"Irish" Jack Russell Terriers: Sorting it all out. What you, the prospective family should know before choosing your “Irish Jack Russell” breeder.
In 2002, there were only six breeders in the USA that were familiar with "Irish lines" or “Irish Jack Russells”. Two were dealers/brokers, importing questionable puppies for resale on their websites. Two were dedicated show breeders. And two were hobby breeders of a specific line that just happened to be Irish - We were one of the latter. In 2007 we counted well over forty and again in 2011 there were 50+ breeders claiming Irish lineage or "Old Style Jack Russells”.
As the Jack Russell has gained popularity, the waters have been muddied with a lot of rubbish and nonsense marketing. So it's time to address "Irish Jack Russell Myths". *This page is not in any way directed towards breeders in Ireland; It tackles the issues we have here on U.S. soil.
MYTH: ALL IRISH JACK RUSSELL TERRIERS ARE CREATED EQUALFACT: Some in american are importing and brokering mixed breed terrier types. Look closely at their puppies... Chihuahua, Poodle, Beagle, or Corgi influence is obvious. There is often an extreme variance in type or looks - Born in Ireland perhaps, but nothing more than a cute little mixed breed easily found all over the irish countryside. Blue eyes, fluffy coats, brindle colors, unusually small or large pricked ears, liver nose, contrasting body types... all are clues the dogs are probably not the same breed. If you are okay with this, have the sense to pay what a mixed breed pup in Ireland fetches: Roughly €100 ($150 USD). Why pay more? ...One broker in the U.S. had a long run of selling mixed breed pups for $2000-2500 until someone within their own camp blew the lid off what was really going on. Up until then, they were successful exploiting the popular “Irish Puppies” fad. A few today are breeding from dogs purchased from this very broker.
MYTH: BEING IRISH IS SOMETHING TO BRAG ABOUTFACT: This does not guarantee anything. In most cases, they will not even be able to establish the pups are from an established Irish line at all. At best, they will be able to say their dogs were shipped from Ireland to the states ...Or they bought the dog from someone in the states who "said so". There is a handful of wonderful breeders in Ireland - but they don't sell their pups in bulk to brokers.
DEBUNKING ALL THE NONSENSE:More nonsense you will find on the Internet or hear from breeders claiming Irish lineage:
“...(our) shorties were selected from breeders that share our philosophy on sound health. I am confident the breeders before us, were diligent in adhering to strict guidelines to preserve the health of their Irish shorties. It is with pride I continue these same guidelines and protocol, as I have no desire to produce puppies with questionable health, endangering the stability of my bloodlines or the reputation of the many responsible breeders before me.”
What? Read it again carefully - Translation: They are too cheap to spend funds doing proper health testing BEFORE they breed and take your money for puppies. Backyard Breeders say this out of honest ignorance. With Commercial Breeders it's all about cash flow. Look for breeders that are pro-active and demonstrate (by health testing) the health of their breeding dogs before taking your money. Not just one test - but several… as many as are available for their breed.
“...toured Ireland to bring back breeding stock”
This “tour” was no more than a non-related vacation and the hasty purchase of a dog of unknown origin. Ireland is very small (about the size of West Virginia). When an American starts calling all the ads in a weekend, asking for Jack Russells site-unseen - word travels fast. The unscrupulous in Ireland tell stories about the time(s) they have sold stray terrier mixes or shelter dogs to Americans. They know the american accent well. Those of you who have a detectable grin on your face right now are either from Ireland or have spent a lot of time there and know exactly what I am talking about. I do know a gypsy who sold a pregnant mixed breed terrier to one particular american breeder. This breeder brought the dog back to the states, kept the litter of seven for breeding, tripled their prices and later began selling "Irish Jack Russell" pups from their offspring. At this point in time, they can be credited to have infected several Jack Russell lines with these little dogs.
Set aside all breeder tag lines of "Irish Jack", "Old Style" and simply ask yourself: Is the breeder breeding for HEALTH & TEMPERAMENT FIRST? …Which means HEALTH TESTING ALL BREEDING DOGS. - And doing all the things needed to do to assure the health of their puppies. If you do not see copious evidence to support health testing - Keep looking. There are reputable breeders out there - You just need to be patient and not be in a hurry to get a puppy “this weekend”. The relationship between you and your new breeder must be a relationship built on trust. And your breeder needs to be clearly obsessed with breeding healthy, well tempered dogs and willing to do or spend whatever it takes to deliver a happy, healthy and trustworthy pet into your home. This also means you need to be willing to pay for a terrier of this caliber.
* * *THE CONNEMARA LINE HAS HAD A BATTERY OF DNA HEALTH SCREENING TESTS PERFORMED.* * *
The CONNEMARA Jack Russell line has also been DNA tested by a scientific team in England and their DNA recorded on file. All of our dogs have a microchip "tracking" number. A number on record to dogs born into this line. A number, that cannot be duplicated or forged. A number that will follow them from birth. A number we can use to prove or disprove a pups lineage. When you have a CONNEMARA pup, you can be sure that you have not been mislead. You will know for certain your pup is in fact bred from a very old, Irish line. We have scientific proof behind the Connemara - Not illusions of grandeur.