This terrier was specifically bred by The Rev. John Russell in the south of England to assist the fox hunt and its followers to unearth the fox after it had 'gone to ground'. A courageous, predominately white terrier was needed to enable the hounds to distinguish between the fox and the working dog.

In the early 1800's the Rev. obtained a terrier bitch called "Trump". He believed that this dog was the perfect terrier for his needs. "Trump" and her offspring became the main lineage of the first Jack Russell Terriers.

A very early and original description of Trump, quote:
" the colour is white with just a patch of dark tan over each eye and ear, while a similar dot, not larger than a penny piece marks the root of the tail. The coat, which is thick, close and a trifle wiry, is well calculated to protect the body from wet and cold, but has no affinity with the long rough jacket of the Scotch Terrier. The legs are straight as arrows, the feet perfect. The loins and confirmation of the whole frame indicative of hardihood and endurance, while the size and height of the animal may be compared to that of a full grown vixen fox "

As you can see, there is not a great deal of difference between Trump and the purebred Jack Russells of today.

The very short , bent legged Jack Russells bear no resemblence to the original dog,.and are not bred by  those with the original dog in mind.

The Working Jack Russell
The fox has gone to ground. The hounds no longer required. The Master of the Hunt calls for the terriers and the honds move away.
If the fox is to be killed every hole in the earth is blocked except for the one the hounds have been scratching at. A Jack Russell is then allowed into the hole.

He enters the earth and locates the fox in the dark by scent. If the earth is a network of tunnels it may take some time to locate the fox. When found, the dog will bay continually. If the fox has room it will retreat until it can go no further. The terrier's bark will change, almost as if there was a note of urgency in  it. The terrier should not go right up to the fox, but should stay about about 2 feet away, he will continue to bark.

If the fox makes a charge for the terrier the dog should drive him back.  A good Jack Russell will not make  fight of it.

The diggers, guided by the terrier's constant barking, will unearth the fox and the dog, the dog removed from the earth and the fox then quickly dispatched.

History of the Breed