JACK RUSSELL – in dog we trust
When I become famous, what legacy do I want to leave behind?
Do I want my name attached to a rest home (like Malvina Major), an art gallery (like Gus Fisher), a book shop (Dorothy Butler), a suburban road (Charles Prevost) or a hybrid tea rose (Maggie Barry)?
No. I want my name attached to a dog. Like Jack Russell.
Who was Mr Russell, does anybody know? And what did he do that aligned his name with that short legged, friendly terrier? Did he breed them? Was he rescued by one from a raging torrent after a drunken night that ended with him lying prone in a ditch followed by a heavy downpour?
Mr Doberman and Mr Rottweiler sound like high ranking German officers in starched uniform, barking out orders to the assembled troops. I’m assuming both are male. In fact it’s hard to think of a smiling Mrs Schnauzer, wiping floury hands on her apron as a steaming baked strudel emerges from the oven.
Of course some dogs are named after the place they come from…Chihuahuas, Scottish terriers, Great Danes, Alsatians, Labradors. Or the job they were bred for … Old English sheep dogs, fox terriers, wolf-hounds, bull dogs.
But Pug? What or where is that? It certainly doesn’t sound like a compliment.
And poodling can’t possibly be an activity with merit.
In the meantime, I have succumbed to temptation and checked out the internet to save you the trouble. In 1819 Reverend Jack Russell purchased a small white and tan terrier female named Trump from a milkman. Apparently “Trump was such an animal as Russell had only seen in his dreams … white, with just a patch of dark tan over each eye and ear; whilst a similar dot, not larger than a penny piece, marks the root of the tail “. She was the basis for a breeding program to develop a terrier with high stamina for the hunt as well as the courage and formation to chase out foxes that had gone to ground. By the 1850s, these dogs were recognised as a distinct breed.
So there you have it…I just need to join the clergy, seek out a milkman with an animal that is easy on the eye, and get breeding. Here goes!