Showsight Presents The Parson Russell Terrier

OF HOUNDS AND TERRIERS By Nancy L. Dougherty T he Parson Russell Ter- rier was developed exclusively to work with foxhounds in England by the Rev. “Parson” Jack Russell and terriers, and the Parson’s terriers accompanied the hounds on long journeys to and from the meets. Th e Parson Russell Terrier was not intended to be carried on horseback but rather was expected to travel with the hounds.

a hunting day. His job is of great importance and his terriers are the tools of his trade. He has great knowledge of the fox and the ter- rier, and he knows every earth in his hunted country. Th is is where you learn about the conformation of the Parson. If they are too short in the back it is more di ffi cult for them to turn around in a tunnel. If they are too big in the chest they will have great di ffi - culty getting to a fox underground—and getting back out. If they lack bone and sub- stance, have short legs, a weak muzzle or big ears, or if they have no length of neck they will be dealt a great deal of punishment by a fox. It they lack a waterproof coat they will su ff er in the wet and cold. It all comes together and makes sense. Sometimes we breeders feel that the Parson Russell Terrier is not taken seri- ously in the AKC ring. But don’t underes- timate this breed. It is one of the few terri- ers that can boast that not only it can, but does today what it was developed for well over one hundred years ago. Parson Rus- sell fanciers are proud of the fact that this terrier remains a serious working terrier and yet is a particularly handsome dog in the show ring. And as an added attraction, the Parson is the best of companions. He is intelligent, fun-loving, a ff ectionate and the best of companions.

in the mid-1800’s. Th e terrier required enough leg and substance to get across the countryside with hounds but still be able to go underground for the purpose of bolting the fox. Th e original distinguish- ing characteristics of this terrier were the harsh, weatherproof jacket, a hint of eye- brow and beard, and predominantly white in color. Rev. Russell was often referred to as “the father of the wirehaired fox terrier” in the 1800s and his bloodlines can be found in old fox terrier pedigrees. Th e Parson also comes in a smooth coat although not seen as often. Th e smooth coat must also be weatherproof. No working Parson Russell Terrier can run with a pack of hounds in full cry, but an intelligent terrier can keep with the hunt. Th ese terriers are quite capable of running the line (scent), but when a fox- hound opens on that line he will quickly leave the terrier behind. Of course, a fox- hound is a running machine where a ter- rier is not. In Rev. Russell’s day there were no motorized vehicles to transport hounds

In the United States people work their terriers to such vermin as groundhog, but there is no substitute for a Parson going to ground after a red fox, its true quarry. While many must pursue whatever quarry is in their area if they want to work their terriers in the fi eld, it is a great pity to see the Parson altered and often miniaturized for small quarry, the result being lack of bone, substance, type and size. Having hunted in Great Britain a fair amount, the most magni fi cent sight I have ever seen is a pack of foxhounds watching and waiting while the terriers to bolt the fox that they have run to ground. Suddenly, the fox decides he had better quit the premises and out he bolts like a streak. Within a split second the hounds are behind him with a great roar and the chase is on again. Th is is what foxhounds and terriers are all about—this is what the Parson Russell Terrier was bred for! Much as I loved hunting on horseback well in excess of forty years, it is a education to accompany the terrierman in the UK on

“In the United States people work their terriers to such vermin as groundhog,


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