Jack Russell Terrier

jack russell terriers

The Jack Russell Terrier Breed

Originally developed in England as a fox hunting dog, the Jack Russell Terrier is a hardy, loyal, and inquisitive dog with seemingly boundless energy.  While this breed may be small in size, standing between 10 to 14 inches in height, they are packed with muscle and razor-sharp teeth.  This, naturally, makes them excellent hunting dogs.

Their average weight is between 9 and 17 pounds, with females being on the lower end of the spectrum.  They have a rectangular shaped body, forward-facing floppy ears, and little round noses.  While their double coat can either be rough or smooth in texture, it is always thick and short.  Most Jack Russell’s have coats that are white all over and tinged with tan, grey, or brown patterns in their fur.

Nearly all information on this breed reveals that, at heart, these dogs are bred to hunt, protect, and defend.  The terriers can be rather loud and vocal, especially if they are alerted to something out of place.  This makes them exceptional watchdogs and hunters.  However, if not trained properly, they can become aggressive and overprotective.

If they are trained well and taught obedience skills, they can be tremendous companions and will display unmatched devotion and care to adults and children alike.

Jack Russell Lifespan

How Long Do Jack Russell’s Live?

A Jack Russell life span of 13 to 15 years old is about the average.  This all depends on their status of health and the care given by their owners.  Because of its innate athleticism and intelligence, this breed requires daily exercise plus training or playing games to keep up its physical and mental health.

Personality and Temperament

jack russell terrierAlthough pictures of Jack Russell Terriers may depict them as adorable, furry little dogs, some people are surprised at the type of temperament many of them possess.

The personality type of this confident canine can be a bit tricky to pinpoint.  Because of its inbred hunting instincts, it can potentially hurt or even kill small animals like guinea pigs or even cats.  It also is known to be territorial and hostile with other dogs, especially other dogs of its own breed.

However, if they are trained in obedience from birth and handled properly, the likelihood of this happening can be greatly reduced.

It is important for pet owners to always be aware of this trait in Russell Terriers, especially in consideration of purchasing one that will be around small children.  If a Russell Terrier is brought into a home with small children, the children should never be left unattended with the dog.

Overall, while Jack Russell dogs can be lively and driven, they are also known to be extremely dedicated and loyal to their owner and family. They can be sweet and gentle around children that know how to handle dogs.  Many owners attest to the fact that these little dogs can make some of the most trustworthy companions.

Jack Russell Terrier Care


In terms of grooming, this breed is low maintenance.  A weekly brush-over with a soft brush and a trimming of the nails to keep them short and clean are really the only requirements when it comes to the Jack Russell. In addition, all canines should have their teeth brushed regularly and their ears cleaned to prevent mites.

When the long-haired Jack Russell’s hair becomes too long and easily tangled, their hair must be stripped, not clipped.  This keeps their hair healthy and knot-free.


According to reputable Terrier facts, to properly train a Jack Russell, obedience training is key early in life.  This breed also loves learning a good game or trick, but can become bored easily if the same ones are used repeatedly.


jack russellWhile training can certainly be part of their exercise, a few rounds of fetch is not going to cut it for a Jack Russell’s exercise needs.  These small but mighty dogs require hikes, long or brisk walks, and lots of other intensive activities to keep in shape and to keep happy.  Being kept in a small room or cooped up in a small apartment all day is not optimal for this breed and not recommended.

It is suggested that Terrier owners be disciplined and consistent with giving attention and outdoor playtime and exercise to these pups.  If kept outdoors, these dogs should be fenced in due to their love of roaming and exploring.


Like most canines, Russell Terriers should be fed premium quality, nutritious food and be given ample amounts of water.

This will also help keep their joints and organs healthy, and can help prevent the common joint problems seen in the breed.  When it comes to treats, only a small amount should be given on a daily basis to avoid overeating and obesity, which they are also prone to.

Health Information

Due to their constant need to exercise and play, this hearty breed is known to maintain good health overall. Good health can be maintained by providing all core vaccinations (such as those for rabies and parvo) and providing preventive medication for fleas, ticks, and heartworm.

Despite this, this breed is known to be disposed to common diseases of the eyes, ears, and joints.  In terms of eyes and ears, these conditions are mostly found to be genetically inherited issues stemming from in-breeding.

Jack Russell Terriers tend to have the following health problems:

  • Cataracts
  • Lens luxation (lens dislocation from the eyes)
  • Ectopia lentis (can cause lens dislocation from the eyes)
  • Ear infections
  • Bilateral and unilateral deafness in the ears
  • Oral hygiene problems (missing teeth)

jack russell puppiesThis breed is also prone to medical problems like Legg-Calve-Perthes, which is condition of the joints.  In this case, the joints begin to disintegrate, resulting in inflammation and pain.  Many dogs with this have trouble moving and have a limp.  Additionally, this breed commonly gets their knees dislocated, otherwise known as patellar subluxation.

If any of the previously mentioned health issues are suspected in a Jack Russell, pet owners should refrain diagnosing and treating the issues on their own.  A board-certified veterinarian should assess, diagnose, and treat any suspected health problem to ensure the best care and best recovery.

Regardless of some of the known Jack Russell problems pertaining to health, these little dogs are fighters and most live a long, happy life.

Smart dog breeds are found in many types of dogs, including this lovable Jack Russell! Another terrier breed is the Yorkshire Terrier.

More Information about Jack Russell Terrier

Scroll to Top