The Jack Russell Terrier, also known as the Parson Russell Terrier, is a lively, independent and clever little dog. These purebred dogs can be charming and affectionate, and, although highly trainable, you’ll need a lot of patience and are not usually suited to first time dog owners. Jack Russells are athletic dogs that have an intense desire to hunt and thrive when kept entertained. They love to be outside and require a lot of exercise everyday, making them a great pet for those who spend time outdoors.
Jack Russells are a favorite among horse owners, dog sports enthusiasts, animal trainers for film and television and people who love their fearless personality, boundless energy, entertaining antics and portable size. If you’re interested in this energetic little companion and are looking for a dog to play fetch with, learn tricks, and don’t mind them chewing, digging and barking, this pup might just be for you. Read on below to find out more about this dynamic canine.
History Of The Jack Russell Breed
The Jack Russell breed was not originally welcomed into the American Kennel Club (AKC). While trying to get recognition, the breed fought protests from fans who feared AKC recognition was not good for the breed. This resulted in two different national associations for the breed — the original Jack Russell Terrier Club of America, who consider the Jack purely a hunting dog, and the Jack Russell Terrier Association of America.
The Jack Russell Terrier Association of America sought recognition by the American Kennel Club, which was granted in 2000. The name of the AKC-recognised Jack Russell Terrier was changed to Parson Russell Terrier, making them a separate breed and to differentiate it from the dogs registered by the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America.
The Jack Russell Terrier was developed in the 19th century by Parson John Russell in Southern England. The breed is named after Russell. Russell wanted to create a working terrier who would hunt with hounds, fox hunting so the hounds could chase them.
The Jack Russell breed then became very popular with lots of sportsmen, especially horse riders. By the 1930s, the breed was known in the United States too. This is when fans of the breed starting worrying whether AKC recognition would not be good for the breed.
Jack Russells are known for being small dogs with a lot of personality. The actual size of the dog is one breed standard that different breed clubs who recognize this breed disagree on. Many of the other characteristics of the Jack Russell Terrier are known to be standard of the breed, despite their size. Lets take a look below.
The Jack Russell Terrier breed has a compact and muscular body and can weigh anywhere between 13 to 17 pounds. However, The Jack Russell Terrier Club of America standard calls for dogs to be from 10 to 15 inches in height, whereas the AKC standard calls for a smaller range of 12 to 14 inches. JRTCA show dogs are classified into one of two groups based on size, 10 to 12 1/2 inches and over 12 1/2 to 15 inches.
Jack Russells who stand 10 to 12 inches and are longer than they are tall are known as Shorty Jacks. Shorty Jacks resemble Corgis or Dachshunds more than Jack Russells recognized by the AKC.
The Parson Russell Terrier comes in two coat types: smooth coat and broken coat. Both types have a double coat with a coarse texture. The broken coat is slightly longer with just a hint of eyebrows and a beard.
Some Jack Russells have what is called a rough coat, which is longer than a broken coat. Whatever the type of coat they have, it is never curly or wavy. This means that it does not need to be brushed very often. We will go into more detail about grooming below.
The color of your Jack Russell’s coat can vary. It can be white, white with black or tan markings, or tricolor — white, black and tan. The white on the body helps hunters see their dogs in the field.
The Jack Russell is a very energetic and playful dog breed. They have a very big personality and a hunting nature, which means they have been known to chase everything and anything! Despite this, they are a very loving and affectionate dog and are always amusing to have around!
Their high intelligence means they can be trained very well, but their wilful nature will not make it easy for you. They are the perfect pup if you want a dog to learn tricks with, but you will have to have a lot of patience and be ready to take on their liveliness.
Your Jack Russell will love to be around you and won’t want to be left alone. They thrive as a companion and love to have a purpose or be given a job to do, which is why they make excellent working dogs. They are not shy and can be quite vocal at times; therefore they may not do well in an apartment.
Jake Russells love to dig and having a back garden for them to run and play in will be very beneficial. Be careful though, it will need to have a fence, otherwise your neighbor’s pets might just get chased! They are also very alert and assertive, making them good watchdogs or guard dogs.
They are very bouncy dogs and love to jump up at people. This is why it is not always advised to have them around young children. They can also suffer from separation anxiety, so turning on the radio while you go out can help to combat this.
The general life expectancy for a Jack Russell Terrier is between 13 and 15 years. While they are generally healthy, they are prone to a few health issues, which we explore below.
Known Health Issues
The Jack Russell Terrier Club of America doesn’t register any dogs with hereditary defects and dogs must pass a specific veterinary exam before being registered. This is why, if you are buying from a breeder, you should ask to see health clearances for both your puppy’s parents.
The health problems a Jack Russell can be subject to are:
- Deafness — this is normally associated with the white breed of Jack Russells more than any other color.
