Sunday, March 02, 2008
Canine Achondroplastic Dwarves
A "puddin'" Jack Russell is a dog that is an achondroplastic dwarf. The clear visual signs of this genetic condition are a large chest on short, benched or "Queen Anne" legs. These dogs are also referred to as "shorties" by some people, and as "Irish Jacks" by others.
An achondroplastic dwarf is an animal that cannot run as fast as a well built dog, and it's chest will often be too large for it to go to ground, no matter how much they have "the fire called desire."
Achondroplastic dwarfs are not smaller dogs -- they are almost always larger in the only way that really counts when hunting, which is chest size.
Though an achondroplastic dwarf terrier may be only 10 inches tall, it may be anywhere from 15 to 20 pounds in weight due to the huge chest, big bones, and large head.
Breeds commonly associated with achondroplastic dwarfism are basset hounds, dachshunds, shih-tzus, pekingese, sharpeis and English and French bulldogs. These dog always have limbs that are shorter than their body and often have over-large heads as well.
Achondroplastic dwarfism is a genetic defect and should not be perpetuated. This is not "just another type of small dog" -- this is a dog with non-proportional limbs and very clear symptoms caused by a genetic defect.. "Achondroplasia" literally means "an absence of good shape" and refers to a distortion of the legs (as in the Dachshund and Jack Russell) or head (as in the English Bulldog). Achonodroplasia is associated with back problems, weight problems, and patella problems, as the short legs make it more difficult for the dogs to run, while any added weight further compromises an already unsound skeletal system.
Some ill-informed breeders are intentionally breeding achondroplastic dwarf dogs because they think they are "cute." This is a very bad turn of events, as it simply increases the genetic load on all dogs. The UKC dogs being bred as "Russell Terriers" are often (though not always) achondroplastic dwarves.
A "puddin" Jack Russell terrier does NOT have a different nature or temperament than a regular Jack Russell terrier; they are just as likely to be a cat chaser, hamster killer, and back-yard garden digger, and will do just as poorly in a home where training, exercises, and physical activity is not provided. The defective gene that causes achondroplastic dwarfism is not tied to temperament or personality in any way, shape or form.
Puddin Jack Russell terriers are generally happy and active dogs that seem to enjoy life and they, in turn, should be enjoyed and loved. Please do not breed more achondroplastic dwarfs, however. There are more than enough Jack Russell Terriers in the world looking for pet homes right now. The world does not need more "cute" dogs and it does not need more dogs with genetic problems. Every day perfectly wonderful and cute dogs are being put down in shelters across the U.S., and their only crime is that they are not a puppies.
If you are looking for a pet Jack Russell terrier, the place to start is with Russell Rescue.