Russell Terrier Breed Magazine - Showsight

tenacious when “on the hunt” much to the dismay of the owners of newly paneled tack rooms, lake cottages, sheds and anywhere else where access to mice in walls needs to be “improved”. They never forget where they have buried a treat or where they have left a toy. As a rule they are not a “hyperactive” terrier but they do need exercise. They are not usually guilty of compulsive behavior, the “there’s the ball, throw the ball, throw the ball” insistence that is seen in many other dogs so they can be bored with the repetitious demands. Th ey are quick to figure out the easy way to do something and can often add their own twist to a boring training exercise. Th ey are both food driven and creative at the same time, so training with food as reward can create more problems than simply praising the job well done. Avoiding unwanted behavior is much easier than untraining it. The Russell is a hardy dog for all his small size and he can go out in almost

any weather with his double coat, whether smooth, broken or rough. Prin- cipally being a wash and wear sort of low maintenance grooming subject. Only those rough coated dogs headed for the show ring need to be hand stripped; the broken coats and smooths need a bit of judicious tidying for the ring; all need- ing very little grooming for life on the farm or in the household. He is a dog with few health problems and can be expected to live a long life, well into his late teens. Th e exception is the unfortunate circumstances of life on the farm where his natural bravado can cause him to come to grief. Th is bravado should make the Russell owner cautious about unsupervised Russells allowed in with larger dogs; even though they are usu- ally good with other dogs, they can have a spark of possessiveness or jealousy result- ing in dreadful consequences. Th e Russell has disproportionately large teeth that require regular cleaning. If begun in puppyhood this can be done

at home. But the large molars and teeth behind them may require attention from the vet. Pedicures make up the other part of the maintenance of the Russell, again, if begun in puppyhood, this not much of an issue. For all his hardiness and his engag- ing “big dog” attitude in his little dog body the Russell is not the dog for every- one. His small size is deceiving, given so many small dogs are bred to be “com- fort” dogs. He remains a working mind- ed terrier with an ego to match. His very pragmatic viewpoint on life tells him every pack must have a leader and if the humans are not up to the task he will try to take over for himself. Th e rules of the household must be firm, fair and consistent, with the dog’s role clearly defined. If the people in charge are not willing to be the pack leaders and exercise authority in any and all situations, the Russell is not the right dog for them. Th e Russell is not the dog for someone who wants to leave

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