Jack Russell Terrier
Jack Russell Terrier is a lively, clever and independent dog breed that was developed in England. Other names for this dog breed are Jack Russell, JRT and Jack. This dog breed is constantly confused and mistaken with the Parson Russell Terrier and the Russell terrier. The same man created all three, but they are separate dog breeds. This dog breed can be a challenge even to experienced owners so if you thinking about getting this dog breed, be sure to learn all about these dogs before you start searching for Jack Russell Terrier breeders. These dogs are highly intelligent but you must know that training these dogs can be very hard. Training them requires a lot of time and even more patience because this dog has a mind of their own. If you fail to entertain this dog, he will find his amusements, and we are pretty sure that you won't like it. If you provide these dogs with the training and attention that they need you will enjoy their company and they will fill your days with love and laughter.
10-12 in (25-30 cm)
9-15 lb (4 – 7 kg)
The Jack Russell Terrier is a small-sized terrier developed in southern England during the mid-1800s for hunting purposes. The breed was developed by a reverend named Parson John Russell. He wanted to create a dog breed that could hunt with hounds – these dogs would force foxes from their dens so the hounds could chase them. This dog was favorized by many sportsmen, mostly by those who hunted on horseback. This dog breed as we know it today originates from Australia despite their English roots. That happened because in Australia foxes started to reproduce uncontrollably and they didn’t have a natural enemy so they needed someone to catch them. Because of that, hunting dogs became popular and here is where Jack Russell Terrier dogs excel because of their size and speed. The history of the JRT began officially in 1972 when the Australian Jack Russell Terrier Club was established. In the beginning, the Jack Russell Terrier was used only for hunting purposes, and then, after World War II, as the need for hunting dogs decline drastically, these dogs were kept as family and companion dogs.
Dog Breed Characteristics
Jack Russell Terriers are sturdy dogs and because of their short legs, they are longer than they are tall. Their chest circumference is 40-43 centimeters (15-17 inches) and that is extremely important for the purpose he was bred. Larger chest circumference would mean that he couldn’t go through fox dens. When he's running around his tail is upright and when he stays still his tail is lowered.
These dogs belong to group 3 (Terriers) – section 2 (small terriers) and they were officially recognized by the FCI in 2003. Ideal height for this dog at the withers is 10 - 12 inches (25 to 30 centimeters) and their weight should be measured by equivalent to their height. For every 5 centimeters dog should weigh 1 kilogram. That means that a dog that is 10 inches (25 centimeters) high should weigh 11 pounds (5 kilograms) and the dog that is 12 inches (30 centimeters) tall should weight 13 pounds (6 kilograms).
According to this standard, these dogs belong to the Terrier group and they can be 10-12 inches (25 - 30 centimeters) tall and can weigh 9-15 pounds (4 - 7 kilograms). They were recognized by AKC in 2012.
Grooming and care
Their body is slightly longer than its height. Their coat is generally white, or white with tan, brown or black markings. It can be smooth and broken. The main difference is the length of the topcoat. Both shed moderately all year long but require a minimum of grooming. All they need is a quick brushing a few times a week and if you brush your dog regularly he will need bath rarely. Trim their nails when needed (if you hear them clicking on the floor). You will need to take care of his dental hygiene. To prevent tartar build-up and bad breath brush his teeth two times a week for best results. If you want your dog to get used to brushing sessions start while he is a puppy. If you make this a positive experience you can be sure that your dog will enjoy brushing when he grows up.
Jack Russell energy
Although small, these challenging dogs aren’t for everybody. Jack Russells are extremely energetic dogs and they demand a high level of exercise. They are one of the most intense breeds there is. Therefore, they are not recommended for apartments or for people who work a lot and thus don’t have enough time to spend exercising their dog. They are hard to tire out and when they aren’t properly exercised and stimulated, they can become very destructive. If left alone, without something fun to do, they will destroy your house looking for entertainment. They love to dig and have legendary hunting instincts, as they were originally bred to bolt foxes from their dens during hunts. Their history combined with their stubborn temperament make them inexhaustible; they will go after anything that moves and can wait by the hole where the scent something for hours. Running, hiking, fetching… you name it – Jack Russells are up for anything. Always! They are intelligent, bright, athletic and energetic breeds. They learn very quickly. But, because they tend to be stubborn and even aggressive at times, training them is not so simple. You must have a lot of patience and be firm.
FUN FACT: Many famous people owned Jack Russell Terrier including Mariah Carey and Paul McCartney.
