Monday, November 2, 2015

I'm a Jack Russell, a breed not a type

I see that the Kennel Club has finally given in and added the Jack Russell terrier to the list of official pedigree dogs. This is a rare honour indeed - since 2008 only a handful of breeds have been added to the list, most of whom I suspect you will never have heard of. The ever popular Turkish kangal and greater Swiss Mountain dog to name just two.

As a previous Jack Russel owner myself, I know I am biased but it always seemed a bit odd that this most recognisable of dogs should not have been granted that privilege decades ago.

But apparently all this time they have not been a breed but a 'type'.

All Jack Russell Terrier births will now be registered and a breed standard will be set describing their size, exercise requirements, temperament and grooming needs, all in the name of  'protecting it's future as a much-loved traditional working dog and popular pet'.

My mind wanders back to one of my very early canine patients who - somewhat incredibly - had been hit by a train and survived. I was in the operating theatre trying to put the various bits of this poor little creature back together again when the senior partner of the practice popped his head around the door (in a haze of pipe smoke - those were the days) to mutter a few words of support for my efforts with the immortal phrase:

"He'll do fine - you'll see. When you're dealing with Jack Russells, my boy, you'll find that you have to redefine words like tough..."

He was right.

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