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He is the star of books, movies, and TV shows. Maybe you know him from the film The Mask, with Jim Carrey. Perhaps you know him from the TV show Frasier, or maybe you saw him in the film My Dog Skip. He is full of energy and drive, and many people think he has a great sense of humor.
He (or she) is the Jack Russell terrier. A terrier is short-bodied dog, originally bred for hunting. “Terrier” comes from the Latin word meaning “of earth.” For example, foxes live in holes in the earth. And these dogs learned to hunt foxes and animals living below ground.
A Jack Russell terrier is recognized by its white coat and brown spots. The first Jack Russell terrier was bred by John “Jack” Russell. He was a church minister who enjoyed hunting and breeding dogs. A dog breeder mates animals so that they produce specific qualities and traits.
The tradition behind the Jack Russell terrier is this. Mr. Russell saw a white terrier with brown spots over her eyes, ears, and on the tip of her tail. The dog’s name was Trump, and it belonged to a milkman. Mr. Russell bought the dog, and he bred it. From this dog came a breed of dogs called Jack Russell terriers.
Obviously, Trump produced babies with white coats and brown spots. Mr. Russell bred his dogs for these color traits. But he also bred his terriers for other traits, too. Jack Russell terriers are bred to be high energy dogs. They need a lot of exercise and activity. They also tend to be intelligent, athletic, fearless, and vocal. These traits are important for hunting. They also can be very challenging traits for dog owners and trainers.
Most dog lovers can identify a Jack Russell terrier. But they probably do not know who John “Jack” Russell was. He lived from December 21, 1795 to April 28, 1883. Like all breeders of his day, he relied on a basic knowledge of dog genetics and dog health. And so he was able to breed a dog suitable for a clear purpose. He also created one of the most famous dog breeds in the world, the Jack Russell terrier.