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Jack Russell Terrier Dog Breed: Pictures, Info, Care & More

Written by: Ashley Bates

Last Updated on July 17, 2024 by Dogster Team


Jack Russell Terrier Dog Breed: Pictures, Info, Care & More

If you’re looking for a spry, energetic little dog to spend some time with, a Jack Russell Terrier should certainly be on your list of options. These little guys are small enough to be comfortable in apartment living and active enough to explore with the big dogs.

We think they’re the perfect combination for just about any lifestyle you can imagine. In this article, we’re going to discuss the different aspects of the Jack Russell breed.

Breed Overview


10–12 inches


13–17 pounds


12–16 years


White and tan, black and white, white

Suitable for:

All dog-loving families without small pets


Intelligent, affectionate, alert, adventurous

Jack Russells are fairly common and instantly recognizable among most canine lovers. They are known for their classic terrier nature, being very alert, and they are suitable for large families as well as single owners.

While this breed can work for most families, it is important to consider all of the factors that go into the breed so you know if it’s the right one for you. If you like enthusiastic little dogs who love to be on the go, the Jack Russell might just be your new bestie.

Jack Russell Terrier Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Jack Russell Puppies

woman holding jack russell terrier puppy
Image Credit: Gladskikh Tatiana, Shutterstock

Jack Russell puppies will surprise you with how tiny they are! You will bring home a puppy and ogle over the little sack of potatoes. But don’t let their size fool you. These highly active little dogs will be ready to keep up with the big guys in no time! In fact, you might be impressed with her alertness and intelligence from a very early age.

If you are looking into adopting, you will very likely be able to find a Jack Russell in a shelter near your location. These dogs are relatively common and there might even be a Jack Russell-only dedicated rescue. They will have all the appropriate vet care and be spayed or neutered upon adoption.

If you buy from a breeder, you need to make sure they’re reputable. Steer clear of puppy mills, pet shops, and backyard breeders. Don’t buy dogs on sites like Craigslist and other online marketplaces.

While the Jack Russell puppy will grow big quickly, it will never get very big! They might start out small, but as adults, Jack Russells can weigh up to 18 pounds. So, they usually meet the requirements for most apartment and condo restrictions.

Jack Russell Terrier Origin & History

The Jack Russell Terrier is a British type of small terrier dog named after its creator. It’s generally white-bodied with copper patches and can be either rough, smooth, or broken-coated. These dogs were originally used for fox hunting in the area of North Devon in the early 19th century.

Jack Russell, by whom the dogs were named, was the first person to make these dogs distinct from other fox terriers. Throughout the years, these dogs have diligently worked alongside humans to help with tracking and other tasks.

Today Jack Russells can still be involved in work or show, but they’re most commonly house pets.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Jack Russell Terrier 🧠

As for the Jack Russell Terrier’s temperament, they are exceptionally intelligent and very headstrong little dogs. Even though they can learn vast concepts, they also require a firm hand. These dogs are very independent and have minds of their own.

Because of nature, they can be both very easy and difficult to train. If they want to be obedient, you could teach them something in a matter of minutes. However, if they want to be a little rambunctious, you might have more of a challenge on your hands.

Because these dogs were very skilled at helping hunters, you probably already know that they have to be pretty intelligent and moderately easy to train. You can teach them pretty much whatever you want when focused and handled properly. Because of their versatility and trainability, they’ve even landed roles on TV shows and movies throughout history.

recall training of a jack russell terrier dog
Image Credit: alexei_tm, Shutterstock

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏠

Jack Russell Terriers can make amazing pets for a variety of different lifestyles. They can suit single folks, seniors, growing families, and all in between.

They are hardy enough to fare very well in rural settings and small enough to thrive in tight living quarters or small city apartments. Because they are so versatile, they are compatible with so many different people—and you very well could be one of them!

Jack Russells can make very good family companions. They tend to be very chipper and excitable, perfect playmates for children. However, due to their independent nature, they will do best around children aged six and older.

The Jack Russell Terrier can make an amazing companion for young active people or seniors who are slowing down in life. Though they are active little dogs, you can easily help them get out some energy with exercise.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Another notable aspect of the Jack Russell Terrier’s temperament is that they are are known for being very chipper, fun-loving little dogs. With their very alert and excitable nature comes a flip side. Because they can be so overzealous, they can be a little bit bossy from time to time and might suffer from a bit of little dog syndrome.

Because of that, they might try to rule the roost, being the alpha over a much bigger dog than them. While this can be fine in a totally docile situation, certain dogs of different personality types might get the wrong idea. If they do, you might have some trouble on your hands.

It’s always best to acclimate these dogs to lots of different furry, feathery, and scaly faces early on so they are well-adjusted. Jack Russell Terriers can usually get along with cats permitting they’re raised alongside them.

Because of their naturally high prey instincts, they might chase them just for fun. However, they generally mean no harm and just love having something to chase around. You should never trust a Jack Russell Terrier around any smaller cage animals. Due to their instincts, they will naturally hurt or even kill smaller pets without meaning to.

