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
210 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, JANUARY 2021
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