Let’s Talk Breed Education!
INTERPRETING THE RUSSELL TERRIER BREED STANDARD
Part One: Blueprint or Impressionism?
T he Russell Terrier (known as a Jack Russell Terrier in FCI) is a somewhat newly recognized breed for the AKC (full recognition mid-2012), despite the Jack Russell Terrier’s (JRT) long-time famil- iarity to much of the public. Because this small Terrier has existed in many shapes and sizes for a couple hundred years in the UK (and probably since the 1950s in the US) before it was ever considered a purebred, everyone seems to have a picture ingrained in their own mind as to what a JRT should look like. That picture is often based on what each remembers seeing as a child. So, some think of a leggier, lighter-weight, nearly all-white Ter- rier; others think of a short-legged, heavy-muscled, “puddin” style dog with a good amount of spotting; and then we have everything in-between. These disparate views of what constitutes a Jack Russell Terrier have carried through to modern day, and these different types of JRT can be found in many of our current pedigrees. The existence of various types in the ancestry of our current Russell Terriers commonly results in inconsistency in litters, in what we see in the show ring, and in what judges choose to place. But we now have a breed standard, based on the JRT breed standard first written in 1983 by the Jack Russell Terrier Club of Australia and then approved in 1991 by the Australian National Kennel Council, and later by FCI (International Canine Federation) in 2003. So, shouldn’t we have solved our problem with what general type constitutes a Russell Terrier? The Fancy likes to say that a breed standard is a blueprint for a breed. Percy Roberts, the long-respected judge, wrote “A breed standard is the blueprint. The breeder is the builder, and the judge is the building inspector.” No disrespect to Judge Roberts, but my father was a builder and we always had several blueprints laying around the house. They were mathemati- cal, engineering diagrams. None ever stated that the length of one wall should be moderately longer than the height of another wall (a common description in breed standards). If our breed standards were as specific as a blueprint, we could do a computer generation of the ideal Russell Terrier, and everyone would easily agree on correct breed type. So, I do not think our standards are blueprints for our breeds. Rather, they describe an impressionist 3-D artwork of our breed, perhaps, or they provide concepts to consider in deriving breed type. This means that there is a fair amount open to interpretation by breeders and judges alike. So, the purpose of this article is not to simply recite the breed standard, but to suggest how to interpret key parts of it. Of course, it is my opinion as an experienced single-breed breeder who has studied this breed in depth. The reader is asked to consider my view, but everyone will need to interpret the standard for themselves, hopefully keeping the best interests of the breed in mind. BY CANDACE S. LUNDIN, DVM, MS
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pictured below: Figure 1a and Figure 1b
My interpretation of ‘strong, active, lithe’ is that it should be a strong, sturdy dog that retains its flexibility and is supple enough to enter a fox hole and turn around in it.
Quotes from the AKC Breed Standard of the Russell Terrier have been grouped into categories for ease of discussion. SUBSTANCE
The Russell Terrier is strong, active, lithe… Substance… neither too coarse nor too refined. …sturdily built…with smooth muscle transitions… …clean, strong neck… …moderately well boned. …loins are short, strong, and well-muscled. Hindquarters are muscular and strong. …weight proportionate to height.
What is lithe? The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines it as “flexible, supple.” When the standard was first drafted in Austra- lia, club members in Queensland said that it was meant to mean “slimly built,” but those in New South Wales said “bending, read- ily pliant, limber, supple.” When I look at photos of many of the early JRTs in Australia, few were “slimly built” (Fig 1a & 1b). My interpretation of “strong, active, lithe” is that it should be a strong, sturdy dog that retains its flexibility and is supple enough to enter a fox hole and turn around in it. The 10- to 12-inch JRT (called the Russell Terrier in AKC) was developed separately from the Parson Russell Terrier (PRT), and so it is not just a smaller version. The JRT was developed in Australia, the Parson Russell in the UK. It is actually the Parson Russell Terrier that is most closely aligned with the type of Ter- riers that the Rev. John Russell had, and not the Kennel Club recognized JRT. The AKC Russell Terrier, developed as the Jack Russell Terrier in Australia, has a type that is different from the Parson Russell Terrier. I cannot say it enough; it is not a height variety of the Par- son. Both standards call for balanced dogs, but the Russell Terrier standard uses the terms: sturdily built; strong is used as an adjec- tive several times; and moderately well boned. On the other hand, the Border Terrier standard talks about it being “rather narrow in shoulder, body, and quarter,” although it does state “medium bone, strongly put together.” Both the PRT and Border Terrier
call the bone “medium,” whereas the Russell Terrier uses the term “moderate.” I interpret it as a difference. For me, the Russell Ter- rier should be an overall heavier-built dog than the PRT or Border Terrier, while still being of a size to go-to-ground. PROPORTION Length: Height …body of moderate length and rectangular profile. The body is proportioned marginally longer than tall, the sil- houette representing a distinct rectangle when measured from the point of shoulder to point of buttocks than from the withers to the ground. …measuring slightly longer from the withers to the root of the tail than from the withers to the ground. Overall presentation is a compact, harmonious, rectangular silhouette. This is the area of the standard in which too much liberty seems to be taken by breeders and judges choosing a style prefer- ence of their own, so much so that I think that some dogs lose type. Proportion is a critical part of the standard for the Russell Terrier—to differentiate it from the Parson. Breed type is terminology that is frequently used in the dog show world, but not everyone agrees with what it means. Rich- ard Beauchamp in Solving the Mysteries of Breed Type writes that there are five elements to breed type: breed character, silhouette,
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INTERPRETING THE RUSSELL TERRIER BREED STANDARD
