Bred to be perfect for fox hunting, Jack Russell terriers are cheerful, devoted and loving dogs, requiring lots of exercise to satisfy a playful and energetic nature. Jack Russells are about 10 to 15 inches tall; weighing about 14 to 18 lbs. with a compact and muscular body. A white coat with black, tan or blown markings helps to camouflage the dog when working. Bred to possess certain characteristics, Jack Russells were named after the man who developed them.
Parson John Russell, also known as Jack Russell, developed the Jack Russell terrier breed. Born Dec. 12, 1795, Jack Russell had a reputation for being "the sporting parson." He enjoyed hunting, dog breeding and good living at the same time as being an ordained minister of the church. Russell attended Blundell's School and then went on to Oxford University. He helped found The Kennel Club, became a judge of dog pedigree and helped to write the official breed standard for the Smooth Fox Terrier. Russell died in 1883.
First Breeding Dog
At Oxford University, Russell spotted the terrier dog that would the first in the breeding process for achieving the Jack Russell terrier breed. The bitch belonged to a milkman, and having spotted the little white dog and thinking it perfect, Russell offered the milkman a price for it on the spot. He named the dog Trump and she became the foundation for new breed.
Developing the Jack Russell Terrier
Being a keen fox hunter, Russell knew that Trump had good basic attributes to create the perfect fox hunting dog. Through selective breeding, Russell tailored the breed for hunting. The dog's colorings, character, body, physical abilities and intelligence were engineered to optimize its fox hunting abilities. Russell also tailored its level of aggression, forever stopping it short of killing a fox, instead remaining with it and barking. The Jack Russell terrier was developed to match a fox's speed and agility, enabling it to follow fox holes deep underground.
The Jack Russell Terrier
Russell maintained his breed of fox terriers, as they were then known. The breed received the name Jack Russell terrier sometime after Russell's death. The Jack Russell terrier breed itself has changed little since its development because of its preservation and continued use as a working terrier in England. Other types of fox terriers, however, have gone through many changes because of being adopted as house pets and diluted with other breeds such as Corgis and bull terriers. The Kennel Club (UK) officially recognized "Parson Jack Russell Terriers" and the breed provisionally gained recognition by the F.C.I. national dog breeds association, both in 1990.