The History of the Jack Russell

The history of the Jack and the Parson Russell’s could be debated for hours. Lots of people have their own views, and these seem to change dramatically depending on where in the world they are from. The facts as we know them are that both originated from the same lines, belonging to The Reverend John Russell and the first bitch in his breeding plan ‘Trump’. John Russell was a keen hunter and wanted to develop a breed quick enough to keep up with the horses on a hunt, but compact enough to go to ground and pursue a fox, but still maintain composure so as not to attack it.

The main differences between the two nowadays within the UK are that Parsons are a registered breed with the Kennel Club, while Jacks are not. This in no way means that Jacks are not a ‘proper’ breed. They are, and should be recognised as one in their own right. There are plenty of creditable breeders around the UK who work very hard to keep their lines going whilst keeping to the breed standard. Unfortunately there are also breeders who do not and will cross Jack’s with other dogs to create ‘rare’ and ‘designer’ breeds to make money. Beware of these breeders! They don’t have the breed’s best interest at heart and if they carry on, we one day risk losing the breed altogether.

The other, most noticeable difference between the two is size. The Parsons Breed standard (set out by the KC) dictates that Dogs should stand at 14″ to the withers, and bitches 13″ while The Jack Russell Club of Great Britain dictates that dogs and bitches can stand between 10″ – 15″tall.

Both Jacks & Parsons make fantastic pets if treated correctly. It needs to be kept in mind that they were bred to hunt and most still have a very strong prey drive, however this is possible to overcome if brought up in the right conditions. They are naturally very busy little dogs and need to be kept entertained, although this doesn’t mean that they can’t also be couch potatoes when they want!

Read more at Love Jack Russells


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