Jack Russell Terrier - Canine Companion or Demon Dog (Chapter 2, page 1 of 9)

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Chapter 2

It's important to note that above all, the Jack Russell Terrier is a working Terrier, a breed of dog specifically bred to perform specific tasks. The entire reason for the Jack Russell's existence is to run, hunt, chase and flush out fox and other animals. They were specifically breed to perform this task aggressively throughout England. It's the excitement and rush of the hunt that can be credited for the infamous personality and temperament of the Jack Russell.

Part of this breeding has ingrained a very vocal personality and penchant for barking in the breed. This is not a "nuisance" but a desirable trait that is supposed to be represented in the breed in order to do the job it was designed for. The reason that a vocal nature is necessary in the Jack Russell is so that hunters could find the dog during the excitement of the hunt. The Jack Russell quite routinely was placed at the front of the pack and was meant to run far ahead of the other hounds and hunters.

While in pursuit of its prey the Jack Russell is rarely concerned about the location of its owner and can often find himself well beyond viewing range of the hunt party. If a Jack Russell were to chase the game away and not communicate with a series of loud barks, not only would the hunting party not know where the dog is, but they wouldn't know where the dog had located its prey at; they would have no idea in which way to go or where to find their game.

Another reason that vocalism makes the Jack valuable is that they will often follow prey into their burrows and tunnel after them underground. If the dog is already underground the only way to know the location of the dog is to follow the sound of its bark coming from beneath the soil. Jacks sometimes find themselves stuck in these tunnels, which is why every good hunter brings a shovel with him in order to dig the Jack out if the need arises. The bark can often let the hunter know where to dig in order to get close, and where not to dig, so the dog isn't injured by the shovel. This is why the Jack Russell was bred to be very vocal, and why even non-hunting Jack Russell's today exhibit this trait.

The Jack Russell Terrier has also been bred to be very intelligent. The nature of the work that Jack Russell's are meant for is unpredictable at best. There is rarely a consistent hunting experience unless a hunter chooses to hunt the same spot every time of a regular basis. This is rare. Even if the same location is used consistently, there are often obstacles that haven't been encountered on previous hunts. The most valuable Jack Russell's are the ones who can meet challenges and do complex problem solving on the spot in order to gain the advantage. Much of the prey hunted by the Jack Russell, such as the fox and the raccoon are equally as intelligent and it takes a clever dog in order outsmart the sly and elusive game it is hunting.

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