AKC Dog Breeds: Jack Russell Terrier

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Foundation Stock Service® Breed
Height: 10-12  inches  Weight: 14-18 pounds  Color:  white with brown, black or tricolored markings

The Russell Terrier is a predominantly white working terrier with an insatiable instinct to hunt formidable quarry underground. The breed was derived from the Reverend John Russell's fox working terrier strains that were used in the 1800s for fox hunting. The Reverend's fox working strains were much smaller than the Show Fox Terrier and remained working terriers. The Russell Terrier originated in England with Australia being designated as the country of development. On English hunts, the Jack Russell Terriers were supposed to be long-legged enough to keep up with the hounds. The energetic and playful Jack Russell makes a good family companion. Some of the Jack Russell's talents include: hunting, tracking, agility, and performing tricks. the size of the Jack Russell Terrier in a hunt kennel will vary depending on its usage. In areas where the terriers are expected to run with hounds, they will be longer in leg. In areas where the terriers are carried in a saddle bag or, more likely today, in the back of a vehicle, they will be of the shorter and longer than tall variety. During the hunts' off-season, the kennels usually have fun days and conformation events accompanied by a Hound Show, Terrier Show, and Terrier racing.

General Appearance
The Russell Terrier is a strong, active lithe working terrier of great character with a flexible body of medium length. His height is between 10”- 12”, and his weight is in proportion to his height. His smart movement matches his keen expression. The color of a Russell Terrier must be predominately white with tan and/or black markings. Tail docking is optional and the coat may be smooth, rough or broken. The overall dog is longer than tall, measuring from point of shoulder to point of buttock. The silhouette should represent a definite rectangle. The depth of body from withers to the brisket should equal the length of foreleg from elbows to the ground. His chest should be spannable (approximately 15”-17” or smaller) as well as compressible. His front should clearly exhibit the sternum ahead of the point of shoulder bearing no resemblance to the front of the Fox Terrier, either in structure or movement. Coats of the Russell Terrier may be smooth, broken or rough. All coat types must have a dense weatherproof jacket, With or without markings, white must be the predominate color. The markings may be any shade of brown (from lemon to mahogany), black or tri colored.


The Russell Terrier is a very popular companion breed in the US. It must be noted first and foremost the breed is a working breed not a companion breed. They are bred by dedicated Fanciers to preserve their working functional conformation and the instinct to employ their original purpose as earth terriers. This makes them an excellent performance breed participating in a variety of events; natural hunting which includes earthwork, agility, rally, obedience, tracking, go-to-ground, and conformation, just to name a few. They are also found as therapy and service dogs. Russell terriers should be bold and fearless, quietly confident yet friendly. Russell Terriers are never to be aggressive or quarrelsome. Russell Terriers are gregarious at play and brave when working in the field, caring not what is asked of them. An alert, lively, active, keen terrier with a very intelligent expression. The sporting character of the Russell Terrier is that of a spirited and game hunter. Their intensity for life is one of their most endearing traits. They are playful, curious, loyal and affectionate.


All coat types are easy to groom. Comb and brush regularly with a firm bristle brush, and bathe only when necessary. To show, owners must strip the coat. Like the rough coat, the broken coated Jack needs to be stripped out also.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy

The Russell Terrier is a relatively new breed with few serious health problems thus far. A well-cared-for Russell can live for anywhere between 14–21 years. Some are prone to dislocation of the kneecaps, inherited eye diseases, deafness, Legg Perthes-a disease of the hip joints of small breeds of dogs.

Activity Level
The Jack Russell Terrier is a pleasant companion when it is sufficiently exercised; however if they do not get enough, they may become a nuisance. They need to be taken on a long, daily, brisk walk. In addition, he will be in his glory with space to run, hunt and play.


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