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Joey’s Breed of the Month

By David Loneragan | Dated May 19, 2015

Hey everyone! Sorry, I meant to post this last week, but I’ve been super busy working on my Clinic Cat of the Year campaign. If you haven’t voted already, be sure to head over to the Dermcare website and vote for me. I posted the link last week.

This month I’m profiling a breed of dog that was specially developed by Reverend John Russell, a hunting enthusiast. He wanted a dog that could keep up with the hounds but was easier to distinguish from the foxes that he commonly hunted. In 1819, during his last year at Exeter College in Oxford, Rev Russell purchased a white and tan terrier named Trump, from the milkman. Trump was the basis for a a breeding program to develop a terrier with high stamina for the hunt as well as the courage and size to chase out foxes that had gone into their dens. By the 1850s, these dogs were recognised as a distinct breed, one we have come to know as the Jack Russell Terrier. After World War 2, there was a decline in the need for hunting dogs, but Jack Russells were then a common domestic pet.

Today’s Jack’s are very similar to their ancestors from 200years ago. Sturdy, tough with a bucket full of personality and spunk, they have an average height of between 25-38cm and an average weight of between 6-10kg. They can have either a smooth or rough coat, and sometimes a mixture of both! They are a robust breed who are generally healthy with a life expectancy of between 10-14years.

I didn’t have to look far for a Jack to profile. Dr Ange, our Practice Manager, has a cheeky little Jack Russell and she kindly answered a few questions for my breed profile.

Name: Ernie
Age: 1year
Weight: Depending on what the kids have fed him, between 6.5-7kg

Did you research breeds? No, but as a Vet I have always loved Jack Russell’s

What made you choose? I love that they are a little dog with big personality

Breeder? Rescue? Pet Shop? A breeder on Gumtree. I had emailed a few breeders and found them to be not particularly friendly. All I wanted was a shaggy Jack who was happy, healthy and good with kids. I didn’t need a show quality dog. after weeding out some inappropriate so called breeders on Gumtree, I found the perfect one. She lives in Young, NSW and works for Department of Animal Welfare. I felt confidant with a job like that that she would be taking great care of her dogs. She sends me pics and updates on Ernie’s parents, Twiggy and Spud, and I keep her updated on Ernie. It’s worked out really well!

Best thing about the breed? He is energetic little guy with a big dog personality. He plays chases with the big dogs at the parks like he is one of them, and then comes home and crashes out from exhaustion! And he doesn’t get up before 7am!!

Worst thing about the breed? He has a fetish for possums and has killed a few in the evenings when he’s out for his pre-bedtime wee. Jack Russell’s were bred to hunt, so it’s purely instinctual for him. There’s never any blood though. And he’s quick. One minute he’s asleep on the couch and the next he has a possum.

Something people wouldn’t know about the breed? They are quite a dominate breed, definitely suffering from “Little Dog Syndrome”. Ernie sometimes growls at the kids, but we help him to remember his place in the pack by getting the kids to feed him, making him sit and wait before being fed and showing him that the humans are boss!

Who would you recommend the breed to? People who are willing to walk and train their dog. They are active and can be dominant so you need to put the work in with them. Ernie gets a daily walk and run at the park, which makes him a lap dog at home!

Memorable moment? Watching him swimming across and around a lake at a golf course chasing a flock of ducks. He would of swum at least 200metres! The sound of him puffing when he eventually got out

Ernie at 5months

Ernie at 5months

Ernie not long after he was adopted

Ernie not long after he was adopted

Ernie with Dr Ange and his feline sister Ida

Ernie with Dr Ange and his feline sister Ida

David Loneragan
Written by David Loneragan

David grew up and still lives locally and has worked at Gordon Vet since 1985. His love of animals and interest in all things veterinary started when he was a young boy spending time with his own pets and working on a country farm. David’s post-graduate studies have been in the fields of medical problems of dogs and cats and diagnostic ultrasound and radiology. In addition, he is interested in dermatology, cardiology and ophthalmology.

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