Are you considering adopting a Jack Russell Terrier? Read on for a detailed description of this energetic dog breed.

Jack Russell Terrier
by: Mary Jane Suttor

These dogs are an energetic intellectual small dog breed that can be a great hunter or a family pet.


The personality of this breed of Terrier is one that is happy, bold, energetic, loyal, intelligent and assertive. It's strengths include its working ability and its qualities as a companion animal. According to The Dog Breed Information Center, It is not recommended for children under the age of six because it is known to NOT tolerate "unintended mischief" such as ear or tail pulling. It is also know for jumping on children.

This is a breed that requires a lot of exercise and strong discipline. It is recommended that it have at least the basic level of obedience training. It can be possessive of its owner and may not get along with other pets such as cats, birds, rabbits, mice or rats due to its strong hunting instinct.


This breed can live well into 15 years if properly trained. Some are prone to kneecap dislocation, inherited eye diseases, deafness, and a disease of the hips called Legg-Perthes.


The Jack Russell Terrier is NOT a non-shedding breed. Grooming should consist of an occasional bath and brushing. It is best if it is a country dog or at least it should have a fenced in yard. It can be destructive if left unattended and many breeders do not recommend it as a pet for a two career family as it is not in the best interest of the dog to be left alone for long periods of time.

The well-behaved Jack Russells are well-exercised. These dogs require a fenced in yard as they are known to jump as high as five feet in the air.


There are many breeders that can be found through JRTCA. When selecting a breeder there are several things to consider before choosing a dog:

  • Ask if the breeder is associated with the JRTCA.
  • Ask to see the parents of the puppy and spend time with the parents.
  • Ask how long they have been a breeder.
  • Ask if the parents are registered.
  • Are the premises clean?
  • Are the puppies being raised as part of the household and not in dog runs?
  • Are the dogs clean?
  • Are the dogs happy and healthy?
  • Are the dog happy to greet new people or are they shy of people?
  • Watch for a breeder that doesn't always have dogs available and has a waiting list.

Two quality rescue organizations are Russell Rescue, Inc. and Russell Refuge, Inc. Usually the reason Jack Russells are in need of rescue is because owners are not aware of the needs of the breed before the dog is purchased. This is a lifetime commitment to a dog that will remain energetic into its 15th year. It is a big dog in a little body and will need as much exercise or more than a large dog breed. People do not understand the breed and become overwhelmed when the dog does exactly the things it has been bred to do: dig, bark, follow a scent and hunt birds. If bored it will invent jobs for itself such as chasing cars or guarding possessions. These natural instincts can be interpreted as bad behavior by new owners.

Jack Russells can be fantastic pets. They are humorous and smart and will create a lot of entertainment for owners by chasing bugs or leaves and playing with toys. Just be sure to plan a lot of physical activity, a place to run and play and plenty of attention. Then your Jack Russell will make the great companion that you were searching for.


This breed is also known as Parson Jack Russell Terrier and is a working terrier that has been bred for hunting since the 1800's. According to the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America, "It takes its name from Reverend John Russell, who bred one of the finest strains of terrier in Devonshire England. His first terrier Trump is said to be the foundation of this line of working terriers. Bred expressly for fox hunting the breed is known for having a compact body with balanced proportions, a small strong chest that is very flexible and can maneuver underground.

These dogs range between 10-15 inches in height and 14-18 pounds in weight. Sources consulted in the writing of this article include:
Jack Russell Terrier Club of America