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Long ago, hunting was an activity performed by many and even people in the church. It was one of the English parsons that brought the Jack Russell Terrier to life. This dog was developed to hunt foxes in south England about 200 years ago. Parson John Russell who was known as “jack” to his friends wanted a dog that would be efficient for hunting and he took on the task to design the dog he had in mind.
The result of his hard work gave birth to a bold and athletic dog who immediately won the hearts of the people because the dog was very fast, not only that, the dog was very intelligent and determined as well as it had an intense desire to hunt.
The Jack Russell terrier can also be called the Parson Russell Terrier. This dog is also one of the favorites among horse owners, dog sports enthusiasts as well as animal trainers either for film or for television. Some people also appreciate his fearless personality, his enormous energy and it has a very portable size.
History of the Jack Russell Terrier
The Jack Russell Terrier is also known as the Parson Russell Terrier is a breed developed in the southern part of England around the mid-1800s by a man called Parson John Russell. The dog also got its name from its inventor. What John Russell aimed at was to make a working dog that would hunt with hounds and taking foxes out of their dens so the hounds could chase them down.
The Jack Russell Terrier rose to become a favorite of many sportsmen especially those who hunted on horsebacks. This breed caught the attention of the United States around the 1930s and there were several breed clubs that came up with different opinions concerning how the Jack Russell Terrier looked like. Not only did they bring up opinions about its appearance, but they also talked about its working ability and whether the dog should compete in shows or it should just remain a working dog.
The Jack Russell Terrier Club of America has an independent registry and they consider the Jack to be purely a hunting dog. The Jack Russell Terrier Association of America (JRTCA) sought recognition by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and t was granted in the year 2000. To be able to differentiate it from the dogs the JRTCA have registered, the American Kennel Club decided to rename the breed and that gave birth to the name “Parson Russell Terrier”.
Appearance and Size
The Jack Russell Terrier has a very compact and muscular body. The Jack Russell Terrier Club of America (JRTCA) has a standard that calls for dogs to be from 10 to 15 inches tall but the American Kennel Club (AKC) standard allows a smaller range of 12 to 14 inches. The Jack Russell Terrier also weighs between 13 to about 17 pounds on average.
Jack Russells that stand 10 to 12 inches and are longer than they are tall are referred to as “shorty jacks”. The Shorty Jacks look like Corgis or even Dachshunds more than the ones that are taller. They also have a double coat and they appear in white, white and black or even tan markings.
This energetic and spirited dog comes with lots of personalities as small as they are. They are loving, devoted and they are also endlessly amusing. The Jack Russell Terrier would want to enjoy life and all it has to offer. Even with the slightest chance given, the Jack Russell Terrier would purse what delights them and jump over fences and move around the streets aimlessly.
This dog is very intelligent but it has a willful nature and that can make it very difficult to train. The Jack Russell Terrier is friendly towards people. They also tend to be aggressive towards other dogs and animals that look like prey to them even cats. This dog has a fearless nature which always puts them at risk because they tend to challenge bigger dogs often.
The Jack Russell Terrier thrives on structure and routine and you should always keep their training sessions short and sweet to hold their interest because they have a short attention span. When something is done repeatedly it actually bores them easily. A proper Jack Russell Terrier is a very friendly and affectionate dog and they are never shy.
Just like every other dog, the Jack Russell Terrier needs to be socialized early. They need to be exposed to many different people, sights, sounds, experiences, and also other animals when they are still very young. Jack Russell tends to be an aggressive dog if they are not allowed to socialize from a young age and early socialization helps your dog be a well-rounded dog.
The Jack Russell Terrier is generally a very healthy dog, but like other dog breeds they also have some health conditions they are prone to. Mind you, not every Jack Russell will get all or even any of these diseases but it is very important to be aware of them if you are looking at getting this breed.
If you want to buy a puppy you should find a good breeder who will show you the health clearances for both parents of the puppy. Health clearances will prove that a dog has been tested and also cleared of a particular condition.
In the case of the Jack Russell Terrier, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals for patellas (knees) and also from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) which would certify that the eyes are normal.
In most cases, some health problems in dogs do not appear in a dog until they reach full maturity. This is the reason why health insurance is not issued to dogs younger than 2 years. Make sure you look for a breeder who does not breed their dog until they are 2 or 3 years old.
The Jack Russell Terrier Club of America (JRTCA) does not register any dogs that have hereditary defects; the dogs must always pass a specific veterinary exam before they are registered.
