Jack Russell Terriers

At a glance
jack russell terrierJack Russell Terriers belong to the working terrier group. They are popular household companions that are energetic, dedicated, determined and playful.

Similar to the Parson Russell Terrier, this breed also originated in England and stands 13 to 14 inches at the withers, weighs 13 to 17 lbs, and lives up to18 years.


  • Names – Jack Russell, Jack
  • Group – AKC: Terrier Group; KC: Terriers
  • Size – small
  • Life expectancy – 11 to 18 years; average of 15 years
  • Cost of ownership – low
  • Ease of ownership – medium
  • Aggressive tendency – high
  • Amount of Exercise – high
  • Amount of Grooming – low
  • Ease of Training – low
  • Obedience level – medium
  • Suitable for Children – medium
  • Amount of Care Required – high
  • Susceptibility to Health Problems – low

Jack Russell Terriers are short, compact-looking and wiry. The smooth, broken or rough coat varieties are mainly white in color and have black and/or tan markings. All coat types feature dense double coats that are neither silky (in the case of smooth coats) nor woolly (in the case of rough coats). The head should be of moderate width at the ears, narrowing to the eyes, and slightly flat between the ears. The well-defined jaw has a scissor bite and straight teeth. Almond-shaped, soulful eyes exude a fearless and insatiable intelligence. Their small V-shaped ears are of moderate thickness and are carried forward on the head. The docked or undocked tail should be held high and gaily carried.


  • Dog – 14 lbs to18 lbs
  • Bitch – 14 lbs to 18 lbs


  • Dog – 10 in. to15 in.
  • Bitch – 10 in. to15 in.

AKCs Parson RT calls for 14in.for dogs & 13 for bitches


  • Color – predominantly white with tan, black, or brown markings
  • Coat – The Jack Russell Terrier’s dense double-coat comes in three varieties: smooth, rough, and broken (the outer-coat has different lengths or the dog has longer hair on specific parts of the body).
  • Shedding – high
  • Allergies – low
  • Causes Allergies – medium; barks frequently, which means the dog emits excessive saliva and dander

Jack Russell’s possess great energy and tenacity; attitude that makes them seem larger than their size. These little terriers are very social, as shown by their permanent inquisitive facial expression. These vocal dogs are ready to take off at any moment and will get into trouble without worrying about the ferocity or size of their “enemy”.

  • Separation Anxiety – high
  • Barking tendency – high
  • Aggressive tendency – high
  • Compatibility with other animals – low, especially with cats, mice or birds
  • Suitable for children – medium
  • Watchdog suitability – high

The Jack Russell Terrier is a loyal little bundle of energy. He can be feisty but is capable of obedience, as long as he is commanded by an experienced dog owner. These dogs can also be very entertaining with their antics. The Jack Russell is very intelligent and willful, and will want to have his way all the time if not put in his place. This breed must be socialized and undergo obedience classes while he is still a puppy. Jacks can be quite destructive and are not always compatible with other dogs or other pets, such as cats and especially rodents. Their natural instinct is to hunt and explore and they will chase anything if given the chance.

The Jack Russell Terrier can be stubborn. A Jack owner will need to be persistent with their teaching and provide the dog with a lot of firm and consistent guidance to keep them focused. It is crucial that the terrier understands that their pack leader is their human companion or they will be difficult to control. The best tools for successful training are early socialization and teaching basic obedience. The Jack Russell excels at hunting, tracking, and agility.

  • Obedience – medium

Exercise required
The Jack Russell Terrier thrives on exercise. They are very active indoors and require constant stimulation. Boredom will simply make them restless, which explains most of a Jack Russell’s destructive behavior. They enjoy long walks and vigorous play sessions daily.

  • Energy – high
  • Amount required – about 30 minutes twice daily

The Jack Russell Terrier is a low maintenance dog, requiring minimal grooming. A firm bristle brush does the job well. Bathe the dog only when needed. Take time to trim their nails on a regular basis. Be careful that you do not overfeed this breed, as obesity is a risk factor.

