Welcome to the Jack Russell Terrier Club of Canada

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Breed Standard

What is a "good" JRT

A good Working Terrier

Jack Russell Terriers are a type, or strain, of working terrier; they are not "pure bred" in the sense that they have a broad genetic make-up, a broad standard, and do not breed true to type. This is a result of having been bred strictly for hunting since their beginning in the early 1800's, and their preservation as a working breed since. The broad standard, varied genetic background based on years of restricted inbreeding and wide outcrossing, and great variety of size and type, are the major characteristics that make this strain of terrier known as a Jack Russell (a.k.a. Parson Jack Russell Terrier) such a unique, versatile working terrier.

The core standard for a Jack Russell

Everything about the Jack Russell has fox hunting in mind .... coloring, conformation, character, and intelligence. The body is compact, of totally balanced proportions, the shoulders clean, the legs straight, and most importantly, a small chest (easily spannable by average size hands at the widest part behind the shoulders). The Jack Russell must also be totally flexible, allowing him to manoeuver underground. This conformation allows the terrier to follow his quarry down narrow earths. The fox is a good model for the Jack Russell - where the fox can go, so must the terrier. Although originally bred for fox hunting, the Jack Russell is a versatile working terrier to a variety of quarry including red and grey fox, oppossom, raccoon and grounghog.

The top dogs are not just a pretty face

Not just a pretty face

There has been a great increase in the conformation showing of Jack Russell in recent years. Conformation exhibiting has been very effective in promoting correct conformation according to the breed standard, thereby improving the quality of the breeding stock. However, while showing is beneficial to the breed, the Trials are designed to keep the working aspects of the terrier in the forefront. The highest awards presented to a terrier are its working awards; the Natural Hunting Certificate and the Bronze Medallion for Special Merit in the Field.

Likewise, JRTCC sanctioned conformation judges are required to have experience working their terriers in the field, getting an in-depth, first-hand knowledge of terrier work, so they understand the importance of the physical characteristics necessary for a terrier to be useful for the work he was bred to do.

A Reference to the JRT "Breed Standard"

CHARACTER: The Terrier must present a lively, active and alert appearance. It should impress with its fearless and happy disposition. It should be remembered that the Jack Russell is a Working Terrier and should retain these instincts. Nervousness, cowardice or over-aggressiveness should be discouraged, and the terrier should always appear confident.

GENERAL APPEARANCE: A sturdy, tough terrier, very much on its toes all the time, measuring 10" to 15" at the withers. The body length must be in proportion to the height, and should present a compact, balanced image, always being in solid, hard condition.

HEAD: well balanced and in proportion to the body. The skull should be flat, of moderate width at the ears, narrowing to the eyes with a defined stop but not over pronounced. The length of the muzzle from the nose to the stop should be slightly shorter than the distance from the stop to the occiput. The nose should be black. The jaw should be powerful and well boned with strongly muscled cheeks.

EYES: almond shaped, dark in color, lively and intelligent.

EARS: Small "V" shaped drop ears carried forward close to the head and of moderate thickness.

MOUTH: Strong teeth with the top slightly overlapping (i.e."Scissors Bite", where upper incissors strike just along the front face of the lower ones). A level bite is acceptable, but overshot and undershot jaws are unregisterable. This is because the dog's teeth are meant for tearing and the dog's work would require increased effort.

NECK: Clean and muscular, of good length, gradually widening at the shoulders.

FOREQUARTERS: The shoulders should be sloping and well laid back, fine at points and clearly cut at the withers. Forelegs should be strong and straight boned with joints hanging perpendicular to the body and working free of the sides.

BODY: The chest should be shallow, narrow and the front legs set not too widely apart, giving an athletic, rather than heavy chested appearance. As a guide only, the chest should be easily spanned behind the shoulders, by average sized hands, when the terrier is in a fit, working condition. The back should be strong, straight and, in comparison to the height of the terrier, give a balanced image. The loin should be slightly arched.

HINDQUARTERS: Should be strong and muscular, well put together with good angulation and bend of stifle, giving plenty of drive and propulsion. Looking from behind, the hocks must be straight.

Conquest Facts, (Bucky's dad).

FEET: Round, hard padded, of cat-like appearance, neither turning in or out.

TAIL: Should be set rather high, carried gaily and in proportion to body length, usually about four inches long, providing a good hand-hold.

COAT: Smooth, without being so sparse as not to provide a certain amount of protection from the elements and undergrowth. Rough or broken, without being woolly.

COLOUR: White should predominate (i.e., dog must be more than 51% white with tan, black or brown markings). Brindle and grey markings are unacceptable.

GAIT: Movement should be free, lively, well-coordinated with straight action in front and behind.

NOTE: For showing purposes, terriers are classified into two groups: 10" to 12 1/2" and 12 1/2" to 15". Old scars and injuries should not be allowed to prejudice a terrier's chance in the show ring, unless they interfere with its movement or with its utility for work or stud. Male dogs should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.