Country of Origin: England
Date or Origin: 1800s
Original Function: Fox bolting
Energy Level: Very High
Exercise Requirements: High
Friendliness towards people: Moderate
Friendliness with other animals: Low
Ease of Training: Moderate
Guarding Ability: High
Grooming Requirements: Low
Life Span: 13 – 15 years
The Jack Russell Terrier descends almost entirely from a dog named Trump, who was owned by the Parson John Russell in middle 1800s England. John Russell was a fox hunting enthusiast and wanted to try and develop a dog that was fit enough to keep up with the horses on the hunt but small enough to dispatch the foxes from their dens. The line he created through Trump was so successful that it eventually became a recognised line and carried his name. Parson John Russell did go on to become quite heavily involved with the English Kennel Club, but he never showed his own breed in the confirmation shows, preferring to show off the qualities of his breed in the field rather than the show ring. This opinion still stands today with many Jack Russell enthusiasts and breeders.
This breed is popular on farms and stables because of their ability to hunt, keeping the numbers of rats and mice down. However, the type favoured for this sort of role is a more short legged version of the original Jack Russell Terrier, and to this day the longer legged version is still referred to as the Parson Jack Russell Terrier, so its possible to distinguish the two types. This breed also comes with two possible coat types, smooth and broken. The broken coat is a rough, wire haired coat. Their colouring is predominantly white with tan, black or brown markings.
The Jack Russell Terrier, whilst popular with many different types of people, is not a breed for everyone. Despite recent appearances in movies and adverts, boosting the breed’s popularity, they are not an easy dog to manage and are most definitely a high maintenance breed, despite their small size. They are very mischievous, often being referred to a scamp or a loveable rogue. But beneath the fun is a highly energetic, highly intelligent dog that needs a lot of mental and physical stimulation. They are natural hunters so often can’t be trusted with smaller pets and are known to ‘wander off’ if walked off lead, following a scent. They are also born diggers and love nothing more than adventuring off down a hole or chasing perceived prey, such as cats.
Having said all of that, the Jack Russell Terrier is a bundle of fun and energy and, if properly socialised, trained and stimulated, makes a very loving and entertaining part of the family. They are usually very good with children and their mischievous nature makes them a lot of fun to have around.
The Jack Russell Terrier is best suited to any set up of family, couple or single person, assuming that they get the right levels of exercise and training and plenty of outdoor time. They are not suited to anybody wanting a calm lap dog or anybody who doesn’t have the time or the ability to give them the exercise they need.
Overall the cheeky chappy of the dog world, but very high energy and more high maintenance than many other breeds.