A sporty breed with a curious personality, the Jack Russell terrier, won’t hesitate to trot right into your heart. One look into their bright, almond-shaped eyes, and you’ll know you’ve found a friend for life. These dogs are alert, good-natured, and highly intelligent. Bred for foxhunting in rural England, these compact creatures have the stamina to walk, run, and play for hours on end.
What’s more, there’s plenty of variety in this breed. Their coats can be silky smooth or coarse and shaggy. No Jack Russell’s patterns are identical, making each pup one of a kind. At the end of the day, there are few breeds more affectionate, charming, and rewarding than the Jack Russell. Spend a little time with one, and you’ll see exactly what we mean.
Also Known As…
Jacks, or JR, for short. The Parson Jack Russell terrier, though this is technically a separate (but similar) breed. Bullet. Bolt. My Dog Skip.
What Is The History Of The Jack Russell Terrier?
In the early 19th century, fox hunting had evolved from a rural necessity into a full-blown sport, and strong-nosed dogs were the key to success. Just look at fox-hunting breeds like English foxhounds—it’s right there in the name! Foxes have long posed problems for farmers, and while we think of these bushy-tailed beasts as cute and cuddly, they could spell real danger for livestock.
Reverend John Russell, a charismatic priest from Devonshire, was a devoted fox hunter and dog breeder. He explored various terrier breeds, interested in finding the ideal traits for a calm and courageous hunter. Most important to Russell, his dogs required a restrained temperament. They needed the drive to pursue the foxes without physically harming them.1 His dog, Trump, became the V.1 prototype for the Jack Russell breed.2
Russell’s hunting dogs are now considered two distinct breeds: the Jack Russell terrier and the larger fox terrier, and today these breeds are more renowned for their kindness and companionship than their sporty sensibilities. Jack Russells still enjoy a good chase, but they’re more than happy to run after their favorite toy instead of a live animal.
For the past century, Jack Russells have been a favorite family pet throughout the world. From the living room to the silver screen, you can find a Jack Russell Terrier anywhere you find people. Perhaps it’s their kindness, companionship, and undeniable charms that keep them at the top of nearly every “best dogs” list.3
How Big Do Jack Russell Terriers Get?
Height: 10-15 inches
Weight: 13-18 pounds
How Long Do Jack Russell Terriers (Generally) Live?
Break out the birthday candles! Just make sure the cake’s dog-friendly. Similar to other terriers—including the bull terrier and certain types of pit bull terriers—Jack Russells live for 12–14 years on average. You’ll have plenty of time to celebrate with your pup.
What Is A Jack Russell Terriers’ Temperament & Personality Like?
Smart, loyal, and eager to please, Jack Russell terriers possess the best qualities of beloved working dogs, and then some. They’re particularly happy when set to a task or invited to explore new territory. If you can, give your Jack Russell a little off-leash time so they can embrace their curious nature. You might be pleasantly surprised by how active and agile this breed is, making them your perfect partner for outdoor activities.
They do occasionally like to dig, bark, and whine for your attention—but isn’t that a little true of all dog breeds?
Are Jack Russell Terriers Good With Kids? Cats? Dogs?
Looking for a breed that can keep up with your kids? The Jack Russell terrier dog is ready for whatever shenanigans your children are interested in. Just be sure to give every youngster a proper education on how to treat your little dog, and spend some quality time supervising their early interactions.
Jack Russells can get along splendidly with other pups, too. Make sure to introduce everyone in a safe and calm environment, and work to train out any aggressive behavior between your furry friends.
Cats can also befriend Jack Russells, but these relationships can be a little rockier. Because of this breed’s hunting instincts, they may be inclined to chase your feline around the house. If you have a cat, you’ll have to put in some work to train your pup to treat them with respect they deserve (chances are, your cat will help with that training, too—in their own way).
Are Jack Russell Terriers High Energy?
There’s no doubt about it—playtime is a big part of every Jack Russell terrier dog’s day. These dogs long for at least an hour of daily exercise. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do with a Jack Russell. Take a hike, go for a run, or play their favorite game: chase. However you choose to exhaust your excitable pup, you can bet they’ll enjoy it.
Are Jack Russell Terriers Hard To Train?
This small dog breed is highly intelligent—so does that make them easier or harder to train? A little of both, it seems. Your Jack should be able to pick up complex skills, but they also might bore easily during training. If you’re having a little bit of trouble teaching your Jack Russell, try cranking up the fun during your sessions. Positive reinforcement, tasty treats, and varying your methods are great ways to keep your pup engaged and excited to learn.
