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Russell Terrier
Other names F.C.I. Jack Russell Terrier
Country of origin England
Country of Development: Australia. The U.K.C. and A.K.C. F.S.S. Russell Terrier was accepted into both kennel clubs based on the F.C.I. Jack Russell Terrier standard.

The Russell Terrier is a predominantly white working terrier with an insatiable instinct to hunt formidable quarry underground. The breed was derived from the Reverend John Russell's fox working terrier strains that were used in the 1800s for fox hunting. The Reverend's fox working strains were much smaller than the Show Fox Terrier and remained working terriers. The size of the Russell Terrier (10" to 12") combined with a small flexible, spannable chest makes it an ideal size to work efficiently underground. Their unique rectangular body shape with the body being of slightly longer length than the leg makes them distinctly different from the Parson Russell Terrier and the JRTCA Jack Russell Terrier.

The Russell Terrier originated in England with Australia being designated as the country of development.


About the Russell Terrier

Russells preparing for go-to-ground.

The name "Jack Russell Terrier" was never used to describe a breed of dog. Rather, it became a common name for any predominantly-white earth-working terrier after the death of the Reverend John Russell. The only requisite was color, the instinct combined with the will to employ earth-work, and the size to work efficiently underground. Still today, the name is widely used for working terriers of the Parsons Reverend's style. It was in the country of development, Australia, that this 10-12 inch dog was first standardized by Kennel Club recognition with the official name "Jack Russell Terrier" applied to the breed. This ultimately led to recognition of the breed by FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale) countries including Ireland and most recently the USA. Unfortunately, due to the previous use of the name in the USA and England, the name Jack Russell Terrier is conflicting. In the USA, a Terrier conforming to the Australian/FCI standard is simply called a Russell Terrier.

The Russell Terrier is a very popular companion breed in the US. It must be noted first and foremost the breed is a working breed not a companion breed. They are bred by dedicated Fanciers to preserve their working functional conformation and the instinct to employ their original purpose as earth terriers. This makes them an excellent performance breed participating in a variety of events; natural hunting which includes earthwork, agility, rally, obedience, tracking, go-to-ground, and conformation, just to name a few. They are also found as therapy and service dogs.

Breed Development in the U.S.A.

Russell Terrier 0002.jpg

In the early 1970s, the Jack Russell Terrier Club of Great Britain was formed, and this body instituted a very primitive form of registration. Soon, Jack Russell Terrier Clubs were being formed worldwide, including Australia. The Jack Russell Terrier Club of Australia was formed in 1972. This national organization set up a particularly comprehensive registration system, along with a formal breed standard. This club also initiated discussions with their KC regarding the possibility of the breed being accepted for registration as a pure breed. The ideal height for the Jack Russell Terrier in Australia was to be 10" to 12".

The Russell Terrier, also known now as the F.C.I. type Jack Russell Terrier is a recognized Kennel Club breed and is maintained separately from the AKC Parson Russell Terrier, and the UKC Parson Russell Terrier. In 2001, the United Kennel Club accepted the application from the English Jack Russell Terrier Club JoAnn Stoll president, and two of its board members now part of the NRTFC [1] , UKC officially recognizing the breed as the Russell Terrier because the name Jack Russell Terrier was already in use for the longer legged dog in 2001.UKC changed the breed standard again in 2005 from the original standard of 2001 In 2009 the UKC changed the name to Jack Russsell. The American Kennel Club AKC accepted the breed into the FSS Program in December 8, 2004 based on the F.C.I. Jack Russell standard also submitted by the E.J.R.T.C. aka the American Russell Terrier Club [1]. Visit pictures, and, photo gallery, foundation stock, to see some of the original, foundation stock registered with UKC 2001 and FSS AKC 2006.The American Rare Breed Association recognized the "Russell Terrier" in 2003, with the old English Jack Russell Terrier Club standard and UKC standard not based on the FCI in 2001. [1] originally written by the UKC [2]. [3], [4](breed standard 2005). The original ARBA[5] standard was then changed by the NRTFC to a new standard and different standard in Nov of 2008. The NRTFC was the first and is the only organization in the world and history of the breed, to recognize only the Smooth coated dog [6]. The FCI Jack Russell Terrier was accepted into the AKC FSS known as the "Russell Terrier" in December 2004 on the application submitted by the ARTC[2] using the FCI standard. Both UKC and FSS AKC will no longer register cross bred dogs, but as a result of this now register the JRTCA "Jack Russell" as the Russell Terrier. The Parson Russell Terrier and the Jack Russell Terrier/Russell Terrier (Australian/FCI JRT) will forever be linked in ancestory to the Hunt Terriers However, after 15 years of maintaining the Russell Terrier in the US and longer internationally as a distinctly separate breed with the selection of the rectangular appearance unique only to the Jack Russell/Russell Terrier they can no longer be considered variations.Please visit discussion tab at the top of this page


Profile of a smooth Russell Terrier.

