George Goodwin Kilburne
(1839 - 1924)
The Saga of John Peel: Yes I Ken John

  • John Peel Born: 1776, Cumberland Died: November 13, 1854

    Yes, I ken'd John Peel, with his coat so gray,
    He lived at Caldeck [sic] once on a day,
    But now he's gone and he's far, far away;
    And we shall ne'er hear his horn in the morning."

  • John Peel Fact & Fiction

    Here above is a news paper article of the great John Peel.. Written By George Bott

    The Country Life By
    October 28tg 1954

  • Emms John The oil painting is Titled he Huntsman And His Hounds

    As you can see from the oil painting, "Jack Russell's" were used in fox hunting as displayed in the huntsman's arms..

John Peel was an English huntsman who is the subject of the nineteenth century song D'ye ken John Peel - "ken" meaning 'to be aware of' or 'to know' in some dialects of the North of England.

Born: 1776, in Cumberland

Died: November 13, 1854 Again in Cadlbeck Cumberland.

In the history of JRT is the idea, that pastor John Russell was the founder of this breed.
However!!  In the Cumbria area in northern part of England lived, in 1700 century the hunter named John Peel (1776-1854,  he was born about twenty years before John Russell), who had also s.c. “hunting terriers”, that were named as jack russells, as all the small, white dogs, that had spots. These dogs were not short legged, but though they were not high, more square and like miniatures. But they were not all so high legged than parson russell. Parson John Russell had higher dogs (parson like), when the hunters in the north part of the country wanted smaller dogs to work in that kind of terrain. The different areas had different kind of terriers, i.e. high legged terriers, as Bedlington, were able to run after horses when hunting, but in Cumbria area there were very narrow caves, which were too small to high legged dogs. A shorter legged terrier could turn himself better in a narrow caves and a small miniature jack russell was fitting excellently in this purpose. So the idea, that the small jack russell would have been only the result of the parson- breeding experiments, isn't true, and there have been already from 1700 century in Cumbreck kennel a stud of small, miniature like “jack”-terriers (a nick name to jack russells earlier), where i.e. also John Russell bought dogs. Parson russell was bred later.
Many people have an impression, that John Russell´s dogs were bred by himself, but Russell bought dogs everywhere and he really did not have his own special line. As it is said before, the outlooks really didn't mean so much to him. J. Russell bought dogs, i.e. from Cumbria, and sold them further, -sometimes as his own bred dogs, which many people didn't exactly like. Trump is said to be the first dog in his breed. John Russell didn't, however, breed her himself, he bought her from the milkman. At the time on that area there were five milkmen, and three of them were from Cumbria. So it is quite obvious, that Trump was also from Cumbria, from the area, where the light small terriers, “jacks”, were originally bred.
Here's a drawing of Trump, the dog purchased by the Reverend John Russell .
Before the war jack russells were used mainly in fox hunting. During the second world war there wasn't much food; then the purpose in working was changing and expanded, and the small hunting jack russell terriers became important in hunting rabbits to get meat (notice, that the dogs were not barking dogs, it would have scared the prey away). They also were protecting the children and they were brave watching dogs. Then on 1930-40´s they were crossed with bull terrier and fell terrier; these crossings, which were different from the original jack russell, were bought from the south parts of the England & sent to Australia. Also dachshund and beagle were used in crossings, the barking and strong sense of smell were wanted from the beagle. In the northern parts of the country in Cumbria area jack russell terriers still were original; small, working hunting dogs.
Arthur Heinemann died in 1930 from pneumonia after coursing his lurchers in the rain (and falling through the ice on a pond), but Annie Rawl Harris continued selling Jack Russells and maintained the Parson Russell Terrier Club until it dissolved just before the Second World War.

Again, to quote Dan Russell from his own book Jack Russell and His Terriers:

After War World War II, England seemed to get along perfectly fine without a Parson Russell Terrier Club. In fact, the 1950s, 60s and 70s were the Golden Age of terrier work in the U.K., as the weekend was invented (a product of the union movement), and it was now easier to get out to the countryside than ever before.

