Russell Terrier

  • Overview

    The Russell Terrier is a smaller, squatter relative of the Parson Russell Terrier. These dogs have unique, rectangular body shapes and shorter legs that make them longer than they are tall. Their bodies and their personalities are still the best fit for a hard-working dog who is able to spend much of his time roaming outdoors. As a house pet, they will require some significant obedience training.

  • Personality

    The American Kennel Club notes that Russell Terriers should be prized for their “intensity for life.” They throw their all into everything they do, which can make them challenging dogs for first-time owners. They will need a confident trainer who can manage a dog with a mind of his own. Russell Terriers are alert, spirited dogs who still have a working mindset – they act like the hunters they were bred to be. Their favorite activities are digging, tracking and exploring outdoors. They will need plenty of active playtime and with consistent training and care, they make affectionate, loyal companions.

  • Coat Care

    Russell Terriers’ coats come in three different types: smooth, broken and rough. Smooth coated Russell Terriers have a soft, dense undercoat with a flat, hard overcoat. Broken coated Russell Terriers have a slightly harsher, longer coat with shaggy hair around the face and legs. Rough coated Russell Terriers are thickly coated with dense, tousled hair. Their coats are predominantly white with either black or tan markings. All Russell Terriers have a coarse, weatherproof coat that may need to be stripped twice a year during shedding periods, but as a result, they won’t need frequent baths. A weekly brushing should be enough to keep Russell Terriers looking well groomed.

Brushing

No aspect of home dog grooming requires as much time and regular devotion as brushing. Routine brushing keeps your pet’s hair clean and tangle-free, while keeping his skin healthy by stimulating blood flow, removing dead hair and distributing natural oils.

Brushing your wire-coated dog is a weekly activity. Their coats are a combination of a short, soft undercoat and a longer wiry, dense outer coat, which has a tendency to mat and tangle if it is not brushed. Use a slicker brush to remove tangles and matting. Gently massage a liquid detangler or baby oil into stubborn tangles. Use a bristle brush to remove dead hair. Don't forget to brush and comb the tail, too! The coat should be fresh smelling with no loose or shedding hair.

Bathing

With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.

The general rule of thumb for dog bathing is every three months but wire-coated dogs can be done with greater frequency, often within a four-to-six week range. The coat should end up fresh smelling, shiny, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry. The coat should be fresh smelling, with no loose or shedding hair.

Hair Clipping

Clipping or trimming your dog’s coat is far easier than you would ever imagine. With the right clipper, trimmer and scissors, giving your dog a haircut is easy on your wallet and your schedule.

Dogs with wire coats generally require regular hair clipping. It lessens the chances of matting, tangles and the infestation of fleas and other pests, thus reducing the risk of skin infections. There is no set timetable. Judgment should be made on an individual basis, depending on functionality and owner preference. There are a wide array of clippers and trimmers available that will make each snip a snap. It’s a good idea to take your dog for a short walk to calm him down before you groom him. Thoroughly brush the coat to remove tangles and mats. Use clippers to trim excess fur off the dog's body, choosing the appropriate clip attachment to achieve desired length. Start with the shoulders and progress towards the tail. Always leave at least a half-inch of fur to protect the dog from the elements. Use a trimmer or a scissors to even out areas around the tail, paws, sanitary areas and chest, as needed. Groom the head and face last, being watchful for sudden movement. Clip with the flow of the fur, away from the eyes and nose.

Some owners choose to hand strip the dead hair from their wire-coated dogs' coats. Use a stripping knife or a shedding blade to remove dead hair and shape the dog's coat. Pluck loose, dead hairs by hand or with a tweezers.

Nails

Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.

Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience.  As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.

You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.

Eyes / Ears

Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.

It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Wire coated dogs have sensitive ears covered in hair that  need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. West Highland Terriers and other small terriers with white coats are prone to developing tear stains around the eyes, so clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes.

Teeth

Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.

Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.