• Jack Russells
  • Jack Russell in the UK
  • Jack Russell Dog Breed
  • Jack Russell Breed
  • Jack Russells in the UK
  • Jack Russell Dog
  • Jack Russell
  • Jack Russells in Great Britain
  • Jack Russell Dogs
  • Jack Russell in Great Britain
Exercise Level:
Barking Level:
Good with Children:
Good with other pets:
Height: 25 - 38cm M | 25 - 38cm F
Weight: 6 - 8kg M | 6 - 8kg F
Life Expectancy: 15 - 17 Years

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The Jack Russell Terrier was developed in the 19th century in England and is believed to have descended from the Fox Terrier and the English White Terrier. The small dog breed has various names including Jack Russell, Jack, or JRT.

The Jack Russell Terrier is known as an active, agile, and high-endurance dog, so he needs physically and mentally stimulating activities. The Jack Russell is classified under the Terrier Group by the Kennel Club.

The Jack can be a handful pet, so he is not for first-time dog owners and families with toddlers. Grooming-wise, the breed only needs weekly brushing and occasional baths.

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The Jack Russell Terrier was originally bred in England by Reverend John ‘Jack’ Russell in the 1800s. The man was a very dedicated huntsman, and his bobby motivated him to create the Terrier breed for foxhunting. It is believed that the Jack Russell originated from Fox Terriers and the now extinct English White Terrier.

Russell aimed to develop dogs with a tempered aggressiveness, which allowed them to bolt the foxes without hurting them. In the 1800s, the strict breeding of the Jack Russell as a hunting dog began.

The Jack Russell dog breed is very versatile despite his small stature. He can keep up with larger hounds, and part from hunting foxes, he can also take down woodchucks, raccoons, and other small game. The Jack’s compact body makes it easy for hunters to place him inside saddlebags during travels.

The Jack Russell breed was not needed as hunting dogs anymore during the end of World War II. He became a beloved family pet as time went by. Throughout the years, he was crossed with other small dogs, and this resulted in a variety of offshoots such as ‘Shortie Jacks.’

There is a lot of confusion regarding the Jack Russell breed as he is sometimes called the Parson Russell Terrier or the Russell Terrier dog. All predominantly white earth working Terriers used to be named Jack Russell Terriers because they shared the same ancestry.

In the United States, various breed associations recognised the Jack Russell in the 1930s. However, they had varying opinions concerning the appearance and working ability or if they should join conformation shows.

In 1976, the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America (JRTCA) was established. The American Kennel Club recognised him as the Parson Russell Terrier in 2000.

The Jack Russell breed also became a star in US films. Notable Jack Russells that basked in the Hollywood limelight and also played a big role in bringing popularity to the breed are Moose, who played as Eddie in the TV show Frasier, and Soccer, who took the role of Wishbone in a children's show.

The Kennel Club recognised the breed as the Parson Jack Russell Terrier in 1990. The KC eventually recognised him as the Jack Russell Terrier in 2016. The dispute about leg length led to the separation of the breeds in England.

The larger Fox Terrier with longer legs is considered Parson Jack Russell, whilst the smaller breed with shorter legs is classified as the Jack Russell.

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Appearance and Grooming

The Jack Russell Terrier is an active, agile, and high-endurance dog. He weighs 6–8 kg and stands 25–38 cm (or 10–15 inches tall) at the withers. The JRT has a strong, clean neck and a wide, deep chest attached to a medium-length, flexible body.

In general, Jack Russell Terrier puppies are in their full size once they reach 6 to 8 years old. Their bodies will continue to bulk up until they become one year old.

The small Jack Russell Terrier dog possesses a wedge-shaped head, a flat skull, a defined stop at the muzzle, and V-shaped ears. His eyes are small, dark, and almond-shaped. His tail is set high and thick at the base.

Do Jack Russells shed?

The Jack Russell does shed and it happens in moderate levels. However, when seasonal shedding occurs, which starts during spring and autumn, he begins losing more fur. Shedding is a natural cycle in all dogs as it replaces old fur with a new one.

However, if your JRT starts to lose big clumps of hair, it can be a symptom of the disease. Get your dog checked by the vet for a proper diagnosis.

The Jack Russell Terrier is a non-hypoallergenic dog as he shed moderately. He is not the best breed for allergic dog owners. If your heart is set on buying this small dog, here are some ways to lower the chances of triggering allergies:

  • Keep your Jack Russell off the sofa and bedroom to prevent allergens from sticking to the sheets, pillows, and blankets.
  • Regularly clean, dust, and vacuum your home to remove dead hair and allergens from various surfaces and fabrics.
  • Get a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) air purifier as it is known to efficiently get rid of dust and dander as well as airborne germs.
  • Brush and wash your Jack Russell regularly as it prevents loose and dead hairs, which are carriers of allergens, from scattering in various areas of your home.
  • Always wash your hands and change your clothes after handling your dog.
  • Clean your Jack Russell ’s items such as the blanket, bed, and toys regularly as they can quickly accumulate allergens.
  • Opt for a carpetless home since it catches a lot of allergens. Stick with wood and tile floors as fur can be easily removed from these surfaces.
  • Consult a medical doctor about the right prescription allergy medications that you can use to control your allergies.

