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How to Choose the Dog Breed for You- About the Jack Russell Terrier

Updated on April 9, 2013


In England, in the 1800's, a young man named John (Jack) Russell was wandering the Oxford University campus before an examination when he saw a milkman with an unusual terrier. He bought her and named her Trump. He used her to breed with other terriers to create a dog perfect for hunting foxes. He wanted one tall enough to keep up with his foxhounds, but small enough to chase a fox from its den. This was the first discovery of the breed.

13-17 lbs.
14" (male) 13" (female)
Smooth, rough or broken
white, white with black markings, white with tan markings or tricolor
12-14 years
Other Features
Customarily docked tail


Head: The Jack Russell Terrier's head has a strong bone, with almond-shaped eyes. Their ears are flopped over, v-shaped.

Eyes: Their almond shaped eyes are dark in color.

Coat: Their coarse double coat only needs occasional brushing. A small brushing once a week is perfect, with a really good yearly brushing. They should only be bathed as needed, which shouldn't be often with regular brushing, unless they get into something icky.

Their coats can be in any variation of white, black or tan, in some cases all three or just plain white. Their coats also come in different varieties, smooth, rough or broken. The smooth coat is short and sleek, while the broken coat is slightly longer with the appearance of facial hair. The rough coat is longer than the broken coat, but still straight.

Tail: The tail of the Jack Russell is sometimes docked, but not always.


Behavior and Intelligence

Highly energetic and incredibly intelligent, the Jack Russell Terrier only makes a great companion for someone who is willing to keep up. They're extremely playful, friendly, lovable, sassy, frisky, fearless, high jumping little guys. Never trust one off his leash, he'll dart after whatever interesting thing he sees and take off faster than you can imagine.

An apartment is not a good home for a Jack Russell Terrier. Their small size may lead people to think they would do fine, but they are really large dogs at heart. The feeling of being cooped up and not properly exercised will easily lead them to destructive behavior. Wide open places to run will give you the best behaved Jack Russell, but only in an area with a fence higher than five feet (which they can jump), because, as I said before, they'll take off after anything that looks or sounds appealing.

They should be trained with positive enforcement and fun activities so they don't get bored and act stubborn. With the right learning environment they can learn new activities quickly and well. Harsh tones and aggressive discipline can lead to an equally aggressive acting dog.

Its important not to leave your Jack Russell Terrier alone with your flowerbeds, as they practically live for digging and will dig anything they can to look for rodents.


Health and Lifespan

The most common health problems for the Jack Russell Terrier are

  • cataracts
  • cerebellar ataxia
  • congenital deafness
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
  • lens luxation
  • myasthenia gravis
  • patellar luxation
  • von Willebrand disease.

If properly cared for they can live up to 17 years.


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