The Jack Russell Terrier is a small terrier that is commonly confused with the Parson Russell Terrier. The Parson Russell Terrier is shorter-bodied and longer-legged, while the Jack Russell Terrier is longer-bodied and shorter-legged. It is not yet an officially recognized breed by the AKC. The UKC recognized both the Jack and Parson under the breed Russell Terriers until 2009, and the NKC recognizes the Jack but not the Parson.
He may be small, but what the Jack Russell Terrier lacks in size, he more than makes up for in energy. What was once an English hunting dog, the Jack Russell is now a treasured companion to many households around the world. But if you’re planning on bringing one of these feisty dogs home, you had better be active – this little fella never stops .
Full of energy and exuberance, the Jack Russell Terrier is lively, busy, loves to hunt, and enjoys mental challenges. This is known to be an independent breed, so it is recommended that you should be an experienced dog owner. But once trained, you’ll find that the Jack Russell Terrier is a delight and is always up for amusement. Read on to learn more about this breed.
- The Jack Russell Terrier, like many terriers, enjoys digging and can make quite a large hole in a short time. It’ easier to train a dog to dig in a specific area than it is to break him of a digging habit.
- Jack Russell Terriers must have a securely fenced yard to give them room to play and burn off their abundant energy. Underground electronic fencing won’t hold them. Jacks have been known to climb trees and even chain link fencing to escape their yards, so it’s best if their time outdoors is supervised.
- First-time or timid dog owners would do well to choose another kind of dog. The Jack can be a challenge even for an experienced dog owner. He’s strong willed and requires firm and consistent training.
- Jacks can be recreational barkers, so they’re not suited to apartment life.
- Aggression toward other dogs can be a serious problem with the Jack Russell Terrier if he’s not taught to get along with other canines from an early age.
- The Jack Russell thrives when he’s with his family and should not live outdoors or in a kennel. When you leave the house, try turning on a radio to help prevent separation anxiety.
- Jacks are bouncy and will jump up on people and things. They’re capable of jumping higher than 5 feet.
- Jack Russells have a strong prey drive and will take off after smaller animals. They should never be trusted off leash unless they’re in a fenced area.
- Jack Russell Terriers have a high energy level and are active indoors and out. They need several walks per day, or several good games in the yard. They make excellent jogging companions.
Differences with related breeds
The Jack Russell terrier and Parson Russell terrier breeds are similar, sharing a common origin, but have several marked differences — the most notable being the range of acceptable heights.
|The Parson Russell terrier|
Other differences in the Parson can include a longer head and larger chest as well as overall a larger body size.The height of a Parson Russell at the withers according to the breed standard is 12–14 inches which places it within the range of the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America’s standard size for a Jack Russell of 10–15 inches. However, the Parson Russell is a conformation show standard whereas the Jack Russell standard is a more general working standard.
The Russell terrier, which is also sometimes called the English Jack Russell terrier or the Short Jack Russell terrier is a generally smaller related breed. Both the breed standards of the American Russell Terrier Club and the English Jack Russell Terrier Club Alliance states that at the withers it should be an ideal height of 8–12 inches . Although sometimes called the English or Irish Jack Russell terrier,this is not the recognised height of Jack Russells in the United Kingdom. According to the Jack Russell Club of Great Britain’s breed standard, it is the same size as the standard for Jack Russells in the United States, 10–15 inches.
Compared to the Parson, the Russell terrier should always be longer than tall at the withers, whereas the Parson’s points should be of equal distance.
The Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard for the Jack Russell terrier has this smaller size listed as a requirement.
The energetic and spirited Jack packs a lot of personality into his small body. Loving, devoted, and endlessly amusing, he enjoys life and all it has to offer. Given half a chance, he’ll pursue his delights over fences and through the streets. He’s incredibly intelligent, but his wilful nature can make him difficult to train. Friendly toward people, he can be aggressive toward other dogs and any animal that resembles prey, including cats. His fearless nature puts him at risk when he decides to take on a bigger dog.
He thrives on structure and routine, but training sessions should be short and sweet to hold his interest. Repetition bores him. A proper Jack is friendly and affectionate, never shy.