The Jack Russell Terrier's coat comes in various coat types and markings. According to breed standards, the coat is commonly white or predominantly white with black, tan, or lemon markings, or a combination of these colours.

The Jack Russell Terrier breed’s weather-resistant coat is either smooth, rough, or a combination of both (broken coat). A smooth coat lies in one direction, whereas a rough coat, also dubbed as wire-haired, is longer and grows in different directions. A broken coat is a combination of both smooth and rough coats.

The Jack Russell’s coat types, which are easy to maintain, are dense, harsh, flat, straight, and close-lying. A Jack Russell with a smooth coat sheds more. Thus, he need once a week of brushing using a slicker brush.

Some Jacks Russells need occasional stripping to keep their coat clean and healthy. A Jack Russell with rough and broken coat is a low shedder and only requires weekly brushing.

These two Jack Russell coat types need twice a year of stripping to get rid of loose and dead hair. Regardless of the coat type, frequent brushing is necessary when shedding season starts.

Trimming the Jack Russell’s coat is a good idea, but it should be done occasionally. Use a blunt scissor to cut the long hairs surrounding the terrier dog's face. Do not forget to trim overgrown hair on his feet, toes, and tail too. You can use thinning scissors for this.

Also take care of the Jack Russell’s oral hygiene to avoid tooth decay and gum disease. Start brushing his teeth whilst young so he can get used to the process. Make sure to regularly trim his nails, clean his ears, and inspect his skin for ticks and fleas.

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Temperament and Intelligence

As a working Terrier, the Jack Russell is known for his intelligence, quickness, and grit. Don't be fooled by the well-trained Jack Russells you often see on TV or in films. This energetic Terrier breed can be a handful, which is why he is not recommended for busy or first-time owners.

The Jack Russell is a loving and loyal companion, but he is definitely not a laid-back dog. It is important to establish the alpha role in the household because he can be stubborn.

The Jack has a lot of tricks up his sleeve that can be overwhelming for most people. Time, patience, consistency, and dedication are needed to handle this strong-willed dog.

The small Jack Russell breed is friendly, affectionate, and personable. However, he is better for families with mature and active children who know how to handle dogs.

The Jack’s rowdy nature can be too much for very young children. On the other hand, because of his high prey drive, he tends to be aggressive towards other dogs.

Are Jack Russells Easy to Train?

Training a Jack Russell Terrier can be a very challenging task as he is an extremely independent dog. It’s because the breed is so used to working alone than with his human companions.

When training a Jack Russell dog, the focus should be on basic canine manners, agility drills, and socialisation. Routine and structure, along with positive reinforcements will make training sessions easier.

Although the Jack Russell Terrier breed easily gets bored and tends to be quite stubborn, never resort to incorporating rough and painful punishments. This will only lead the breed to be wary and rebellious towards you.

Always keep in mind that breeds have predisposed characteristics when it comes to temperament and intelligence. However, dogs grow up unique because of environmental factors.

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Nutrition and Feeding

An adult Jack Russell Terrier requires 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 cups of excellent-quality dry dog food per day. The amount of food depends on his age, size, build activity level, and metabolism. Whilst knowing the basic nutritional needs of breeds can serve as a guide, consider the unique needs of your dog.

Typical calorie needs of an adult Jack Russell per day:

  • Senior and less active: up to 450 calories daily
  • Typical adult: up to 650 calories daily
  • Physically active/working dog: up to 900 calories daily

As an active dog, the Jack Russell thrives on diets rich in protein (poultry, beef, or fish) and fewer carbohydrates. This breed has a big appetite but with a small stomach, so free feeding should not be done.

The Jack Russell dog’s meals should be divided into 2 or 3, and portions must be controlled. Since this breed is also predisposed to skin allergies, gluten in wheat or corn must be avoided.

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Health and Exercise

How long do Jack Russells live?

The Jack Russell has an average life expectancy of 15–17 years. He is generally healthy but can be predisposed to certain health issues. Below are the most common health problems of the Jack Russell Terrier breed:


White-haired Jack Russell Terriers are more likely to experience hearing loss, according to studies. Deafness is often an inherited trait in the breed, making it a congenital disease.

Telltale signs that a Jack Russell is suffering from deafness include being unresponsive when his name is called, failure to respond to even simple commands, and sudden fright when approached.

The Jack can be affected by two types of deafness. Unilateral deafness means one ear has hearing loss, whilst bilateral deafness means both ears cannot hear. Note that unilateral deafness is difficult to spot on your own as he can easily adapt because he can still hear from one ear.

Jack Russell reputable breeders are recommended to let their breeding stocks undergo brainstem-auditory-evoked-response (BAER) test. It is the only trustworthy method that determines which purebred dogs have hearing defects.

