If you want to know how a breed becomes a breed, just watch what is happening with Jack Russell terriers. Currently, there are at least four breeds that are being developed off that root stock, and there are two, the wire fox and smooth fox terrier, that already have diverged significantly from that ancestral white hunt terrier. (Throw in Plummer terriers, and you have a mess!)
In the US, there are JRTCA Jack Russells, which are performance-bred. There are Parson Russell terriers, which are the show version of that same dog and are recognized by AKC and the Kennel Club (of the United Kingdom). This week, it was reported that KC (of the United Kingdom) was going to recognize the working Jack Russell as a show dog. The Parson Russells are all derived from Jack Russells that belonged to people who wanted to turn it into a show a dog, and now the working stock is being brought into the mess.
So out of this white hunt terrier, two breeds were created when the KC recognized smooth and wire fox terriers, and they are now very different from the original dog. A third breed was created when the Parson Russell was recognized, and a fourth will be recognized when the working Jack Russell becomes a show dog.
This is quite destructive to gene pools. These breeds exist in the first place because of politics, and the current division exists solely because of politics.
The good news about this scheme is that it won’t swamp the Jack Russell breed in any way, shape or from. The hard little bastards that are the JRTCA dogs will never be registered in the AKC. There are just too many people who have them that hate the modern dog fancy. In the civic religion of that kind of Jack Russell, bashing the big kennel clubs is catechism.
And people will still breed the nonstandard JRTs, where you get long and short-legged dogs in the same litter, as well as solid red and black ones, because that’s the subculture that breeds JRTs. This is why all these dogs don’t look a like.
Whoever marketed little mixed terriers as Jack Russells was a genius. Yes, I know there are purists in the JRTCA who hate these dogs, but the truth is no one really cares what these people have to say. Most people don’t want a hard little bastard terrier. Most people want a nice little dog, like this one:
The dog world is about politics, and it is about absurdities. It is about making molehills out of picayune differences.
I seriously doubt that the Kennel Club will be getting many registrations of Jack Russells, which even today are crossed with Lakelands and red fells and Patterdales. I’ve never actually seen a bona fide Parson Russell terrier, but I’ve seen plenty of Jack Russells.
If the Parson Russell terrier didn’t wind up homogenizing the entire Jack Russell breed, then the KC’s recognition of a Jack Russell breed certainly won’t.
The real JRT people (of all types) are aware of this game.
It just won’t work.