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Re: 51% whiteness in breed standard

Posted by:  Jane McClay
Posted on:  December 18, 2001 at 22:40:11

In Reply to: 51% whiteness in breed standard
Posted by:  Jeff Kassel
Posted on:  December 18, 2001 at 20:36:45

Question:

: I am curious just how the percentage of whiteness is evaluated in Jack Russells in order to determine whether a particular animal meets the "greater than 51% white" color standard. I ask because my puppy seems to be very close to 1/2 white, 1/2 black or brown. I'd hate her to miss the cutoff because of a subjective call on this particular characteristic.

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Hi, Jeff,

You might actually be surprised as to how the color standard actually works. Legs and belly count in figuring out the ratio.

Remember this. The "breed standard" is more about BREEDING than just about a JRT fitting a cookie cutter mold. The JRTCA makes it quite clear that this terrier is more a "type" of terrier than a "purebred." If you look at the kennel clubs, you'll see that "purebreds" don't have such wonderful variation as the Jack Russell does. Even when the AKC accepted the Jack Russell recently, they insisted that the "AKC Jack Russell" (which I understand is even being renamed due to confusion between the JRTCA type and the AKC type) fit into more of a mold. The breed standard had to be narrowed down quite a bit compared to what the JRTCA breed standard says, which is the standard we adopted from the JRTCGB in England.

So, in keeping true to a "type" of terrier with such diverse variation, it's really important that we keep certain important traits in mind. One of these things is coloration. The Parson Jack Russell's ideal fox hunting terrier had a white body. i.e. the terrier was "mostly white." The purpose for this is so that the dog can be readily differentiated from the fox the terrier is in pursuit of. That's how it became important to us to begin with, and why the line was drawn at 51% white, 49% color.

So I'm sure you can see that when we start introducing terriers with a lot of color into the picture you stand the chance of producing more puppies with a lot of color. Not every puppy in any single litter is going to be breeding material, but that doesn't mean they can't enjoy so many other things. My Gritty is no model Jack Russell, but he loves to lure course and have fun at terrier trials anyway. He's got the good life... he's neutered so he has no intense hormonal issues going on, and spends every single night in bed on his little pillow throne when the girls are in heat and have to be separated from the boys, meaning the "boys" have to be contained somewhere, too. There's a lot to be said for living life as a neutered/spayed dog!

I hope this helps clear things up. For additional reading, Catherine Brown's "Courageous Companion" is an excellent starting point for anyone seeking more knowledge about the Jack Russell in general, it's history and care. It's a great book - Training Books

Jane