Jack Russells that have a high probability of developing deafness should never be used as breeding stocks. When buying a Jack Russell Terrier puppy, make sure that the breeder provides you with documentation that his parent breeds are BAER-tested.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy

The Jack Russell Terrier is at risk of developing this cardiovascular disease. Dilated cardiomyopathy occurs due to heart muscle degeneration. It thins the heart's walls, resulting in the organ's enlargement.

Affected Jack Russell Terriers usually experience coughs, breathing difficulties, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeats, and exercise intolerance. These signs occur between 1 to 8-year-old Jack Russell Terrier dogs. Serious cases of cardiomyopathy can lead to fainting, congestive heart failure, and death.

Cure for this common Jack Russell illness has not been discovered yet. However, medical treatments can hinder its progress. Much like hearing loss, the spreading of dilated cardiomyopathy can be prevented through health screening in the form of genetic testing.

Lens Luxation

Lens luxation is a hereditary eye disorder that is very common in Terrier dog breeds. It causes the eyes' lenses to become dislocated. Symptoms that you should look out for are squinting, whiteness in the eyes, inflammation, lack of interest in exercising, and increased tears.

A Jack Russell that has lens luxation can be treated through surgery. If his eye lenses are completely dislocated, the surgery's possibility of restoring his vision is reduced. Once the surgery is over, keep your Jack from running around the house and limit his exercise to short lead walks until fully recovered.

Cerebellar Ataxia

This is a brain disorder resulting from the deterioration of the cerebellum's cortex. It makes afflicted Jack Russell dogs unsteady on their feet, and they may stagger whilst walking. Disorientation is a common symptom of the condition as well.

A Jack Russell Terrier with cerebellar ataxia needs pain management and supportive care. It is also essential to create a safe environment for your Jack Russell. Make sure that he has no access to dangerous areas in your home such as pool and stairs. The vet will also schedule regular check-ups to monitor your dog’s condition.

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease

Legg-Calve-Perthes disease refers to the degeneration of the hip joint's ball. Over a period of time, it can result in the collapse of the hip and trigger arthritis.

The causes of the condition is still unknown, but studies suggest that it is due to disturbed blood flow. This leads to the clotting of the blood vessel, which weakens the bone.

A Jack Russell Terrier with Legg-Calve-Perthes disease is usually affected in one hip. The pain induced by this condition causes limping and gradually, lameness. Mild cases can be cured through pain medication and weight management.

If the Jack Russell Terrier does not respond well to medication therapy, the vet may recommend surgery. There are two types of surgeries for this condition: femoral head and neck osteotomy (FHO) and total hip replacement (THR). FHO is the removal of the femur's head, whilst THR uses an implant to recreate a functional hip joint. After the surgery, the dog needs to undergo medication and physical therapy for a fast recovery.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation is the dislocation of the kneecaps. Limping, swelling of the affected area, weak legs, and difficulty in moving are signs of this disease. These symptoms may not be noticeable until the affected Jack Russell is 6 weeks old.

A Jack Russell may be affected by patellar luxation due to genetics, an accident, or an injury. It can be cured through medications and supplements. The vet may couple it with a leg brace or a cage rest. Surgery is another option as well.

The high-spirited Jack Russell Terrier dog needs several bouts of physical activities daily, a total of about 1.5 hours a day.

A Jack Russell that was not given attention or had his activity needs not met will certainly keep himself busy by barking, chewing, and escaping. You should never leave this small dog for long periods since he is a high jumper, climber, and digger.

The Jack Russell will be happy to play Frisbee, tug of war, fetch, as well as running with you . He will also enjoy performing a variety of canine sports including agility drills, fly ball, canine obstacle courses, and obedience training.

It is important to always keep the Jack Russell Terrier on a lead during runs to avoid running after other dogs and small animals. Also, make sure that he is closely supervised in a fenced yard so he won't try to escape.

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Cost of Ownership

How much are Jack Russell puppies?

If you are considering purchasing a well-bred Jack Russell puppy, you may need to spend £800–£1,500 to get one. Food cost is another matter since you need to ensure that your dog is well fed and healthy. To buy high-quality dog food, you will have to spend around £20–£30 a month.

You also need to factor in the initial cost for dog accessories and equipment. It will likely require you to shell out about £200 depending on the brand.

Expenses for veterinary care including vaccinations, routine checks, neutering or spaying, and annual booster can rack up to £700–£800 annually.

Other than the initial purchase, you also need to consider getting pet insurance. It can cost anywhere from £18 a month for a basic cover and up to £40 a month for a lifetime cover.

On average, caring for a Jack Russell Terrier will cost about £50–£70 a month, depending on the type of insurance. This is exclusive of dog walking or grooming services that you might want to use at times.

Jack Russell Breed Highlights

  • The Jack Russell Terrier is best for experienced dog owners and people with active lifestyles.
  • The breed has low-maintenance grooming needs.
  • He is friendly, affectionate, and personable but can be too energetic for the average person.
  • When ignored or not exercised enough, he can be destructive or will try to escape.
  • He is generally healthy but as a small breed, he can be prone to dental problems.
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