head/expression, movement, and coat. Anna Katherine Nicholas in her book, The Nicholas Guide to Dog Judging, refers to type as a combination of distinguishing features that add up to give each breed its stamp of individuality. Variations within a breed do not change type, however, and so I would argue for an even simpler view of “type.” Dogs of the same breed are basically the same type, per Dr. Harry Spira in Canine Terminology . There are good ones and bad ones, but if you can tell what breed it is, the dog has enough breed type to make it onto the scale. When you order a T-shirt online and choose a solid color silhouette of a dog of your breed to be imprinted on it, you have chosen a breed type. You can tell a Scottie from a Wire Fox Terrier from a Sealyham. Can you identify a Russell Terrier? We need to at least get to that minimal point in defining breed type for the Russell Terrier so that we have a recognizable silhouette. The silhouettes of Russell Terriers that have earned AKC championships are far too varied (Fig 2). Obvi- ously, we have a lot of work to do before we can establish basic breed type and get breeders and judges to agree. Proportion of height-to-length is one of the most important factors in drawing that breed silhouette in our mind. Most breed standards describe height as that which is measured at the with- ers. (Are the withers the top of the first thoracic vertebral spine or is it the tip of the scapula… that’s a whole different discussion.) So, let’s discuss length. Breed standards often vary with respect to how length is measured; is it from the withers to the base of the tail or from the point of shoulder to the point of hip? Let us look at some examples. (I’ve rephrased some from the standards in order to create parallel comparisons.) For the Wire Fox Terrier (WFT), the length from the point of shoulder to the buttock should approximately equal the height.
For both the Parson Russell Terrier and the Border Terrier, the distance from the withers to the tail should be slightly less than the height. Interpreting these descriptions suggests that the WFT has a square silhouette overall, with that square encompassing the forequarters and hindquarters, and so the back itself must be quite short to allow for a decent shoulder and a moderate length to the pelvis. A straight-shouldered WFT with a steep tilt of a short pelvis could have a longer back and still remain square overall in its silhouette. The PRT and Border Terrier are not square overall because the length-to-height parameters do not encompass the forequarters and hindquarters. This means that a PRT with a good shoulder and hip will appear slightly rectangular in its overall silhouette. Some call it off-square. Now we come to the Russell Terrier. The Russell Terrier stan- dard states that the measurement from the withers to the tail should be slightly longer than the dog is tall, but then it also says that the point of shoulder to the buttocks should be propor- tioned marginally longer than the height. This is a conundrum. If the length from the withers to the tail is slightly longer than the height, when you add in the forequarters and hindquarters, the overall silhouette becomes very rectangular (Fig 3), so much so that the dog’s proportions would exceed even that of a Cesky Terrier that has a ratio of length-to-height of 1.5 to 1. The Rus- sell Terrier breed standard gives no numbers or ratios. It simply uses the adjectives “marginally,” “moderate,” and “slightly,” and each refers to different measurement points. Because length-to- height measurements can be greatly affected by the set-on of the neck, lay of the shoulder, set of the tail, and pelvic length and tilt, it is probably best not to measure when looking at overall
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INTERPRETING THE RUSSELL TERRIER BREED STANDARD
proportion. Instead, focus on the parts of the breed standard for the Russell Terrier that state: “body of moderate length,” “rectangular profile,” “silhouette representing a distinct rect- angle,” and “rectangular silhouette” (Fig 4). Keep these phrases in mind when evaluating whether a Russell Terrier has general breed type. Could you tell a Russell Terrier from a PRT if you saw one at the Montgomery County Kennel Club show a few rings away? Proportion, of course, is more than just a height by length ratio. So, the next factor to consider is the leg length-to-depth of chest ratio. LEG LENGTH: CHEST DEPTH In the breed standard of the Russell Terrier, this propor- tion is written as: The depth of body from the withers to the brisket should equal the length of foreleg from elbows to the ground. …midline of the dog is at the elbow and the bottom of the brisket. From the withers to the bottom of the brisket should represent 50 percent of the distance from the withers to the ground. The brisket should never fall below the elbow. The Russell Terrier is not a short-legged dog. The Scottish Terrier, Sealyham Terrier, and Cesky Terrier are examples of short-legged Terrier breeds. It certainly should not appear leg- gy-looking either. Even the WFT standard states that it is not a leggy dog; “must on no account be leggy.” So, we want a nice balance between the chest depth and the length of the front legs. Again, we can talk about measuring it, but questions arise. A mature dog may have a chest that drops some. A stron- ger dog may have more musculature comprising the “brisket” even if the sternum and elbow joint are at the same level. Yes, I wrote elbow joint because the elbow is an area that runs from the very tip of the olecranon (point of the elbow) down to the bottom of the joint space formed by the humerus, radius, and ulna. Then, we have a variation in the angle of the upper arm (humerus); if a dog has a good forechest with long upper arm, setting the forelimb back under the dog, it is likely that the point of the elbow will be higher than the adjacent sternum (Fig 5). In contrast, a WFT with the traditional Terrier front or J-front will have the point of the elbow located lower, sim- ply because of the difference in the angle of the upper arm as it comes into the elbow. So, let us not penalize a Russell Terrier with a good forechest and correctly set-back front limb by say- ing it is not 50:50 when the brisket falls below the point of the elbow. We also know, from using the wicket to measure dogs, how they can drop down into their chest, so to speak, if a bit hesitant of the process. So, when a judge puts his or her hand under the chest to measure the level of the brisket, will the dog change its stance, affecting any precise measurement of the elbow versus the brisket? I believe the intent of this part of the breed standard for the Russell Terrier was to penalize the old-fashioned, barn-type JRTs that were kept around more often as ratters. Their leg-to- chest ratio is quite obviously not balanced. If they are one day recognized as a separate breed, they would likely be classified as one of the short-legged Terriers. Be flexible in your judgement of this aspect, remember- ing that this is not a short-legged terrier nor should it have any leggy appearance. Consider how a Russell Terrier with a good length of upper arm is going to have its elbow at a higher position on the chest relative to a WFT-type of conformation.
