The first time I met a jack russell terrier, I was very surprised by its extreme sweetness. I immediately realized that, although I have always been surrounded by dogs of every kind, I had never seen such an affectionate and playful animal. I felt the need for an active and affectionate dog and I had never had anything to do with a small dog, much less with a hunting dog. In the end I decided, bought several books on the jack russell terrier and after some time I contacted a couple who would later give me a beautiful puppy.
First of all, to get an idea of what the Jack Russell Terrier is, I believe it is right to mention the origins by telling what is considered by many to be the official story. It is almost certain that the breed was born in Great Britain. In 1800, hunting was a widespread custom in Britain. It is said that the reverend John Russell, nicknamed Jack, in the Devon region, felt the need to create a new breed of Terrier that would help him in fox hunting.
Legend has it that the reverend, who fell in love with the milkman's dog, managed to win it. Trump, this was the name of this dog, was crossed with other hunting dogs such as the beagle. The result was precisely an intelligent, active and self-confident dog. In reality the breed was formalized in Australia and became official in 2000, therefore relatively recently. The official enci standard is available on the site and there is no need to repeat it in this article. Of course, during the selection process, Trump was made to mate with the fox terrier, the priest's favorite breed. Later generations then crossed paths with Beagle, Border Terrier, and Lakeland Terrier.
Some say that the Jack Russell Terrier also has ancient bulldog blood, very different from today or pitbull. In reality, whatever the past mating, it is more plausible that the strong character is due to the terriers. This small dog was carried in a bag by hunters on horseback. Once spotted the fox was released.
When discussing the character in dog breeds, one is faced with different points of view but we will talk about it in another article better. Regarding the aspect related to genetic predisposition, it is undeniable that the JackRussell Terrier is a very intelligent, vocal, lively and courageous dog. Although it is one of the most affectionate breeds ever, you should never be fooled. The Jack Russell Terrier is not a dog to keep at home constantly and is not a dog made to spend days on the couch or inside the kennel. On the contrary, this is a truly dynamic dog that suffers a lot when it is not free to run on lawns. So if you are a person who tends to have no time to take him out for long walks every day or if you are a lazy person, you better avoid taking this breed.
The Jack Russell Terrier is also a dog with a very strong character, this does not mean, as many think, that he is not afraid. There is first of all a distinction to be made between the absence of fear and courage. The absence of fear is a condition, often pathological, that due to a malfunction does not allow the body to feel the stimulus of fear. Any animal with this malfunction could never have evolved due to the fact that fear is used to protect itself from danger. Instead, courage means overcoming our fears in order to achieve a goal. In reality, this animal is aware of its size and reacts in a very particular way to fear. Being a very shrewd dog, in the face of danger you will see him backing away but not running away. He will try to understand the situation and assess whether it is appropriate to advance or not. This particular characteristic is fundamental in a hunting dog because the latter must be able to protect itself without losing sight of its prey.
Although I personally am against hunting, I will use an example to help you understand the needs of this behavior. Imagine that your Jack Russell Terrier has spotted a possible prey in a fleeing fox. The first and irresistible impulse that he will have if he sees it escape is to pursue it by vocalizing as much as possible. Subsequently the poor fox will try to hide in a burrow but here too it will be chased by our dog. The prey, unable to escape any longer and finding its back to the wall inside its den, will then attempt to attack the dog. At this point, given the same size, being a prey a wild animal, without a shadow of a doubt it could inflict mortal wounds on our animal.
But if you were able to get into the fox's den with your dog, you would notice a particular behavior in this. You would see the Jack Russell Terrier stiffen and swell the fur, a characteristic common to many animals. The animal would begin to tease the prey by advancing and retreating while with lightning leaps, always facing the target, it would avoid most of the attacks. A very unpleasant scene certainly but when this breed was selected, at a time when human sensibility had not evolved as it is today, it was used to keep the prey engaged to give the hunter the chance to come. Fortunately fox hunting has been banned in many countries and breeders have greatly mitigated the predatory tendency of the various breeds but it is still very present in this dog.
Another feature that hunting dogs should have is creative thinking. In fact, there are other types of dogs that in front of the scene that I exposed previously would not know just what to do and then they would flee. The dog that is used for this purpose must also be perfectly able to have a marked sociality and emotional interdependence with human beings. It will indeed be very difficult for a Jack Russell Terrier to bite a human being. The speech changes instead with other dogs. Due to the fact that this kind of dogs must recognize their own pack, it is necessary that they socialize from an early age with other dogs. A properly socialized Jack Russell Terrier will have no problem playing quietly with other dogs but be careful that the latter animals he is in contact with are balanced. In fact, nothing is needed to make the Jack Russell Terrier react and if you were to come face to face with a dog of any size that growls at it, most likely it will not pull back.