The following are health conditions that may affect Jack Russell Terriers:
Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: This is a disease common among small breeds. This condition is a deformity of the ball of the hip joint and it can sometimes be confused with hip dysplasia. It also causes wearing and arthritis. This condition can be repaired surgically and it should be accompanied by rehabilitation therapy.
Deafness: This is always associated with white coat color and it is sometimes seen in this breed.
Patellar Luxation: This condition is also known as “slipped stifles” and it is also a common problem among small dogs. This condition is caused when the patella (which has 3 parts, the femur(thigh bone), patella(knee cap), and tibia(calf)) is not properly lined up. This causes the leg to be lame or an abnormal gait which is sort of like a skip or hop. This condition is present at birth although the actual misalignment does not always occur till later. The rubbing that is caused by patellar luxation can lead to arthritis which is a degenerative joint disease. Patellar luxation comes in 4 grades, grade 1 is an occasional luxation that causes temporary lameness in the joint and grade 4 is when the turning of the tibia is so severe that the patella cannot be realigned manually. This condition makes the dog look like it has a bow leg and some severe grades of this condition may need surgical repair.
Glaucoma: This is a painful disease where pressure is abnormally high in the eye. The eyes are constantly producing and draining a fluid called aqueous humor and if the fluid does not drain correctly the pressure in the eye increases. The high pressure in the eye causes damage to the optic nerve which can result in vision loss or blindness. There are two types of this condition, there is primary glaucoma which is hereditary and t occurs when there is a problem in the area of the eye that fluid goes out. We also have secondary glaucoma which is caused by some other problem in the eye such as inflammation, tumor, or even an injury. Glaucoma normally affects just one eye and the affected eye would appear red and teary. A dilated pupil would not react to light and the front of the eye would look whitish and almost blue. Gradually the dog would start to experience vision loss and then blindness will follow even with treatment sometimes. It can be treated with surgery and also it can also be treated with medications but it actually depends on the situation.
Lens Luxation: This condition causes the lens of the eye to displace when the ligament holding it in place starts to deteriorate. This condition can be treated with medications or even surgery but in a severe case, the eye may need to be removed.
The Jack Russell Terrier is a dog that loves people and should live indoors with the family. The dog should also have access to a fenced yard where he can burn out some energy because it is a very energetic dog.
Mind you, if you are allowing it into a fenced yard you should make sure it is not a fence the dog can easily climb or even dig under. You should not also count on an underground electronic fence to keep your Jack Russell in the yard because compared to the desire to chase prey, the little shocks would do nothing to them.
Always walk your Jack Russell on a leash to restrict them from chasing other animals and even people. You should also give your dog about 30 to 40 minutes of intense exercise and when they are in the yard they should be on a leash, you should give them chance to play around freely.
Someone with a faint heart cannot train a Jack Russell Terrier properly. People who live with Jack Russell Terriers must be firm and strict with their dogs because Jacks are strong-willed dogs but mind you, being firm with them doesn’t mean you should be harsh on them.
Jacks respond to positive motivation in form of praise and rewards with treats and they would become stubborn if you are harsh when correcting them. There are honestly no limits to what this breed can learn as long as it is paired with the right person.
It is recommended to give them 1.25 to 1.75 cups of high-quality dog food daily and it should be divided into 2 meals.
How much your adult dog eats would depend on its size, age, build, and metabolism, and in some cases their activity level. Dogs are also individuals like us humans and they don’t all need the same portion of food.
As we know, a very active dog would need more food than a dog that sits around all day because a highly active dog burns more energy and would need to replace them. The quality of the dog food you buy is also important because the better the dog food, the further it would go in nourishing your dog.
You should also keep your dog in shape by measuring the food you give them and they should be fed twice daily instead of just giving them food unsupervised. For more information on the types of food to get your dog, you can view these guidelines.
The Parson Russell Terrier comes in 2 coat types: smooth and broken. They both have a double coat with a very coarse texture and the broken coat is slightly longer. Some jacks have a rough coat which is longer than a broken coat but whatever the type is, the coat is never curly or wavy.
Both coat types only need to be brushed weekly to remove the dead and loose hair. If you brush your Jack constantly they would rarely need a bath and broken or rough coats must be stripped once or twice a year.
Their nails should be trimmed once or twice a month as short and neatly trimmed nails keep their feet in good condition. Their teeth should also be brushed 2 to 3 times a week to prevent the buildup of tartar and for best results brush their teeth daily.