body of moderate length
silhouette representing a distinct rectangle
pictured above: Figure 4 and Figure 5
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INTERPRETING THE RUSSELL TERRIER BREED STANDARD
SIZE The previously described proportions are obviously affected by size, but I left this last so that we had covered the chest depth-to-leg length ratio—since we find another conundrum in the breed standard. The AKC standard states: Disqualification: Height under 10 inches or over 12 inches. There is no disqualification for height in the Australian National Kennel Council’s originally approved description of the breed, nor in FCI, nor in the more recent interim standard from the Kennel Club in the UK, the country of origin for the breed. Since our breed is still early in its development and is based on many Australian and European imports, it is not surprising that size varies greatly. There are pros and cons to having a disqualification for height; perhaps it was believed that it would help stabilize the breed so that it does not encroach upon the PRT. But as discussed previously, the Russell Terrier is not, and should not be, a smaller size variety of the PRT. So, do not use size as a crutch in defining that picture in your mind as to what constitutes breed type for the Russell Terrier. When you look across the rings at Montgomery, you will be unable to determine height before making your guess as to whether you see a PRT or a Russell Terrier. As a breeder, I would much prefer an excellent dog, in breed type, that is slightly under 10 inches or slightly over 12 inches to an average dog within the height standard. Now, for the conundrum, the standard states: …small, oval-shaped compressible chest… …small enough to be spanned by an average size man’s hands, approximately 14 to 15 inches at the top set. The Australian standard and the FCI approved standard for the JRT both say that the girth behind the elbows should be “spanned by two hands, approximately 40 to 43 cm,” which equates to 15.7 to 16.9 inches. That is a big difference from the AKC standard of 14 to 15 inches. One could argue that AKC standards are allowed to vary from other countries, but the conundrum is that it is nearly mathemati- cally impossible to have a dog with an oval-shaped chest measuring 14 to 15 inches to not be under height if the chest depth-to-leg length ratio is 50:50. The dog will either be shorter in height or the chest will be deep and narrow (slab-sided) or the dog will be leggy. The only other option is for a larger chest—one closer to that which is stated in the Australian and FCI breed standards. The intent for giving a chest circumference in the breed standard is to ensure that the dog can traverse a fox tunnel and turn around if needed to exit. If the chest is spannable, compressible, and flexible, the intent is met. Learn to span correctly. Learn to feel compression. Flexibility is not tested in the show ring, but breeders should be aware of what it means. Flexibility is demonstrated by showing that the ter- rier can be folded in half horizontally by making the dog’s nose touch the base of the tail. Again, breed standards are not precisely engineered manuals of dog construction. Neither were they drafted by anatomists. Instead, from studying the breed standard, we gain an impression of the founders’ intent for what the breed should be. A fair evaluation of a dog is then an art, grounded in sound knowledge. In this Part One, we have covered Substance and Proportion for the Russell Terrier. Future publications will discuss Balance, Move- ment, and other parts of the Breed Standard for the Russell Terrier.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dr. Candace Lundin is a veterinarian/breeder of Russell Terriers. With her husband, Frank Zureick, they have DBF Russell Terriers, which was an offshoot of their Thoroughbred breeding, training, and racing business at their Dog Branch Farm. Dr. Lundin holds a Master’s Degree in Anatomy & Physiology, with an emphasis on movement, sports medicine, and performance evaluation on the treadmill. Her residency was in equine surgery and lameness. She has served as Associate Editor for the American Journal of Veterinary Research and the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, and has worked in clinical development/medical communications for Pfizer Inc. during the development of Vanguard Plus® and Revolution® for small animals. DBF Russell Terriers has bred over 100 AKC Champion Russell Terriers, including the first male and female champions in breed history. They’ve also bred a Crufts Reserve Terrier Group winner, World Winner, two Junior World Winners, and the first American-bred FCI International Champion.