Add into the equation was the rise of distemper vaccines which prevented massive kennel loss, and the advent of antibiotics which helped prevent occassional gashes and wounds from getting infected, and it was truly the best of times.

Though myxomatosis arrived in the 1950s and devastated many ancient rabbit warrens throughout the U.K, the decline in rabbit populations was offset somewhat by a ban on the use of leghold traps (gins).

 All through the 60s, 70s, and 80s, the fox population rose (see graph to the right ), and with it the chance of finding a bit of sport with the terriers in the countryside.

The "Russell Terrier"  Known simply as the  "JRT" and the "Parson Russell Terrier" are both variants of the "Jack Russell Terrier" originely known to descend from the original "John Peel foxing terrier"  which was later made into “separate breeds”
In 1974, the The Jack Russell Terrier Club Of Great Britian (
was founded  "to promote and preserve the working terrier known as the Jack Russell".

In 1976, its U.S. analog was created -- the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America (JRTCA).

Both clubs have prospered and stuck to their original mission, and today the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America remains the largest Jack Russell terrier clubs in the world.

With an increase in the popularity of the Jack Russell terrier in Great Britain and the U.S., a push was initiated in 1983 to pull the Jack Russell into The Kennel Club. In 1990 this was finally done with representatives from several smaller Jack Russell Clubs meeting to draw up a conformation "standard" that called for a dog standing 12-15 inches at the withers.
 The following information is from the ”bible” of jack russell breed the book Captain Jocelyn M. Lucas M.C ”Hunt and Working Terriers”. The book is published first time on year 1931 and after several prints on 1995, of which book there are the following notes. Notes concern mostly only jack russell breed from the beginning of its history. It is talked many times in the book about “Jack”-dogs, that were different kind of small terriers (as I wrote earlier in history part, that overall a the small spotty terriers were called “jacks”). J.S.
 I am a proud owner of a first addition signed book..

 I just happen to have a signed what would appear to be a first addition of the above book which was signed and presented to Raymond John Phillips Esquire on Sept 5th 1931 whom was also a fox huntsman, The signing clearly mentions the fact that Mr. Raymond John Phillips Esquire was a night huntsman & that Capt Lucas. had written about him in the above book.
( Hunt and Working Terriers by Capt Lucas )
This book is considered to be the bible when it comes to Parson JR terriers & hunts with the Parson Russell which i have ecluded in alot of the history on this page..


I have also had the good fortunes in finding the book
Memoirs of the "Rev John Russell Of Toredown"
This book is also a signed second Eddition..

The English white terrier is an extinct breed of dog.

The English White terrier is the failed show ring name of a pricked-ear version of the white fox-working terriers that have existed in the U.K. since the late 18th Century.

Continuing on:
 From Modern Dogs by Rawdon Briggs Lee (1894):
The description of the white English terrier is drawn up by the club as follows; the table of points is not issued by the club, but the figures, in my opinion, indicate the numerical value of each
point, and not carried higher than the back.
  • COAT–Close, hard, short, and glossy.
  • COLOUR–Pure white, coloured marking to disqualify.
  • CONDITION–Flesh and muscles to be hard and firm.
  • WEIGHT–From 12 lb. to 20 lb.
 Alfred Benjamin, owned a male Old English terrier, named 'Silvio' (born 1876). It was well shown and considered a prime specimen of the breed.
In 1877 Silvio won conformation shows at Bath, Royal Agricultural Hall, Darlington, Alexandra Palace and in 1878 at Wolverhampton, Silvio weighed nineteen pounds with the following measurements:
Silvios' Measurements
Nose to stop 3
Stop to occiput 4.5
Length of back 15
Girth of muzzle 7
Girth of skull 12
Girth of brisket 19
Girth round shoulders 19.5
Girth of loin 16
Girth of forearm 3.75
Girth of pastern 3
Height at shoulders 18
Height at loin 18.5





Scale For Judging Old English terriers
Head, including jaws, nose, ears and eyes 10
Legs 5
Feet 5
Body 5
Colour 10
General appearance 10
Action 5
Continuing On With The Breed History

Small bred working terriers have existed in the U.K. since at least the late 18th Century. These dogs have always been quite variable in terms of size and shape, with dogs ranging in size from 10 to 15 inches, and with both drop ears and prick ears, smooth, broken, and rough coats.(Burns, 2005)

With the rise of dog shows in the 1860s, breed fancy enthusiasts raced to name and "improve" every type of dog they could find, and terriers were at the very top of their list. From the long-extent white-bodied working terriers came the Fox terrier, the Jack Russell terrier, the Parson Russell terrier, and the Sealyham terrier.

