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The Parsons Jack Russell is a small, white terrier that is native to England. The breed was established in 1908 by Dr. James A. Parsons as the result of crossing a variety of other breeds including the Fox Terrier, Parson Russell Terrier and Lakeland Terrier. The Parsons Jack Russell, also known as the Jack Russell Terrier is a highly intelligent breed that makes an excellent family pet.
The Parsons Jack Russell is one of four different breeds of Jack Russell terriers in existence today including the Fox Terrier, Parson Russell Terrier and the Jack Russell Terrier. The breed was created by Dr. James A. Parsons who crossed a variety of other Terriers in an attempt to create a dog that had all the qualities he liked in his Parson’s Ratcatcher which was an earlier version of what was to become the Parsons Jack Russell.
Parson’s Ratcatcher was a dog that was used to catch rodent pests in the area surrounding the Parsonage. The dog had come from local working stock and had much to offer. Despite this, Dr. Parsons felt that there were certain characteristics that would be valuable in the development of his new breed which he outlined in an official breed standard.
He felt that the dogs should have short legs and a small frame in comparison to their height at withers; they should also have broad heads and noses with large teeth, small pointed ears and dark eyes. They were also to have a long bushy tail which should be carried level with the back. Despite these requirements, the dogs were not to be heavily coated. They were to be muscular and well balanced with strong hindquarters.
The stud that Parson used in his breeding program was born in 1899 and came from working stock in Lancashire. He was a very large dog standing at 16 hands high and weighing around 70 pounds. He had come with his owner when he moved into the area where Dr Parsons practiced medicine. The owner of the dog told Parsons of his dogs keen sense of smell as well as the size of his teeth which made him feel that he would make an excellent hunter if only he could be tamed and controlled properly.
Dr. Parsons was an avid dog breeder so he agreed to work with the dog and try to develop him into a useful hunting companion. He spent many hours working with the animal and used his knowledge of other Terriers that he knew of at the time which gave him a good basis for comparison. The breeding program bore fruit in 1908 when Parsons first registered his new breed with the Kennel Club as Jack Russell Terrier.
The Jack Russell Terrier was developed further by Dr. John J A Graham who took out a second standard for what was then known as the Parson’s Jack Russell Terrier in 1910. He continued with Dr. Parsons’s work and worked with more local working stock to produce the characteristics that were required for the breed. The Jack Russell Terrier was finally recognized by the Kennel Club in 2016 as a separate breed, often referred to as just Jack Russell Terrier. There has been much debate about whether or not the Jack Russell Terrier should be a showdog.
You might also like to read about miniature Jack Russells.