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INTERPRETING THE RUSSELL TERRIER BREED STANDARD
BY CANDACE S. LUNDIN, DVM, MS PART 2: USING CONCEPTS TO CREATE A TEMPLATE
B reeder-judge Percy Roberts wrote, “A breed standard is the blueprint. The breeder is the builder, and the judge is the building inspector.” The problem with this statement is that blueprints are precise, engineered diagrams whereas breed standards require subjective interpretation. Adverbs such as “slightly” or “moderately” never appear on a blueprint, yet they commonly appear in breed standards. Many descriptions in breed standards are open to interpretation, sometimes with a wide degree of latitude. The official standard is more like a conceptualization of the ideal dog for that breed. It is meant to give the reader an impression of the breed, an essence of the breed. With the Russell Terrier being a relatively new breed with the AKC, its variability is great. As purebred dog expert, Richard G. Beauchamp, explained in his book, Solving the Mysteries of Breed Type: “In the early stages of a breed’s development, it only makes sense to be more tolerant of undesirable characteristics than we are later in the breed’s progress.” The Russell Terrier, as a breed, is still in these early stages of its development and, thus, has more diversity than is ideal. Breeders need to work on “fix- ing” (i.e., establishing) breed type. We need the support of judges to help push forward correct breed type for the Russell Terrier and not reward divergences. We need to stay on course, and not allow glamour or crowd appeal to push us toward fads that are out of character for the breed. The Russell Terrier is not a small Parson; it is not as elegant as a Lakeland; it is not as heavy as a Sealyham. It is its own breed, and it must have a recognizable type. Mr. Beauchamp explained how easy it can be to veer off course, especially today, when we have fewer people devoted to breed development and “far more people exhibiting dogs simply because they enjoy the competitive aspects of the dog game.” So, those breeders who are devoted to the development of the breed as a whole—and not just produc- ing their next winning dog—have a lot of work to do to stay the course. This is Part Two of a three-part series evaluating and interpreting the breed standard for the Russell Terrier. Part One discussed substance, proportions, and size, as well as the importance of the silhouette to breed type. It emphasized how every breed has its own correct silhouette cre- ated by the sum of its proportions. Part Two will now cover the sec- tions of the breed standard that refer to balance and topline. Balance also involves proportions (a symmetry of proportions), and balance is a key consideration in the biomechanics of dogs. In this Part Two, we will use the breed standard and some simple biomechanics principles to propose a template, if not a blueprint, for the Russell Terrier. Quotes from the AKC breed standard of the Russell Terrier are shown in bold italics throughout. Photos of dogs used in this article are not meant to represent the ideal. Rather, the photos are used instead of skeletal drawings to demonstrate anatomic landmarks in the living dog.
BALANCE The overall dog must present a balanced image with
no one part exaggerated over another. …sturdily built yet balanced dog…
Balance is the part of the standard that tends to get abused most often when fads begin to take over a breed, and breeders who get too focused on one aspect can lose perspective of the overall dog. The same thing can hap- pen with judges who, perhaps, recall only a few specific lines of the standard for a breed that is not their own, and so they fault-judge on those few areas. Then, there are some who think that more is better. If the standard calls for a low-set hock, some will take it to the extreme and aim for that low-set hock appearance even if it is at the sacrifice of a balanced upper and lower thigh. The Rus- sell Terrier must present a balanced image, pleasing to the eye, without any one part exaggerated so much that your eye is immediately drawn to that area. The Russell Terrier is balanced as a whole and within its parts. It is balanced vertically, horizontally, and in motion. Vertical balance in most dog breeds follows the “gold- en rule of thirds” of artistic balance. The head and neck comprise one-third, the body one-third, and the limbs comprise one-third (Fig 1). This vertical balance is not specifically mentioned in the Russell Terrier standard, but it can be assumed since the standard states that the chest depth is to equal the leg length, and the neck is to be long enough to reach beyond the forelegs. This results in 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 for vertical balance.
Fig 1. The majority of dog breeds are vertically balanced in approximate thirds.
INTERPRETING THE RUSSELL TERRIER BREED STANDARD
The next type of balance is one that is specified in the breed standard and this is the balance that refers to the symmetry between the forequarters and hindquarters. This is horizontal balance. Angles are equal and balanced front to rear. The length and angle of the scapula (shoulder blade) and humerus (upper arm) should, approximately, equal those of the pelvis (hip) and upper thigh (Fig 2). A person well-familiarized with the skeletal anatomy as it lies beneath the skin and musculature can palpate the criti- cal points of measure, but a simple trick can also be used as a first test of horizon- tal balance. Draw circles in your mind to generally encompass the shoulder and the hip (Fig 3). Are they similar in size? Obvi- ous mismatches will be evident, even in puppies (Fig 4). Balance is also displayed by being able to draw an approximately level line from the point of the shoulder to the point of the hip, and by being able to draw a level line that bisects the humeroradial (elbow) and femorotibial (stifle) joints (Fig 5). Balance must also exist between the fore and hind limbs when looking down from above. When looking down on the dog, the width of the hindquarters is equal to the width of the shoulders. Scapulae that are “pinched,” mean- ing that the top of the shoulder blade tilts inwards toward the spine with the shoulder forced out, can create a wider-appearing forequarter than hindquarter. Of course, a Russell Terrier with a barrel chest (round) or a slab chest (narrow and flattened) instead of the correct oval shape are likely to lack balance with the hip when compar- ing the fore and hind limbs from above. A mismatch in forequarters and hind- quarters is not uncommon in Russell Ter- riers (Fig 6). This general imbalance is too frequently overlooked in our breed in exchange for awarding smaller details— sort of like missing the forest for the trees. Breeders and judges alike should look at the “forest” first; the overall balance and symmetry of the dog. The breed standard for the Russell Terri- er does not specify numbers or ratios for the various proportions that create the desired symmetry. It just says balanced—balanced image, balanced dog, balanced lengths of bone, and balanced angles. Can we better elucidate what balance means by consider- ing the general biomechanics of dogs?
WHEN LOOKING DOWN ON THE DOG, THE WIDTH OF THE HINDQUARTERS IS EQUAL TO THE WIDTH OF THE SHOULDERS.
