UKC Jack Russell Terrier Breed Standard
RUSSELL TERRIER (REVISED JANUARY 1, 2009)
Official U.K.C. Breed Standard
January 1, 2009
©Copyright 2008, United Kennel Club, Inc.
The Reverend John Russell was a 19th century parson
with a passion for fox hunting, for which he developed
a well-known strain of fox hunting terriers. From
this strain was developed the Parson Russell Terrier
and the Jack Russell Terrier. The Jack Russell Terrier
was a smaller, longer-bodied, shorter-legged dog
that was used almost exclusively to hunt vermin
and bolt rabbits. For years, Jack Russell Terrier
breeders referred to these dogs as "puddin'
dogs" or "puds," and some-times just
England, Ireland, and Australia, the longer-legged
square dog is known as the Parson Russell Terrier
while the lower, longer dog is called the Jack Russell
recognized the short-legged dogs as Russell Terriers
on January 1, 2001; and on January 1, 2009 revised
the breed name to Jack Russell Terrier.
The Jack Russell Terrier is a small, agile, active
hunting terrier, built to go to ground. The length
of back from withers to set-on of tail is slightly
longer than the dog's height at the withers. The
length of the front leg (measured from point of
elbow to the ground) is approximately equal to one-half
of the dog's height at the withers. The body is
capable of being spanned by an average man's hands
placed behind the front legs. The head is moderately
broad, with a flat skull, a well-defined stop, and
a powerful muzzle that is slightly shorter than
the skull. Ears are button or drop, and very mobile.
The tail is straight, set high, and, if docked,
is normally docked to a length where the tip is
level with the top of the ears. The skin is thick,
and the coat, whether wiry or smooth, is always
dense. The Jack Russell Terrier is solid white,
or predominately white with black, tan or brown
markings. The Jack Russell Terrier should be evaluated
as a working terrier, and exaggerations or faults
should be penalized in proportion to how much they
interfere with the dog's ability to work. Scars
should neither be penalized nor regarded as proof
of a terrier's working abilities.
The Jack Russell Terrier is a bold, friendly, active
and alert hunting terrier, built for work underground.
This breed is notoriously fearless and requires
little encouragement to go to ground. Aggression
towards anything other than legitimate quarry detracts
from the dog's ability as a working terrier, and
should be discouraged as much as possible. This
is a high-energy breed and is happiest in an environment
where there is lots of regular activity.
The head is proportionate to the size of the body.
When viewed from the front, it should resemble a
triangle. When viewed from the side, the muzzle
is slightly shorter than the skull and joined by
a defined stop. The planes of the skull and muzzle
- The skull is flat and moderately broad, tapering
slightly toward the muzzle. Cheeks are well developed.
Faults: Apple or domed skull.
- The muzzle is strong, with powerful, muscular
jaws. There is a minimum of falling away under the
eye, giving a moderately chiseled look. Lips are
tight and darkly pigmented.
- The Jack Russell Terrier has a complete set of
comparatively large, evenly spaced, white teeth
meeting in a scissors bite.
Undershot or overshot bite.
- The nose is black and fully pigmented.
Brown or liver nose; absence of pigment.
- Eyes are deep set, almond shaped, dark in color,
with a mischievous, intelligent expression. Eyelids
are tight. Eyerims are black.
Light eyes; full, round eyes; triangular eyes.
- The Jack Russell Terrier has small, V-shaped button
or drop ears of great mobility. Ear leather is soft
and fine. Dogs with button or drop ears may occasionally
hold an ear erect. This shall be severely penalized
in the show ring but does not disqualify the dog
for registration purposes.
Fault: Heavy, hound-like ears.
Permanently erect ear. This disqualification shall
not apply when the erect ear is the result of accident
The neck is clean, muscular, and of sufficient length
to enable the dog's mouth to extend beyond its forepaws
when working underground. The neck gradually widens
from the nape and blends smoothly into the shoulders.
