Jack Russell Terrier Club of America - JRTCA Preserve, Protect and Work the Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier Conformation

Jack Russell Terrier Conformation
Form... Function...

A terrier is judged on temperament, conformation and movement; as in all things having to do with Jack Russells, the best working terrier is being sought.


Conformation classes are judged much like any other dog show. The winner is the terrier that most closely matches the breed standard. In addition to conformation and movement, the terrier is judged on temperament; as in all things having to do with Jack Russells, the best working terrier is being sought. JRTCA sanctioned conformation judges are required to have an in-depth, first-hand knowledge of terrier work, and understand the importance of the physical characteristics necessary for a terrier to be useful for the work he was bred to do.

There has been a great increase in the conformation showing of Jack Russells in recent years. Conformation exhibiting has been very effective in the U.S. in promoting correct conformation according to the breed standard, thereby improving the quality of the breeding stock in this country. However, while showing is beneficial to the breed in that respect, the JRTCA designs its trials to keep the working aspects of the terrier in the forefront.

Tips on Conformation Showing

  • Make your terrier comfortable on a leash and with strangers
  • The condition of your terrier plays an important role in how well your terrier will do in the conformation ring
  • When you are asked to walk your terrier across the ring, walk him. Set your sights on where you want to go and walk there, briskly. Don't have the leash strung up tightly.
  • Keep your attention on what the judge is doing. When the judge is busy, relax your terrier. When the judge is at the end of the individual examination, get your dog's attention and make sure he's standing alertly.
  • No matter what your terrier does when you are showing him, do not reprimand - this will get his tail down.
  • Make sure there is adequate space between your terrier and the ones on either side.
  • Be a good sport and congratulate those who beat you. If you're a winner, win with dignity.

Conformation Officials

Terrier pays attention to her owners in the conformation ring
  • Judge - sanctioned by the JRTCA; judges terriers based upon JRTCA breed standard
  • Apprentice Judge - may be in the conformation ring with the judge; learns how to judge terriers
  • Ring Steward - verifies entries are correct; has ribbons and trophies ready for the judge
  • Announcer - keeps exhibitors aware of class in progress and next class to show; announces class results
  • Paddock Steward - usually at the gate and checks in the next class to go in the ring. It is a courtesy and makes the trial go more smoothly to let this person know you are ready for your class

General Rules

  1. All terriers are to be judged on the JRTCA Breed Standard, unless otherwise noted.
  2. Classes may be combined or split at the discretion of the Trial Chairperson, with the exception of Working Terrier classes, which may not be combined.
  3. A terrier bred by a Sanctioned JRTCA Judge may not be shown under that Judge in the conformation division.
  4. Only another exhibitor in that class, the Ring Steward or the Judge may make a question concerning the type of coat on any terrier. Requests for review of coat made by spectators will not be honored. Spanning a Terrier
  5. Spayed or neutered terriers may not compete in Puppy, Family, Open Adult, or Working Conformation. Spayed or neutered terriers may compete in the Miscellaneous Conformation section classes. Miscellaneous Conformation section classes are optional and offered at the discretion of the Trial Chairperson. When optional classes are offered, they must be judged by a JRTCA Sanctioned Judge and follow the JRTCA Sanctioned Trial rules.
  6. No cross-entering within the Open Conformation and Working Conformation sections or between the Open and Working Conformation sections.
  7. Exhibitors participating in the Working Classes must submit the appropriate JRTCA paperwork with entries. The Judge may require a copy of the Natural Hunting Certificate be presented to the Ring Steward at the time of judging.
  8. Registered terriers may submit a copy of NHC Application, signed by a JRTCA Working Judge, within 30 days of the date it was issued.
  9. Excessive use of squeaky or fur-like baiting devices by exhibitors is prohibited in the conformation ring. "Excessive use" will be at the Judge's discretion.
  10. The only individuals permitted in the Conformation Ring, other than class participants, are the Judge, the Ring Steward, and, if asked for by the Judge or Ring Steward, the Trial Chairperson and Trial Photographer. Class participants include one handler per terrier. Terrier must be exhibited on lead.
  11. A Child Handler class is offered for those children aged 5 through 9 years to have an introductory experience handling and learning about the Jack Russell Terrier. Terrier must be six months or older. Must be offered at all JRTCA Sanctioned Trials.

