The Jack Russell is a small terrier breed known in competition since 2003 as the Parson Russell. It is a member of the terrier group and was originally bred for hunting foxes. It was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1997 and had its competition breed standard set in July of 2004.
The Jack Russell breed originates from Trump, a female terrier purchased from a milkman by Parson John Russell while still at university in Oxford, England. Parson Russell acquired Trump in 1818 and took the dog back to Devonshire where he began to breed her. Parson Russell did not begin recording his breeding efforts until 1868, but the descendants of Trump were starting to form the breed known today. The dogs became known as fox terriers in the early days, and in 1876, a club was formed with a breed standard for the animals. Parson Russell's tireless work with and in support of the breed led it ultimately to be named after him.
The Jack Russell is a medium-sized terrier that grows to between 10 and 15 inches tall at the shoulder and between 14 to 18 lbs. in weight. It has a sturdy body type, built for strength and endurance, but also to allow the dog to track foxes underground in dens. The legs are medium length to strike a balance between remaining compact and keeping pace with the larger hunting hounds. It has a small skull with a medium-length muzzle and an alert expression. Its ears are small, partially erect and V-shaped.
Coat and Color
The dog comes in three coat types: smooth, rough and broken, all of which are double layered. The smooth coat is short and smooth over the entire body. The broken coat is similar but has areas of coarse hair around the head, face, body and legs. The rough coat is the other end of the scale with coarse longer hair all over the body. The dog's general coat color is white with differing shades of brown or tan.
The Jack Russell has an energetic, friendly nature and requires a lot of attention from its owners. It has a tenacious hunting instinct when used as a working dog, and is ready to chase and stand its ground against any animal or even larger dogs. The dog enjoys to play and shows deep affection to its owners. It is not an overtly aggressive breed by nature, but weak training can lead to a troublesome dog.