In the rush to create and claim new breeds, competing groups of dog breeders sometimes came up with different names for the same dog, and it was very common for entirely fictional breed histories to be cobbled up as part of a campaign to declare a new breed and create a bit of personal distinction for a dog's originator (to say nothing of sales).

In the 1860s and 1870s, a small group of dog show enthusiasts tried to claim that prick-eared versions of white working terriers were an entirely different breed from those same dogs with dropped ears. The problems with this claim were legion, however. For one thing, prick and drop-eared dogs were often found in the same litter, while entirely white dogs had a propensity for deafness and were therefore nearly useless in the field. (Briggs, 1894)

  The old English terrier was usually black-and-tan. The white colour in the body was probably from one or two crossings in other breeds.
One of the first ones was usually used bulldog-crossing, because such “sport” as hunting the badger hunting (a badger was pulled out of the barrel) and dog fights were popular sports. In those occasions people bet from big sums of money. Hunting rats was also common and we might have read about the famous terrier, Billy, who killed hundred rats in five minutes. He was a white English terrier, who had a spot on the other side of the head.


 Above is a  picture of the famous terrier, Billy, who killed hundred rats in five minutes. He was a white English terrier, who had a spot on the other side of the head.


Russell's real claim to fame is that he had the good fortune of living his entire life during the period in which mounted fox hunting became popularized in the U.K. Though primarily a houndsman, Russell had a fondness for terriers, as did his wife Penelope (a picture of her with a terrier is at right), and his terriers were known to be generally good workers of the right sort.

Interesting when talking about colours is, that originally there was mentioned only two colours in jack russells, tricolour and black and white, a.o. in old collecting cards there is mentioned as colours only those two, not the recessive tan and white.
What was wanted was a small dog, that could go in every small hole in the ground, after the fox. He should not weight more than 6.8 kilos, on the other side to be strong enough in his task, he should be at least 6 kilos. Which is now known as todays exceptable standard for JRTs, however it is not the original JRT bred from the original Cumbrian John Peel Line as mentioned above. These dogs were a lot more finer & smaller, it is mentioned further in the next paragrath & explain how the cumbrian minature type JRT were used..
About 100 years ago hunters use to take with there hounds on horesback in a small sack (two smaller terriers), a bigger terrier which is known as the standard JRT of today and a smaller Terrier Known as a miniature type JRT. The smaller one  ( miniature ) was sent to the cave behind, if the cave was too narrow for the larger Jrt type dog, we are not talking about Parson russells here.
In the book Tuberville mentions two types of terriers, short- and long legged. The first ones go better under the ground and the later work better on the ground, though they can also go into caves. Colonel Negus used jack russells and transported them in sacks, because the terrain of his home place was gallop terrain, so the two types of JRT,s were placed into sacks and transported on horseback at the huntsmans side..
When terriers were first used with hounds, the colours were found to be a very important matter. Hunters were afraid that hounds would kill terriers thinking they were otters or fox, when they come out from the hole smelling like prey. Others thought that it didn't matter, because as well hounds could make a mistake, when a terriers were in hunt they also smelled of a otter or fox and could be brown from the soil or earth. These accidents diminished a lot of terrier packs when hunting with hounds, and everything possible was done to prevent the accidents reoccuring . One good way was to keep hounds and terriers in a same kennels. The other was to breed only tri coloured or Black & white JRT's. The good hunting abilities of borders and Lakeland terriers were recognised, but there cross  breeding with the JRT's  was kept as minimum because of the rescessive tan gene the fox terrier was introduced into the breeding program as it was mostly white.
Earlier terriers were only black-brown or grey and the white colour came 100-150 years ago by the introduction of bull or beagle blood. White dogs were apt to be regarded with suspicion. The old white English terrier has already become extinct. It was smooth and weighted 2,55-4,24 kg.
Earlier years a dog was allowed to kill an animal straight, without torture and hunter´s gun didn't play so big a role. When fox hunting became a big sport, such dogs were wanted, that only chased a prey on the surface of the earth,
Credit A.S