Conformation Classes

The Conformation Division at a sanctioned trial consists of: Regular (Puppy, Open Adult, Working) and Miscellaneous.

4-6 Month Puppy
  • Dog (smooth,rough/broken)
  • Bitch (smooth,rough/broken)
  • Best 4 up to 6 month Puppy and Reserve
6-12 Month Puppy
  • Dog (6-9 months, 9-12 months, coat)
  • Best Puppy Dog and Reserve
  • Bitch (6-9 months, 9-12 months, coat)
  • Best Puppy Bitch and Reserve
  • Puppy Conformation Champion and Reserve
Open Adult

No cross-entering is permitted within the Open Division. Cross-entering is not permitted between the Open Division and the Working Division.

  • Bred by Exhibitor Dog/Bitch (optional)
  • American Bred Dog/Bitch (optional)
  • Dogs (height, coat)
  • Best Open Dog and Reserve
  • Bitches (height, coat)
  • Best Open Bitch and Reserve
  • Best Open Terrier and Reserve
Working Terrier

Open to any JRTCA registered terrier owned by a JRTCA member which holds a JRTCA Natural Hunting Certificate. Terriers entering the Working Division may not cross-enter into the Open Division.

  • Bronze Medallion Dogs and Bitches
  • Working Terrier Dogs (may be separated by height, coat)
  • Best JRTCA Working Terrier Dog and Reserve
  • Working Terrier Bitches (height, coat)
  • Best JRTCA Working Terrier Bitch and Reserve
  • JRTCA Working Terrier Conformation Champion and Reserve
Family (Optional)
  • Stud Dog & Get. Open to a sire with at least two, but not more than three offspring at parent's side. Judged on Breed Standard and consistency of type.
  • Brood Bitch & Produce. Open to a dam with at least two, but not more than three offspring at parent's side. Judged on Breed Standard and consistency of type.
  • BEST FAMILY & RESERVE. Open to 1st and 2nd place winners in above classes. No entry fee. "OPTIONAL"
Miscellaneous I - Youth Handler
  • Child Handler. Open to any child aged 5 through 9 handling a Jack Russell Terrier. Judged on the child's knowledge of the Jack Russell and ability to present his or her dog. Quality of the dog NOT to be considered.
  • Junior Handler. Open to any child aged 10 through 16 handling a Jack Russell Terrier. Judged on the child's knowledge of the Jack Russell and ability to present his or her dog. Quality of the dog NOT to be considered.
Miscellaneous II (Optional - Open to intact or spayed/neutered terriers)

Judged on JRTCA Breed Standard unless otherwise stated.

  • Novice. Open to any adult Jack Russell which has never placed 1st through 4th in an adult regular or 1st in any Novice Conformation Class, at this or ANY prior sanctioned trial. "OPTIONAL"
  • Neutered Dog. "OPTIONAL"
  • Spayed Bitch. "OPTIONAL"
  • Veteran Terrier. Open to any Jack Russell Terrier six years or older. Judged on the Breed Standard and condition of the dog. Entrants spayed or altered for health reasons not to be penalized. "OPTIONAL"
  • State or Region Bred. Open to any adult Jack Russell Terrier bred in the State of _______________. "OPTIONAL"
  • Suitability To Groundhog. "OPTIONAL"
  • Suitability to Red Fox. "OPTIONAL"
  • Suitability to Grey/Fox. "OPTIONAL"
  • Suitability to Raccoon/Badger. "OPTIONAL"