Left: Fig 2. Angles are equal and balanced front to rear, approximately 90 degrees. Yerusalimsky’s Postulate #2. Right: Fig 3. Balanced Circles
Fig 4. Left: Unbalanced; Right: Balanced
Fig 5. Parallel lines run from the point of shoulder to point of hip and from the elbow to stifle joints. Yerusalimsky’s Postulate #4. Courtesy of Irina Degtiar, www.ALGRAFS.ru
Fig 6. Unbalanced
INTERPRETING THE RUSSELL TERRIER BREED STANDARD
“A DOG CANNOT BE JUDGED WITH A RULER AND PROTRACTOR. THE ONLY MEASURE TO APPLY IS THE EYE AND THAT MUST HAVE BEHIND IT A MIND BACKED BY EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE OF THE BREED AND FREE FROM ALL PRECONCEPTIONS AND IRRELEVANT PREJUDICES.”
Fig 7. The spine from the withers to the root of the tail is divided into thoracic, lumbar, and sacral sections in a constant correlation of 2:1:1. Yerusalimsky’s Postulate #1. Courtesy of Stefano Serafini.
Rasbridge: “A dog cannot be judged with a ruler and protractor. The only measure to apply is the eye and that must have behind it a mind backed by experience and knowledge of the breed and free from all preconceptions and irrelevant prejudices.” Forequarters As was mentioned previously, balance must exist not only for the whole, but also within the parts of the dog. The upper arm should be equal or nearly equal to the length of the scapula, forming an approximate 90-degree angle.
describes the orientation of the scapula and pelvis as having similar angles so that an intersecting line creates a 90-degree angle (Fig 2). Postulate No. 3 says that a vertical line drawn down from the intersection of the lines in postulate 2 will be the dog’s center of gravity (Fig 8). Postulate No. 4 states that the shoulder and hip should be at the same level on a horizontal line and that the elbow and stifle joints should be level with each other on a second horizon- tal line (Fig 5). We will skip postulate No. 5 since it has to do with movement. Postu- late No. 6 describes the need for the point of the elbow to sit on a vertical line directly below the withers, while the stifle joint lies on a vertical line below the base of the tail (Fig 9). Lastly, postulate No. 7 states that the length of the body (sternum to point of the hip) shall equal the distance between the front leg and the hind leg when the rear pastern is vertical (Fig 10). Yerusalimsky’s suggested biomechani- cal model of a balanced dog does, indeed, fit the breed standard described for the Rus- sell Terrier; a balanced silhouette with no one part exaggerated over another. We can use postulate No. 1 to further theorize the Russell’s ideal proportions. By maintaining a 2:1:1 ratio (or 4:2:2) for the backline, we can postulate the proportions for the rest of the dog by maintaining the symmetry required in the standard (Fig 11). This gets us closer to defining a blueprint for the Russell Terrier, moving from concepts into a mathematical model that Yerusalim- sky attempted to define. Although these ratios allow us to draw an image, we must always remember the advice fromMr. W. J.
Fig 8. A vertical line drawn down from the intersection of the lines for the shoulder and hip represents the center of gravity. Yerusalimsky’s Postulate #3. Courtesy of Stefano Serafini.
Fig 9. The elbow and stifle joints sit on verticle lines directly below the withers and the base of the tail, respectively. Courtesy of Christina Areskough.
Eugene Yerusalimsky, dog judge and researcher of canine biomechanics, first presented a theory of the biomechani- cal model of the dog, in 1964, in which the arrangement of body proportions fits a harmonic model. (Dog Conformation and Its Evaluation, Moscow 2008.) Yeru- salimsky explained that much of nature finds harmonic chords called the “Golden Section” and he postulated that the ideal arrangement of body proportions (ratios) in the dog also follow this unifying prin- ciple, and that it applies to the overwhelm- ing majority of dog breeds. His intent was to show that nature’s default is to always create balance. How do his theories fit the ideal construction of the Russell Terrier? Yerusalimsky’s postulate No. 1 states that the spine, from the withers to the root of the tail, is divided into thoracic, lum- bar, and sacral sections in a constant cor- relation of 2:1:1 (Fig 7). Postulate No. 2
Fig 10. Distance between point of shoulder and point of hip equals the distance between the feet when the hock and pastern are perpendicular to the ground. Yerusalimsky’s Postulate #7.
Fig 11. Estimated proportions of parts of the Russell Terrier fitting the biomechanical model of the dog and the breed standard. A=Shelf, B=Croup, C=Loin, D=Chest, E=Shoulder, F=Forechest. Figure adapted from a photo provided by Stefano Serafini .
INTERPRETING THE RUSSELL TERRIER BREED STANDARD
Left: Fig 12. The Terrier Front, J-Front or Fish-hook front of the Fox Terrier. Courtesy of Simon Mills. Right: Fig 13. The forechest is created by the manubrium (tip of the sternum) being positioned clearly in front of the point of the shoulder joint (star).