Carlisle Tack, a Fox terrier born in 1884, who was owned by John Russell.[13]

John Russell mentions, that he doesn't want a dog to kill the fox, but to tease it until it becomes mad, and the dog must yap so that the diggers know where to dig.
Ar “Four Burrow” Cornwall people hunt in capricious terrain, that is 25 % moor. Terriers they use and small headed, with narrow chest and undocked. Their pedigrees could be tracked after 100 years. They follow the horseman and can run all day ( Parsons ). Mr G. Williams told me, that pastor John Russell use to visit his grandfather Mr George Williams every year and take any hunting terrier that he gave to him; most of those dogs he sold further afield. This is again "new proof"  that Russell had a type, not his own breed.
An extract from Baltimore´s writing about “jack russells”. It is totally deceptive to talk about jack Russell terriers. Mr. Russell always said , that he didn't have any special terrier bloodline. If he saw a dog he liked, he bought him, and if he was suitable for his work, he used him in breeding,, but he never kept any special strain. This was told to me by my grandfather, my father and my father-in-law (honourable Gerald Lascelles, whom I have borrowed in other parts of this book) and r. R. L. Riccard from South Molton, that all were very close friends with Mr. Russell.
So this should stop the legend that Mr. Russell would have ever bred anything else than his own strain, though certain breeders have kept their own terrier strain, of which pedigrees go now at least to 30 years & more. The late Arthur Heinemann was one of them, and his terriers have reached a wide repetition. Yet Heinemann said, that everybody did out crosses to keep the strain vital.
The location of Devonshire and Cornwall when the sea rounded the area from both sides helped Russell to keep the strain more or less pure. Though many authors insisted his strain to be clean and that it is possible to track it till the beginning, the author has been assured that it isn't so. According to late Arthur Heinemann, whose jack russells were famous, pastor had a principle, that he added to his gap any terrier, that filled his demands of working and structure. He said, that to maintain jack russell type, he had to bring to strain new blood every now and then, otherwise the strain would have been hopelessly inbred.
So John Russell didn't have according to his own words his own strain, but more a type, because he bought any terrier, that established the right type. No doubt during years his terriers picked up a good repetition, local people used them in breeding and so the type became more a strain.
Mr Lascelles told, that Russell had (very barbarous, I think) a method when testing the breed value of a dog to try it just on the limit, then kill him and then breed with his brother. The idea was, that a dog, that had lost a lot of blood, couldn't get any more strong puppies.
Mr. Robert Leighton, a famous author, says, that it is impossible to call jack russells a breed, as f.e. seylahams, because, according to him, all fox terriers today go back to Jack russell terriers, as in the origin of the great John Peel Line....
The Birth Of The Kennel Club ..
Russell had been hunting with terriers for about 40 years when the first dog show in Great Britain was held in 1859. That same year, Charles Darwin's book "The Origin of Species" was published.

It should be said that Darwin's famous book and dogs shows themselves have a common root stock -- the agricultural stock shows that began with Robert Bakewell at the very end of the 18th Century.
With publication of The Origin of Species in 1859, Victorian England became besotted by natural history studies. Massive bird egg, butterfly and beetle collections were started, and keeping a small menagerie of exotic birds was far from uncommon.

Dogs, of course, were always the thing to own, and this natural trend was perhaps tweaked by Queen Victoria who herself was an avid dog collector, and whose approval of the Society to Prevent Cruelty to Animals transformed it from the SPCA to the RSPCA.

Darwin's work and theories were expanded upon by his cousin, Sir Francis Galton. Galton was the founder of the modern field of statistics, the inventor of fingerprint identification, and the creator of the first silent dog whistle. More importantly to this discussion, he was also the founder of study and experimentation we know as eugenics.

