Jack russell terrier

A popular hunting breed. It is an active dog that does not get easily through loneliness. It is a close relative of a Parson Russell Terrier.

Energy level
Level of affection
Level of friendliness
female: 5—6 kg
male: 5—6 kg
female: 25—30 cm
male: 25—30 cm
requires little time
Gives birth to
Gives birth to:
3—5 puppies
United Kingdom
in 19 century
Life span
Life span:
13—16 years


Jack Russell Terriers are curious dogs. It is important for them to be the center of attention. These pets are interested in everything that is going on around. They do not like sitting in one place. These dogs will participate in family activities and communicate with each family member. It is a life rule of Russell Terriers to always be busy doing something. If you do not pay attention to these dogs, they will become bored. In order to have some fun, they will start damaging furniture and other things. That is why this breed is not for busy people.

Jack Russell Terriers like children. These small dogs will play and always make kids happy. Showing aggression is not about dogs of this breed. However, because of having hunter instincts, it is hard for them to get on well with other animals. Especially with decorative ones. If you keep a Russell Terrier together with another cat or dog, it is crucial to pay them the same amount of attention. Otherwise, Jack Russel Terrier might become jealous and start a conflict.

These dogs are very active. During street walks, they will inspect bushes, come up to other people and animals. Because of well-developed hunter instincts, they like digging holes. Despite being small in size, Jack Russell Terriers are loud pets. They show their emotions and feeling by loud barking. If the pet feels danger, it will definitely warn its owner about it. This breed is not for people looking for a calm dog.


Jack Russell Terriers are smart dogs. However, they like being sly and disobedient. You need to work with the dog to get its respect and understanding of house rules. It is recommended to ask a professional trainer for help. That will be much more effective.

During first days after dog`s purchase, it is important not to let it do everything it wants. Otherwise, it will be hard to teach your pet not to do things it has already got used to. Patience and persistence are key instruments in bringing up a Jack Russell Terrier. The dog has to see authority in its owner. It also needs to understand that there will be consequences after breaking rules.

Early socialization is very important. The earlier the dog starts getting used to the world, the better it is. Then, start working on teaching your pet basic commands. The perfect age for that is 2–3 months. During that period, a model of dog`s behavior gets formed. It is important to remember that this is a hunting breed. Investigating everything around is in their blood. Jack Russell Terriers like digging holes, looking for someone`s trace, coming up to other animals and people. That is why these dogs have to get used to a collar and a leash. At first, do it inside the house. Put a collar and a leash on your dog and leave them for 10–15 minutes. Then take your dog outside and work on teaching it basic commands.

You should spend more time on such commands as «come here» and «no». Spend no longer than 15 minutes on training every day. For your dog not to lose interest in the process, teach it in a playful way. Praise it with treats for successfully completing commands. If a Russell Terrier does not listen to you — scold it. It is important not to beat the dog. Aggression will damage its psyche and make it uncontrollable. 

If you want to use your Jack Russell Terrier for hunting, it is better to take it to special courses. There, your dog will learn how to behave in burrows and how to drive out the hidden animal: most often a fox or badger. Additionally, your dog can be taught how to hunt dexterous rodents and large animals.


Jack Russell Terriers are small animals. Their body is muscular. Their weight depends on such proportion: 5 cm correspond to 1 kg of body weight.
Can be either soft or stiff. It is water-repellent. The undercoat is absent. 
White with black or red patches. Red spots can be of any shade: from chestnut to dark brown.
Wide and flat. Snout is shorter than the skull.
Expressive, almond-shaped, always of dark color.
Small, can be either floppy or erect-type. Their tips are V-shaped.
Strong and muscular.
Short and straight, with well-developed muscles.
Short. When the dog is calm, its tail goes down. When the pet is moving, its tail rises.

Basic Care

Jack Russell Terriers do not need much time to be groomed. Their short hair has to be brushed once in 2 weeks, using a special glove. During the molting period — in spring and fall — once a week. Then pet your dog with wet hands to take off left hairs. Russell Terriers with stiff hair sometimes need to get a haircut. You can do it yourself. However, it is better to consult a professional groomer.