Shoulders are long, sloping, smoothly muscled, and
well laid back. The upper arm is sufficiently long
to ensure that the elbows are set well under the
body, and forms an apparent 90-degree angle with
the shoulder blade.
forelegs are strong, straight, and moderately well
boned. The elbows are set close to the body, but
able to move freely in action. The pasterns are
short, powerful, straight, and flexible. When viewed
in profile, the pasterns are nearly erect.
Bowed legs; fiddle front; down in pasterns; toes
turned out; knuckling over or any other misalignment
of joints; out at elbow.
A properly proportioned Jack Russell Terrier is
slightly longer than tall. The length of back from
withers to set-on of tail is slightly longer than
the height, measured from withers to ground. The
Jack Russell Terrier is perfectly designed to go
to ground. This requires a chest of sufficient depth
to give good heart and lung room, but without so
much depth and width that the dog is encumbered
underground. The well-sprung ribs extend well back,
but must be capable of being spanned behind the
shoulder by an average man's hand. The chest must
be capable of being compressed so that the dog is
unhindered when working underground. The back is
of moderate length, and level, blending into a muscular,
slightly arched loin with slight to moderate tuck-up.
Skin is thick.
Faults: Barrel ribs; chest too deep or too broad.
The hindquarters are strong and muscular. The bone,
angulation, and musculature of the hindquarters
are in balance with the forequarters. The stifles
are well bent, and the hocks are well let down.
When the dog is standing, the short, strong rear
pasterns are perpendicular to the ground, and viewed
from the rear, parallel to one another.
Cow hocks; straight stifles.
The feet are fairly round, moderately small, well
arched, and tight. Pads are hard, tough, and well
cushioned. Dewclaws may be removed.
Faults: Thin feet; splayed feet.
The tail is set on high and, if docked, is customarily
docked to a length so that the tip of the tail is
level with the top of the ears. When moving or alert,
the tail may be straight or with a slight curve
forward and carried erect or gaily. When the dog
is at rest, the tail may drop.
The Jack Russell Terrier comes in three coat types.
All are dense, hard, and weather resistant, and
cover the entire dog, including the belly and underside
of the thighs.
A double coat consisting of a short, dense undercoat,
and very dense, wiry outer coat. Hair over the eyes
and on the muzzle will form eyebrows and a beard.
The outer coat should not be so long as to obscure
the outline of the dog.
Any intermediate coat between a rough and smooth
coat. The broken coat lies closer to the body than
a rough coat and has longer guard hairs than a smooth
coat. A broken-coated dog may or may not have face
A short, flat coat.
and broken-coated dogs may be stripped to preserve
the quality of the coat, but the artfulness of the
trimming is not a factor to consider in judging
Faults: Silky or woolly coat.
Solid white or predominantly white with any combination
of black, tan, or brown markings are preferred,
but an otherwise good specimen of the breed must
not be penalized for heavy body color. Legs, chest
and belly must be white. The back and sides of a
dog with heavy body coloring must have a minimal
amount of white. Any white area may be ticked providing
that white predominates.
Any color, pattern, or markings other than listed
The Jack Russell Terrier is of a size to go to ground.
Mature Jack Russell Terriers range in height from
10 to 12 inches, and from about 11 to 13 pounds
in weight. Jack Russell Terriers should always be
presented in hard, working condition. Dogs outside
the approved range of height shall be penalized
only to the degree that their size affects their
ability to work.
Fault: Dogs over 12 inches in height.
The Jack Russell Terrier moves with a jaunty, confident
attitude, conveying the character of the breed.
When trotting, the gait is effortless, smooth, powerful,
and well coordinated, showing good, but not exaggerated,
reach in front and drive behind. The backline remains
level with only a slight flexing to indicate suppleness.
Viewed from any position, legs turn neither in nor
out, nor do feet cross or interfere with each other.
As speed increases, feet tend to converge toward
centerline of balance. Poor movement should be penalized
to the degree to which it reduces the Russell Terrier's
ability to perform the variety of tasks it was bred
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Viciousness
or extreme shyness. Undershot or overshot bite.
Blue eye. Brown or liver nose. Absence of pigment
in nose. Permanently erect ear. This disqualification
shall not apply when the erect ear is the result
of accident or injury. Any color, pattern, or markings
other than listed. Albinism.