Get to know the Jack Russell Terrier
All you need to know about the breed
There is nothing quite like that Jack Russell Terrier attitude. It is perfectly encapsulated by the expression “Big dog energy”. It just happens to be housed in a little dog’s body.
With all the boldness, exuberance and yes, energy, of a far larger animal, the Jack Russell Terrier struts through life with a lively joy. Loyal and devoted, they will be more than pleased to have you along for the ride.
While Jack Russell Terriers can make great family pets, especially when socialised as puppies, they are known to be a bit “nippy” and as such are best suited to families with slightly older children able to understand how to behave around dogs. A Jack Russell isn’t a good fit with toddlers or very young children.
Originally bred to accompany hunters, the Jack Russell still has the stamina and temperament that are part and parcel of a working dog’s personality, including the high prey drive for which they were prized. You might be less enthused to discover your Jack Russell Terrier taking off after anything that moves so keeping them on a lead when out and about is always a good idea.
Two things to note about the breed: In spite of their small size, they do need a lot of exercise – you will likely tire long before they do – and mental stimulation. And they really don’t take well to being left alone. The breed’s separation anxiety can actually affect their overall health. Luckily, with that early socialisation and training – perhaps with a professional familiar with the Jack Russell Terrier’s particular brand of smarts – they will be more than ready to accompany you as you go about your day.
2 facts about Jack Russell Terriers
Things to look out for
From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Jack Russell Terrier
A skip and a jump
A pretty healthy breed overall, Jack Russell Terriers can be prone to a few select joint problems - all that constant movement might be to blame – from hereditary Legg-Calve-Perthes (LCP) disease, which can be corrected surgically to, most commonly, luxating patellas. Basically, their knee-caps can move out of position. You can spot symptoms of the latter early, including limping, skipping, and a sitting position that seems as though they are compensating. A good vet can help you decide if your pooch needs surgery or not.
Yawn… the breed bores easily
While training the Jack Russell Terrier can be a relatively easy endeavour thanks to the breed’s inherent smarts, they are known to get bored rather quickly and lose interest. Not good for training! So on you to keep those sessions entertaining, changing up here and there to make sure your Jack Russell Terrier stays engaged. If you do, they will learn fast and the training will stick. They were bred as a working dog after all.
Caring for your Jack Russell Terrier
Grooming, training and exercise tips
While Jack Russell Terriers come with different coat types, none are particularly high maintenance, much like the breed itself. Brush comb your dog’s coat weekly to remove loose hairs, prevent matting or knots and to help distribute their natural skin oils for a cleaner, shiny coat. Trim nails as needed and check ears for wax or dirt regularly. When it comes to exercise, the robust Jack Russell Terrier needs a lot of exercise. Head into nature for long walks, hikes and bike rides. Tired Jack Russell Terriers are a good thing! The breed does have a high prey drive – early training will help avoid problems. As we have said elsewhere on this page, with patience and a firm hand, training headstrong Jack Russell Terriers can be a breeze – as long as you keep it interesting to offset the breed’s natural short attention span.