The A.N.K.C has produced a Standard for the Jack Russell Terrier, to which all registered breeders should regard as their standard for their breeding practices, sadly this does not always happen, some breeders are breeding only for the puppy market . Below is an abridged version of the A.N.K.C. Standard, if you require a full copy of the Official Standard I can arrange for a copy to be posted to you.
The general appearance has been described above, the colour should be predominately white ( this ensures the dog is highly visible while hunting) - with tan, black or brown markings. It is perfectly acceptable to have a pure white dog as long as the eye rims are pigmented black.
The coat must be waterproof, a soft, fluffy coat with no 'undercoat' is not waterproof and is therefore undesirable.
The size between 10" and 12". The ears should be well folded so as to cover the inside of the ears from view. 'Prick ears' or ears that stand upright from the skull are seen as a fault and not to be recommended for breeding.
They should have a deep rather than wide chest and be able to be spanned with 2 hands. They must be able to enter a fox's earth with ease.
The front legs should be straight and have small neat feet, the hind legs should be strong and muscular with hocks parallel ( not turned in or out)
If docked the tail should be carried level with the dog's head. The Jack Russell is one of the few breeds that has a legitimate reason for tail docking.. Many dogs are still used today for fox hunting, if the tail was not docked, a dog working underground could suffer damage to their tail by tree roots etc. By docking just a third of the tail at 3 days of age, this damage is eliminated. Sufficient tail must remain to ensure a 'hand hold' to extricate the dog if stuck in a tight situation.
The Jack Russell, at this stage, does not suffer from genetic diseases such as hip displaysia or slipping patellas which are quite common in other prdigree breeds. I f responsible breeders continue good breeding practices this should remain the case.
Jack Russells are a hardy breed, requiring only the occasional bath, good quality food and a regular brush to keep them in tip top shape. A true 'wash & ware' dog.
From a personal view, I find that the rough or broken coat tends to shed less than the smooth coat.
The average lif span is approx. 14 years. There are a few things which will considerably shorten their lives :
-snakes - the dog will not back away, many a good dog has been lost to a snake -roads - the dog has little or no road sense -cane toads - the dogs will chase most things that move, with fatal effects unfortunately
Jack Russell Terriers are a very social dog, they love people and other dogs. and even cats if introduced when still a puppy. The only other family pet that I have found to be unsuitable is any of the rodent family.. We had a rather sad experience with our daughter's Guinea Pig some years ago !