In the thick of the bustling sheepyards, a tiny force of white and brown flashes past. Quick as lightning – a tiny terrier with a booming yap and the confidence to move sheep ten times its size kicks the yards into life. Squirt the almost two-year-old Jack Russell Terrier has clocked on for the day.
He may be an unconventional working dog, but this four-legged roustabout is every bit the part according to his owners Amie and Ryan, who say he is an invaluable contingent of the farm work crew.
According to Amie, Squirt has been in the yards from day one, learning the ropes.
“He has been going to work with my partner Ryan from the day we brought him home at 7 weeks old,” said Amie.
He is really helpful. He has a great set of lungs on him so he gets the sheep moving when they’re being stubborn.”
Moving the sheep along with the efficiency of even the most well-trained Kelpie – tiny Squirt loves helping out as a working dog, where he can. From the paddock, to the shearing shed he’s always on the go.
The Jack Russell Terrier as a working dog
The Jack Russell Terrier is historically a hunting dog. Bred by Reverend John Russell in the mid-1800s, the breed was designed to hunt foxes and the like in the English countryside. However, their speed, agility and high energy levels make the Jack Russell well suited to moving larger animals around – such as sheep. This could explain Squirts ability (and passion) to work sheep.