The Jack Russell terrier was originally known as the Fox terrier – a breed that originated in England. They come in bi or tri colored patterns of white, brown and black. This is a smart, active and energetic breed so if you are planning to get one, this brief guide should help you. In it, we discuss everything you need to know about the fearless, spirited and determined Jack.
Facts and characteristics
- The life span of the Jack Russell terrier is between 13-15 years.
- As stated before, the breed was originally known as the Fox terrier. Later, they were renamed after the famous parson hunter who was instrumental in developing and promoting the breed. The American Kennel Club also refers to this breed as the Parson Russell terrier.
- Like all terriers, this tough little dog is very smart and has tons of energy.
- Since they were bred to hunt, do not be surprised if your pet is seen digging holes in the yard to search for small animals.
- Physical features- Jack’s head is wide towards the ears and narrow towards the mouth. Eyes are dark brown and almond shaped. The V shaped ears bend towards the front of the head. Jack Russell terriers have strong jaws with overlapping teeth. They usually measure between 25 to 38 cm in height and up to 7 kilos in weight.
Where to find a Jack Russell Terrier
The best place to look for Jack Russell terrier puppies is at a responsible breeder. Not all breeders are created the same and their policies regarding their litters tend to vary. A reputable and responsible breeder will offer a take back policy, meaning that if your dog does not work out for your family, the breeder might take it back and help it find a new home. A good breeder will not want his puppy to end up as a Jack Russell terrier rescue. So s/he will ask you many questions regarding your prior experience with dogs to ensure that you will be a worthy owner for the Jack Russell puppy. To find a responsible and ethical Jack Russell terrier breeder, visit the official website of Jack Russell terrier club of America.
Personality and temperament
Jack Russell terriers have an infamous personality-some owners consider them well behaved; others call them demons! After all, this breed is famous for its strong instincts to hunt which gives them tons of energy for digging, running, jumping and in general, for being extremely active. Their breeding instincts also include a strong penchant for barking. The reason for this vocal nature is to help their human hunters find them once they have located a prey. Jack Russell terriers were also made to dig after and burrow in the ground to find small animals which tried to escape. This is another reason for the Jack Russell breed being so vocal. Unfortunately the Jacks of today also exhibit this trait. Let me summarize the characteristic personality traits of this breed:
- They are small perky yet highly energetic dogs
- If trained properly, they can be smart and obedient
- Jack Russell terriers do not always get along with other dogs owing to their strong personalities. They are certainly not good to have around rabbits, squirrels, hamsters and other small family pets owing to their hunting instincts.
- This breed is good for people in small apartments but they do need plenty of exercise. A house with a small yard is therefore ideal for a Jack Russell puppy.
Training your Jack Russell puppy
Training of your puppy should start the moment he steps into your home. Do not give your puppy a full run of the house; that is a surefire invitation for him to find ways to be naughty. Firm training, supervision and discipline are an essential part of creating a good companion out of your puppy. Show your puppy what is and isn’t acceptable from an early age. Be consistent about this. Make sure all your family members are on board and use the same set of commands and important words when teaching your puppy the rules and boundaries of the household. Never physically harm your Jack Russell; that will simply break his spirit. Keep training positive with lots of praise, soothing voice and treats. A happy Jack is more likely to exhibit loyalty and obedience than one that is punished or scolded frequently.
Jack Russell terriers need a lot of exercise otherwise they will be prone to disruptive behavior like chewing furniture, digging, excess barking etc. This is a playful flamboyant breed that needs a lot of fun and games. Encourage your kids to play a game of fetch with your pet along with other activities your terrier loves.
Jack Russell terriers need premium quality dog food with human grade ingredients as against cheap foods filled with chemicals and fillers. Avoid foods with BHA, BHT and Ethoxyquin. If you want to feed your dog canned food, find one from a premium brand. The BARF or Bones and Raw Foods diet is popular among Jack Russell terrier owners. However, always educate yourself thoroughly about any diet before starting it. Speak to a breeder or a vet who can guide you. There is also restriction about how much to feed your Jack. As a general rule of thumb, you should be able to feel your terrier’s ribs but not see them.
It is a myth that Jacks do not shed. The reality is they do shed; more than most breeds. Just because they have a short coat does not mean that it does not need brushing and combing. Brush your pet from head to tail regularly to remove dead hair and prevent parasites. Clip your pet’s nails from time to time. As stated above, Jack Russells shed throughout the year and brushing will help prevent hair on your clothing and furniture.
Common issues seen in Jack Russell terriers include hereditary cataracts, ectopia lentis, congenital deafness, patella luxation, certain cancers and degenerative disorders. Regular health checkups, exercise, mental stimulation and good food should keep your pet healthy during his lifetime.