Jack Russell Terrier – The Dog that Defined Tenacious

History – In 1819, the Reverend John Russell first began to breed the Terrier we know today, out of the necessity for a mostly-white fox hunting dog. Up until that point, the dogs employed to hunt foxes were too similar in coloring to the foxes they chased. The Reverend wanted to create a smart, fast, small, energetic hunting companion that was mostly white in color (easier to spot in the field) and possessed a tempered aggressiveness with the prey (meaning they could chase it down but not actually harm it when caught). It all began with a small white and tan female pup named Trump, which he bought from a milkman outside of Elsfield, England. Trump was said to be similar to a Wire Fox Terrier, but with shorter legs. She was most likely a stout cross between a Fox Terrier and a Black and Tan Terrier. The dogs that followed were named “Jack Russell Terriers” in honor of the man that began the quest to breed them.

Breeding continued past the Reverend’s death in 1883, and three distinct types came to be: the Jack Russell, the Russell, and the Parsons terriers. While only slight variances separate the three, the Parson is the tallest and the Russell is the shortest (commonly called “the shorty JRT”).

Today, this is clearly one of the most popular dogs around. So it might be surprising to know that though the Parson Terrier and the Russell Terrier have been acknowledged by many kennel clubs worldwide, the Jack Russell Terrier itself was not included, formally, among the 175 breeds recognized by the AKC. Part of that was in fact due to objections by those in the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America. They wanted to keep the Jack Russell a working, hunting breed…not a show dog. Finally, in the late 1990s, the Jack Russell Terrier was accepted into the “Miscellaneous” category of the AKC. And now, though their differences are small, the Parsons and the Jack Russell Terrier are considered absolutely different breeds by both the AKC and the UKC, among…

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