Jack Russell Terriers are one of the more iconic small dog breeds, with several making appearances in movies and one PBS children’s show from the mid-1990s even had a Jack Russel Terrier as the main star! (Unsurprisingly, I loved the PBS show ‘Wishbone’ as a child!) These small dogs have big personalities and are quite active, as they were initially bred to be hunting dogs and helped hunt foxes.
This breed gets its name from the man who initially bred them over 200 years ago, Reverend John Russell (also known as Jack to friends). It’s believed that today’s Jack Russell Terriers can be traced back to Russell’s dog, Trump. This dog was said to be a crossbreed of Black-and-Tan Terrier and Fox Terrier and her descendants were eventually owned and used by other sportsmen for hunting. As time went on, the breed was also bred with others like Dachshunds, terriers, corgis and assorted toy breeds. While they are hunting dogs, these dogs are actually quite small, standing only 10-15 inches at the shoulder and weighing roughly 13-17 pounds.
If you’re looking for a small but very active dog and have plenty of time on your hands, a Jack Russell Terrier might be a great fit! These dogs can be wonderful companions if trained correctly and given plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. But they can also be quite stubborn and destructive if not given the right care! If you want a lap dog to hang out with or you don’t have time for training and walks, a Jack Russell would not be a good fit for you.
Given the right training and socialization, these dogs can be incredibly active, affectionate, and friendly with people, children, and other dogs. A house with very young children might be too much for a Jack Russell, as they tend to snap if handled roughly. And because of their history as hunting dogs, they do have a high prey drive and high tendency to bark, which means they shouldn’t be in a home with cats and other small animals. While they do need lots of training and can be stubborn at times, it can be a relatively easy process, as Jack Russell Terriers are quite smart! Consistent and positive training combined with daily walks and other types of exercise (like playing in a park and agility courses) will be great for any Jack Russell Terrier.
While these dogs need plenty of training, exercise, and enrichment, their coats can be easily maintained! There are three types of coats with this breed: smooth, broken, and rough. These double coats all have straight, coarse fur with three types of colors: white, white with black or tan markings, or tricolor (black, white, and tan). Weekly brushing is enough to keep their coats and skin healthy and can help avoid the need for baths.
Jack Russell Terrier dogs were originally bred to hunt foxes over 200 years ago and that prey drive and intense energy levels still exist in the breed today. While they have amazing personalities and cute faces, these dogs can be really intense and will need plenty of exercise and training. They are by no means couch potatoes and can be quite active indoors! If you work a lot or aren’t able to work on training, a Jack Russell Terrier wouldn’t be a great fit for you.