How the Jack Russell Terrier Came into Being
How it all began for the Jack Russell Terrier. In the mid-1800's Parson Jack Russell, whose love of fox hunting was unmatched, declared the terriers of the time unsuited for their work -- the red-bodied terriers were too similar to the quarry, he claimed, making it more difficult to know which was the dog and which was the fox. He wanted a white dog, something that would stand out among the forest and never be confused with his prey. So, the Jack Russell Terrier was imagined and, when (as it is assumed) the English Black and Tan Terrier was crossed with the English White Terrier, the breed was realized.
Parson Jack Russell could now go hunting, as could the rest of the England.
The frenetic grace and flexibility of the Jack Russell makes it the ideal hunting dog, but its spirited nature appeals to those seeking just a companion. And, standing between ten and twelve inches and weighing between fourteen and eighteen pounds, the Jack Russell can easily become a family house pet... with the right family.
As with all terriers, the Jack Russell is not a dog for the novice owner. This is, by nature, a stubborn and demanding breed. Also, with its natural hunting instincts, it has a tendency to "attack" other animals, chew and dig. Often, families do not expect this kind of behavior, due to the breed's size, and are overwhelmed. Jack Russell rank as one of the top dogs abandoned by their owners, simply because they were deemed bad dogs. Most people do not realize what it means to own a terrier and cannot handle it.
A Jack Russell Terrier will make an excellent companion for the right kind of person, one who has had experience with dogs (terriers, more importantly) and who understands what needs to be done. Owning a Jack Russell means giving him plenty of activity, attention and discipline.
Terriers are very much like children: you have to devote yourself to them, in all aspects. They require a firm hand to control their natural hunting instincts. A Jack Russell will need an owner who is more stubborn than he is.
These dogs deceive people due to their size. Few believe--until they experience it for themselves--that such a little dog can have such a big personality. The Jack Russell doesn't see himself as a little dog, however. He's just a big dog who happens to be smaller than the others.
His temperament matches, if not exceeds, other breeds. From this, you may believe that owning a Jack Russell is foolish. That is not true. With the right owner -- one who knows how to indulge their
need to hunt, but who can also keep them calm -- these dogs can be true joys. Terriers are, by nature, highly intelligent tricksters, very loving and loyal to their owners. They are just also stubborn and more willing to do what pleases them. For someone's first pet, this is not a wise choice. A Jack Russell would dominate you. But, for someone who has had Terriers before, this could be an energetic companion.
Too many of these dogs are abandoned or given away because an owner cannot deal with their digging, jumping (this breed can easily scale five feet), climbing or barking. They do not realize that this is what the Jack Russell was bred for: this is not a dog meant to sit on your lap all day and sleep; this is a dog bred for action. If you cannot give it to him, he will not excel in the environment.
And, that is not to say that you must take the Jack Russell hunting--though, for those who do hunt, you could not ask for a better breed. This simply means giving him lots of exercise and attention and, of course, discipline. Training is a must and you will always be putting the teachings to use as Terriers will test you daily. But, if you are up to the challenge, the Jack Russell Terrier will never let you down.