John Russell and His Love For the Jack Russell Breed
Posted October 21, 2008on:
Although John Russell had become extremely popular among the Fox hunting community of Britain, his passion for the breed would cost him dearly in his chosen career. Russell was rarely granted promotions or positions of elevated status in the clergy. Many of his superiors felt that he spent too much time Fox hunting and looked down on his reputation as “The Sporting Parson”.
One member of the clergy in particular who expressed public disdain for the young Reverend’s activities was a Bishop Phillpotts. Phillpott’s felt that the idea of a “Sporting Parson” would bring embarrassment and trouble to the church. After many years Russell’s friendly nature would eventually win over even the stodgy Bishop’s confidence, and the two developed a mutual respect and grudging acquaintance.
Although his love for the breed may have stymied his career in the church, his love for dogs granted him immense pleasures as well as other opportunities within the breeding and showing communities. Russell was well known for traveling over fifty miles on horseback just to arrive at a designated hunting location, and then travel again the fifty miles back in the pitch black of night.
In his lifetime Russell would become one of the original founding members of The Kennel Club, the first ever officially recognized and sanctioned dog breeders and showers association. In 1876 Russell would be the first person to write the officially recognized breed standard for the Fox Terrier as a show dog. This standard has remained relatively unchanged by professional dog showing societies for the last 132 years.
What is interesting to note is that it’s said that although Russell would become involved in the organization and judging of dog shows, he would never show any dogs from his own breeding line saying “the difference between my dogs and show dogs can be likened to the difference between wild and cultivated flowers.”
In his golden years Russell’s reputation had even attracted the attention of Prince Edward, who befriended the aging dog breeder and frequently enjoyed his company. The prince would later go on to become King Edward the Seventh of England.
Kellie Rainwater is an avid lover of the Jack Russell Terrier. Through the love of the bred they have written a book on how to train, breed, and show this tenacious dog. http://www.dkrainwater.com is a site that features this book signed and sold by the author along with Jack Russell products, toys, watches and other Jack Russell gear.