Jack Russell Terrier Racing


The Jack Russell Terrier Club of NSW Inc was formed in 1990, at the time the breed was recognised by the ANKC, the oldest affiliated Club for Jack Russells in the world!

Jack Russell Terrier racing was started in NSW by Gary and Sarah Gaffikin, who had been involved in England in the 1970s, where Terrier Racing was a standard event at the Hunt Shows and Open days held in the closed season. They soon became popular here, as before the breed was recognised, there was not much activity to be had. In the late 1980s though, North of the Harbour Kennel Club (Bruce Marquette & Sylvia Gartner) and the British Terrier Club did invite us to demonstrate our fun skills!

Following recognition of the Breed, the Club decided to keep going with Race Days to give people an opportunity to have a social day out. A members’ point score was devised and the Bill Spilstead Complex became the ‘home grounds’. Many of today’s breeders and exhibitors started out as members of the Racing community!

In the early 1990s the Club was invited to race the Jacks down the ‘home straight’ at Wentworth Park Greyhounds, and for over 20 years this became a regular sight at the Christmas Meet and was played over Sky Channel. The Club has a long standing date at the annual Milton Show and has performed demonstrations at many events, including Sydney Royal Easter Show and Dogs On Show. Always happy to promote out breed!

Jack Russell Terrier Club NSW Inc Race Days are held during the colder months at the Bill Spilstead Complex for Canine Affairs at Orchard Hills.


What is it?

Jack Russell Terrier Racing requires dogs to chase a fake-fur lure along a straight track of about 100 metres, usually on the flat, but sometimes with hurdles. Winner is first past the finishing line, but the dogs don’t take part to win, they do it for love of the chase!

What dogs can compete?

All Jack Russell Terriers are welcome to take part. Dogs don’t need to be ANKC registered (i.e. you don’t need to “prove” your dog is a pure-bred Jack Russell, (as long as it is of a JRT type), but owners DO need to become members of the Jack Russell Terrier Club of NSW.

Where are the races held?

At the DOGS NSW grounds, at the Bill Spilstead Complex for Canine Affairs, 44 Luddenham Road, Orchard Hills. Our clubhouse and the racetrack are down the very back of the grounds: travel all the way down past the herding training area, until you come to a gateway. Go through the gate and you will see our club house and the racetrack to your left.

What time do I need to arrive?

Races start at 10.00am, so please arrive by 9.30am to register and to help with set-up.

What do I need to bring?

Your dog(s), will require somewhere to keep them safe and cool, when not racing. A crate is best, at least one lead/leash, water bowl, money (cost for the day is $15 for your first dog and $10 for each additional dog entered. If you aren’t already a member you will need to join the club to continue racing after your first race meeting. Extra money will be needed for lunch from our canteen, unless you bring your own lunch. You will also need a muzzle for your dog to race in ($35 to purchase), however, you can hire one for the day if you are not sure you will keep coming.

Why does my dog need to wear a muzzle?

All dogs racing must wear a muzzle for their own protection, for the protection of the other dogs in the race, and the protection of the humans waiting at the finish line! Chasing the lure triggers strong instincts in our terriers and while you might be convinced that they would never lift a tooth against anyone or anything, many of them ‘go into the zone’ when that fake-fur lure is around and become adrenalin-fuelled racing machines.

How are the races run?

Once all of the dogs attending have registered for the day, they are put into heats, based on their height of Tall or Standard. Dogs are issued with numbered, coloured jackets. The jacket number tells you in which heat they are running and the colour tells you in which box they will start. Dogs in jackets and muzzles proceed to the starting boxes (down the far end of the track, away from the clubhouse), where our starter will assist in loading dogs into the starting boxes. The fake-fur lure is placed just in front of the boxes and is pulled back along the track by an electric motor, driven by our lure operator. Dogs are collected from the finishing area, clearing the way for the next race to begin.

The last races of the day are finals: all dogs get a finals run, but points gained during the heats determine if they are in the “fast” final, or otherwise. Points are awarded based on places in the finals and this determines ‘Dog of the Day’ for the two height categories and the runners-up.

When can we give this a try?

Race days are usually Sundays and we have six race days per year: about one per month starting in late March, or early April, and going through to Spring.

Spectators and new competitors are always welcome. If you are unsure about anything, come and talk to us in the clubhouse and we can help you out.

Sarah Gaffikin - Secretary. Jody Asquith, Racing Co-ordinator
Jack Russell Terrier Club of NSW
Contact email via Club secretary: brighthelmjacks@gmail.com

Photos of Jack Russell Terrier Racing by Michelle Cranna