The small white fox-working terriers we know today were first bred by the Reverend John Russell, a parson and hunting enthusiast born in 1795, and they can trace their origin to the now extinct English white terrier. An important attribute in this dog was a tempered aggressiveness that would provide the necessary drive to pursue and bolt the fox, without resulting in physical harm to the quarry and effectively ending the chase, which was considered unsporting. Russell was said to have prided himself that his terriers never tasted blood. This line of terriers developed by John Russell was well respected for those qualities, and his dogs were often taken on by hunt enthusiasts. It is unlikely, however, that any dogs alive today can be proved to be descendants from Trump, as Russell was forced to sell all his dogs on more than one occasion because of financial difficulty, and had only four aged (and non-breeding) terriers left when he died in 1883.
The Fox terrier and Jack Russell terrier type dogs of today are all descended from dogs of that period, although documented pedigrees earlier than 1862 have not been found, although several records remain of documented breeding by John Russell between the 1860s and 1880s. The Fox Terrier Club was formed in 1875 with Russell as one of the founder members; its breed standard was aspiration, and not a description of how the breed appeared then. By the start of the 20th century, the Fox terrier had altered more towards the modern breed, but in some parts of the country the old style of John Russell's terriers remained, and it is from those dogs that the modern Jack Russell type has descended. Many breeds can claim heritage to the early Fox terrier of this period, including the Brazilian terrier, Japanese terrier, Miniature Fox terrier, Ratonero Bodeguero Andaluz, Rat terrier, and Tenterfield terrier.
After John Russell
Following Russell's death, the only people who made serious efforts to continue those strains were two men, one in Chislehurst with the surname of East, and another in Cornwall named Archer. East, at one point, had several couples, all of which were descended from one of Russell's dogs. The type aimed for were not as big as the show Fox terrier and were usually less than 15 pounds (6.8 kg).
Arthur Blake Heinemann created the first breed standard and, in 1894, he founded the Devon and Somerset Badger Club, the aims of which were to promote badger digging rather than fox hunting, and the breeding of terriers suitable for this purpose. Terriers were acquired from Nicholas Snow of Oare, and they were likely descended from Russell's original dogs, as Russell would probably have hunted at some point with Snow's hunting club and is likely to have provided at least some of their original terriers. By the turn of the 20th century, Russell's name had become associated with this breed of dog.
The club was later renamed the Parson Jack Russell Terrier Club. Badger digging required a different type of dog than fox hunting, and it is likely that Bull terrier stock was introduced to strengthen the breed, which may have caused the creation of a shorter legged variety of Jack Russell terrier that started to appear around this period. At the same time that a split was appearing between show and working Fox terriers, a further split was occurring between two different types of white terrier, both carrying Jack Russell's name. Heinemann was invited to judge classes for working terriers at Crufts with an aim to bring working terriers back into the show ring and influence those that disregard working qualities in dogs. These classes were continued for several years by various judges, but Charles Cruft dropped the attempt as the classes were never heavily competed. Following Heinemann's death in 1930, the kennel and leadership of the club passed to Annie Harris, but the club itself folded shortly before World War II.
Post World War II
The Jack Russell Terrier Club of America was formed in 1976 by Ailsa Crawford, one of the first Jack Russell terrier breeders in the United States. Size ranges for dogs were kept broad, with the ability of working dogs awarded higher than those in conformation shows. An open registry was maintained, with restricted line breeding. Registration for the club is made at adulthood for Jack Russells, rather than at birth, to ensure the breed's qualities remain, given the open registry.
Several breed clubs appeared in the United Kingdom during the 1970s to promote the breed, including the Jack Russell Club of Great Britain (JRTCGB) and the South East Jack Russell Terrier Club (SEJRTC). Jack was dropped from the official name in 1999, and the recognised name of the breed became the Parson Russell terrier. In the late 1990s, the American Kennel Club explored the possibility of recognising the Jack Russell terrier.
The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) and the New Zealand Kennel Club (NZCK) are some of national kennel associations that register both the Jack Russell terrier and the Parson Russell terrier; however, the size requirements for the Jack Russell terrier under both those standards would classify a dog as a Russell terrier in the United States. In 2009, there were 1073 Jack Russells registered with the ANKC, compared to 18 for the Parson Russell terrier. Other modern breeds are often mistaken for modern Jack Russell terriers, including their cousin the Parson Russell terrier, the Tenterfield terrier, and the Rat Terrier. Several other modern breeds exist that descended from the early Fox Terrier breed, including the Brazilian Terrier, Japanese Terrier, Miniature Fox Terrier, Ratonero Bodeguero Andaluz, Rat Terrier, and Tenterfield Terrier.