What's the difference between the Russell Terrier vs Jack Russell Terrier vs Parson Russell Terrier?
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At the Westminster Kennel Club dog show 2013, the Russell Terrier will compete for the first time. The Parson Russell Terrier already competes. The Jack Russell Terrier does not. What's the deal?
All three breed names descend from a famous British huntsman of the 19th century, Parson John "Jack" Russell, who bred his own line of white terrier with tan spots for fox hunting.
In the 20th century, a split developed in the breeding community between those who wanted to be recognized by the major kennel clubs and those who wanted the breed standard to focus on hunting ability rather than conformation. In both the USA and the UK kennel clubs, the standard for show dogs was set at 12 - 14 inches tall and equally long under the name of Parson Russell Terrier. In both countries, the name Jack Russell was reserved for the hunting type dog that was NOT registered with a kennel club but rather with a special Jack Russell club.
Meanwhile, in Australia there was no split between the show dog and the hunting dog fanciers. The Jack Russell Terrier there was bred to be 8 - 12" at the withers and always longer than it is tall. It is this breed that is now being shown at Westminster under the name "Russell Terrier".