In the 1800's a Reverend with a passion for fox hunting, developed his own particular strain of hunting dogs. This strain proved itself to be an exceptional working dog and became known by the name of the good Reverend, John (Jack) Russell.
The Jack Russell Terrier should always resemble it's original function, that of a hunting dog. For that reason there are many different colour combinations, and coat types. White is the dominant colour of choice. Originally, this colour made it easy for the hunter to distinguish between the dog and the fox, when the two would bolt from the den. It's coat comes in three types, smooth, wire, and broken. All three coat types are acceptable and functional for their purposes, and all need proper care and maintenance.
Because the dog has always been bred for function and not form, the Jack Russell Terrier has many different looks and sizes. To illustrate this, today we have two distinct types of this terrier, classified by the length of its legs. The short version stands 25.5 - 32cm, and the taller dog measures 32 - 38cm. Both have proven themselves to be exceptional at their jobs. The taller of the two, is a great all-round dog, of long enough leg to keep up with the hounds and narrow enough of chest to negotiate a fox's den. Not to be outdone, the short Jack is a specialist in its field, able to fit into very small dens where its shorter leg length gives it a distinct advantage.
Today's modern Jack Russell Terrier is a Television Star. The breed has appeared on numerous TV spots, and has even performed in leading roles, many times carrying its human co-stars. Although this beautiful terrier is extremely intelligent, it is not a dog for everyone. The traits that make this dog an excellent choice for the movie industry, are the same traits that potential owners may find challenging. For a few ideas on how to choose a Jack Russell Terrier Puppy, click here. This happy little terrier loves to work and learn new things. They are very active and inquisitive, often tormenting their owners with new and facinating clean-up projects. The Jack Russell is happiest when working or, if unemployed, kept busy with sports such as flyball or agility. Proper socialization very early on is a must.
Like any terrier, the Jack Russell Terrier is easy to train and readily learns new tasks, but the trainer must have an endless supply of patience. The Jack can be active, very active, to the point of being hyper-active, at times racing around the house at full speed, then within a few seconds be sound asleep. Reward training works exceptionally well, but do not underestimate the power of a hug. It is best to begin training from the very moment that the new puppy is brought home. Here's an example of paper training a new puppy.
A Hunting Dog
Remember: You can take the Terrier out of the hunt, but you can't take the hunt out of the Terrier. For almost 200 years, the Jack Russell Terrier has been bred to hunt, to 'go to ground' as we say. This trait is highly valued among Jack Russell Terrier circles, and sought after with much enthusiasm. This fiesty little terrier is not only confident, but fearless in the pursuit of it's quarry. Although it is recommended to socialize the dog at a young age to other animals in the home, this will not guarantee that at some future time the terrier's hunting instinct will not take over. There is no substitute for proper supervision and care.
The docking of tails is a hot issue, with solid arguments on both sides. Because of the Jack Russell Terrier's strong hunting instinct, a safety factor arises. Docking the tail both keeps the tail out of trouble when the dog goes to ground, fighting with it's quarry, and provides a strong hand-hold for the handler to rescue the dog by pulling it out of a burrow.
A rare breed, the Jack Russell Terrier of today is still able to perform the functions it was originally bred to do. This along with its engaging terrier temperament allows it to be a wonderful companion as well as an excellent hunter.
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