The REAL Jack Russell Terrier - What's in a Name?
All of the terriers on this page are included in the original Jack Russell Terrier breed standard developed by the Jack Russell Terrier Club of Great Britain (JRTCGB) and adopted by the JRTCA at its founding in 1976.
The Real Jack Russell Terrier may be any height between 10" and 15" (at the shoulder), it may vary in coats, markings, type, and for sure personality… they are ALL real Jack Russell Terriers. There is no "ideal" …. the "ideal" is what suits their owner for what they want/need to do with their terrier. That is the uniqueness of this diverse terrier. The diversity within the JRTCA breed standard is what makes the Jack Russell Terrier suitable for a variety of working and performance abilities - in contrast with the narrow, cosmetic breed standards of many show breeds.
The "Russell Terrier" and the "Parson Russell Terrier" are both variants of the Jack Russell Terrier made into “separate breeds” by the AKC. They are nothing more than variants of the original Jack Russell Terrier as always supported by the JRTCA. The JRTCA standard includes the full range of sizes needed for earth work. It is to be known our standard is to allow a terrier to follow the red fox to ground. The dog needed the drive and structure to mirror the agile intelligent fox. The Jack Russell Terrier had to be able to outsmart the fox and have the courage to do so for the handler as a team.
The real Jack Russell Terrier has been preserved as a working dog. Every effort has been made to eliminate and prevent genetic defects/faults within the JRTCA registry. (See the JRTCA Registry for more details.) Close inbreeding is prohibited for the mental and physical protection of the terrier.
JRTCA judging, and all aspects of JRTCA Terrier Trials, is focused on the working ability of the terrier. JRTCA Judges are specifically trained and sanctioned by the JRTCA. Because of this, the real Jack Russell Terrier remains virtually unchanged over 200 years… it still has the structure, brain and heart to work underground, and is a mentally and physically sound dog.
The working structure, brain and heart of the real Jack Russell Terrier is what gives this terrier the astounding character, athleticism and versatility that make it a great companion. It is for sure "the dog that does"…. from hunting to doing agility, racing, surfing, flyball, bird retrieval, skate boarding, search & rescue, therapy dog… and forever entertaining pet and companion.
The working brain and heart makes the Jack Russell Terrier such an intensely loyal, alert, affectionate, profound companion like no other. The Jack Russell Terrier wants to keenly interact with people… to be with you every moment of life… sharing and helping at every step. The real Jack Russell Terrier does not sit on the sidelines of life.
The JRTCA's essential mission is to "Preserve, Protect and Work" the Jack Russell Terrier. This mission equally preserves the breed integrity for the most versatile, healthy, highly intelligent, loyal and affectionate companion you will ever find… the real Jack Russell.
So what then are these "other" terriers we hear about today…. The Parson Russell, The Russell (shortie) Terrier, The Irish Jack Russell, the Miniature Jack Russell… and who knows what else?? They are simply variants of the Real Jack Russell Terrier… a type or size taken from within portions of the JRTCGB/JRTCA breed standard to suit the whims of special interest groups/individuals.
What happens when all of these variants, with a now small gene pool, are bred together to "perfect" this narrow portion of the standard? Eventually they will change and become an animal that will look very different from the original Jack Russell Terrier. Inbreeding and breeding for the show ring will change the physical and mental structure of the dog. It will lose its purpose and its original character, as well as its mental and physical soundness, and will become something entirely different… whatever suits the whim of those controlling that variant of the terrier.
Keep in mind that the "Fox Terrier" and the "Jack Russell Terrier" were the same dog at one point in history. The strain that went to the show ring quickly changed in structure and most lost the drive to hunt. Fashions of the ring changed the dog and soon an upright shoulder became a feature that impeded movement for working below ground. The Fox Terrier became the show ring dog and the Jack Russell Terrier remained as it is loved today and protected by the JRTCA.
It is history repeating itself… it is how the modern Fox Terrier of today once evolved from the original working fox terrier (now known as the Jack Russell Terrier). The original type of working fox terrier, the Jack Russell, will continue on with the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America and the Jack Russell Terrier Club of Great Britain as its protectors. So please join the JRTCA and help us ensure that the REAL JACK RUSSELL TERRIER will be here for another 200 years!