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Jack Russell Terriers and the future
– a KC press release

The Kennel Club has for some time been considering the recognition of ‘Jack Russell Terriers’, as proposed by the non-Kennel Club registered Club, the British Jack Russell Terrier Club. The dogs in question are not the short legged so called ‘Russells’ – those which are hunt type terriers of no traceable or verifiable ancestry.

They are instead from the same origins as the Parson Russell Terrier itself. When the Parson Russell Terrier was recognised by the Kennel Club in 1990, a large number of dogs remained outside the Kennel Club register. It is the recognition of these dogs, some of which tend to be at the lower end of or slightly below the present Parson Russell Terrier height standard, which is now in question.

The General Committee Vice-Chairman, Mr Ronnie Irving, and the Breed Standards and Stud Book Sub-Committee Chairman, Dr Ruth Barbour, have met with representatives from the British Jack Russell Terrier Club, the Jack Russell Terrier Club of Great Britain and the Parson Russell Terrier Club to discuss the position of these dogs. There are many diverse opinions on this topic but one broad agreement does seem to emerge; namely that the UK breed seeking recognition as the ‘Jack Russell Terrier’ is of the same origin as the Parson Russell Terrier and is quite different from the breed developed in Australia which the FCI has recognised as the ‘Jack Russell Terrier’. Internationally, there is considerable confusion concerning these two breeds.

Recommendations have been made to the KC General Committee and the Kennel Club has decided to seek feedback from all those interested in the issue. Thereafter, final proposals will be presented to the General Committee for a definitive decision to be made.

In arriving at these recommendations, the prime objective has been the welfare of these terriers.

Comments are invited on the following proposals, to be submitted in writing to Mrs C Hallett, The Kennel Club, 1-5 Clarges Street, London W1J 8AB, by 30 June 2002.


1. The Kennel Club Register should be opened for a period of two years to allow terriers currently recorded in the registers of the Jack Russell Terrier Club of Great Britain and the British Jack Russell Terrier Club to apply for Kennel Club registration as Parson Russell Terriers.

2. For inclusion in the Kennel Club register, all terriers must have at least three full generations recorded in the above breed registers (i.e. the terrier applied for itself and its parents and grandparents must be included in one of the above registers).

3. The K.C. breed standard of the Parson Russell Terrier should be changed to accommodate some of the smaller dogs to read as follows:
Size: Most importantly a working terrier should be capable of being spanned behind the shoulders by average sized hands. Ideal height 33cms (13 ins) for a bitch, 36cms (14 ins) for a dog. It is recognised that smaller terriers are nowadays required for work in certain areas and lower heights are therefore quite acceptable provided that soundness is maintained.

4. The FCI should be requested to change the name of the breed which it currently recognises as ‘Jack Russell Terrier’ to ‘Australian Jack Russell Terrier’. It should also be asked to take care that its member countries only register as ‘Australian Jack Russell Terriers’ those dogs with Australian ancestry.

5. The FCI should also be asked to require member countries to transfer all dogs currently registered as ‘Jack Russell Terriers’ but not of Australian descent, into the Parson Russell section. This would be provided that their pedigrees can be traced back to the Kennel Club register or the registers of either the Jack Russell Terrier Club of Great Britain or the British Jack Russell Terrier Club. If they are not either of Australian descent or descended from British pedigree stock - they are not pure bred dogs and cannot be eligible for registration.