No, You May Not Pet My Dog
Earlier this month, in the comments section to this post, I wrote:
"My favorite people are the ones with little tottering kids who think Jack Russells are like Toy Poodles or Maltese, and who act shocked when I say it's NOT okay for their barely walking kids to pet my dogs.
"Jack Russells are not good with very small children," I explain. "They have a habit of removing the front lip of children that squeal and jerk when they move."
And it's not a lie. A working Russell has to have brains and discretion, and most of the time it's all fine, but working terriers also have "the code that explodes" within them, and when that happens they are true terriers. Bottom line: they are not a dog for everyone.
"Is he he good with cats," I am asked. "Oh yes," I reply, "he loves them. What flavor is yours?" And no, that is NOT a joke.
Now comes the horrible news that a Jack Russell Terrier in Kentucky has killed a 6-week old baby that was left unattended in the middle of the bed with the dog in the same room.
A rare thing? Of course. That said, it is not a thing that defies the laws of nature, is it?
The folks who look at dog bite fatalities will tell you that Jack Russells do not normally bite people to death.
True enough, but only because of their relatively small size.
In fact, terriers bite folks quite a lot, and Jack Russells may be near the top of the biting list for the simple reason that they are fairly common, and have strong prey instincts.
Of course there will always be people who will tell you that their Collies have no drive to herd, their Pit Bulls have no drive to fight, their Cattle Dogs have no urge to nip, their Rottweilers have no urge to protect, and their Terriers have no secret urge to wreck carnage on pet store rodents and small birds.
Fine. Believe if you want. But do me a favor, eh? Keep an eye on the very small children. And don't leave the baby alone with the dog.
Yes, your kids are more likely to be killed by a swarm of bees than by a dog bite. That said, use common sense and be carefull.
A dog that bites does not violate any laws of nature. And, as uncomfortable as it may make some breed defenders, biting is very much in the nature of all dogs, and some breeds in particular. A Jack Russell is one of them.
I have said so in the past, and I say so again: Caveat emptor.