Balance should exist between the bones comprising the fore- limb. The length of the humerus (upper arm) should approximate that of the scapula (shoulder blade) in the Russell Terrier. Ideally, we want a well laid back shoulder blade of a good length, meeting up at an approximate 90-degree angle with a long upper arm that links to the elbow, setting the vertical part of the forelimb back under the body of the dog. This description means that the Russell Terrier should not have the traditional “Terrier front” or J-front as is seen in the Fox Terrier (Fig 12). This front is a key differentiator for the Russell Terrier from the Fox Terrier because it affects the overall silhouette. The prosternum in the Russell should be obvious, with it clearly evident in front of the point of the shoulder (Fig 13). …elbows are set under the body, with the sternum clearly in front of the point of the shoulder. Even though it is the Fox Terrier breed standard that mentions “standing like a cleverly made, short-backed hunter,” I would argue that the Russell Terrier, and not the Fox Terrier, is a better match. We want a nice length of upper arm in Thoroughbred hunters, with a sternum clearly in front of the point of the shoulder. However, do not make the mistake of thinking that an obvious forechest means that a dog has a correct shoulder. A dog with an upright scapula may have a long upper arm and, thus, an obvious forechest, but it is incorrect. The lack of layback of the shoulder affects the dog’s movement, and the dog’s neck will appear shorter, and the back longer, both due to the vertical orientation of the scapula. The breed standard for the Russell Terrier does not specify a number for the layback of the scapula, and this is probably best. Many books and breed standards talk about a 45-degree angle off the vertical for scapular layback, but they provide no objective sub- stantiation. More recently, cineradiographic imaging studies have identified a 30-degree angle as more accurate. In any case, a pref- erence for an approximate 90-degree angle of the shoulder blade to the upper arm should be the sought-after conformation for the Russell Terrier.
Many breeders claim that the front is the hardest thing to fix in breeding. They will say that once you introduce a bad front into your line, you will not be able to correct it in one, two or even three generations. I have long wondered if the reason for this might be that the shoulder/upper arm configuration seems to be the most difficult area for breeders to accurately evaluate, and so they, unknowingly, inbreed on bad shoulders and “fix” them into their line. Multiple generations of questionable shoulder con- figuration become commonplace, and judges get used to seeing incorrect shoulders and acclimate to them. We need to make a cognizant effort to improve [on this]. Both the lengths and verti- cal orientations of the scapula and the humerus can combine in several ways, only one of which is ideal. Hindquarters The hindquarters should be strong with flat (as opposed to bulging) muscling. The width from above should approximate the width of the oval chest and the width of the forequarters. Balance with the forequarters requires a nice length of pelvis that is neither too flat nor too tipped in its orientation. The angu- lation of the pelvis should approximate that of the scapula. A line drawn from the point of the hip to the stifle should be symmetrical with the length and lay of the humerus (upper arm) (Fig 2). The lay of the pelvis is approximately 30-degrees and the base of the tail is centered between the front and rear points of the pelvis. The lay of the pelvis and a line from the point of the hip to the stifle joint creates a 90-degree angle. A plumb line dropped from the base of the tail intersects the stifle joint. A plumb line dropped from the point of the hip touches the rear foot when the hock/ pastern are perpendicular with the ground. A pelvis (croup) that is too steep will result in a low tail set and a lack of “shelf,” and it will produce weak drive for movement. Shelf refers to the “dog behind the tail.” A good shelf balances well with a laid-back shoulder and forechest. A croup that is too flat moves the femur caudally, resulting in deficient thrust from behind.
INTERPRETING THE RUSSELL TERRIER BREED STANDARD
Left: Fig 14. Natural dip in vertebral column of all dogs where the spines change orientation. Right: Fig 15. Using the breed standard and biomechanic principles to create the beginnings of a blueprint for the balanced, rectangular silhouette of the Russell Terrier.
Neck The neck is, technically, part of the topline of the dog, even though many breed standards use topline to refer to the back only. The backline and the neck together play an integral role in “type” by forming much of the recognizable silhouette of the dog. …neck of sufficient length to allow the terrier’s mouth to extend beyond its forepaws when working. The neck should be approximately two-thirds the length of the back. If it is set on correctly, there will be a slight arch or crest at the top just behind the ears (i.e., nape). Then, the neck should flow down with a slight arch and merge smoothly into the withers. The neck should conform to the balance of the dog. It should be strong without being heavy. A swan neck or ewe neck is also undesirable. SUMMARY The two descriptors used most often in the AKC breed stan- dard for the Russell Terrier are “rectangular” and “balanced.” Although the standard does not specify numerical ratios for the desired proportions that go into forming the rectangular silhou- ette, we get insights into a template for the breed by combin- ing a study of basic biomechanical principles with key aspects in the standard (Fig 15). Despite attempts at defining the perfect dog, there will never be a mathematical equation for describing the best silhouette for the Russell Terrier (or at least, I hope not) because part of the process will remain an art. “It takes both the left and right sides of the brain. The right side is the creative, artistic side that sees the beauty, the symmetry, and the nuances of the breed. The left side interprets the standard in a more intellectual, logical way.” –Narelle Hammond Breeders must understand and acknowledge the science behind nature’s construct of animals and apply relevant prin- ciples to their breed’s standard, recognizing the responsibility of directing a breed’s development to a “type” that preserves intend- ed function and maintains our different breeds. Part One of this article focused primarily on proportion and substance; Part Two focused on the balance of the whole and the parts. Part Three will review those aspects that direct the charac- ter of the breed; the head, tail, expression, and movement, along with the remaining aspects described in the breed standard for the Russell Terrier.
