Russell Terrier Breed Magazine - Showsight

THE RUSSELL TERRIER: History & Grooming


By JoAnn Stoll & Jill Soble-Smith

he unique characteristics of dogs used to track prey can be traced back to ancient Egypt and coun- tries of Roman in fl uence. Th e use of canines for

breed club in the US to organize a com- prehensive stud book for the Russell Ter- rier preserving the original English working lines imported from UK. Th e e ff orts were rewarded in 2004 with AKC recognition. Th e ARTC, Inc. ushered the breed into the UKC with the Russells from our stud books designated as the only FS stock past or present and AKC in 2004. Used for vermin control and hunt service, fl ushing fox from dens. It does share similar ancestry with today’s Par- son with both breeds going directly back to lines, developed by Rev. John Russell, the hunting Parson, in the mid 1800s. Th e Rev. Russell’s fox working terrier was the basis for both the Parson Russell Terrier and the Russell Terrier. However, the two distinctly di ff erent types emerged in Eng- land from the need of the di ff erent types based on geographic demands and hunt service demands using dissimilar strains of working terriers. BIO JoAnn Stoll’s association with the Rus- sell Terrier has spanned 29 years. She is the founder of the ARTC, Inc.—the AKC Parent Club—serving as President for 17 years. She was very fortunate over the years to work with a very dedicated group of people who shared the love and passion for these small white ter- riers. Th e work of the ARTC, Inc. resulted in the AKC recognition of the breed in the US by AKC in 2004 in the FSS Program. Since 1985, JoAnn’s Elk Creek line of Russell Terri- ers has been very successful in the performance events, show ring and in the hunt field. G rooming the Russell Terrier can be a chal- lenge. Th e hardest part is to NOT over groom the Russell Terrier no matter how tempting. Th ey come in smooth, broken and rough coats and everything in between. Th e Rus- sell Should only be neatened not sculpted.

One trims the face only to neaten it. One pulls the skull and under the neck or may use a clipper if used carefully only lightly under the neck. Th e body and back are to be pulled to smooth, rubbed with a stone and combed smooth. One brushes down the rough hairs and fi nishes the back only to smooth. You use the stone or such to pull the sticking out hairs. Th e head, face and body are NEVER to be stripped and pulled as in the Wire Fox Terrier. Th e Russell should never even resem- ble the Wire Fox Terrier in the grooming of the face or legs. Th e tail is to be shaped and rounded by a thinning shear. Clip the under body with the brisket area to both neaten and to exaggerate the correct short depth of the chest. A small amount to fringe is fi ne running along the bottom line of the body. Th e legs are to be trimmed only to neaten and to show that they are straight and not benched in any way. Th e legs should be shown to be equal to the depth of the body, this trait is extremely important and needs to be exaggerated as much as pos- sible. Th e feet are to be neatened. Th e legs are NEVER to be posted like the Wire Fox Terrier into tight columns. Th e rear end needs to be thinned too show the best angulation and behind the tail features. Should a judge be presented with an over groomed specimen, they need to go straight to the end of the line for lack of type and incorrect grooming. BIO Jill Soble-Smith started in dogs in the early 80s with a wonderful Doberman bitch. She then got her a Smooth Fox Terrier as a friend. Th is started the McGypsi Kennel. Jill has bred top winning obedience dogs and both Group winning and BISS dogs over the years. She became an AKC terrier judge in the late 80s and then became an all-breed, group and BIS judge in the UKC. She has basically retired from breeding and do very little showing. Jill currently has one aged Smooth Fox Terrier male and a Russell mother and son, that she occasionally shows.

fox hunting in its most primitive state has been traced back to 1534 in Norfolk, UK. It wasn’t until the 1800s that fox hunting evolved into an English sport growing well into the nineteenth century. During the 1800s England’s Reverend John Russell’s fox working terriers emerged from which the present Russell Terrier has evolved. Russell Terriers are small, slimly built ter- riers with the insatiable instincts for prey above and below ground, carried in terrier bags horseback during the Fox Hunt. Th e most de fi ning characteristics of the breed are their small size, shape and fl exibility of the chest, small stature and voice—mak- ing the breed the ultimate sportsman. Hounds were imported into the US as early as 1650 to service American hunts. In 1907, the American Master of Fox Hounds Association (MFHA) Hunt was established. Th e growing American hunt community not only imported the English Fox Hound but also imported many of the small fox working terriers for hunt service as well as vermin control on the farm. Many of these earthworking terriers, popular as family pets, accompanied English immigrants. Th e Russell Terrier originated in England from similar ancestry of the Parson Russell, the Fox Terrier and other earthworking English breeds. Shortly thereafter, the Russell Terrier became a distinct type of its own. Th ese small ter- riers were ideal family companions, work- ing alongside their human counterparts for vermin control and tracking game. Th ey became a very important part of the early hunt history of the US due to their small size, agility and willing temperament per- fect for American quarry and terrain. Th e American Russell Terrier Club, Inc. (ARTC), established in 1995, was the fi rst


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