- Patellar Luxation — this is a common condition in smaller dogs and is caused when the patella is not properly aligned. This can cause lameness in the leg or an abnormal gait, sort of like a skip or a hop.
- Lens Luxation — this is when the lens of the eye becomes displaced and is usually treatable with surgery.
- Glaucoma — this is when pressure in the eye is abnormally high and the eye is constantly producing and draining fluid.
- Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease — this is a disease that is more common in smaller breeds and is due to a deformity of the ball of the hip joint. It should not be confused with hip dysplasia but it does cause arthritis. The good news is it can be fixed with surgery.
Now you know all about the characteristics and temperament of the Jack Russell Terrier, it is time to look at what living with one everyday is actually like.
Food And Diet
The amount that your dog should be eating depends on their size, age, build, metabolism and activity level. However, as a general guide, you should be feeding your Jack Russell Terrier 1.25 to 1.75 cups of a high-quality dog food everyday, divided into two meals.
It is best to feed them in two meals a day instead of leaving food out all the time to prevent your Terrier from becoming overweight. At the correct weight you shouldn’t be able to see a waist and you should be able to feel but not see their ribs without pressing too hard.
If you are unsure about what food is best for your Jack Russell Terrier, you can always consult your vet.
Jack Russells have very high energy levels and are active both indoors and outside. They need to be walked several times and day and should have a space outside to run and play games with too. As a guide, you should give them 30 to 45 of vigorous exercise a day. They love to play games with you like fetch also and will happily accompany you on a run or hike.
If your Jack Russell doesn’t get enough exercise, they will start to misbehave. By making sure they have toys and people to play with, you can make sure they will stay out of trouble!
Jack Russell Terriers also love to dig. You should designate an area of your yard to them for digging, because it easier to train them to dig in one place rather than to train them not to dig all together!
It is worth mentioning that when you are out walking your Jack Russell Terrier, you should keep them on a leash at all times. This will stop other animals at the park becoming prey and stop your doggie from running off.
Jack Russells are a great dog to have around, in the right family. They love to be around people, but you should be ready to be firm and consistent with your Jack because they are very strong willed! They are not suitable for homes with young children but will thrive in an environment with older children who know how to interact with them properly.
Unfortunately, their hunting instinct cannot be trained out of them, which means they can be aggressive towards other family pets. If they are introduced as a puppy, however, this may make it easier for them to get along with other dogs or cats in the home.
They need a lot of exercise so if you have a large family home with a big back yard, this will be best for them. It will need to have a high fence though, because otherwise they will chase other animals in the neighborhood. It will be even better for your Jack if you are an active family who like to go on walks or hikes that they can come along on too.
As we mentioned above, Jack Russell Terrier dogs love to dig and they can make quite a large hole in a small amount of time. It is easier to train a dog to dig in a specific area than it is to break him of a digging habit, so be prepared for this when you decide to bring a Jack Russell home!
We have mentioned before that Jack Russells are not the dog for owners who have never had a dog or trained a dog before. This is because Jack Russells are so active and energetic that is can make training very difficult. You will need to be patient and consistent with them for a while before they understand.
However, they are very intelligent dogs so, actually, training isn’t too difficult if you know how to go about it correctly. They are also great dogs for learning tricks. You should use positive reinforcement when training your Jack Russell and be firm with them. They also strive with structure and routine, but training sessions should be short and sweet to hold their interest.
Like most dogs, Jack Russells need socializing from a young age. This is particularly important if you have other pets in the house or small children. Jack Russells have a natural prey drive and can see other pets or small children as dangerous. Luckily, Jack Russells get on very well with people generally, so socializing with humans should not be an issue.
Jack Russells do not require too much grooming. There are two different types of coat that your Jack can have — smooth and broken. Both coats only require a weekly brush, which helps to remove dead and loose hair. If you brush them often enough, they shouldn’t need a bath very often. Broken and rough coats must be stripped once a year.
You will also need to trim their nails once or twice a month. This helps to keep their feet in good condition, and also saves you any pain when they jump up to greet you! You should also ensure that their teeth are cleaned at least two to three times a week to prevent gum disease or decay.
For best results while grooming your Jack Russell, start grooming them from a young age. You can incorporate treats and positive rewards when grooming them as a puppy, and this will teach them that there is nothing to be worried about.
A Jack Russell Terrier is an energetic and active dog with a big personality inside a small body. They love to play by your side and are the perfect companion, especially for those who live an active life and are constantly outside. They will accompany you while running or hiking and do not like to be left alone. However, they are also not the dog for the faint hearted. This strong willed dog is very lively and takes some time to train, so they are not always suited for first-time dog owners. That being said, they would love to grow up in a dynamic family environment where they have a big back yard to run and play in. Affectionate and loyal, this spirited little pup could be just who you’re looking for.