JUDGING THE PARSON RUSSELL TERRIER
“The breed has been around since the 1800s and was bred strictly to be a working Terrier, no matter what name it is known by. So, above all, we must remember that a Parson Russell Terrier is a versatile worker, both above and below the ground, who trailed hounds and bolted foxes from dens.
a Terrier breed called the Russell Terrier, which is the shorter, longer version of John Rus- sell’s ideal Terrier. So, although a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, a Parson by another name could be another breed-type from the same original stock. The breed has been around since the 1800s and was bred strictly to be a working Ter- rier, no matter what name it is known by. So, above all, we must remember that a Parson Russell Terrier is a versatile worker, both above and below the ground, who trailed hounds and bolted foxes from dens. To function as a working Terrier, these dogs must possess the characteristics needed for their job. In judging the breed, prioritizing by function is absolutely necessary. A written standard is a blueprint that allows the dog to do the job for which it was created. So, if the standard is what describes type, a dog that is not able to perform the work for which it was created lacks type. The structure of a Parson Russell Terrier has nothing out of the norm from any generic working dog: Good angles, good balance of bones, good straight legs, and strong joints; all of the pieces fit properly together to create a sound, balanced working Terrier. If the dog is made right and is in good condition, its topline will be correct both standing and moving, and the dog will move soundly. If something is wrong with the topline (the slight arch over the loin is the muscling on a good-conditioned dog, never a rise in the spine) or if the dog is not moving correctly, something is wrong with its structure. Don’t forget the cat foot with good, thick, tough pads that protect the dog from stones, burrs, and other hazards while working. This is a breed that has a temperament to do the job for which it was created. At the same time, the Parson is a great family pet and gets along with other dogs. Many times, they are required to work with other dogs and this is why dog-aggressiveness is a disquali- fication. So again, judges, please pay attention to this aspect, as we are seeing more and more dogs that are dog aggressive. Sparring is not acceptable. All of us need to remember that purpose is the key to all aspects of all breed standards, and “sound” means physically, mentally, and functionally. To function as a working Terrier, these dogs must possess the characteristics needed for their job. In judging the breed, prioritizing by function is absolutely necessary.”
Proportions should be longer than tall (close to rectangular), off-square or square.
The chest is a critical aspect of type in the Parson. It is supposed to be athletic, not heavy-chested, in appearance. It is sup- posed to be of moderate depth and narrow, not slab-sided; the ribs are supposed to be oval, rather than round, and not to extend below the elbow. The chest must be flex- ible and compressible. Spanning is, to quote the standard, “a significant factor and a critical part of the judging process. The dog cannot be correctly judged without this procedure.” There is no excuse for any judge not to span each and every Parson in his or her ring. Most exhibitors will tell you that only about one in five judges adhere to this part of the judging process, and that is totally unacceptable. Any judge who does not know how to span correctly, or is uncomfortable span- ning a dog, should contact any member of the Parson Russell Terrier judges’ educa- tion committee, who would be more than happy to provide guidance. (Hint: An average man’s hand is the size of a CD, so compare yours.) Another challenge seems to come from the breed’s name. The breed that is now known as the Parson Russell Terrier was originally called the Jack Russell Terrier when the breed club was founded in 1985 in the US. They wanted to use the name “Par- son,” but it was copyright-protected in the US at the time and consequently unavail- able. The Parson is the breed that was devel- oped and bred by the Reverend John Russell in England in the 19th century. Jack Rus- sell Terrier is still the name used among the working-Terrier folks, but the Jack Russell Terrier can come in quite an assortment of sizes and shapes, since the dogs’ work- ing ability is the most important part of the standard to them. In 1990, the Kennel Club in England recognized the breed as the Parson Jack Russell Terrier, and in 2000, the AKC accepted the breed into the Ter- rier Group under the name of Jack Russell Terrier. Later, the name was changed world- wide to the Parson Russell Terrier. To add to this name shuffling, AKC has now accepted
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Pat Hastings has been involved in the Dog World since 1959. She has been a breeder, an exhibitor, a professional handler, an active club member, a judge, an author, and an educator. She has chaired many shows, including National Specialties. She is the author of four best-selling, award-winning books and is the producer of the very popular “Puppy Puzzle” DVD. She is a highly respected educator in the Dog World and has always endeavored to teach by example, to approach all aspects of the Sport with respect, common sense, and personal
integrity. She has presented seminars around the world for over 30 years. Pat is a great believer in the value of mentoring, and her years of dedication to the sport of dogs have led to her being awarded both the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Doberman Pinscher Club of America and the America Kennel Club Lifetime Achievement Award in Conformation.
SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, APRIL 2022 | 219
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