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History of the JRT


Jack Russell Terriers have been around for over a hundred years but the breed has only been officially recognised recently when Australia recognised the breed in 1991.

The breed takes its name from one of England’s hunting parsons, the Reverend John (or Jack, as he was known locally) Russell from Devon, who established the breed in the early 19th century.

The Reverend, being a keen fox hunter, needed an agile dog with plenty of spirit that could keep up with hounds and have the courage to face up to its quarry underground. When not pursuing foxes, Jack Russells were used as exterminators of vermin, such as badgers and rats.

Jack Russell racing has become very popular with owners and the public and most State Jack Russell Terrier Clubs hold race days. Another sport, “Earthdog Tests”, first introduced in Queensland and now approved as a recognised activity by the ANKC for all breeds bred to go to ground, has become very popular and at most meets Jack Russells are at the fore.

The Jack Russell Terrier Club of Australia (Inc.) was founded in 1972. A small group of breeders instigated the setting up of the first stud book and register of Jack Russells in Australia and set about establishing type here. Although there were terrier of Jack Russell type in Australia, the first known import of a Jack Russell was in 1965. Further imports during the early 1970’s were known to be from the ‘right side of the track’, for they came from the Duke of Beaufort, Duchess of Bedford, the Eastleigh and the Cowdray Hunts. Some did not have pedigrees but it was known they were the genuine article.

Members of the Jack Russell Club already had an expanding pool of dogs of similar type which were carefully documented and registered. The end result being that today Australia can boast of playing a leading role in the development of the Jack Russell as a genetically pure breed.

The Jack Russell Terrier Club of Australia was entirely responsible for the development of the breed up until 1991, when the Jack Russell was officially recognised by the ANKC as a pure breed. State breed clubs have since been formed in New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.

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