John Russell (parson)

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For other people named John Russell, see John Russell (disambiguation).
The Reverend
John Russell
Parson John ("Jack") Russell
Born (1795-12-21)21 December 1795
Dartmouth, Devon
Died 28 April 1883(1883-04-28) (aged 87)
Alma mater Exeter College, Oxford
Known for Dog breeder
Home town Swimbridge, Devon

John "Jack" Russell (21 December 1795 – 28 April 1883), known as "The Sporting Parson", was an enthusiastic hunter, pastor and dog breeder as well as an ordained cleric.[1]

Russell was born in Dartmouth, England, the eldest son of John Russell and Nora (Jewell).[2] He was educated at Plympton Grammar School, Blundell's School[3] and Exeter College, Oxford. It was at Exeter College, legend has it, that he spotted a little white terrier dog with dark tan spots over her eyes, ears and at the tip of her tail, who was owned by a milkman.[4] Russell bought the dog on the spot and this animal, called "Trump", became the foundation dog of a line of fox hunting terriers that would eventually come to be known as Jack Russell Terriers. Russell came to live in a village called Swimbridge in North Devon. After his death, the local public house was renamed the Jack Russell Inn; it still stands today.

Russell was a founding member of The Kennel Club.[5] He helped to write the breed standard for the Fox Terrier (Smooth) and became a respected judge. He did not show his own fox terriers on the conformation bench, saying that the difference between his dogs and the conformation dogs could be likened to the difference between wild and cultivated flowers.

Russell is buried in the churchyard of St. James's, Swimbridge, where he was vicar.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Parson Russell Terrier Club, UK - Introduction to the breed". Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  2. ^  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1897). "Russell, John (1795-1883)". Dictionary of National Biography 49. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 464. 
  3. ^ "Famous OBs". Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  4. ^ "A brief history of the Jack Russell - Jack Russell Terrier UK". Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "Plentiful Run Parson Russell Terriers - About Us". Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  6. ^ "History of Swimbridge Parish Church of St. James". Retrieved 4 December 2013. 

Further reading[edit]