TOPLINE The definition of topline varies… or at least people’s com- mon usage of the term varies. Most breed standards will use topline to mean that part of the dog from the withers to the base of the tail. Anatomists, however, use topline to refer to the entire upper profile of the dog, from the top of the head to the base of the tail. Then, the backline is that part of the topline from the withers, caudally. The Russell Terrier breed standard states: Topline: Level while in motion. We know this does not mean that the head of the Terrier is carried on a level with the back, such as might be seen with a Pointer at work. So, the topline in this breed standard refers to the back, loin, and croup. …slight arch of the loin from muscling that is felt rather than seen. The Russell Terrier has a straight and level back that extends from the withers to the base of the tail. It is not dipped or arched or sloped. This differs slightly from the standard for the Parson Russell Terrier, which states that a “very slight arch over the loin is maintained.” The back can be anatomically defined by the thoracic verte- brae, and the loin defined by the lumbar vertebrae. The croup, however, is an area represented by the fused sacral vertebrae, plus those caudal vertebrae encompassed by the pelvic bones. Together, all three parts (back, loin, croup) should be level, which means even and parallel with the ground. The three parts are in a ratio of 2:1:1 per Yerusalimsky’s biomechanical model of the dog. He writes that the solid topline is necessary for motive thrusts; to transmit the energy efficiently. Interestingly, on radiographic examination or close palpa- tion, all dogs of all breeds have a dip at the 11th thoracic ver- tebra arising from a change in the orientation of the vertebral spines at this position (Fig 14). So, in a smooth-coated dog, this might be seen, but should not be penalized. Often, dogs with an incorrect upright shoulder and/or straight upper arm will have a topline that slopes down from the withers to the tail. In addition, dogs with an incorrect over- angulated rear may have a back that slopes backwards. The topline can also slope in the opposite direction, mostly seen during movement in an unbalanced dog.
THE RUSSELL TERRIER by JOANN STOLL
T he Russell Terrier originated in England in the 1800’s to assist in Fox Hunting and elimination of various other vermin above and below ground. Their unique small chest and size made them ideal for hunting fox because of their similar size to the fox. The Russell was bred for their hunting abilities with a diverse genetic background for decades and never for bench. They also made ideal companions on farms to eradicate vermin. The Russell is as cute as a button and immensely entertaining. They are fiercely loy- al, highly intelligent, perfect for an active family. They are a somewhat new breed to the kennel club compared to the well establish terrier breeds with decades of kennel club history. The Australians are credited for writing the first ken- nel club standard for the breed. Their motto “The Hallmark of the breed is the Spanability of the chest enshrined in the 50/50 proportion. Spanability should be evident in the silhouette. Key to correct breed type are the elements of chest size, shape and compressibility. If the chest falls below the point of the elbow the chest the dog becomes short legged as the 50/50 height requirement is negated. The correct proportions couldn’t be more evident lending to a more agile/flexible terrier, better able to perform his job. We view the most concerning fac- tor today as being the inconsistency in silhouette exhibited in the show ring. The breed is well defined by the stan- dard with little wiggle room. There are points in the standard which can sup- port different opinions or styles but not the 50/50 silhouette and small chest. Today few Russells have the privilege of the hunt field. Yet we must value the tenants of the working terrier staying true to the origin and purpose.
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THE RUSSELL TERRIER
CONNIE CLARK We live in Rio Del Mar, CA located in northern California, by the Monterey Bay. My husband and I enjoy cruising in the Pacific Northwest, Canadian Gulf Islands and points north in British Columbia. I have had 39 years in dogs, 39 years show- ing and was approved to judge in 2007. GAY DUNLAP I live in Indio, CA with my 14-year-old Wheaten Terrier, Tilly. Prior to that, Gil- bert, AZ, and before that, Santa Fe, NM; the latter still holds my heart. Outside of dogs, I manage three websites, design websites and enjoy writing. I have been part of the fancy since the late 1960s and have shown dogs since then as well— initially Yorkshire Terriers and then Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers. I have been judging for slightly over 29 years. ANN D. HEARN
2. What is the unique defining element of the Russell Terrier breed type? CC: The small, oval compressible chest is the hallmark and the single most important attribute a Russell must have. GD: It is essential that this small Terrier display equal mea- surements, withers to brisket and brisket to ground. He must be spannable and the brisket must not reach below the elbow. AH: This is a low-to-the-ground breed that can get down close and personal with its quarry. Yet, they have a very pleasant temperament and get along with other dogs and breeds—mostly. They are great house pets as they’re not quite as busy as some of the other Terriers. 3. Define the correct Russell Terrier breed type. CC: As quoted from the Amplified Guide, a predominantly white-bodied dog with or without tan and/or black mark- ings, measuring between 10"-12", presenting a rectan- gular silhouette. Smooth, broken or rough coat. Overall balance of head to bone to height to width. Equal width fore to aft, equal reach to equal drive, sturdy, flexible body. Spannable and flexible chest, ultimate flexibility determined by correct shape, brisket must never extend below elbow. Head shape that of a blunted wedge, muzzle slightly shorter than the flat back skull, button or drop ears, dark almond shaped eyes and a scissors bite. Gaiting with a lively, unrestricted motion. GD: Small, athletic, active, rectangular terrier, self-assured, predominately white. Equal from withers to elbow and elbow to ground, with a level topline and very slight (often indiscernible) rise over the loin. Spannable, nei- ther too course nor too refined, with compressible chest. Chest should never fall below elbow. Moderate tuck- up. Head displays rather pronounced stop with muzzle slightly shorter than the flat skull. Nose must be black, ears small and v-shaped, button or dropped, carried close to head, with tips even with corner of eye. Eyes dark and almond shaped. Does not display the “terrier front.” Instead, elbows are set under body with sternum in front of point of shoul- der. Straight front legs from elbow to toes. Rear angles match those in front. Three types coat: smooth, broken, rough. Should be shown in natural coat (not sculpted). The six DQs (height, ear type, nose color, eye color, bite, coat color) must not be overlooked in defining type. AH: Not a lot of leg length, but not stumpy appearing and very balanced; a very appealing head piece either wire,
I live in a close suburb to Atlanta, GA. Aside from dogs, I make my own jew- elry, knit and other hand crafty things. I also am a great fan of opera and clas- sical music. I got my first purebred dog (Wire Fox Terrier) as a one-year anni- versary present from Jim in 1957, and immediately went to the Atlanta Kennel Club show to see how close he was to the Standard—not very close, I fear. This gave me the momentum and interest to
get the best I could find and afford. Our children were babies back then, so money was not plentiful, nor was time. Within four or five years I purchased a very well-bred Wire Fox bitch that I attempted to groom (until George Ward got hold of me and made me do exactly as he said), showed and finished. After at least a ka-zillion years, I applied to judge both Wire and Smooth Fox Terriers in 1984. 1. Describe the breed in three words. CC: Small, agile and flexible. GD: Can I use four? Keen, spirited, small and sturdy. AH: Appealing, workman-like and enjoyable.