Training this dog breed
When training a Jack Russell, keep in mind that these dogs are independent thinkers and if you want training to be successful you must make it fun and without a lot of boring repetition. Repetition bores him. Make sure to start training your JRT as soon as you bring him home. You should also start with intense socialization from the beginning. Jack Russells are fearless and that this feature can put this dog at risk because they will go after a lot bigger dog without thinking it through. Many of them are dominant and aggressive toward other dogs. Also, two Jack Russells should never be left alone because they might hurt each other heavily over the possession of a toy. They are also not suitable for young children because they can snap when grabbed roughly. During walks, a Jack Russell Terrier should always on a leash to prevent him from chasing other animals and picking fights with other dogs.
Because this dog has a lot of energy and also because of their high prey drive you will need to socialize your dog to be sure that he will end up a well-rounded dog. You should always use positive reinforcement methods. If you aren’t consistent with socialization your dog will seize the opportunity to take the lead. That is why is important that you and your whole family know what this dog should and shouldn’t do. You must correct the dog whenever is necessary. When he is puppy expose him to many different people, sounds, sights, and dogs so he could get used to many different situations.
Jack Russell Terrier and kids
They are affectionate dogs who adore their family. Because of their energy, they are not best suited for small and young children because if this dog is roughly handled he could snap. They are best suited for families with older kids who can make and interact with this dog and who will know how to properly approach and play with him. Before letting your dog and kids play you need to teach your kids how to properly play and interact with the dog. No matter how your dog is good, you should always supervise them while they are playing to prevent any potential biting or tail pulling.
JRT and other animals
These dogs can be aggressive toward other dogs, mostly toward dogs of the same sex. Because of their high prey drive, they will chase any smaller animals and cats so you need to be careful. That is why socialization is extremely important. With the right socialization these dogs can get along well with other dogs but the socialization needs to start early.
FUN FACT: Jack Russell Terriers can jump higher than 1,5 meters (5 feet).
Keep in mind that Jack Russells are vocal dogs. They will start barking on every new sound or new sight but also can be recreational barkers. Jack Russell’s life span is 13-15 years.
The Jack Russell Terrier vs the Parson Russell Terrier
The Jack Russell Terrier is often confused with the Parson Russell Terrier and the Russell Terrier. They look alike and share a common origin but are three different breeds of dogs. The JRT, the Parson Russell and the Russell Terrier were all named after the same man – the Reverend John “Jack” Russell. Jack Russells and Parson Russells are similar but have several differences, for example, height – the Parson Russell terrier is slightly taller, bigger dog than the JRT. But, oddly enough, Jack Russells are heavier ones. Jack Russells are more muscular and stockier and thus are heavier. Parsons is also square-shaped, with equal measurements for both height and length.
Although Jack Russells have a reputation for healthy dogs that can live up to 16 years when given proper care, some health issues affect this breed. Common health issues that Jack Russell’s owner must deal with are inherited eye disorder and deafness (associated with white color). Most common eye disorder is lens luxation, which occurs mostly between the age of 3 and 8 years old when the lens in eyes become displaced. They are also prone to Legg–Calvé–Perthes syndrome, a disease that affects hip joints and mast cell tumors. Some dogs can be prone to patellar luxation (when the patella, which has three parts is not properly lined up), and glaucoma (when the pressure in the eye is abnormally high causing a lot of pain).
Because these dogs are prone to some serious health problems to be sure that your dog is healthy you can perform a few health tests including BAER testing, patella evaluation, ophthalmologist evaluation, and PLL DNA test.
FUN FACT: Queen Elizabeth II maybe has a thing for Corgis, but The Duchess of Cornwall is a big fan of Jack Russells. She owns two of them - Beth and Bluebell, both rescue dogs from Battersea.
FUN FACT: It is a common thing to see a Jack Russell Terrier in a movie - Baby from Clean Slate, Arthur from Beginners, Milo from The Mask or Skip from My Dog Skip… Jack Russells are just adorable and easy to handle on movie sets.
Although this dog breed is relatively new it is already widely recognized. Before you start searching for JRT breeders you must be sure that this is the right dog breed for you. If you can provide them with enough training and right socialization you will end up with the well-behaved dog. When contacting breeders, during the conversation with them always ask to see health clearances for breeding dogs so you can be sure that puppies will not have inherited diseases. If possible always ask to see parents and puppies in person. Like we already said many people don’t recognize differences between Jack Russell and Parson Russel terriers and when searching for your new puppy educate yourself so you won't get fooled. Because this dog breed is so popular many “bad” breeders will do anything to sell their dogs without worrying about their health, temperament, etc. only to make money. If the breeder is interested in getting to know more about you and your lifestyle that should be a good sign that he is a good breeder because every good and officially recognized breeder will want only the best for their puppies. You can search official Jack Russell Terrier breeders on the World Dog Finder website or at national cynological associations of your country and you can be sure that you won't end up talking to an unofficial and unregistered dog breeder.
With these dogs, you should be consistent and firm but never violent. If you put in the time and effort it will certainly pay off. You will get a best friend with whom you will enjoy every minute of your life.
World Dog Finder team