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The New : When Not Just Any Dog Will Do

October 10, 1985

"This is Rum Rum. He's lived in Greece," was how the dog little at the right was introduced. Indeed

he has, and in the best company. Rum Rum is a Jack Russell terrier, the chicest dog of all. If you've got one, chances are you associate with the monied horsy set. Or hope to.

The Jack Russell, bred in 19th-Century England by the Rev. John Russell, is a small-to-middling-small dog whose appearance reflects his fox terrier and bull terrier ancestry. The dogs assist in fox hunts, sitting in a rider's coat pocket until needed to ferret out the fox. They're also no-nonsense rat killers, executing the hapless rodents with a quick, neck-breaking bite. "Where's the rat?" excites these dogs the way "let's go for a walk!" thrills others. But of course, few people who want a Jack Russell need a rat exterminator. The appeal lies in the breed's close ties with the earth's aristocracy.

"People say, 'Oh, my God! That's a Jack Russell,' as if they're looking at a sable coat," says Rum Rum's owner, a writer who repossessed the dog when his previous owner, Lady Sarah Spencer-Churchill, stayed away too long.

You probably won't find a Jack Russell at a pet shop. The last thing their owners want is the little puppy milled out to the masses. Look for them instead wherever there are stables. Chances are you'll find a Jack Russell scampering about by the horse's hooves, avoiding being stepped on and keeping an ever-alert eye out for rats.

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