Galton's eugenics theories argued that species and breeds could be created and improved upon ad nauseum by selecting for defined characteristics.

To put it simply, this was Darwin' theory of evolution put into hyper-drive. The notion that overly close or tight breeding might result in a rise in inherited defects or seriously deficient animals was unimagined; evolution was thought to be a one-way street, and by breeding "best to the best," man would simply improve and speed up what Mother Nature had already started.

That was the theory.

It was a theory warmly embraced by The Kennel Club, which was founded in 1873, and which was deeply influenced by Galton's work.

The Kennel Club's thesis was a simple one: Create a visual standard for a breed, accept into a closed registry only those dogs that conformed to that standard, and then encourage the breeding of "the best to the best" of these "pure bred" dogs through a program of prize-awarding conformation shows.

Like most new organizations, The Kennel Club began on somewhat shaky legs, and sought to promote itself by trying to associate itself with "names" and money as quickly as possible. The Reverend John Russell had no money, but at age 78 he was one of the grand old men of mounted fox hunting, and well-loved by all. Who better than Russell to judge the fox terrier class at one of the first dogs shows?

Russell was no doubt flattered by The Kennel Club's solicitous offer, and he warmly agreed to judge the Crystal Palace show. Very old, and quite broken financially, Russell had been forced to give up his hounds two years earlier (1871). Perhaps here was a way to keep a hand in with the dogs? Apparently, however, Russell did not much like what he saw in The Kennel Club ring, for he never agreed to judge a Kennel Club show again, and he refused to let his own dogs be registered.

Later, Russell described the Kennel Club terriers he saw as being a bit like hot house roses: "True terriers [my own dogs] were, but differing from the present show dogs as the wild eglantine differs from a garden rose."
The Kennel Club's crystal Palace show 1873..
It is importent to stress to you that The English Kennel Club of today do not recgonise the origenal Jack Russell Terrier, because the type is considered too wide and because the breed has both smooth and rough coats, so it isn't only the question of hunting qualities. I know a lot of owners would love the Kennel Club to recgonise the Breed..
Finally, to put a cap on it, Lee wrote:

Only 20 years had passed since the founding of The Kennel Club, but already the death knell was being sounded for the fox terrier.

How was this possible? The short answer is that at the time Rawdon Lee was writing, The Kennel Club was undergoing a "terrier craze."

Why was this? One can only guess, but I would venture to say that terriers then, as now, fit both practical and psychological needs.

On the practical side, they are small, easy-to-keep dogs. On the psychological side, they are active dogs and not too "girly" for a man or active woman to own.

Fox terriers, in particular, have a pretension to field sports about them, and they particularly appealed to those that sought to associate themselves with the money, romance and aristocracy of the mounted hunts.

In fact, the first breed-specific publication was the Fox Terrier Chronicle,
Credit Fox Terrier Chronicle..


  • Fox Terrier Chronicle A monthly Journal

    March 1906

  • Fox Terrier Chronicle A monthly Journal

    April 1906

  • Fox Terrier Chronicle A monthly Journal

    June 1906

which tracked the comings and goings of Kennel Club shows as if they were High Society.

Special dog shows were started just to showcase terriers, and in 1886, a dog food salesman by the name of Charles Cruft took over the Allied Terrier Club Show at the Royal Aquarium at Westminster, with an eye towards making it a cash venture. This terrier show became the first formal Cruft's Show" when it was booked into the Royal Agricultural Hall, Islington in 1891.

In 1884, the American Kennel Club was started, and the terrier craze that had begun in the U.K. swept into the United States as well. Some small indication of this strength of this craze suggested by looking at the history of the "Westminster Dog Show"  which awarded its first "best in show" award in 1907. The first winner was a fox terrier. A fox terrier won again in 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1915, 1916, and 1917.

It was into this terrier-besotted world that Arthur Heinemann stepped -- a young man with an interest in badger digging. Heinemann was born in 1871, the year that John Russell gave up his hounds for the last time, and he was only 12 year old when the Reverend John Russell died.
Where did Heinemann get his dogs? Not from John Russell.

