Thursday, February 23, 2012

How Much Is That Jack Russell in the Window?

I've happily plundered the web site of Embrace Pet Insurance in the past to write about the true cost of Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, English Bulldogs, and Dachshunds.

Now it's time to talk about the Jack Russell Terrierl love this write up from Embrace Pet Insurance

Right at the top, Embrace Pet Insurance says most people  do not want one.  No you do not!  Please do NOT get this dog if all you want is a cute lap dog.  Jack Russell Terriers are prey-driven hunting dogs.  They bark, dig, and they are a complete pain-in-the-ass.  Or as Embrace Pet Insurance puts it in their opening paragraph:

No matter how enamored you were of Eddie on Fraser or PBS' Wishbone, the fact is this: The Jack Russell Terrier (or the Parson Russell, as he's known in AKC circles) is almost certainly not the breed for you. That's not because Jack Russells are bad dogs. He was created for active work, and it's what he loves and what he is driven to do. If you have a job in mind for him that will push his limits and engage his full and enthusiastic attention, then you may be that rare person who is right for one of these dogs.

Bingo. And, on behalf of the dogs, THANK YOU Embrace Pet Insurance. The description goes on:

If you're wondering why your Jack Russell isn't as well-behaved as Eddie or Wishbone, it's because the dogs that portray those characters have full-time trainers on staff to keep them in line. More to the point, those dogs had full-time jobs, which is what the JRT wants and needs. His endless desire to be digging, barking and investigating can't and shouldn't be squelched. It should be celebrated by someone who loves the very traits that drive many JRT owners insane.

Bingo again. And again, on behalf of the dogs, THANK YOU Embrace Pet Insurance.

So what about health? Embrace Pet Insurance gets it right there too:

If you look at the list of diseases on the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America website, you'll decide this has to be one of the unhealthiest breeds around. Not so; it's just that most breed clubs aren't as relentlessly thorough about even the rarest health conditions that can affect their dogs.

Yep. Bingo again.

In fact The Jack Russell Terrier is just about the healthiest and longest living "breed" around, but that's not something those of us who love the dog are going to tell everyone, because we do not want people rushing out to acquire a Jack Russell terrier before they have gone into a quiet room to take inventory about themselves -- not who they want to be, but who they really are.

A dog is not a hat to try on and discard with fashion and mood; it is a commitment for life.

Let me suggest to you a simple truth: most people who want a dog need a cat and deserve a gold fish. Damn few people need a Jack Russell Terrier.

The health care costs of a Jack Russell are going to be pretty low, but you might find the fencing costs staggering (this little dog both digs and climbs), and they may eat your furniture if they are bored.

Still thinking about getting one of these dogs? Then please visit Jack Russell Rescue after reading this article twice. And if you are thinking about breeding a Jack Russell (please do not!), be advised that JRTCA members routinely test their breeding dogs for vision, hearing and other health problems, and so should you if you ever hope to find a place for your dogs in the marketplace. And no, Jack Russells do not sell for much money, so there's no big dollar puppy business to be had here. If that's your dream, can I suggest AKC toy poodles rather than JRTCA Jack Russells?

The Jack Russell Terrier Club of America (JRTCA) stands for the dogs, it stands for canine health, and it stands against the puppy peddlers who oversell other breeds. The JRTCA runs ads in almost every all-breed magazine every month telling people NOT to buy a Jack Russell terrier, with links to the "Bad Dog" page. This is what a breed club should be doing, but so far as I know, the JRTCA is the only dog breed club in the world that actually does it.

If your take-away message from reading this little post is that Jack Russell terriers owners are fierce about protecting their dogs as healthy working dogs and keeping them out of rescue, then I have only two words to say to you: Damn right.


HurricaneDeck said...

Holy smokes - they just have luxating patellas and demodex listed for Rat Terriers as their only health problems... I need to write and correct them.

Matron said...

What a fantastic post! so right about JRTs, and you could probably write similar posts about so many working breeds with whom people want to live in perfect bliss. As a COAPE behaviourist I always look at what a dog was genetically programmed to do, ie. herd, chase, hunt.. and then compare it with the current lifestyle. Most lifestyles on this basis would be lacking in some area!

SecondThoughtsOptional said...

So true. Back in the old days of the mid 00's when I did volunteer at Battersea, it was staffies, jack russels and patterdales in just that order. Sure, we got lots of other breeds, but they almost all vanished between adoption, breed rescue and fostering. The only surprise was why so many Londoners thought they could cope with these dogs.

Not to be picky, but I think what most people deserve are guppies, not a goldfish. Guppies you can find thriving in the gutters in Bangladesh -- all they need is warm water and a bit to eat, which can be just about anything. Keeping goldfish well means a much larger tank, cool water and a bit of thought on food.

Jenn said...

Oof. Bad dog was a JRT AND a singleton. Yikes!

Unknown said...

I must be lucky i have a jack Russell for 11 years at first he was a little wild thing for the first 3 years now he is so calm very much a lap dog all he wants to do is sleep on my lap he still loves to bark but hates being dirty he will not put his paws on dirt and loves baths and getting groomed he even loves his nails painted i never had a professional trainer for him i just spend a lot of time with him just loving him we are inseparable such a faithful dog very protective of me my experience with a jack Russell is nothing but excellent they are not as wild as people think i would give my life for this dog he is my best friend the only problem i have with him is hes not a people kind of dog loves his family but not so much others he is also great with other animals i saved a baby squirrel and he was right beside me helping i have 4 other dogs and they all seem to flock to my jack he takes care of them all cleaning and making sure they eat first and when they are done thats when he will eat i guess i got lucky