A high aptitude of this breed is the fact that it is not particularly intimidated by large animals, this kind of behavior is important if we consider the fact that the kind of hunt for which it was selected was done riding a horse.
Lately this breed has become widespread in the cities due to a fashion issue and the great affection and vitality of this animal. However, the city is not ideal for this kind of dog that would have much more fun in the countryside. In this regard, being a very active dog and eager for company, if you have enough space, I always recommend taking two puppies instead of one.
At the risk of seeming repetitive, I repeat that this is a dog that needs to play and always move. If you were to always find yourself alone in a tight and closed place, you will inevitably develop destructive behaviors with the furniture or it could happen that you run irrationally from one end of the house to the other without reason as crazy. Don't worry, these kinds of behaviors are normal and are treated with good outdoor walks that are undoubtedly good for us human beings.
As it is also for human beings, every dog has its own degree of intelligence but it is undeniable that the result of the marriage between two nobel prizes, most likely will give rise to a creature at least quite intelligent. In principle we can say that all the Jack Russell Terriers I have dealt with are extraordinarily intelligent. We will talk about canine intelligence in another article in more detail, but for now we can define two main schools of thought. The first states that the intelligence of a dog is measured based on functional intelligence and the second states that intelligence is not necessarily functional.
Functional intelligence in dogs (with a definition that does not do them justice anyway) is that predisposition to understand and respond adequately to certain stimuli.
I have heard some owners of Jack Russell Terrier claim that it is a race of stupid dogs because they do not understand the commands. If only they knew how wrong they are. This breed, in fact, beyond the definition and laboratory tests, based on its own breed aptitudes, is exceptionally intelligent. Since he is a dominant dog, he will always be willing to quietly challenge the owner when he does not want to do something. The intrinsic curiosity in the breed indeed pushes these dogs to distract themselves very much and because of the innate tenacity, they will hardly abandon an activity that they find of their liking to make the puppets of their owner. In fact, there are races that are willing to do anything at any time for the satisfaction of their master. But the Jack Russell Terrier should certainly not be treated as an inferior being.
I consider the Jack Russell Terrier a very proud dog and over time I have learned to respect it without losing sight of the fact that I am the pack leader.
If you are looking for an agile dog and are willing to provide the necessary care and attention to your dog, this breed will never disappoint you. As I wrote earlier, the Jack Russell Terrier is a dog that needs to move, it must get tired otherwise it feels depressed, nervous and frustrated. Since we do not want our four-legged friend to feel frustrated, we must count on giving him daily and more than once a day attention. However, pay close attention to the type of games you play. As we all have to live in a civilized and modern environment, I would avoid those games that favor predation.
It's always great to see a dog running happily on the lawn playing with its own kind, but watching a dog of this breed is an unforgettable experience. It seems to be looking at a small overcraft with a jet engine that grazes the ground. If you can indeed satisfy the daily needs of your friend, rest assured that you will always feel in perfect shape. For this reason, it is a dog that I do not recommend to lonely and handicapped elderly people because it suffers a lot from standing still and also has a tendency to eat and gain weight.
Another aspect that should not be underestimated is the time we have to dedicate to it, although this is an animal that is always ready when it comes to going out for a run or a walk, it's always good to get it used to going out at a certain time. This good habit should be followed for all races but especially with this one because being a very intelligent and emotional dog, if at that moment he expects to go out he will tend to feel frustrated and if left alone, he could take the bad habit of making needs at home.
A very frequent stereotype states that the Jack Russell Terrier is the ideal dog for those who do competitive jogging or cycling. Once again I have to dispel this stereotype. Obviously in general any dog can run faster than any human being by traveling much longer distances. In my case, if I had to run along with my dog keeping him on a leash like the law of my country imposes, after a few meters he would turn behind me wondering: When do we start? However, the situation changes if the dog has to follow a marathon runner or worse still a cyclist. Reiterating that in some countries, it is rightly forbidden to keep the dog tied to a moving bicycle and it is illegal to leave a free dog on public ground, I would also like to remind you that this is a dog that has very long legs and is not made to run with the same pace for many kilometers.
