JRT - The Fox Terrier

The original strains of Fox Terriers were based on what were called White Terriers, which now are extinct. Many hunt kennels in England kept their own strains of terriers to work with their hounds. The hounds would give the fox chase, and the mounted staff and hunters would follow to observe and hear the hounds sing. Of course, chasing foxes with a pack of hounds and many riders is hardly an efficient method of fox control. It is more a country tradition and an active outing – part of the rich history of humans and hunting.

The hounds were always the aristocrats, and the terriers were the hunting partners of the hounds. Pedigrees were carefully kept on hounds, but many terriers were simply the product of one good working dog bred to another for the job of dislodging a fox the hounds had chased to ground.

When the fox was chased into an earthen den, the hounds and field of riders were moved back by the Master of Foxhounds so the terrier could enter the deep underground passage. Sometimes a staff member would carry a terrier in a pouch on horseback so the terrier would be handy the minute she was needed to enter the earth for the foxhunters. The terrier willingly entered, and her intrusive presence below ground would give the fox the idea to move on and the chase could continue. The dog was not bred to do the fox harm.

The fox is a formidable opponent, larger and more at home in the earth. The Fox Terrier therefore had to be a strong, spirited dog to encourage the earth dweller to bolt and continue the chase. Although smaller than the fox, the terriers often knew the landscape and where the dens were. They could listen and figure out which den the fox might duck into and be there before the hounds by taking shortcuts. The intelligence of the terrier has always been notable when applied to hunting.

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This entry was posted on Monday, May 7th, 2012 at 6:03 am and is filed under Jack Russell Terrier history. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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