The breed originated in England and was developed in Australia with a well-documented history. The history of the breed detailed in the standard is as important as the definition of the description of the Russells. The AKC Parson Russell Terrier and the AKC FSS Russell Terrier are maintained as distinctly separate breeds in AKC and in Europe.

The American Russell Terrier Club [1] in October 2007 was designated the AKC Parent Club. On January 1, 2010 the AKC Russell Terrier moved forward into the Misc. Class. The AKC FSS books are still open and 2 of the 3 clubs listed on the AKC website are still accepting registrations for the Russell Terrier[2]. The AKC breed standard and other information regarding the breed can be found here:[3]

The American Russell Terrier Foundation Club is a recognized registry for single dog registrations for the FSS AKC Russell Terrier


A strong, active, lithe working Terrier of great character with flexible body of medium length. His smart movement matches his keen expression. Tail docking is optional and the coat may be smooth, rough or broken.

A Russell Terrier.
  • The overall dog is longer than high.
  • The depth of the body from the withers to the brisket should equal the length of foreleg from elbows to the ground.
  • The girth behind the elbows should be about 40 to 43 cm.
  • A lively, alert and active Terrier with a keen, intelligent expression. Bold and fearless, friendly but quietly confident.

Cranial Region

  • Skull: The skull should be flat and of moderate width gradually decreasing in width to the eyes and tapering to a wide muzzle.
  • Stop: Well defined but not over pronounced.

Facial Region

  • Nose: Black.
  • Muzzle: The length from the stop to the nose should be slightly shorter than from the stop to the occiput.
  • Lips: Tight-fitting and pigmented black.
  • Jaws/Teeth: Very strong, deep, wide, and powerful. Strong teeth closing to a scissor bite.
  • Eyes: Small dark and with keen expression. MUST not be prominent and eyelids should fit closely. The eyelid rims should be pigmented black. Almond shape.
  • Ears: Button or dropped of good texture and great mobility.
  • Cheeks: The cheek muscles should be well developed.
  • Neck: Strong and clean allowing head to be carried with poise.
  • General: Rectangular.
  • Back: Level. The length from the withers to the root of tail slightly greater than the height from the withers to the ground.
  • Loin: The loin should be short, strong and deeply muscled.
  • Chest: Chest deep rather than wide, with good clearance from the ground, enabling the brisket to be located at the height mid-way between the ground and the withers. Ribs should be well sprung from the spine, flattening on the sides so that the girth behind the elbows can be spanned by two hands - about 40 cm to 43 cm.
  • Sternum: Point of sternum clearly in front of the point of shoulder.
  • Tail: May droop at rest. When moving should be erect and if docked the tip should be on the same level as ears.
  • Forequarters
  • Shoulders: Well sloped back and not heavily loaded with muscle.
  • Upper arm: Of sufficient length and angulation to ensure elbows are set under the body.
  • Forelegs: Straight in bone from the elbows to the toes whether viewed from the front or the side.
  • Hindquarters: Strong and muscular, balanced in proportion to the shoulder.
  • Stifles: Well angulated.
  • Hock joints: Low set.
  • Rear pastern (Metatarsus) : Parallel when viewed from behind while in free standing position.
  • Feet: Round, hard, padded, not large, toes moderately arched, turned neither in nor out.
Gait / Movement
  • True, free and springy.
  • Hair: May be smooth, broken or rough. Must be weatherproof. Coats should not be altered (stripped out) to appear smooth or broken.
  • Color: White MUST predominate with black and/or tan markings. The tan markings can be from the lightest tan to the richest tan (chestnut). Terriers exhibiting both black and tan markings (on the predominately white coat) are called tri-colored.
Size and Weight
  • Ideal Height: 25 cm (10 ins) to 30 cm (12 ins).
  • Weight: Being the equivalent of 1 kg to each 5 cm in height, i.e. a 25 cm high dog should weigh approximately 5 kg and a 30 cm high dog should weigh 6 kg.

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree, and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog. However, the following weaknesses should be particularly penalized when entering a conformation competition:

  • Lack of true Terrier characteristics.
  • Lack of balance, i.e. over exaggeration of any points.
  • Sluggish or unsound movement.
  • Faulty mouth.

Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities should be disqualified when showing.


  • Burns, Patrick. "American Working Terriers". 2005. ISBN 1-4116-6082-X

External links

  • [2] AKC Illustrated Breed Standard


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