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Learn about the breed standard of the Russell Terrier aka short legged Russell known throughout the kennel club world as the Jack Russell Terrier
Photos of correct, kennel club registered short legged Russells aka Australian Jack Russell Terriers known in the US as Russell Terriers
History of the Breed

The three photos above are examples of correct short Jack Russell Terriers. All three are Australian champions, have produced Australian and New Zealand champions and are in the pedigrees and bloodlines of our own imported terriers. As the old saying goes "a picture paints a thousand words", and so a quick glance at the photos of these outstanding terriers along with familiarizing yourself with the FCI and ANKC breed standards below should give you more information about what a correct short Jack Russell Terrier aka Russell Terrier in the United States should be in type and conformation.

All authorities of this breed who are involved with FCI and ANKC kennel clubs concur that the modern day Jack Russell Terrier's roots and ancestors can be found in England in the fox hunts and the professional terriermen employed by those hunts. While the Rev John Russell is credited with developing his own strain of white bodied fox working terriers, after his death the many terriermen throughout the UK kept and bred the type of terrier that suited his own countryside and needs. Where a terrier was required to to hunt in rougher land, run on foot with the terrierman over the terrain and where the earths were larger, a longer legged terrier was essential. When the terriermen required a smaller dog that was carried in a terrier bag, a smaller terrier was used. Please note this breed was developed primarily as an earthworking terrier. As such this little dog can NEVER be light boned, snippy in the muzzle, weak of jaw or frail in any way. The purpose of his work demands he be a sturdy little terrier able to withstand the physical strain and punishment the fox gives him in the ground. The three champion Jack Russell Terriers aka Russell Terriers pictured above exhibit those qualities that are essential for them to do the job they were bred to do more than a century ago. It is to this standard that we aspire.

First documented registration of this breed: In the early 1970s, the Jack Russell Terrier Club of Great Britain (JRTCGB) was formed as the first organized registry for the Jack Russell Terrier. Any white bodied terrier that met the 10" to 15" height requirement was registered with that organization, and for the first time, pedigrees were kept by a formal registry. Jack Russell Terriers at that time were registered on phenotype and not on pedigree. The JRTCGB divided the Jack Russell Terrier into two varieties for show purposes -- 10" to 12" and over 12" and up to and including 15". Shortly after the founding of the JRTCGB, Jack Russell Terrier Clubs were being formed world wide throughout Europe, North America and Australia.

The Jack Russell Terrier Club of Australia was formed in 1972. This national organization implemented a comprehensive registration system and a formal breed standard. This club also initiated discussions with the kennel club regarding the possibility of the breed being accepted for registration as a pure breed. The ideal height for the Jack Russell Terrier in Australia was to be 10" to 12". The smaller Jack Russell Terrier was and is a variance of the Jack Russell Terrier that originated in England and was used by the terriermen employed by organized English hunts and not the "Parson Russell," which was not recognized or registered until the mid 1990s.

Documented heritage and pedigrees: Because the heritage of the two breeds (Parson and Jack) is in the English working kennels of the JRTCGB you will often find some of the same names in the pedigrees of both the Jack Russell and the Parson Russell Terrier. In fact, Grove Willie and Grove Tartar, the sire and grandsire respectively of Rev John Russell's own Old Foiler were exported from England to Australia in the late 1800's. In the 1970s several working Jack Russell Terriers including Beau, Bim, Brighthelms Alice Springs and Fern were brought to Australia from England, and later English bred working terriers such as Foxwarren Tommy, Foxwarren Tag, Tarsia Fly and Tarsia Monocle were imported to add to the colonial blood. These later imports came from the working kennels of Eddie Chapman and Ann Brewer. This does NOT mean there is Parson blood in the short JRT at all! There seems to be much confusion as to what "Parson blood" or even a Parson Russell Terrier is. A Parson is a dog that is registered as a Parson Russell Terrier with the AKC, an FCI registry or the ANKC. Because a Parson Russell and a Russell Terrier share many of the same ancestors does NOT mean the dog has "Parson blood". Please review the internationally accepted history for this kennel club breed above.


The Breed Standard

Australian National Kennel Council 1990
Jack Russell Terrier Breed Standard Amended May 2001

COUNTRY OF DEVELOPMENT: Australia

GENERAL APPEARANCE - A strong, active, lithe working Terrier of great character with flexible body of medium length.† His smart movement matches his keen expression.† Tail docking is optional and the coat may be smooth, rough or broken.†

CHARACTERISTICS - A lively, alert and active Terrier with a keen, intelligent expression.†

TEMPERAMENT - Bold and fearless, friendly but quietly confident.†

HEAD AND SKULL - The skull should be flat and of moderate width gradually decreasing in width to the eyes and tapering to a wide muzzle with very strong jaws.† There should be a well defined stop but not over pronounced.† The length from the stop to the nose should be slightly shorter than from the stop to the occiput with the cheek muscles well developed.† The nose should be black.†

EYES - Small dark and with keen expression.† MUST not be prominent and eyelids should fit closely.† The eyelid rims should be pigmented black.† Almond shape.†

EARS - Button or dropped of good texture and great mobility.†

MOUTH - Deep wide and powerful jaws with tight-fitting pigmented lips and strong teeth closing to a scissor bite.†

NECK - Strong and clean allowing head to be carried with poise.†

FOREQUARTERS - Shoulders well sloped back and not heavily loaded with muscle.† Forelegs straight in bone from the elbow to the toes whether viewed from the front or the side and with sufficient length of upper arm to ensure elbows are set under the body with sternum clearly in front of shoulder blades.

