Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier


The Jack Russell Terrier (also known as Jack Russell or JRT) is a small dog, sturdy, tough, muscular and tenacious. Primarily white with patches of black, brown or tan, there are smooth-coated and rough coated variations. A broken-coated dog is a combination of both.


This breed has its origins in England and was first bred by the Reverend John Russell, a hunting enthusiast, in the early 1800s. It was a fox hunting terrier, used to bolt foxes out of their burrows, and was purposely bred to be mostly white in order to differentiate it from the creature it was pursuing. These dogs were originally referred to as fox terriers. John Russell began a breeding program to develop a terrier with high stamina for the hunt and the aggressiveness, courage and drive to chase out foxes from the ground. The line of terriers developed by John Russell was well respected by hunting enthusiasts for their qualities. The Jack Russell Terrier was recognized as a distinct type of dog by the 1850s. Today there are variations of the breed including the Parson Russell Terrier, which is a show type dog. Tthe Jack Russell has remained in the category of a working dog.


The Jack Russell Terrier is a working terrier. They are still used to bolt fox from their dens during hunts, as well as other ground-dwellers such as groundhogs and badgers. It's job requires the Jack Russell to bark and work the den continuously to either bolt the animal out or hold it in place. Jack Russells are extremely intelligent, athletic, fearless and vocal dogs. These dogs are most happy when kept busy with a "job" and could easily become moody or destructive if bored.

Their high level of energy and drive make them excel in dog sports such as flyball, agility or eathdog. Obedience classes are recommended as they can be stubborn and sometimes aggressive towards other animals and humans if not properly socialized. With proper leadership and training, the Jack Russell can be a wonderful pet. They are cheerful, merry, loving and devoted dogs. Spirited and amusing, they enjoy games and playing with toys and are absolutely fearless. They can be content chasing a toy or "killing" a sock in the living room and will continually amuse you. They are highly intelligent and fast learners and can have fun learning tricks to show off to friends. They are not generally recommended around small children as they can tend to become impatient with the teasing and taunting of a young child. It is also not recommended to let them near small pets.

Their courage, confidence and fearless nature makes the Jack Russell Terrier truly a large dog in a small dog's body.


The standard size of the Jack Russell is 10-15 inches tall with a weight of 14-18 pounds.


The Jack Russell is generally a healthy dog, but can be prone to dislocation of the kneecaps, inherited eye diseases such as cataracts, deafness, or Legg Perthes - a disease of the hip joints of small breed dogs.


About 14-15 years.


All coat types are easy to groom. Comb and brush regularly and bathe only when necessary. No special grooming is generally required. Keep nails trimmed at least once a month. Be aware that this breed sheds a lot, all year long, so regular brushing is necessary.


First and foremost, the Jack Russell Terrier needs to be regularly exercised and kept mentally occupied. If their needs can be met, they can adopt to apartment living, although it is not generally recommended. Since they are very active, they would do best with at least an average-sized yard. Jack Russells can climb and can jump high fences, A Jack Russell that stands 12 inches high can easily jump over a five foot high fence. Be aware that they enjoy exploring, barking and digging. Sufficient exercise, activities and training can greatly control many of these behaviors. A designated spot for him to dig and play would also be beneficial. Providing puzzles for them to solve, such as hiding toys and treats, using puzzle treat balls, etc. can help to satisfy their natural instinct to hunt, track and solve problems. Remember to always keep them on a leash while on a walk as their curiosity could get them into trouble. Never let them run loosee, even in a remote country setting, as their hunting drive could lead them away from you and into trouble. They have been known to chase their quarry underground and disappear from site for hours, which can be a frightening experience.

It is not recommended to keep two or more Jack Russells in the same area when you are not able to supervise as they can be dog aggressive with each other.

The key to keeping this breed happy is exercise and activity. Long walks or runs, chasing a ball or other activities will go a long way towards keeping them content and fulfilled. This is not a dog that will be content being a couch potato.


Owning a Jack Russell Terrier requires strict rules and limitations, and it is important that you are the dog's pack leader. Intelligent and willful, if you give them an inch they will take a mile. The owner needs to be as strong willed as they are or they can easily take over.

Begin training your Jack Russell Terrier early and establish yourself right away as the leader of the household. Be consistent in your training so that you don't confuse your dog. Obedience classes are recommended. Use positive reinforcement techniques if possible (reward good behavior, ignore bad behavior). Establish rules and limitations and stick to them.

Owners of a Jack Russell Terrier (or any breed for that matter) need to be aware of their natural, instinctive traits. Many people misinterpret a dog's natural traits as bad habits, rather than learning to work with them to satisfy their instinctive needs. Jack Russells require a commitment to obedience, leadership, activity and lots of exercise.

The Jack Russell Terrier is not a dog for everyone. But a well trained, balanced and happy Jack Russell can entertain you and bring you great joy. They can be loving and rewarding pets, as long as their needs are met and they know who the boss is.

Sources: Wikipedia.org, dogbreedinfo.com, dogster.com, therealjackrussell.com, yourpurebredpuppy.com, ehow.com