It’s absolutely not a Jack Russell but it is a four-legged creature mentioned in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Ask any Harry Potter fanatic and they are likely to be able to reel off what each character’s patronuses are. You’ve got Harry Potter’s stag, Luna Lovegood’s hare, Albus Dumbledore’s phoenix and Ron Weasley’s…well…terrier.
For those not in the know, a patronus is a defensive spell that produces a glowing silver guardian animal. Each wizard has their own unique creature although these can change in certain cases such as during bereavement or falling in love.
For as long as Harry Potter has been in our lives, there has always been debate surrounding what Ron Weasley’s patronus actually is with the majority believing that it is a Jack Russell.
A quick Google will even point you to a multitude of fan-run wiki pages and websites, many detailing this particular breed of dog as Ron’s guardian so it’s no surprise that so many of us have simply accepted this to be the truth.
But Ron’s actual patronus is, in fact, a Crup.
Ron is pure blood (from a wizarding family) and lives in a magical community so when you think about it, he wouldn’t have a domestic muggle animal as his patronus, he would have a magical one.
So what is a Crup?
In J.K Rowling’s world, a Crup is a wizarding breed of dog that looks deceptively similar to a Jack Russell, apart from one defining feature – a forked tail.
According to the Fantastic Beasts website : “The Crup originated in the southeast of England. It closely resembles a Jack Russell terrier, except for the forked tail.
“The Crup is almost certainly a wizard-created dog, as it is intensely loyal to wizards and ferocious towards Muggles.
“It is a great scavenger, eating anything from gnomes to old tyres.
“Crup licences may be obtained from the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures on completion of a simple test to prove the applicant wizard is capable of controlling the Crup in Muggle-inhabited areas.
“Crup owners are legally obliged to remove the Crup’s tail with a painless Severing Charm while the Crup is six to eight weeks old, lest Muggles notice it.”
So, you can see where the confusion lies – for what is the difference between a Crup with a snipped tail and a run of the mill Jack Russell.
To add to the uncertainty, in the film adaption of the Order of the Phoenix, Ron’s patronus is portrayed as a Jack Russell Terrier.
In the books it is only mentioned as ‘a terrier’. While J.K Rowling herself described Ron’s patronus as being ‘like a Jack Russell’ – notice the ‘like’.
This leaves us with one outstanding dilemma, just how would a wizard be able to tell the difference between a Crup and a Jack Russell?
It turns out, without the forked tail there is no difference. When shown in Hagrid’s Care of Magical Creatures class, the narrator describes it as ‘indistinguishable from a Jack Russell terrier except for its forked tail’.
Anyway, you can thank us later when you get full marks at the Harry Potter pub quiz.