In the past, in fact, it was carried in a shoulder bag by the hunter who was riding on a horse, is not the kind of hunting dog that follows the horses throughout the day. Remember that any dog must be at your side when walking and that in any case you must never travel over 25 kilometers. Even if it seems strange, dogs like humans must gradually start running. I can understand that this may sound strange but the cases in which a dog that apparently runs happy suddenly collapses due to a cardiac arrest is not rare.
However, you should not think that it is a delicate dog, in the vast majority of cases it will be perfectly able to match and exceed your performance if you are on foot.
The attitude of the Jack Russell Terrier is however to shoot. In fact it is capable of covering short distances at an impressive speed when compared to its size. In fact, there are specific sports specialties that enhance this peculiarity such as agility dog, the pursuit of a mechanical substitute for a fox and the obstacle race to give examples.
A great merit of this dog is the fact that it is one of the best alarm systems in existence. Regardless of whether you appreciate it or not, at the slightest suspicious noise it will begin to bark. When a dog of this breed starts barking, the owners know it well, they will surely wake up the whole neighborhood. I have written an alarm system because this is not a dog that normally bites human beings even if they are strangers. Another feature due to the purpose for which this breed was selected. In fact, a hunting dog must be able to work with all the members of the hunt, including people he has never seen before. In fact, a dog that unlocks an unknown hunter when it retrieves its prey in what it considers its own territory is not acceptable.
The fact that in any case it does not bite the thief is a positive thing because I have never frowned upon the use of trained guard dogs even if I respect the needs of those who do. In my country, moreover, if a dog bites a thief, even though it may seem ridiculous to many readers who do not live in my country, the owner spends several troubles, many times exceeding the potential stolen goods that the thief would have stolen. Having a ruthless watchdog among other things is dangerous for the dog itself because the hypothetical thief would arrive better equipped.
Personally, I have found that the Jack Russell Terrier is suitable for children over the age of five if they are family and under the supervision of adults. The Jack Russell Terrier is not an aggressive dog, it tends not to bite humans whether they are adults or children. However, when dealing with children, one must keep in mind that it is a very affectionate and rustic dog. So it could accidentally injure the infant with fingernails or in an attempt to play, drop it. For this reason, due to the lively nature of this dog, I don't think it's the classic nanny or pet therapy breed.
I do not want to be misunderstood on this point, although this dog has a mood to be kind and affectionate, the way in which he manifests this affection may be too impetuous.
Before talking about training, and this applies to any animal, we need to talk about behavior and education. There is a lot of confusion around by self-styled animal lovers who say that the dog is educated and does not train. In reality, serious professionals know that education and training are two distinct and separate things. Education is the set of habits that encourage or discourage the dog. This is a phase that must be done when the dog is a puppy. We talk about basic habits such as eating at a specific time, making needs out, avoiding begging for food, walking on a leash and the like.
This can help us with specialized books on dog education, expert educators or better both. If at this stage the dog were to have problems, which in almost all cases are due to human beings, an expert in behavior must intervene, which in some cases may coincide with an experienced veterinarian.
Training, on the other hand, is a totally different practice, except in rare cases, it generally begins after the educational phase and must then be repeated continuously. The biggest difference between education and training lies in the fact that education is necessary for all animals, training is an accessory that can be done or not. If for example I have to become a civil protection operator, it is right that I train myself following courses and maintaining the qualification continuously for all the time necessary for the performance of my function. Similarly, police dogs are continuously trained.
I understand that some of you could misinterpret the word training because with modernity, a sort of problem arose in a context of awareness but it is called training because it is precisely training the dog as when training a human being and there is no nothing wrong with this term.
The methods to train a dog are diverse and we will talk more about it in a future article on dog training methods. Suffice it to say at this juncture that the help of a professional in education is strongly recommended for this breed, that it is common ground that no dog should ever be beaten and that no one ever yells at a Jack Russell Terrier to avoid getting the dog effect opposite to that desired and for a matter of intelligence, civilization and humanity.
This breed is suitable for any type of training that does not include specific physical abilities as opposed to its morphology. For example, you should not educate a Jack Russell Terrier on the "ground or down" command for the simple fact that it doesn't fit in that position and has objective physical difficulties to perform. You should not try to educate or train this dog for tasks that force him to stand still for a long time and alone. For all other purposes, with a little patience, you can get quite satisfactory results. Always remember that when a Jack Russell Terrier sees you disappointed he gets nervous and the only way to calm him is not to yell at him but to come closer and distract him. After twenty minutes at most, always play and cuddle.