Russell Terriers do not need to be given a bath very often. Shampoo washes off protective layer from their water-repellent skin. That is why it is recommended to give these dogs a bath only if they got dirty with something that cannot be licked off. Use shampoos for soft and stiff hair. Their paws need to be wiped with wet towels after each walk. Clean your dog`s teeth once in 10 days, using a zoo-paste and a special brush. Check its eyes and ears every week and clean them when needed, using cotton pads. Claws of these dogs have to be trimmed once a month.

Jack Russell Terriers are not picky in what they eat. They can be fed with either high-quality dry or natural food. Dry food of premium quality contains vitamins and minerals, needed for dog`s health. Such natural ingredients can be given to these dogs: boiled not greasy meat — beef, chicken and rabbit meat; offals; grains — rice, buckwheat and oatmeal; boiled vegetables; fat free dairy products — cottage cheese, baked milk and kefir. Once a week, boiled fish fillet can be given to your pet. It is important to clean it from bones. Dry and natural food can change one another. However, it is important not to mix them into one portion. A puppy under the age of 3 months needs to eat 6 times a day, under 6 months — 4 times a day; under 1 year — 3 times a day; then — twice a day: in the morning and in the evening, preferably at the same time every day.

Jack Russell Terriers are very active pets. For comfortable life, they need much free space, constant physical exercises and interaction with people. These pets should live inside only. Because of having short hair, they are very sensitive to coldness. It is recommended to create a special area where your pet will sleep. Russell Terriers need to be walked for 2 hours every day: in the morning and in the evening. It is important to let it spread its energy: let your dog run around and play games with it.

Health and Illnesses

Jack Russell Terriers can live up to 16 years if treated well. Their health is strong. This breed does not present many hereditary health problems. 

Hip dysplasia is a hereditary pathology that disrupts development of the acetabulum, making it flat. Because of it, ligaments and capsules, that attach the femoral bone, get loosened. The dog starts limping and feeling pain while moving. It is impossible to cure dysplasia. However, if help is offered in time, its development can be slowed down.

Perthes disease is a hereditary disorder that disrupts blood flow and development of new bone cells in head of the femoral bone. As a result, necrosis develops. It usually appears when the dog is 6–12 months old. The dog starts limping and looses ability to straighten its leg. If you consult a vet in time, it will be possible to cut out the affected parts of hip and stop development of necrosis. After few months of rehabilitation, the pet will be able to walk again. 

Apart from hereditary health issues, Russell Terriers might suffer from loss of hearing, epilepsy, dislocation of patella and glaucoma. That is why it is crucial to take your dog to a vet once in half a year. This might help prevent development of some disorders.

History of the Breed

The breed appeared thanks to a British priest named Jack Russell at the beginning of the 19th century. Besides serving at church, he was also interested in hunting and breeding hounds. While studying in Oxford, he accidentally found a small hunting dog. Its owner was a local milkman. Alertness, courage, well-developed sense of smell and small size made that dog perfect for fox hunting. Jack bought it from a farmer. Pet`s name was Trump. He set a start for work on establishing a new breed.

It is not known what other dogs, apart from Trump, were used for developing the breed. Jack did not make any notes. Breeders assume that he used Fox Terriers, Border Collies, Cairn Terriers and Irish Terriers. Russel wanted to improve hunting skills of the new breed. He was not interested in dog`s appearance. Having seen the result of Jack`s work, breeders decided to add aggression to his dog`s hunting skills. That is how they would be able to participate in dog fights. For that reason, they started crossbreeding Terriers and Bulldogs. Jack was against this idea. He believed that advantage of the breed was in dog`s speed and endurance, needed for chasing foxes.

In 1873, other breeders and Jack established English Kennel Club. He put much effort into development of dog-breeding in the UK. Jack continued breeding Wire Hair Terriers, but they did not participate in any shows. In 1882, Jack died. His work was continued by Arthur Heinemann. In 1914, he established the Parson Jack Russell Terrier Club, which was closed in the 40s.

In the middle of the 19th century, Terriers started being crossbred with Dachshunds and Welsh Corgis. Appearance of Terriers changed: their legs became shorter. In Britain, short-legged Terriers were not allowed to participate in shows. In the 1960s, they appeared in Australia. Local people liked them for their cute appearance and cheerfulness and continued developing the breed.

The breed was officially recognized only in 1990. Short- and long-legged pets were united by one standard — Parson Jack Russell Terrier. In 2001, it was divided into 2 separate standards. Parson Russell Terriers are dogs with long legs and square body. Jack Russell Terriers have short legs and long body.