Jack Russel

Facts About Jack Russell Terrier Origins

facts about jack russell terrier

Part Two

I am here sharing some excerpts from a book that tells the real facts about Jack Russell Terrier history. The name of the book is...

complet jrtThe Complete Jack Russell Terrier by D. Brian Plummer.

As I said in the previous page, I found this book to be the most concise book I've ever read on Jack Russells and do recommend it highly to anyone who is looking for a non-sensationalist view of the origins, care and facts about Jack Russell Terriers.

I hope the excerpts posted on the previous page as well as those that follow here will give the reader a flavor of Mr. Plummer's knowledgeable expertise.

These excerpts are taken from the first chapter that deals with the facts about Jack Russell Terrier history. But the book does indeed explore every aspect of this unique breed of dog.

Now for more from this fine book that can tell the story so much better than me...

"Russell died in 1883, and his kennels were dispersed, some reputedly passing to Squire Nicholas Snow of Oare.

These became the foundation stock of one Arthur Heinemann, who is often cited as the last of the breeders of the true Jack Russell terrier.

If Russell was a bizarre character, Heinemann was even more of one, and in addition to using his terriers to both fox and otter (he was Master of Hounds at Cheriton), he used his team to dig badger.

Heinemann died in 1930, after reputedly squandering a fortune of 70,000 pounds, and his strain of terrier was dispursed literally to the winds." (The Complete Jack Russell Terrier - Facts about Jack Russell Terrier History)

facts about jack russell terrier

The Facts Behind
the Legend

"Having decided that the present-day white-bodied hunt terrier is not, or at the most only slightly, connected with the dogs of the Reverend John Russell, what are the dogs that we today call, for want of a better term, Jack Russell terriers?"

Well the reader must first dispense with the notion sadly perpetuated in a great number of books that God created John Russell and terriers came into being.

A Memoir of the Rev. John Russell and His Out-Of-Door Life

For as long as man has been plagued with 'earth-living' or 'set-living' types of vermin, there have been terriers bred to cope with them.

We know for certain that, during the sixth century, terriers were given as a gift by one Germanic king to another, and it is likely that Britain also had dogs capable of going to ground at subterranean quarry even before this date."(The Complete Jack Russell Terrier - Facts about Jack Russell Terrier History)

jack russell terrier history "Most early prints and illustrations which show terriers - including those of the earth-stopper depicted in Sparrow's delightful book "The Terrier's Vocation" resembled mongrels 'twixt Cairn and terrier, undocked and rough and ragged of coat.

The reader should now immediately dispense with the notion that these terriers were in any way standardized like the terriers of today.

Travel was difficult and slow, so each district tended to breed its own kind of terrier - many of which were the ancestors of such breeds as the Norwich, the Norfolk, the Cairn, the Bedlington and so forth." (The Complete Jack Russell Terrier Facts about Jack Russell Terriers)

terriers-vocation

The Terrier's Vocation

"Yet another trend destined to alter the appearance and structure of the British working terrier was the popularizing of the sport of competitive rat killing, for the brown rat, which appeared in our islands in 1720, give or take a few years, had established itself in such numbers as to become not only a major health hazard, but also the staple sporting quarry of the working classes.

Henry Mayhew actually describes the sport of competitive rat slaughter as 'the last remaining poor man's sport'.

For the arena, a pit was made - usually between six and ten feet square of either netting or boards - and a dozen or so rats were tipped into the enclosure, where they milled about and pitifully awaited an ugly death.

They did not have long to wait, for as a bell was sounded a terrier would be placed in the pit.

The dog who killed the greatest number of rats in the shortest period was deemed to be the winner." (The Complete Jack Russell Terrier - Facts about Jack Russell Terrier History)

The author elaborates on how the native British terrier was not bred for the big league rat killing competitions, where not just dozens, but hundreds to thousands of rats would be slaughtered.

So the native British bulldog was crossed with the terrier to produce a more vicious dog for the rat-pit contests.

Listen to how Mr. Plummer describes these bulldogs and how this is a part of the facts about Jack Russell Terriers...

"Let the reader at once dismiss the notion that these bulldogs were the same monstrosities that we see today, puffing and panting after any minor exertion.

The real bulldog, the bulldog of the 1800s, was a devil incarnate.

