Russell Terrier Breed Magazine - Showsight

Russell Terrier Breed Magazine features information, expert articles, and stunning photos from AKC judges, breeders, and owners.


Let’s Talk Breed Education!

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Official Standard of the Russell Terrier General Appearance: The Russell Terrier is a strong, active, lithe, predominately white bodied working Terrier of character with a flexible body of moderate length and rectangular profile. The overall dog must present a balanced image with no one part exaggerated over another. The Russell Terrier is full of life, and moves with confidence that matches his keen expression. Coat may be smooth, broken or rough and may have tan and/or black markings with no preference for coat type or markings. Tail docking is optional. Size, Substance & Proportion: In size the Russell Terrier measures from 10 inches to 12 inches . Substance and weight should be proportionate to height, being neither too coarse nor too refined. The body is proportioned marginally longer than tall, the silhouette representing a distinct rectangle when measured from the point of shoulder to point of buttocks than from the withers to the ground. The height and weight descriptions indicate a sturdily built yet balanced dog with smooth muscle transitions, able to traverse narrow tunnels. There may be slight differences between males and females. Males should look masculine while females should look feminine. However both sexes must adhere to the breed standard. When viewed in profile the midline of the dog is at the elbow and the bottom of the brisket. Severe Fault - Any hint of achondroplasia. Disqualification - Height under 10 inches or over 12 inches. Head and Neck: The skull is flat and of moderate width gradually decreasing in width to the eyes and then tapering to a wide muzzle, that narrows slightly to the end maintaining very strong jaws. The stop is well defined with minimal falling away under the eyes. The length of muzzle is slightly shorter than the length of the skull from the occiput to the stop. The cheek muscles are well developed. Nose - Black and fully pigmented. Disqualification - Nose any color other than black, not fully pigmented. Ears - Small V-shaped button or dropped ears carried close to the head of good texture and great mobility. The points of the ears are even with corner of the eye and pointed downward. The fold is level with the top of the skull or slightly above and forms a straight line when alert. Disqualification - Prick or semi-prick ears. Eyes - Dark, almond shaped with a keen expression of alertness. Eyes must not be prominent. Eyelid rims are to be fully pigmented black. Disqualifications - Blue eye or eyes. Bite/Teeth - The bite is a scissor bite with comparatively large teeth. A level bite is acceptable. Missing and broken teeth due to terrier work should not be penalized. The lips are black and are tight fitting. Disqualification - Overshot, undershot, wry mouth. Neck - A clean, strong neck tapering gradually into the withers is required for terrier work. The neck is of sufficient length to allow the terrier ’ s mouth to extend beyond its forepaws when working. Forequarters: Shoulders are well laid back and not heavily loaded with muscle. The upper arm should be equal or nearly equal to the length of the scapula forming an approximate 90-degree angle. This assembly allows for sufficient length of upper arm to ensure the elbows are set under the body, with the sternum clearly in front of the point of shoulder. Proper reach matched with equal drive allows for efficiency of movement.

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Forelegs: Forelegs are straight in bone from the elbows to the toes whether viewed from the front or the side with a slight angle to the pastern from the side. Legs are moderately well boned. The depth of the body from the withers to the brisket should equal the length of foreleg from elbows to the ground. Severe Faults: Benched or bent legs, leg length either less/more than the depth of body. Body: The body of the Russell Terrier is proportioned marginally longer than tall, measuring slightly longer from the withers to the root of the tail than from the withers to the ground. The overall presentation is a compact, harmonious rectangular silhouette, in sound athletic condition. 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 loins are short, strong and well muscled. The tuck up may be described as moderate. Scars incurred while hunting are not to be penalized. Topline - Level while in motion. There is a slight arch of loin, from muscling that is felt rather than seen. Chest - The small oval shaped, compressible chest is the hallmark of the breed and is the single most important attribute the Russell Terrier must have allowing it to work efficiently below ground. It must be compressible and small enough to be spanned by an average size man ’ s hands, approximately 14 to 15 inches at the top set. Ribs are to be well sprung from the spine, tapering on the sides forming an oval shape so that average-size hands of an adult can span the girth behind the elbows. The chest must never fall below the elbow. Severe Faults - Incorrectly shaped, unspannable, uncompressible chest falling below the elbow. Hindquarters: Muscular and strong; when looking down on the dog, the width of the hindquarters is equal to the width of the shoulders. Angles are equal and balanced front to rear. The hind legs, when viewed from a rear standing position, are parallel. The stifles and low-set hocks are well angulated, allowing for good driving action. Feet: Both front and hind are moderate in size, oval shaped, hard padded with toes moderately arched, turning neither in nor out. Tail: The tail is set high enough so that the spine does not slope down to the base of the tail. Customarily, if docked, the tip of the tail should be level with the top of the ears. When moving or alert, the tail may be straight or with a slight curve forward and is carried erect or gaily. When the dog is at rest, the tail may drop. Movement: Movement must be unrestricted and effortless, while exhibiting an attitude of confidence. The dog must always be exhibited and gaited on a "loose" lead. On the lateral, the dog must exhibit equal reach and equal drive. When moving down and back at slower speeds the dog must parallel track. As speed increases, feet tend to converge toward a centerline of balance. Coat: May be smooth, broken or rough. Must be weatherproof: all coat types have an undercoat and a harsh outer coat. Coats are preferably natural and unaltered. The conformation underneath is the same with no preference being given to any particular coat type. The belly and underside should be well covered. The terrier is shown in its natural coat with minimal grooming. Sculpted furnishings are to be severely penalized.