Learn not to let your dog fool you, as I said the dogs of this breed are extraordinarily intelligent. They will try to make fun of you, if you go along with their claims they will assume that particular behavior that made you give up. In a nutshell they will try to manipulate you, they will be pimps and insistent. You will be amazed at the quantity and quality of things that this dog can do if it realizes that it has no hope of ignoring or manipulating you. However always be sweet and modulate the tone of voice well. Basically a lower tone of voice positively attracts his attention much more than a shrill and inarticulate scream.
By referring to the varieties and neglecting the various local breed standards we can have different types of hair and here I will list the most common. The so-called broken or broken hair is essentially bristly with the exception of the legs where the hair is smooth. In some areas there may be differences in growth, it never cuts and is still strong enough. The birth of this type of hair is due to the fact that another variety, the rough coat, was a type of hair too delicate. So two specimens were made to pair, one with rough hair and one with a smooth coat to have a much thicker coat.
This particular exception generates a dog with exceptionally soft and thick fur that loses fur continuously. Both for the broken hair and for the coarse hair a minimal grooming called striping is sufficient due to the fact that they have a moderate regrowth contrary to the smooth coat which should not be subject to moulting. Then there is the teddy bear variety. I know it sounds like a joke but it really exists. As the name says, it has a smooth, thick and hard coat like a teddy bear. From a sensation similar to touch.
There are particular mixes that can generate a great variety of types derived from those previously exposed. For example, what I have at home is a smooth-haired teddy bear, the result of the coupling between a broken male and a smooth female, it has an exceptionally thick coat, longer than the short hair that has the smooth, much more pleasant to the touch but with a small problem. Lose hair continuously and should be brushed at least three times a day.
No dog should ever be trained to attack a fellow human or a human being. Never and for no reason in the world. However, there are more protective breeds than others, this one in particular is not particularly suitable for the purpose even if when it sinks teeth for fun and only for play on the special sleeve it does not come off anymore, even if it is lifted from the ground.
Someone once advised me on the barf diet which would be a diet of raw meats specifically designed for the health of your dog. I have done a lot of extensive research on this diet. In practice it is based on the principle that the dog derives from the wolf and the wolf is carnivorous. This type of diet has never convinced me but I nevertheless respect its supporters. I am convinced that a dog with this diet can live long and in perfect health. And of course, raw meat is always better in terms of taste than kibbles or canned foods.
Someone else instead gave me examples to make me understand better his point of view on the barf diet. One of these claimed that even for human beings, fresh food and fruit grown in a natural environment are always better than canned or industrially processed food.
But now I will explain to you what my personal point of view is. First of all, wolves are omnivores tending to carnivores. In fact it is precisely for this reason that the canids managed to survive when the big cats of the past, purely carnivorous, became extinct. Subsequently the wolf approached the humans who shared their food and established this special bond that has lasted for centuries, if not millennia.
Currently for my dog I use specially designed foods, I prefer dry croquettes and sometimes a can. Clearly it is obvious that it would be better for the dog to eat specially prepared food at home because in any case, even in qualitative terms, the foods prepared from fresh and subsequently cooked foods could be preferred. Unfortunately, if I had to cook for the dog I would have to cook twice and I would not be able to do it while maintaining the right theoretical supply of nutrients that it needs and which is still very different from mine.
It is a good idea not to get the dog used to eating while you eat or it will be impossible to eat without the dog begging for food from anyone and sometimes claim it.
This dog needs a very frequent cleaning of the teeth, unlike the other breeds, it is not enough the aid of the classic fluorine sticks as it is very prone to the accumulation of tartar.
Because of his temperament, especially if he is not fit and in old age, he could develop heart disease and even hernias. In some cases, a fairly frequent predisposition of pathologies related to the musculoskeletal system has been observed, such as for example knee dysplasia and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease.
Sometimes it can happen that there is a predisposition also for certain pathologies that involve the visual apparatus such as glaucoma and lens dislocation.
As for the auditory apparatus, some specimens presented and present a form of congenital deafness that some associate with a genetic predisposition related to the white color of the coat. The particular conformation of the ears serves specifically to protect it from any external elements present in the bush.
Another pathology that could arise and which has also been observed with a certain frequency in this breed is the cerebral ataxia, a deadly pathology that causes the destruction of cells.