Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Field Says Keep Jack Russell Terriers As "Mutts"

Mountain Girl exits a den.

Over in The Field magazine, David Tomlinson writes of the Kennel Club's grab to pull one of Great Britain's most storied and successful breeds into the failed fold of show ring pretenders.

The fact that the Jack Russell has retained its character, its looks and its health for the best part of 200 years without any help from the Kennel Club seems to have been overlooked. Not surprisingly, the Jack Russell Terrier Club of Great Britain (JRTCGB ) is outraged at this blatant takeover of its breed, pointing out that for “40 years it has stood against Kennel Club recognition for the Jack Russell terrier and will always do so”. War has been declared, with the JRTCGB website proclaiming: “Our terriers, worldwide, are classy, correct in conformation and possess a tremendous working ability. They are virtually free of both hereditary and congenital defects while among the Kennel Club breeds these are rife. The Kennel Club is about to embark on a journey into a minefield of confusion, misery and failure.”

JRTCGB chairman Greg Mousley says that his club “fought tooth and nail against the recognition of the Parson Jack Russell Terrier but the Kennel Club committee blindly went ahead. Now many years later they have realised their predicted failure and Parson Russells are almost as rare as the breed the Kennel Club started with in 1860, the Fox Terrier.”

Mousley doubts whether Kennel Club recognition “will affect the real Jack Russell terriers that are under our care. The Parson Russell came and has almost left. This ridiculous attempt will also fail and pass. The JRTCGB along with its affiliated JRT Clubs worldwide has a huge register of quality Jack Russell terriers dating back to the mid Seventies. Our registration system is carefully structured to prevent any Kennel Club pollution. We have a breed standard that is totally work related and practical.”

He also pours scorn on the Kennel Club’s claim that recognition of the Jack Russell will protect its future. “The Kennel Club has never cemented the heritage nor protected the future of any of the breeds under its banner. Quite the opposite. Take for example the poor old English bulldog – it has been protected to the point where natural reproduction is impossible. Our worldwide aim is to protect, preserve and work the Jack Russell terrier. We have held firm against the Parson Russell and succeeded. The same resilience will hold firm again.”

Perfect! Full applause to Greg Mousley!

I had just written that last line when I came to a spot where this blog was quoted. Amazed!

Patrick Burns, who writes a widely read blog under the name Terrierman, pointed out “that you cannot protect and preserve working dogs without working them. People who think otherwise are kidding themselves. They are the reason every working-dog breed dragged into the Kennel Club has been ruined there. These people sincerely believe that if they breed a dog that looks the part, it can do the part. But this misguided belief underscores their ignorance. What makes working breeds special is not what is on their outside but what is on their inside.”

So what's next?  
Greg Mousley probably has it right -- failure.

The folks who want and deserve True Terriers are not ribbon chasers, and the true Jack Russell has been owned by too many, for too long, for the Kennel Club to peddle fakes and fantasy with ease.

Only the young, the inexperienced and the deeply naive will be fool enough to believe whatever cocked up breed history the Kennel Club will throw up. Not many young people today have such a clawing and unfulfilled need for affirmation that they are willing to drive 200 miles to stand around all day in order to collect a cheap Chinese-made ribbon.  Copying Facebook "memes" is so much easier!

Another bit of good news is that we do not live in an age of schooners and candles, and anyone anywhere in the world can read the true history of Kennel Club canine ruin, and even find someone to take them out digging or ratting if they so desire.

The era of pretension and pretenders is over, and the Jack Russell Terrier seems to have gotten out of it alive and largely unscarred, at least so far.  Sadly, not many breeds have, and Kennel Club dogs are now sicker, and dying sooner, than they were even 10 years ago.

Art by Kevin Brockbank for a 2011 article in Dogs Today


jeffrey thurston said...

Both my guys are rescue JRTs- I don't really know if they are "purebred" or not- but just from a photo I could tell that my little piebald was a true terrier- and he has turned out to be completely wired to do exactly what JRTs are supposed to do. With no prompting he has learned to dive into culverts or any tunnel- he has no fear. If he thinks there is something there be it rat or possum he barks like crazy- unlike my other guy he seems to want to hold prey at bay- not kill it right away. So he dives into tunnels and loudly tries to bolt prey- all with no training- it's just in his code.

Rafael Salam said...

Congratulations. Good text.