Jack Russell Terrier dog breed characteristics, origin and care

Jack Russell Terrier breed characteristics

  • Size: Small
  • Traits: Energetic. Playful. Happy.
  • Maintenance: Low maintenance, weekly brush, no/minimal hair clipping required
  • Best Suited To: Families and active older people that are experienced dog owners.

Lively. Lovable. Joyful. Jack Russell Terriers are get-up-and-go little firecrackers. Perfect for owners that love to be on the move and older children that want to hang out with an energetic little pal. They are also great companion dogs for active seniors. If you are looking for a bouncy bundle of small dog fun, a Jack Russell Terrier might be the perfect fit.

Where I'm From

The Jack Russell Terrier originates from the United Kingdom. English reverend and hunter Parson John “Jack" Russell developed the dogs in the 1800s. Bred as working dogs used to hunt foxes by chasing them from their borrows so that larger hunting hounds could catch them. The breed resulted from crossbreeding beagles and bull terriers amongst others. The Jack Russell Terrier and slightly taller Parson Russell Terrier were the outcome, and whose sprightly offspring you still see today.

What I Look Like

The Jack Russell Terrier is a small dog that is about 25-30 centimetres tall, though this may vary somewhat between litters. They have sturdy little bodies covered by a white coat with black or tan markings, sometimes both, on the head and tail. Their short coat can be smooth or rough, or mixed, known as a broken coat. They have short pointy ears that remain folded over until brought quickly to attention by a seductive sound along with a short, fast-wagging tail.

How I Act

Jack Russell Terriers are exuberant little dogs whose big personalities make up for their diminutive size. A great family pet, they can be good with older children and seniors who remain active. Jack Russell Terriers sometimes take issue with other dogs, especially with bigger pups they may feel threatened by, which may bring out some hostile posturing.

Jack Russell Terriers are intelligent but can be downright stubborn when trying to train. They can also be destructive puppies. Socialisation and training should begin at an early age so that your pup develops into a well-rounded pet. With a relatively low attention span, Jack Russell schooling needs to be firm and consistent but only undertaken in small doses to prevent your dog from getting bored.

As born hunting dogs a Jack Russell Terrier will need a decent dose of daily exercise to stay healthy. A 30-45 minute walk and a decent backyard area to run around in will suffice. However, Jack Russell Terriers love to dig and are excellent at escaping their confines in chase of prey, so make sure your yard is breakout proof and that your canine pet can't dig its way out. These dogs need to be kept on a lead outside the home to prevent any attempted getaways.

Looking After Me

Jack Russell Terriers are generally a healthy breed of dog but can suffer from a number of ailments that effect small dogs including bone and joint issues. They also might suffer from deafness and eye problems such as Glaucoma, which can cause blindness.

It is advisable to check the temperament and medical history of a puppy's parents and view veterinarian clearance certificates to ensure you get a healthy dog. Be very wary of uncertified backyard breeders.

Jack Russell Terriers have a lifespan of 14-15 years.

They need high-quality dry food twice a day as per packaging recommendations.

Jack Russell Terriers may have two types of short double coats, either smooth or broken or a combination of both. Their fur does not need too much care and a weekly brush should suffice. Conveniently this low-keep coat also means that your pup will rarely need a bath.

They are very social family dogs that should be kept inside. If home alone alone, Jack Russell Terriers should be left with the radio on to reduce separation anxiety and any destructive behaviours.

Am I the pet for you?

Jack Russell Terriers are best for family homes with older children or energetic seniors that like to walk a lot. Jack Russell Terriers are not suitable pets for smaller children as they can become inpatient and snappy if treated inconsiderately. They are also not an ideal fit for first-time dog owners.


  • Jack Russell Terriers are happy and affectionate little dogs that suit an active family. Good with older children who have learned how to interact healthily with the pup. Like all dogs, Jack Russells need to be supervised when around children.
  • Jack Russell Terriers have short, low-care coats that makes for an easy grooming routine.
  • Jack Russell Terriers have enough boundless energy to become your faithful run buddy!


  • Jack Russell Terriers love digging. Your backyard, your front yard, anywhere they can. Don't get a Jack Russell if a holey lawn would upset you.
  • Jack Russell Terriers can have a touch of small dog syndrome and may become overly aggressive towards bigger dogs if they feel threatened.
  • Jack Russell Terriers are not good with small children that might aggravate them.

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