Standards for a Purebred Jack Russell Terrier

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The purebred Jack Russell Terrier is fast becoming popular in dog shows throughout the world. There are a number of different things that an owner should know though before entering a show.

Is there Such a Thing as a Perfect Purebred JRT?

A purebred JRT is a dog with incredible beauty; a dog that inspires people to breed them specifically for showing and to try to create the perfect example of this well-loved pet. As with every single dog species, there are certain prerequisites though that a “perfect” purebred JRT should have, should they want to be successful at the highest level when it comes to competitions and other shows.

What are these different physical characteristics that a purebred JRT should possess?


There are a number of different rules laid down regarding what the coat of a competing purebred JRT should look like, but perhaps the most important is with regards to the coloration. This rule states that every competing purebred Jack Russell Terrier should have a coat that is more than 51% white, with the additional expectation that every dog in this breed should also have a black or tan (or both) pattern both near the base of its tail and on its face. The skin under the coat is even important in the world of dog competitions, with the skin of the Jack Russell needing to be pink with black or brown freckles in certain areas.

When it comes to the length of the coat of a purebred Jack Russell Terrier, it depends on the type of fur type. Smooth haired Jack Russells should have a coat of about 1.5cm long, while those with rough fur should not have a length exceeding 10cm in length.


Although somewhat controversial, a purebred Jack Russell being shown in a competition should have a docked tail, with the ideal length being at about 5 inches from the base. Although many think that this is a cruel practice, it actually stems from when the dog was used to fetch foxes from their holes, as the owner often had no choice but to pull their dog out by the tail. As a strong tail was needed, it was often docked.


Any purebred Jack Russell being shown in competition should have strong hindquarters, with pronounced contours, as well as having strong legs that provide propulsion when the dog needs to run. As well as this, the legs should be perfectly straight when viewed from either the front or the rear; a big problem in relation to this is known as Achondroplasia, which causes the front legs to become bowed and will eventually serious affect the dog’s mobility if not treated.

Head and Facial Features

The intricacies of the features that a purebred Jack Russell Terrier should exhibit on its face would fill a whole book, but some of the most important factors to consider are mentioned here. The ears of a purebred JRT should be small yet formed into a “V” shape, with the distance between the ears being moderate and tapering down to the eyes. They should also exhibit a powerful jaw with teeth that “scissor” together, while additionally they should have bright eyes that are perfectly formed. As stated, there are a number of other smaller considerations as well, as of which can be found on the relevant websites.

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