Jack Russell Terrier - Canine Companion or Demon Dog (Chapter 1, page 2 of 15)


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Chapter 1

The original Fox Terrier breed that Russell started with was much different than its modern day counterpart. In the early 1800's the breed was slender and lanky. It was taller, larger and the coloring was predominantly black, tan and reddish brown, very much resembling the fox that it hunted. One of the major issues that Reverend Russell wanted to address is that the dogs were often mistaken for the prey being hunted, and many a time was accidentally shot by their owners when involved in a fast paced chase.

After he completed his studies at Oxford, John Russell was ordained as a minister in 1819 by Dr. Pelham, Bishop of Exeter and one of the clergy favored by King George the Fourth of England himself. He started a family and lived in Swymbridge for a time before settling in Devonshire where he would spend the rest of his days preaching and breeding Fox Terriers. Reverend Russell made careful plans to start a new line of Fox Terrier that would fix the previous problems with the breed by breeding Trump, and later other British White Terriers into the Fox Terrier gene pool. In doing this Russell was careful to only introduce enough of the White Terrier's genetic stock into the Fox Terrier gene pool to differentiate it from a real Fox, but not enough to carry the many defects of the White Terrier breed onto the new Fox Terrier line.

The British White Terrier was known as a lap dog to most dog enthusiasts of England at the time. The breed was completely white in most cases and ranged in size from 10 to 20 lbs. Although stocky and muscular the breed was rarely, if ever, used for any type of work, they were regarded as too small and fragile to be of much use for anything. Also detracting from the breed's popularity was its reputation for being prone to partial or complete deafness, among other deformities caused by in-breeding.

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