The Fox Terrier in the Show Ring

The popularity of the terriers reached its zenith in the late nineteenth century, and Fox Terriers were accepted as an English Kennel Club breed. Popular fashion tends to require change, and it was not long before the Fox Terrier was caught up in the whims of the show ring.

The breed developed an upright scapula (shoulder blade), a deepened chest, and a lengthened, narrowed head. In the show ring a smooth coat was favored over the less popular but more protective wiry-haired coat (rough or broken coat). The show ring's Fox Terrier was no longer at all like the working terriers in the hunt kennels. With its redesigned structure, it could not enter shallow earth even if the instinct to do so remained.

Russell himself was a member of England's Kennel Club (he was one of the original founders in 1873, and judged Fox Terriers at the first sanctioned show in 1874), but he did not exhibit his own dogs. Apparently disapproving of the changes in the terriers, he stated: "True terriers they were, but differing from the present show dogs as the wild eglantine differs from a garden rose."

The Reverend John "Jack" Russell was a flamboyant man who adored his hounds and hunting.
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