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Things to Know When Owning a Jack Russell Terrier:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Jack Russell Terriers require a diet that is high in protein with high quality ingredients. Jack Russell Terriers burn a lot of energy on a daily basis, so they need a high calorie recipe that will replenish what they lose.

You should always speak with your veterinarian about the best type of formula you can feed your Jack Russell. Dry kibble and wet canned food are always viable options, permitting you’re getting a healthy choice. There are also fresh food and raw options available.

Loving young asian woman petting and feeding her cute long-coat jack russel terrier puppy
Image Credit: Prostock-studio, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐕

Jack Russells are spry little dogs that like to burn a lot of energy. These dogs work best with people who have moderate to active lifestyles. While these dogs don’t require two or more hours of exercise a day, they definitely aren’t couch potatoes.

On average, a Jack Russell requires roughly 60 minutes of exercise per day, some of which needs to include a high-intensity workout. Jack Russells tend to be very fetch-oriented dogs. They enjoy many games where they have to play and chase.

This is because, by nature, these dogs are predatory and, therefore, are very stimulated by movement. You might find that your Jack Russell absolutely has their very favorite set of balls or has a very particular exercise regimen that they can’t get enough of.

To avoid any destructive behaviors, it’s highly advisable to get your Jack Russell lots of toys they can chew on. Otherwise, your trim, furniture ends, and shoes might become a target.

Training 🦮

A Jack Russell Terrier can either be very easy or difficult to train, depending on their mood. Most of them are able to retain focus quite well and are very treat-motivated. So, if you really want to get somewhere with your Jack Russell, be sure to give them the right incentives.

Also, Jack Russells tend to form very intense bonds with their caretakers. They’re much more likely to listen if they feel bonded to you. They have the willingness to please, but they also have a bit of an ornery streak that can make it a little challenging.

Even though a Jack Russell can be completely manageable for novice owners, you might want to opt for professional training. Not only can this strengthen you and your dog’s bond, but it can create a great structure for your pup early on.

Grooming ✂️

Grooming your Jack Russell should be pretty straightforward. These dogs have both wiry and smooth coats, but both of them shed continually year-round. You should be anticipating daily brushing to collect any shed and debris.

Jack Russells tend to have very healthy coats and few allergies, but they may still develop. If you notice any hotspots or irritation on their skin after using a specific kind of shampoo or grooming products, discontinue and discuss the signs with your vet.

Just like other dogs, a Jack Russell Terrier will need a bath once every 4 to 6 weeks. They are small enough to bathe in your kitchen sink or bathroom tub, or you can give them the royal treatment by taking them to a professional groomer.

It’s also good to make sure nails are trimmed, ears are cleaned, and teeth are brushed.

Jack Russell terrier ready for a bath
Image Credit: – Yuri A, Shutterstock

Health and Conditions ❤️

Jack Russells are generally known for being pretty hardy and healthy. Keep in mind that routine care is incredibly important. You can easily get ahead of developing health issues simply by making sure you’re keeping up with routine care.

Many pet parents are turning to pet insurance to cover expensive bills in the event that they are not capable of paying upfront. It provides them a lot of peace of mind. It might be something you’d like to look into if you want to make sure you can always cover vet costs.

All white Jack Russells have been known to carry a recessive deaf gene. However, these dogs are generally pretty strong and physically fit. Certain health conditions are associated with the breed itself. Here are a few.

Minor Conditions:
  • Cataracts
  • Allergies
  • Gum disease
  • Deafness
Serious Conditions:
  • Patellar luxation
  • Kidney stones
  • Liver problems
  • Arthritis

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Male vs Female

When it comes to male versus female, you never know what you’re going to get in terms of personality. There is no distinct difference between the sexes and each dog has its own unique character.

However, physically males tend to be slightly larger than their female counterparts. They tend to be a bit bulkier as well and females are slender and more petite. Both sexes can change quite a bit when they reach sexual maturity.

If left intact, they might exhibit marking tendencies in males and heat-related behaviors in females. It is always recommended that your dog be spayed or neutered by the time they reach roughly 6 months of age.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Jack Russell Terrier

1. Jack Russell Terriers have appeared in many films.

The Jack Russell has been in many shows and films, such as Frasier, The Mask, and Hotel for Dogs.

2. Jack Russells can jump, jump, jump!

Jack Russells are incredibly agile little dogs and can jump up to 1.5 meters (almost 5 feet) high!

3. Jack Russells are fearless dogs.

The Jack Russell Terrier isn’t afraid of anything and it’s really no wonder. These dogs were bred to chase foxes both above and below ground, which is quite a feat for such a little dog!

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Final Thoughts

Now you know more about this popular and fascinating dog breed. Hopefully, by reading this article, you have decided whether this type of dog is right for you.

If you think a Jack Russell sounds right up your alley, always remember to check at rescues and shelters for Jack Russells and Jack Russell mixes. If you buy from a breeder, make sure they are reputable before you purchase.

Featured Image Credit: Maryshot, Shutterstock

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