He had been bred for baiting bulls, for holding the bull by the nostrils or face and holding with such tenacity that his grip became a legend, as did his courage.

He was also fought against other dogs, monkeys and men, and even once or twice against a lion, and his courage and tenacity did much to delight the rabble who relished such feasts of gore.

As to his courage, well no one could question it, it was bottomless.

All he lacked were the nimble qualities, the agility that a good badger-baiting dog and rat-pit virtuoso required.

Hence a judicious blend of terrier and bulldog, having the terrier's speed and agility and the incredible guts of the bulldog, provided the ideal dog.

Let the reader at once dismiss the notion that these bulldogs were the same monstrosities that we see today, puffing and panting after any minor exertion.

The real bulldog, the bulldog of the 1800s, was a devil incarnate.

He had been bred for baiting bulls, for holding the bull by the nostrils or face and holding with such tenacity that his grip became a legend, as did his courage.

He was also fought against other dogs, monkeys and men, and even once or twice against a lion, and his courage and tenacity did much to delight the rabble who relished such feasts of gore.

As to his courage, well no one could question it, it was bottomless.

All he lacked were the nimble qualities, the agility that a good badger-baiting dog and rat-pit virtuoso required.

Hence a judicious blend of terrier and bulldog, having the terrier's speed and agility and the incredible guts of the bulldog, provided the ideal dog." (The Complete Jack Russell Terrier - Facts about Jack Russell Terrier Origins)

facts about jack russell terrierDoes that mean my little Jimbo has that vicious bulldog DNA in him?

Oh my.

No...not my sweet Jimbo.

Surely not.

Surely not?

Oh well let's hear more about the facts about Jack Russell Terrier origins and what the author has to say...

jack russell terrier history "...another ingredient was sometimes added to the potent mix of bulldog and terrier: namely, the beagle.

The Earl of March, in his Records of the Old Charlton Hunt mentions a poem advocating the mating of beagles with very hard terriers to produce a dog with both nose sense and voice; and since beagles are predominantly white-bodied, the white-bodied working terrier was not greatly altered by this cross, except that the progeny were decidedly more useful as hunt terriers.

It was from this morass or mixture that the modern Jack Russell arose together with the fox terrier (many of which have hound markings so similar to those of the beagle that hound ancestry is obvious).

That was how the mongrelly, so-called Jack Russell terrier remained until well into the twentieth century, and the first hunt terrier shows I attended in the 1950s were indeed extraordinary sights, with the most amazingly variable types of dog being proudly shown as genuine Jack Russells.

Some of them displayed hints of collie, or, not infrequently, dachshund, in their lineage.

Many were quite hideous, but handsome is as handsome does, and some of those monstrosities proved to be incredibly good workers." (The Complete Jack Russell Terrier - Facts about Jack Russell Terriers)

complete jack russell terrierNow beagle blood I can handle.

In any case, let me end these pages about the facts about Jack Russell Terrier origins by repeating my love for The Complete Jack Russell Terrier by D. Brian Plummer.

I hope you'll give it a read as well as the other fine books he refers to within these excerpts.

As I said before, I left the book with a much keener understanding of what a fascinating and unique history is behind this truly unorthodox breed of dog, and that the real facts about Jack Russell Terriers are really more astounding than the fiction that's been written afore-time.

I now see more clearly what it is that makes up those wiley little 'tics' that give me pleasure to watch in my little Jack Russell Jimbo every day that I have known him.

One more excerpt will I share, and it is taken from the back jacket that will tell you, besides the facts of Jack Russell Terrier history, the other excellent information that is featured in this great book...

"A very thorough and enjoyable study, The Complete Jack Russell Terrier includes an accurate, factual history of the breed's beginnings and its subsequent development.

There are chapters on Choosing a Terrie, 'Rearing a Puppy, and Entering a Puppy to Quarry, Rabbit Hunting, Breeding, Inbreeding and Outcrossing, Working Terrier Shows, Ailments and Diseases, and an Appendix which includes a provisional standard.

The writing is always personal, often humorous and graced with 36 superb illustrations that show exactly what the Jack Russell is about.

It is a 158-page look at an amazing little dog that makes friends easily and keeps them for a long time." (The Complete Jack Russell Terrier Facts about Jack Russell Terriers)

fact about jack russell terrier

...A long time.

Yes. Absolutely. 


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