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Jack Russell Terrier

A big dog in a small dog’s body, the Jack Russell Terrier is a fearless, inquisitive companion with boundless energy.

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Animalia Team
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    Country of Origin

    United Kingdom

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    Breed Group

    Terrier

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    Height

    Male 12-14 In

    Female 12-13 In

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    Weight

    Male 14-18 Ib

    Female 12-16 Ib

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    Life Span

    14-15 years

In a Nutshell

In true terrier fashion, these dogs love life and are always up for an adventure. They’re charming and affectionate, but their lively temperaments mean they are better suited to active owners with enough time to exercise them and keep them mentally stimulated. So, a Jack Russell Terrier might be the dog for you if you’re looking for a friend to join you on runs and hikes. Although Jack Russell are purebred dogs, there are plenty of them in shelters and rescues ready for prospective owners.

Life With a Jack Russell Terrier

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Energy level

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Trainability Level

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Amount of Shedding

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Tendency of Barking

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Exercise Needs

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    Home Alone

    Couldn’t care less

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    Living Arrangements

    Apartment will do

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    Kid Friendly

    Yes

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    Pet Friendly

    Yes

Looks & Personality

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The Jack Russell Terrier is a sturdy little dog with a very distinctive appearance. The breed has dark brown eyes, ears that fold forward in a “V” shape, and a coat that’s typically white with black or tan markings. Jack Rusells have compact, muscular bodies and their coats come in smooth and broken varieties. It’s important to get your terrier’s coat plucked or stripped every so often to promote new growth.

 

Though small, Jack Russells are as territorial as any big dog. JRTs are baying terriers, which means they can be quite vocal. They make great watchdogs, but they may be a poor choice for dog lovers looking for plenty of peace and quiet. The breed is also naturally assertive and may not take well to having other animals in the home. As such, it’s important to socialize your Jack Russell while they’re still a puppy.

 

If you have the time and patience to devote to them, a Jack Russell Terrier makes for an excellent family dog.

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A tip from a vet

Avoid overfeeding your Jack Russell by leaving food out all the time. These little pooches tend to be quite active and can eat just out of boredom. Keep your terrier in good shape by measuring their food twice a day. Parasite prevention is also extremely important when it comes to terriers who just love to roll in grass or sand.
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A tip from a trainer

Given how energetic Jack Russell Terriers can be, this breed is not for everyone. It's virtually impossible to train the hunting instincts of the breed, so owners need to keep their dogs physically and mentally engaged. Bored Jack Russells may start to bark or engage in destructive behavior. Even dog owners without yards can keep the breed active and content with brisk daily walks.
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Did You Know

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    Jack Russells have a strong prey drive instinct, which means they’ll hunt just about anything, including cats, birds, lizards, and any other small animal.

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    Jack Russell Terriers are escape artists who might just climb, dig under, or jump over your fence. They’re entirely untrustworthy off the leash.

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    Despite being a mere 15 inches tall, JRTs are capable of jumping higher than 5 feet.

In The News

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You can find Jack Russell Terriers in several films, including My Dog Skip, The Mask, Beginners, and Clean Slate. Perhaps the most famous JRT is Uggie – a little dog who made his debut in the 2011 film The Artist and went on to achieve quite a bit of acclaim for his acting prowess. Uggie took home several awards that season including the Palm Dog Award for “Best Performance by a Canine" and went on to star in Water for Elephants and The Campaign.

Famous Jack Russell Terrier Owners

Prince Charles, Karl Lagerfeld, Blake Lively, Mariah Carey, Natalie Portman, Candice Swanepoel, Audrey Hepburn, Serena Williams, Paul McCartney

The History Behind the Breed

Jack Russell Terriers are small terrier dogs that were first bred in England as fox-hunting dogs. Back in the 1800s, hunting was a premier sport, attracting wealthy and prominent men, including members of the Clergy. One of these men was Reverend John Russell, or "Jack" to his friends, who wanted a dog with the shortness and strength to dig foxes out of their holes. The result was the Jack Russell Terrier, a breed so alert and athletic that it elevated the sport of hunting foxes. Today, the JRT is a favorite among farmers, horse owners, animal trainers for television, and fitness enthusiasts.

If a Jack Russell Terrier Could Talk…

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“I can be naughty when I’m bored. But really, I just need lots of physical activity and attention.”

A Quick Anatomy Lesson

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Jack Russell Terriers haven’t changed much since they were bred some 200 years ago. Breeders have protected the gene pool, which means your dog is likely to live a long, healthy life. Even though JRTs are a healthy, sturdy breed, it's important to have your pup tested for vision, brain, and heart-related ailments.

Common Health Problems

What about your Jack Russell Terrier?