Like every dog, Jack Russells need early socialization — exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences — when they’re young. Socialization helps ensure that your Jack Russell puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.
Common health issues affecting the Jack Russell breed include inherited eye diseases and deafness. Legg Perthes is a disease of the hip joints that can occur most commonly in smaller breed dogs, the Jack Rusell included. They are also prone to dislocation of the knee caps.
Jack Russells are well known for living long and healthy lives, as breeders have protected the gene pool, preventing direct in-line breeding. Given proper care, life expectancy averages about 15 years, possibly even longer. The common health issues associated with Jack Russells are generally due to recessive genes of certain lines being bred.
The biggest care concern with Jack Russells is making sure they get enough exercise. Outside of that, caring for them is relatively simple. Jack Russells only need to be bathed when necessary due to their short coat. Regular combing and brushing is recommended with a firm bristle brush.
To get a Jack Russell Terrier show-worthy, its coat must be stripped rather than clipped. This creates a shorter and smoother coat that is water and bramble resistant, unlike clipped coats.
The Jack Russell Terrier will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. It is very active indoors and will do best with at least an average-sized yard.
Jack Russells are highly trainable dogs and soak up new tasks like a sponge. They are terriers and can exhibit stubbornness if they don’t like the attitude of the person training them. Positive reinforcement and mixing up the daily training routine will keep your Jack Russell engaged and interested. Discipline and harsh tones will cause this dog to become defensive which may lead to snapping or biting.
Once basic obedience is mastered, Jack Russells should move on to advanced obedience, trick training and agility work. They thrive on new activity and will be at the top of their class in just about every activity they participate in.
Jack Russell Terriers need lots of room to move around, so they aren’t the best choice for apartments. If stuck in a small living area, it may lead to destructive behavior such as chewing. A fenced-in yard is best for this breed, but he should always be supervised, as he will take off after small animals and dig up a storm.
Take your Jack Russell out for a daily walk and let him run around in the yard. If you want to tire him out, a hearty game of catch will always set tails wagging. This breed loves balls and will gladly bring it back to you until your arm tires out.
Just as important as physical activity is mental stimulation. The Jack Russell Terrier is an intelligent dog and will excel in agility activities including sprinting, flyball competitions, obstacle courses and retrieving. This covers your Jack Russell for both physical and mental stimulation requirements.
Need only weekly brushing to remove dead and loose hair. If you brush your Jack faithfully, he should rarely need a bath.
Trim nails once or twice a month. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they’re too long. Short, neatly trimmed nails keep the feet in good condition and protect your shins from getting scratched when your Jack enthusiastically jumps up to greet you.
The only other grooming care he needs is dental hygiene. Brush his teeth at least two or three times a week to prevent tartar buildup and periodontal disease, daily for best results.
Start brushing and examining your Jack when he’s a puppy, to get him used to it. Handle his paws frequently — dogs are touchy about their feet — and look inside his mouth and ears. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you’ll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when he’s an adult.
Children And Other Pets
Jack Russell Terriers are loving and affectionate dogs who can do well in homes with older children who understand how to interact with dogs. They’re not suitable for homes with young children. Besides being rambunctious, they can snap when roughly handled.
Always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he’s sleeping or eating or to try to take the dog’s food away.
Some Jacks are aggressive toward other dogs, especially dogs of the same sex. They have a strong prey drive and will chase cats and other small animals.
Is the Jack Russell Terrier the Right Breed for you?
Low Maintenance: Infrequent grooming is required to maintain upkeep. Little to no trimming or stripping needed.
Constant Shedding: Routine brushing will help. Be prepared to vacuum often!
Difficult Training: The Jack Russell Terrier isn’t deal for a first time dog owner. Patience and perseverance are required to adequately train it.
Very Active: It will need daily exercise to maintain its shape. Committed and active owners will enjoy performing fitness activities with this breed.
Not Good for New Owners: This breed is best for those who have previous experience with dog ownership.
Good with Kids: This is a suitable breed for kids and is known to be playful, energetic, and affectionate around them.