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Smooth - A dense short, coarse smooth hair with an undercoat. Broken - Intermediate length hair, between smooth and rough, usually with facial furnishings and possibly a slight ridge down the back. Rough - Harsh and dense hair with an undercoat. Not thin, woolly, curly or silky. Color: White is predominate with black and/or tan markings. There is no preference to markings so long as the dog remains 51 percent white. Tan can vary from lemon to mahogany. Ticking is acceptable. Disqualification - Less than 51 percent white, brindle coloring, any other color than listed above. Temperament: An alert, lively, active, keen terrier with a very intelligent expression. The sporting character of the Russell Terrier is that of a spirited and game hunter. Their intensity for life is one of their most endearing traits. They are playful, curious, loyal and affectionate. Sparring is not acceptable. Faults: The foregoing description is that of the ideal Russell Terrier. Any deviation from the above described dog must be penalized to the extent of the deviation. Disqualifications: Height under 10 inches or over 12 inches. Prick or semi-prick ears. Blue eye or eyes. Overshot, undershot, wry mouth. Nose: Any color other than black, not fully pigmented. Less than 51 percent white, brindle coloring, any other color than listed above.

Approved May 2009 Effective January 1, 2010


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



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,



Figure 2

Figure 3

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



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

rectangular profile

silhouette representing a distinct rectangle

rectangular silhouette

pictured above: Figure 4 and Figure 5



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.




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.


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?


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,

Fig 6. Unbalanced



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 from Mr. 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 .


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.


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.

JUDGING THE RUSSELL TERRIER By JoAnn Stoll T he Russell Terrier has arrived. We are thrilled it has been so well received within the ranks of AKC. It has been described as cute- as-a-button, with a happy, confident char- acter by those who have become enamored with the breed.

But please remember this grand little terrier is far more. We have a mandate to preserve the original form and function of this old working breed. We ask Judges to be diligent in helping us preserve their unique qualities. Th e essence of the Russell Terrier is the size, chest, agility, rectangu- lar silhouette and proportions. Th e Russell Terrier originated in Eng- land as a type of fox working terrier. It garnered the respect of the English fox hunting sportsman during the 1800s because of its prowess in the hunt fields and became renowned all over the world for its unique qualities as the ultimate

working earth terrier. It was a predomi- nantly white, agile terrier with courage, nose and intelligence. When the fox entered the earth the Russell was used to bolt the fox so the hunt could continue. Its flexible chest allowed it to work e ffi - ciently below the ground, able to traverse small tunnels to bolt the fox. Th e Russell was carried on horseback in terrier bags, requiring a handy size.

Both the Russell and the Parson Rus- sell derived from the Reverend John Russell’s working terriers. Although the two developed into distinctly separate breeds, the difference between the two is very subtle to the novice. Both require the flexible chest and agility required to hunt successfully. The height, pro- portions, and the slightly rectangular silhouette of the Russell differ from the


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“The Russell silhouette is SLIGHTLY RECTANGULAR IN APPEARANCE when measured from the point of shoulder to point of buttock, but ‘SLIGHTLY’ SHOULD NOT TRANSLATE INTO LONG BODIED.”

Parson, making it easier to carry on the hunt in a terrier bag. However, the Rus- sell Terrier should never be so distinctly different in appearance from the Parson as to be short-legged or coarse in bone, head or substance. Th e chest is the hallmark and, without a doubt, the most defining characteris- tic of the Russell breed. No matter how perfectly conformed the Russell may be, without a small, oval, flexible chest, he will not be able to work e ffi ciently under- ground. Th ese traits can only be deter- mined by proper spanning. If the chest is excessive in size, inflexible and incorrectly shaped, e ffi ciency of work is limited. Th e chest must never fall below the elbow. A deep chest distorts the required propor- tions and is indicative of undesirable dwarf characteristics.

Many fanciers over the years separated the Parson Russell Terrier and the Russell Terrier referring to them as being long- legged or short-legged, respectfully. How- ever, reference to Russells as “short-legged” is misleading. Th e Russell is not a short-legged breed; the standard requires an exact height proportion of 50/50 (withers to the bot- tom of the brisket should represent 50% of the distance from the withers to the ground). Th e Russell silhouette is slight- ly rectangular in appearance when mea- sured from the point of shoulder to point of buttock, but “slightly” should not translate into long bodied. Th e Russell must remain flexible and balanced, with flat, smooth muscle transitions. Overall, the Russell may not show any evidence of dwarf characteristics.


being long-legged or short-legged, respectfully.”

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