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russell terrier Q&A WITH CONNIE CLARK, GAY DUNLAP, ANN D. HEARN
GD: I don’t know that “exaggerated” is quite the right word to describe what some breeders and judges fear about the breed today. First of all, there is a disconnect between what the standard requires and what we often see in the ring. Whereas puppies generally meet the “50%” criteria (depth of body equal to distance from elbow to ground), once the dog “bodies up” we see depth of chest drop to below the elbow. When we add this factor to a tendency for shorter leg length, the correct outline is lost. Cer- tainly the battle with Mother Nature to hold onto longer length of leg is a common one in many breeds today. AH: Not a tall dog and unfortunately I’m seeing some Parson-type leg length. I don’t like that. The heads have pretty much maintained the fullness and fill required, but every now and then I get a snippy head and lack of underjaw. You have to cut the girls some slack. 8. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? Why or why not? CC: While there are now more exhibits in the ring, the quality is inconsistent compared to when I first started judging this breed. GD: When I first started judging, this was not a recognized breed. If you mean to ask if I think they are better since first allowed to complete in 2010, I do feel a greater effort is being made to meet the standard with regard to body depth and leg length. The same holds true with the effort to produce a darker eye. AH: The first big winning dog that I saw was the male that Allison Sunderman showed. He was such a fine representative of the new breed and gave an entirely different view of what the Standard was actually saying. I’m sure he left his breeding mark and bettered it. It has taken some time since then for the breed to settle down into a set pattern and I believe it has, or is close to it. No, they’re not cookie cutters (Heaven forbid!), and there’s still room for each breeder’s artistic talents and view, and still stay within the Standard. The breeders seem to be sincere and cautious, but yet determined. That’s a good thing! 9. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? CC: The importance of flexibility as determined by physical examination, spanning. Too many breeder/exhibitors mention how few judges know to span this breed. GD: Because there is a preponderance of Russells failing to meet the 50% ratio, this is often assumed to be correct. I feel there is a tendency to consider it a low-legged Parson Russell. It compounds the confusion when we see Par- sons that have lost length of leg. AH: The proportions! I don’t know if they keep seeing the Jack/Parson in their memory, or if they just haven’t stamped the unique balance of this delightful dog in yet. They’ll get it, just give them a little more time and they’ll come to love it like I do. S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , N OVEMBER 2018 • 335
smooth or broken (a little of both); majorly white; and a bit of a happy-go-lucky attitude.
4. What are the three elements to be assessed from the spanning process? CC: Size (small), shape (oval) and compressibility. GD: That the chest be of a size commensurate with fitting into a critter’s den, thus it must fit within an average- sized man’s hands and must also prove to be compress- ible and flexible. AH: Spanning seemingly has become a forgotten art and purpose. Just about every weekend I see judges forget to span the necessary breeds. The body of the Russell must be flexible enough to run, make a quick twist, turn and run some more. Or it may need to go down in a hole to catch the rat. Therefore, your hands behind the front legs, wrapped around the ribs can show you the ‘give’ when you press lightly. You can also tell if the big, old wirey coat is hiding a spindly body or an overly deep chest. This is a supple breed—it’s important. 5. Describe the horizontal and vertical proportions for the Russell Terrier. CC: Slightly longer from withers to root of tail than from withers to ground. GD: The Russell Terrier is longer that tall. If it is slightly longer than tall measuring from withers to root of tail, then it follows that when the front assembly with its dis- cernible sternum and amount of dog beyond the tail are added to the equation, we see a well-defined rectangular dog. Of prime importance is that the chest be no more or less than 50% of the height. AH: I literally hate the word “slightly”—what that means to me could be one thing, and to you something else. This is sort of a rectangle shaped breed. They are longer than tall (definitely NOT Dachshund proportions), without having any dwarfishness or crooked legs. They give a picture of a smooth outline—tail up, head to match and jaunty, cock-of-the-walk attitude. The chest to the ground and back up to the level topline is equal and 50/50. Again, we’re talking a pleasingly balanced dog. 6. Describe the general build of the Russell Terrier. CC: Lightly built, yet balanced with smooth muscle transi- tions, able to traverse narrow tunnels underground. GD: Small, sturdy, athletic, workmanlike, lithe. AH: This breed is of a length to allow for expansion in the loins so that he may get the job done. He is not so long as to be all body, but a pleasing leg length to length of rib and loin. They are a sturdy breed—rather a surprising heft when you pick up an adult, but they also offer grace and stylishness. Strong and medium bones provide the propulsion required to work. 7. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? CC: The size and shape of the chest, not oval and below the elbow, unspannable and coarseness of bone.Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33
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