You may recall with a touch of nostalgia, the famous TV show series Wishbone that aired from 1995 to 1998 on the PBS channel. The show featured Wishbone, a Jack Russell terrier best known as “the little dog with a big imagination.”The show was quite unique for the fact that Wishbone’s adventures drifted from the main, modern scenes of the show into storylines captured from classic literature. By dressing up in costumes and acting out classic stories, Wishbone soon became a favorite character for many children in the 90’s.
A Glimpse into Wishbone’s Biography
Wishbone was born in 1988. His real, non-fiction name was Soccer, the Jack Russell terrier. According to the Internet Movie Database, his name was inspired by his markings and his fondness for playing with toy soccer balls. Acting was a way of life for this perky fellow. He was selected from more than 100 candidate dogs for the role in Wishbone and made his appearances in many television commercials including Nike, Mighty dog food and Chuck Wagon. During his career, Soccer lived with his trainer Jackie Kaptan on a Texas ranch in Plano, where some of the episodes were recorded. Even though Soccer died of natural causes in 2001 at the age of 13, his legacy still lives on. His stories are portrayed in many books and several of his Wishbone episodes are still circulating on DVD’s.
Not All Jack Russell are Like Wishbone
It’s easy to fall in love with a charming character like Wishbone or Eddie from Frasier. The performances of these intelligent dogs have surely generated, and continue to generate, an interest in the breed. Sooner than later, kids will be pleading for a dog like Wishbone. However, the Jack Russell terrier breed can be a dime and a dozen and for many inexperienced owners it can be overwhelming to live with one. The Jack Russell terrier Club of America warns about this breed mentioning many characteristics that can be a tad bit intimidating.
First and foremost, Jack Russells are terriers at heart. They love to dig, bark and follow scent because they were selectively bred to bolt foxes out of their burrows. These natural instincts can often be problematic for dog owners not aware of them. Despite their small size, they require lots of exercise and don’t do well in apartments or condos unlike their other small breed counterparts. Indeed, the Jack Russell Club of America describes them as “big dogs in small bodies.”
Most of all, Jack Russell terriers are not as portrayed on T.V. shows. Dogs like Wishbone are professionally trained and their performances are a reflection of a long-term commitment put into providing them with oodles of exercise and training. Despite Wishbone’s friendliness towards children, consider that this breed may not do well with small children, especially those under the age of six. There are certainly exceptions to the rule, and Jackie Kaptan who also breeds Jack Russell claims that she has bred them for 12 years and has successfully placed many in homes with children.
The Bottom Line
Being aware of the Jack Russell’s temperament and needs is very important so to prevent unnecessary heartaches associated with the abandonment of Jack Russell terriers even before they reach adulthood. Wishbone was surely an irresistible character, but it’s important to consider that he ultimately was also a well-trained actor.