Do Jack Russell Terriers Have Health Issues?
This breed is resilient and easy-going, so you shouldn’t expect too many serious health concerns. Prioritize a nutritious diet, daily exercise, and plenty of one-on-one time to ensure your Jack Russell stays well, both mentally and physically.
While Jack Russells are generally healthy, they can still deal with health conditions, including:4
- Eye problems – If you notice squinting, eye discharge, or redness, it could be a sign of cataracts, glaucoma, or primary lens luxation. These degenerative eye conditions often affect older dogs and require veterinary care.
- Pulmonic stenosis – This congenital heart disorder can restrict blood flow to the heart and lungs. Often, this condition is found alongside a heart murmur and could have dangerous long-term health effects for a Jack Russell. This condition doesn’t usually present obvious symptoms, though you may observe more fatigue during daily activities.
- Dental disease – Like many small breed dogs, Jack Russell terriers are particularly susceptible to dental problems. Brush your pup’s pearly whites regularly to prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar.
Do Jack Russell Terriers Need To Be Groomed?
Depending on your Jack Russell’s coat type, they may need a little maintenance to look neat and dapper. Consider occasionally trimming, regular brushing, and baths every other month to stay on top of your pup’s grooming needs.
Beyond looking their best, grooming is also important for maintaining comfort and health. Alongside ear and teeth cleaning, coat grooming is a key part of supporting puppy wellness. They’ll appreciate it, even if they fight you every step of the way.
How Much Does It Cost To Care For A Jack Russell Terrier?
To become the proud owner of a Jack Russell, you’ll need to spend anywhere from $700 to $1500 a year. The first year may run you double that amount, factoring in adoption fees, initial veterinary exams, vaccinations, and other necessities.
Jack Russells don’t need a 4-star meal, but they do appreciate quality dog food. 1.25 to 1.75 cups of kibble a day should be enough to keep them feeling full. Meals can easily add up to $40 to $80 per month.
Want to make mealtime a cinch? BARK makes delicious, nutritious meals made just for Jack Russell terriers. It’s never been easier to order high-quality dog food, designed by veterinary nutritionists, and specialized to your breed’s needs. Order BARK today and enjoy 25% off your first food order and free shipping when you use code 25FOOD.
Routine Vet Care (Healthy Dog)
Your first trip with your new small dog should always be to the vet. A standard checkup may cost $40 to $80, plus you’ll pay more for any treatments, testing, and medications. Vet bills can add up quickly, so stay consistent with yearly checkups to reduce the chance of an emergency.
Preventative Medications For Jack Russell Terriers
Flea, worm, and tick treatments will amount to $150 to $300 per year for a Jack Russell terrier. Additionally, ask your vet about other essential vaccinations based on your new pup’s anticipated lifestyle.
Jack Russell Terriers’ Grooming
Trips to the groomer often cost $50 to $100, depending on what services you opt for. That said, you can take your Jack Russell’s grooming into your own hands—literally.
For less than $100, you can pick up brushes, combs, shampoo, shears, and other grooming products. It might take a little trial and error, but there’s no reason you can’t keep up with your adult dog’s grooming needs all by yourself.
Toys, Treats, Beds, & Accessories
A new puppy is an opportunity to splurge. Toys and treats are a great way to bond with your Jack Russell puppy, and it’s pretty hard not to spoil such a cute creature. Ultimately, you can spend as much as you want on exciting extras, but just make sure you start with the essentials, like bowls, dishes, collars, and leashes.
Give your Jack Russell Terrier a real treat with BarkBox. It’s a monthly delivery of treats, toys, and chews that every good adult dog deserves. Plus, a subscription is only $23 a month. Does your pooch tear through toys like a knife through hot butter? Try the Super Chewer subscription and enjoy 2 durable toys, 2 bags of treats, and 2 hardy chews for $29 a month. DOUBLE YOUR FIRST BOX FOR FREE!
If you have to spend time away from your precious Jack Russell puppy, consider putting away a little chunk of change for services including:
- Daycare ($30–$50/day)
- Kenneling ($30–$50/night)
- Doggy training classes ($30–$80 per class)
- Dog walkers ($20–$25/visit)
- Britannica. Jack Russell Terrier. https://www.britannica.com/animal/Jack-Russell-terrier
- Jack Russell Terrier Club of America. History of the Jack Russell Terrier. https://www.therealjackrussell.com/breed/history.php
- American Kennel Club. Jack Russell Terrier. https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/russell-terrier/
- PetMD. Parson Jack Russell Terrier. https://www.petmd.com/dog/breeds/parson-jack-russell-terrier