The Jack Russell terrier is a small terrier that has its origins in fox hunting; it is principally white-bodied and smooth, rough or broken-coated. It is commonly confused with the Parson Russell terrier (see the American Kennel Club) and the Russell terrier, which is a shorter-legged, stockier variety. (Within the Fédération Cynologique Internationale the "Russell terrier" is also known as "Jack Russell terrier.") The term "Jack Russell" is commonly misapplied to other small white terriers.

The Jack Russell is a broad type, with a size range of 10–15 inches (25–38 cm). The Parson Russell is limited only to a middle range with a standard size of 12–14 inches (30–36 cm), while the Russell terrier is smaller at 8–12 inches (20–30 cm). Each breed has different physical proportions according to the standards of their breed clubs.

The Jack Russell is an energetic breed that relies on a high level of exercise and stimulation and is relatively free from serious health complaints. Originating from dogs bred and used by Reverend John Russell in the early 19th century, it has similar origins to the modern Fox terrier. It has gone through several changes over the years corresponding to different use and breed standards set by kennel clubs. Recognition by kennel clubs for the Jack Russell breed has been opposed by the breed's parent societies – which resulted in the breeding and recognition of the Parson Russell terrier. Jack Russells have appeared many times in film, television and print with several historical dogs of note.

Description:

Due to their working nature, Jack Russell terriers remain much as they were some 200 years ago. They are sturdy, tough, and tenacious, measuring between 10–15 inches (25–38 cm) at the withers, and weigh 14–18 pounds (6.4–8.2 kg). The body length must be in proportion to the height, and the dog should present a compact, balanced image. Predominantly white in coloration (more than 51%) with black and/or tan markings, they exhibit either a smooth, rough or a combination of both which is known as a broken coat. A broken-coated dog may have longer hair on the tail or face than that which is seen on a smooth-coated dog. The skin can sometimes show a pattern of small black or brown spots, referred to as "ticking" that do not carry through to the outer coat. All coat types should be dense double coats that are neither silky (in the case of smooth coats) nor woolly (in the case of rough coats).

Temperament:

Jack Russells are first and foremost a working terrier. Originally bred to bolt fox from their dens during hunts, they are used on numerous ground-dwelling quarry such as groundhog, badger, and red and grey fox. The working JRT is required to locate quarry in the earth, and then either bolt it or hold it in place until they are dug to. To accomplish this, the dog won't bark but will expect attention to the quarry continuously. Because the preservation of this working ability is of highest importance to most registered JRTCA/JRTCGB breeders, Jack Russells tend to be extremely intelligent, athletic, fearless, and vocal dogs. It is not uncommon for these dogs to become moody or destructive if not properly stimulated and exercised, as they have a tendency to bore easily and will often create their own fun when left alone to entertain themselves.

Health:

The breed has a reputation for being healthy with a long lifespan. Breeders have protected the gene pool, and direct in-line breeding has been prevented. Jack Russells can live anywhere from between 13 to 16 years on average given proper care. However certain lines have been noted for having specific health concerns, and therefore could occur in any line or generation because of recessive genes. These issues can include hereditary cataracts, ectopia lentis, congenital deafness, patellar luxation, ataxia, myasthenia gravis, Legg–Calvé–Perthes syndrome and von Willebrand disease.

Being a hunt-driven dog, the Jack Russell will usually pursue most creatures that it encounters. This includes the skunk, and the breed is prone to skunk toxic shock syndrome. The chemical in the skunk spray is absorbed by the dog and causes the red blood cells to undergo haemolysis, which can occasionally lead to fatal anaemia and kidney failure. If sprayed underground, it can also cause chemical burning of the cornea. Treatments are available to flush the toxin out of the dog's system.


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