The Legend behind
the Jack Russell Terrier



Parson John (Jack) Russell (1795-1883) was born on the 21st of December 1971 in Dartmouth, England passionate about dogs and chasing vermin from an early age. As he grew older to did his passions seeing Mr Russell become a keen hunter and for the majority of his life and was known to have kept a modest pack of hounds for the sole purpose of pursuing foxes.


Unsatisfied with his hound pack, or rather their ability to capture a fox down a den, Mr Russell produced The Jack Russell Terrier (1880’s).


Two varieties evolved with basically similar Standards except for differences, mainly in height and proportions. The taller, more squarely built dog is now known as the 'Parson Russell Terrier' and the shorter, slightly longer proportioned dog, is known as the 'Jack Russell Terrier'.


Mr Russell developed a strain of Fox Terriers to suit his needs. He required a dog to run with his foxhounds which was also built to go underground, to nip at and tease a fox in order to leave its den.


The terriers were not used to kill the fox, merely to chase it out, with their strong jaws they were often seen ripping out the undergrowth, roots and earth in order to chase their prey. Mr Russell also used the Jack Russell Terrier for hunting rats and other rodents at the farm.

The Jack Russell Terrier began when Mr Russell discovered 'Trump' a white terrier bitch with dark tan spots over her eyes, ears and at the tip of her tail, who was owned by a milkman and bought on a whim while out walking one day. Jack Russell’s interest lay in terriers which were entirely white or had colour confined to head and a small patch at the root of their tail" (Parson. J 1865).


During the hunt the Jack Russell Terrier would often be set down some distance from the foxes den and away from the hounds which is a large part of the reason why Mr Russell always insisted on the ‘white’ dog with markings so as not to confuse the hounds who may thinks it’s a fox and accidentally kill it.


The Reverend Jack Russell was a remarkable man, a great sportsman, he shot, wrestled, boxed, played cricket, hunted on foot and horse -otter, badger, fox and hare. He also created the Jack Russell Terrier as we know it today.
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