Feeding a Jack Russell is not too expensive, as these dogs do not require large quantities of food. They should be fed a high quality dog kibble recommended by the breeder or veterinarian. In the event you want to stop your dog from becoming too hyper, consult your veterinarian about providing a lower protein diet.

All coat types are easy to groom. Brush regularly with a firm bristle brush and bathe only when necessary. Owners intending to enter dogs in show competitions must strip the coat. Both the rough and broken coats need to be stripped. All three varieties shed year-round. The smooth coat sheds the most.

  • Ease of grooming – high
  • Amount of grooming – low

Breeding is a risky business that is not as straightforward as it appears. Aside from many hours of hard work, it can be heartbreaking, as puppies or the mother can be lost. Furthermore, it is rarely profitable. If you talk to experienced breeders, they will tell you that it can be quite the struggle. If you’ve ever read a book on Canine Reproduction, you’ll notice that most of the pages are about what can go wrong while there are only a few pages regarding what it’s like if everything goes well. Thus, the risks are very real, and even if everything runs smoothly initially, there are defects that can show up later, causing the eventual death of the puppies. On the other hand, there’s also the minor defects that will not necessarily affect the puppy’s chance for a happy life, but will cause a financial loss to the breeder, as a refund or replacement will need to be given to the buyer.

To put things into further perspective, a zealous breeder of working Jacks will want to achieve a terrier standard of the Under 12 ½ inch category. Nevertheless, planning every detail cannot be overemphasized when it comes to starting out with a litter, since any overlooked undesirable defect or trait can mean the ruin of your litter plans. Thus, there is more to breeding than meets the eye, so don’t make assumptions and find out the facts.

  • Litter size – average of 6; range from 5 to 8
  • Puppy cost – starts at $200 or £500 – £800

The Jack Russell Terrier is generally considered a healthy breed but is susceptible to certain hereditary health problems, such as cataracts. They have a substantial appetite and can be easily over-fed and become overweight.

  • Life expectancy – average of 15 years; range of 11 to 18 Years
  • Susceptibility to illness – low
  • Common health problems – Some of the more known health concerns of Jack Russells are congenital deafness, joint problems, Von Willebrand’s Disease, and hereditary cataracts.

The Jack Russell Terrier requires an extraordinary amount of human attention. This dog should not be left alone for too long, so working families will need to find ways to provide the dog with company when people are away at work and/or school. Jacks need plenty of exercise or they can become hyper and destructive. They often love the attention of visitors and will insist on being entertained and petted. Be prepared to find lots of hair; Jack Russells shed all year round.

When all is said a done, what you get with this breed is a high-energy, skilled watchdog that is easy to groom, fun to play with, amusing to watch and a challenge to train, but a true loveable companion.

  • Living conditions – Jack Russells can adapt to apartment living as long as they are sufficiently exercised. They are not compatible with pets of the rodent variety and only some tolerate cats. This dog is best suited to an average size yard that is securely fenced.
  • Good with Children – They get along with older, well-behaved, considerate children. They are not recommended for children under eight years of age.

A clergyman in 19th century England by the name of Jack Russell developed the first terrier to aid him in his hunting past time. These terriers were very lively and their natural hunting instinct has never left them, as even today they would not think twice about going into a burrow to chase small game. Jack Russells continue to be very fond of playing, and many are in their element when hunting, tracking or performing tricks.

  • County or origin – England
  • AKA KC name and group: Terrier

Did you know…

  • On April 29th, 2007, a Jack Russell in New Zealand named George got mauled by two pitbulls that had attempted to attack five children. In 2009, he was posthumously awarded the PDSA Gold Medal, the animal equivalent of the George Cross
  • A Jack Russell named Russell the Muscle was used in the music video for the JoBoxer’s hit “Just Got Lucky”.
  • Other notable Jacks include:
    • In the UK, Chalky from Rick Stein’s cookery series. He earned a BBC obituary when he died in 2007
    • In the U.S., father Moose and son Enzo, played the role of Eddie on TV sitcom Frasier.
    • In the T.V show “Wishbone”, Wishbone was the story telling dog.
    • In the film “The Mask”, Milo was the pet of the title character played by Jim Carrey
  • Winsor Pilates

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