough is trimmed to make both sides of the face even. They are ‘double coated’, so the undercoat can be stripped twice a year if they are of the rough coat variety. Brushing is a good idea too- it spreads the natural oils that help keep the coat water resistant. Ears should be checked for dirt, and nails should be trimmed, especially because they are so energetic and athletic, the nails can snag if not the proper length. Also, because they run so much, longer nails can be bad for the bones of the toes.
The Jack Russell Terrier is a sturdy breed, with a strong physique and is built for action! However they can sometimes be prone to ‘patellar luxation’- a hereditary condition affecting the knees. Treatment and therapy is available in these cases. Deafness is also common, but they are so intelligent they adapt very well with training from the right type of owner. Although about 14 years is average, Jack Russell Terriers can live up to 16 years!
Jack Russell Terriers are lovely dogs, who are affectionate and wise- and extremely witty, smart and tenacious! They are wonderful companions for experienced owners who have the energy to match. Watch our Facebook page all month for fun facts about the amazing Jack Russell Terrier!