BODY - Chest deep rather than wide, with good clearance and the brisket located at the height mid-way between the ground and the withers.† The body should be proportioned marginally longer than tall, measuring slightly longer from the withers to the root of the tail than from the withers to the ground.† Back level.† Ribs should be well sprung from the spine, flattening on the sides so that the girth behind the elbows can be spanned by two hands - about 40 cms to 43 cms.† The loins should be short, strong and deeply muscled.†

HINDQUARTERS - Strong and muscular, balanced in proportion to the shoulder, hind legs parallel when viewed from behind while in free standing position.† Stifles well angulated and hocks low set.†

FEET - Round, hard, padded, not large, toes moderately arched, turned neither in nor out.†

TAIL - May droop at rest.† When moving should be erect and if docked the tip should be on the same level as ears.†

GAIT/MOVEMENT - True, free and springy.†

COAT - May be smooth, broken or rough.† Must be weatherproof, preferably unaltered.†

COLOUR - White MUST predominate with black and/or tan markings.† The tan markings can be from the lightest tan to the richest tan (chestnut).

SIZE -† Ideal Height:† 25 cms (10 ins) to 30 cms (12 ins)†
The weight in kg being equivalent of 1 kg to each 5 cms in height, i.e. a 25 cm high dog should weigh approximately 5 kg and a 30 cm high dog should weigh 6 kg.†

FAULTS - Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.† However, the following weaknesses should be particularly penalised:†
(a)† Lack of true Terrier characteristics†
(b)† Lack of balance, i.e. over exaggeration of any points†
(c)† Sluggish or unsound movement†
(d)† Faulty mouth.†

NOTE - Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.†





FCI Jack Russell Terrier Breed Standard

implemented Aug 9, 2004

ORIGIN: England

COUNTRY OF DEVELOPMENT : Australia

DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE ORIGINAL VALID STANDARD : Oct 25,2000.

UTILIZATION : A good working Terrier with ability to go to ground. An excellent companion dog.

CLASSIFICATION F.C.I.: Group 3 Terriers

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY : The Jack Russell Terrier originated in England in the 1800ís due to the efforts of the Reverend John Russell. He developed a strain of Fox Terriers to suit his needs for a dog to run with his foxhounds and go to ground to bolt the fox and other quarry from their dens. Two varieties evolved with basically similar Standards except for differences, mainly in height and proportions. The taller, more squarely built dog is now known as the Parson Russell Terrier and the shorter, slightly longer proportioned dog, is known as the Jack Russell Terrier.

GENERAL APPEARANCE : A strong, active, lithe working Terrier of great character with flexible body of medium length. His smart movement matches his keen expression. Tail docking is optional and the coat may be smooth, rough or broken.

IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS :

  • The overall dog is longer than high.
  • The depth of the body from the withers to the brisket should equal the length of foreleg from elbows to the ground.
  • The girth behind the elbows should be about 40 to 43 cm.

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT : A lively, alert and active Terrier with a keen, intelligent expression. Bold and fearless, friendly but quietly confident.

HEAD

CRANIAL REGION :
Skull : The skull should be flat and of moderate width gradually decreasing in width to the eyes and tapering to a wide muzzle.
Stop : Well defined but not over pronounced.

FACIAL REGION :
Nose : Black.
Muzzle : The length from the stop to the nose should be slightly shorter than from the stop to the occiput.
Lips : Tight-fitting and pigmented black.
Jaws/Teeth : Very strong, deep, wide and powerful. Strong teeth closing to a scissor bite.
Eyes : Small dark and with keen expression. MUST not be prominent and eyelids should fit closely. The eyelid rims should be pigmented black. Almond shape.
Ears : Button or dropped of good texture and great mobility.
Cheeks : The cheek muscles should be well developed.

NECK : Strong and clean allowing head to be carried with poise.

BODY :

General : Rectangular
Back : Level. The length from the withers to the root of tail slightly greater than the height from the withers to the ground.
Loin : The loins should be short, strong and deeply muscled.
Chest : Chest deep rather than wide, with good clearance from the ground, enabling the brisket to be located at the height mid-way between the ground and the withers. Ribs should be well sprung from the spine, flattening on the sides so that the girth behind the elbows can be spanned by two hands - about 40 cm to 43 cm.
Sternum : Point of sternum clearly in front of the point of shoulder.

TAIL : May droop at rest. When moving should be erect and if docked the tip should be on the same level as ears.

LIMBS

FOREQUARTERS :
Shoulders : Well sloped back and not heavily loaded with muscle.
Upper arm : Of sufficient length and angulation to ensure elbows are set under the body.
Forelegs : Straight in bone from the elbows to the toes whether viewed from the front or the side.

HINDQUARTERS : Strong and muscular, balanced in proportion to the shoulder.
Stifles : Well angulated.
Hock joints : Low set.
Rear pastern(Metatarsus) : Parallel when viewed from behind while in free standing position.

FEET : Round, hard, padded, not large, toes moderately arched, turned neither in nor out.

GAIT / MOVEMENT : True, free and springy

COAT

HAIR : May be smooth, broken or rough. Must be weatherproof. Coats should not be altered (stripped out) to appear smooth or broken.

COLOUR : White MUST predominate with black and/or tan markings. The tan markings can be from the lightest tan to the richest tan (chestnut).

SIZE AND WEIGHT :
Ideal Height : 25 cm (10 ins) to 30 cm (12 ins).
Weight : Being the equivalent of 1 kg to each 5 cm in height, i.e. a 25 cm high dog should weigh approximately 5 kg and a 30 cm high dog should weigh 6 kg.

FAULTS : Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree. and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog. However, the following weaknesses should be particularly penalised:

  • Lack of true Terrier characteristics.
  • Lack of balance, i.e. over exaggeration of any points.
  • Sluggish or unsound movement.
  • Faulty mouth.

Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.

N.B. : Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum




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