As noted earlier, Russell gave up hunting the year Heinemann was born, and he died when Heinemann was only 12 years old. Heinemann and Russell never met.

Getting a working terrier was not much of a problem in any case. As noted earlier, white-bodied fox-working dogs were far from uncommon even in Russell's youth, and by the 1880s they were a fixture in the Kennel Club and cross-bred types were to be found all over the countryside.

As noted earlier, Russell himself did not keep a pure line of dogs, and was a bit of a dog dealer himself. By the time of Russell's death, almost anyone could have said they owned a dog descended from Russell's stock. Since Russell did not register his own dogs, and no pedigree charts survived his death (if they existed at all), who was to say otherwise? Anyone that wanted to make a claim that they had dogs descended from John Russell was free to do so -- and a few did so.
In the end:
Nowadays in England hunters want harder and harder dogs, dogs, that kill the prey straight.
They also mix jack russells to f.e. bull terriers to add hardness and strength. Could it be because in principle killing a fox is forbidden, but it can always happen that a dog tracks a prey when walking in the forest and kill it. Older times a dog was allowed to kill the prey immediately, when hunting was getting food, but when hunting became a sport to upper class people, such a dog was annoyance, because he could spoil the whole day´s sport.
Are people coming back to the old habit? When looking at nowadays managed jack russells in unofficial terrier shows, you really can be confused. Dogs have big heads, they are very straight in front and rear and they don´t look very hansom.
Small, but balanced russells, that have not the impress of dachshund, are used also as hunting dogs and they are not “only” stable dogs or “the result of unsuccessful breeding”, as it is told. Such a dog was able to go to the schist rock caves in England that was except small as size and chest, as well had triangle relatively flat sculled head that to fit between schist rocks. So though parson like dogs were the hunting type used by pastor Russell, also other hunters used smaller terriers depending on the terrain and the size of prey. Depending the terrain hunters hunted either on foot or with horses, when the smaller terriers travelled in saddlebags. Maybe the purest jack russells were preserved by long lasting breeding work from generation to another in certain area, as f.e. in Cumbria area in England, where John Peel, a honourable hunstman lived.


Jack russells are cross bred a lot in other breeds today. Popular breeds are f.e. Chihuahua-crossings because of the size and poodle-crossings, so that the coat would not cause allergic reaction. England is the home country of jack russell breed and I have a firm idea of the fact, that the best individuals are found from the home country of the breed. But hopefully the breeders there understand in time to cherish the genes of the breed, so that dogs as original as possible and suitable for the original work for their type and their character, would be preserved.
 Auther J.S.

New update by Mrs  Denise Mckenzie...

 From January 2016 the kennel club gave the little Jack Russell an interim breed standard & from April the 2nd 2016 of the same year we are able to exhibit the little jack russell terrier at shows under kennel club rules.

The kennel club will now recognize the breed as Black & White, Tan & White & Tricoloured with smooth, broken & rough coats. My late husband  "MR  Edward Donald McKenzie"  & Myself thought tirelessly for this day & i can't tell you how proud we are to finally give the Jack Russell the recognisam it deserves. I know a lot of Jack Russell Terrier owners would be over joyed about the English Kennel Club recognising the Breed..


Author D.M.G




In this area of the hills in Cumbria ( Caldbeck ) Jack russells were running & hunting hundreds of years ago. the picture represents an old preserved horse breed called The Fell pony..

  • John Peel

    the most famous english huntsman

  • John Peels Hunt Foxing Terriers..

    Here is a painting of John Peels Foxing Hunt Terriers, Now known as Cumbrian Miniature Jack Russell Terriers.. They were probably waiting for their master to feed them

  • John Peels Foxing Terriers

    An extremely rare but important part of Cumbrian history, here above is a glance at a few of John Peels Hunting Foxing Terriers.. Now know as Cumbrian Jack Russell Terriers.. Being walked at Caldbeck Fell...

All meterial photos: videos: digital images: documents: medea: information on family history: or Writers or Authors input into this website is now subject to copyright law.


Copyright © Caldbeckjack - Denise McKenzie Greig