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OK. So I've posted the Jack Russell Terrier as the Breed of the Week. I've also posted the Jack Russell Terrier Breed page so you can still read about them after the new Breed of the Week gets posted. That means I've done my homework and researched the breed. And that research has left me somewhat confused.
It seems that there is not a clear answer as to whether the Jack Russell Terrier and the Parson Russell Terrier are two different breeds or two varieties of the same breed. I'm not declaring myself on either side of this debate because I just don't know the answer. But I must admit that I lean toward it being two varieties - they're just too similar.
Now I understand that the original JRT, as developed back in the 1800's, was closer to the dog we now know as the Parson Russell Terrier in size. And, that PRT enthusiasts believe that, at some point another stock breed, possibly the Welsh Corgi, was introduced to make the breed a bit smaller. But there is no proof or lineage, that I have been able to find, to support this belief. And I can't get past the idea that if in fact another breed had been introduced there would be at least a few minor differences other than height. I know that the PRT has a slightly larger skull and broader chest but really, wouldn't you expect that a larger dog would be larger in several ways?
There are quite a few examples of breeds that are recognized as varieties within the same breed based on size, coat type. or even color. Think about the Beagle, the Poodle, the Dachshund, the Chihuahua - shall I go on. The Beagle is probably the best example to compare to the JRT / PRT issue. If you were to look at pictures of two different Beagles, without something in the background that gave a hint of size or proportion, you would not be able to tell which size you were looking at. I'd say the same about a JRT and a PRT. Side by side you can tell which is which. But in isolated pictures, especially sitting down or laying down, I don't think you can be sure. And everything else about them, health, temperament and personality, etc. is exactly the same.
So I'd love to hear your feedback on this subject. Whether you have some facts you'd like to share or simply wish to state an opinion - I'd love to hear it.