Jack Russell

Jack Russell

29 August 2023

Let’s talk about… Jack Russell Terriers: what are they?

  • Jack Russell Terriers, often called JRTs or Jack Russells, are lively and energetic small dogs known for their spirited personality and distinctive appearance.
  • Originating in England, they were originally bred for fox hunting and have retained their strong prey drive and hunting instincts.
  • Jack Russell Terriers were named after Reverend John Russell, who played a significant role in developing the breed in the 19th century.
  • Jack Russells are compact dogs with a height ranging from 25 to 30 cm and a weight of 5 to 7 kg.
  • Their life expectancy is typically between 13 and 16 years.
Jack Russell  Exercise Needs 4/5 Grooming Ease 4/5 Trainability 3/5

What is the temperament of Jack Russell Terriers like?

  • Jack Russell Terriers are known for their bold and confident temperament.
  • They are intelligent, independent, and full of energy.
  • These dogs have a strong desire to explore and are always ready for an adventure.
  • Jack Russells are loyal and devoted to their families but can be wary of strangers.
  • Proper socialisation from an early age is important to ensure they become well-rounded and friendly dogs.
  • Due to their high energy levels and natural hunting instincts, they may not be suitable for households with small pets such as rabbits or guinea pigs.
  • They can coexist with other dogs if properly introduced and supervised.
  • Jack Russells are best suited for active individuals or families who can provide them with plenty of mental and physical stimulation.
Bailey, the Jack Russell Terrier
Bailey, the Jack Russell Terrier

How much exercise do Jack Russell Terriers need?

  • Jack Russell Terriers are highly active dogs that require plenty of exercise to keep them physically and mentally satisfied.
  • They have boundless energy and thrive on regular physical activity.
  • On average, they should receive at least 1.5 to 2 hours of exercise per day.
  • This exercise should include both physical exercise, such as brisk walks, jogging, or playtime in a securely fenced area, as well as mental stimulation through interactive games, puzzle toys, or obedience training.
  • They excel in activities like agility and flyball due to their athleticism and intelligence.
  • Jack Russell Terrier puppies also require exercise, but their exercise sessions should be shorter and less intense to account for their growing bodies.

Forrest, the Jack Russell Terrier
Forrest, the Jack Russell Terrier

Do Jack Russell Terriers need a lot of grooming?

  • Jack Russell Terriers have a short, dense, and coarse double coat that requires moderate grooming.
  • They shed moderately throughout the year and may require more frequent brushing during shedding seasons.
  • Regular brushing with a firm bristle brush or a grooming mitt helps remove loose hair and keeps their coat looking neat.
  • Bathing should be done as needed or when they become dirty, using a dog-specific shampoo.
Gino, the Jack Russell Terrier
Gino, the Jack Russell Terrier

Are Jack Russell Terriers easy to train?

  • Jack Russell Terriers are intelligent dogs that can be both independent and strong-willed.
  • They have a natural instinct to explore and can be determined when it comes to pursuing their own interests.
  • Training a Jack Russell requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement techniques.
  • Start training and socialisation early to establish boundaries and teach them appropriate behaviours.
  • Reward-based training methods, using treats, praise, and play, work best with these dogs.
  • They respond well to engaging and interactive training sessions that keep their minds stimulated.
  • Jack Russells are quick learners and enjoy learning new tricks and tasks.
  • However, they may become bored with repetitive training, so keep sessions interesting and varied.
Lily, the Jack Russell Terrier
Lily, the Jack Russell Terrier

What do Jack Russell Terriers eat?

  • Jack Russell Terriers should be fed a balanced and nutritious diet to support their energy levels and overall health.
  • Feed them a high-quality dog food that is appropriate for their age, size, and activity level. Most do well being fed twice daily.
  • Follow the feeding guidelines provided by the food manufacturer and adjust the portions based on your dog's individual needs and body condition.
  • As puppies, Jack Russell Terriers have specific dietary requirements for growth and development.
  • Feed them a specially formulated puppy food until they reach around 12 months of age. They should be fed 3-4 times daily until they are 6 months old then twice daily.
  • Your veterinarian can provide guidance on the appropriate puppy food and feeding schedule.
  • Once they reach adulthood, at around 12 months old, gradually transition them to a small breed adult dog food.
  • Avoid overfeeding and excessive treats, as Jack Russell Terriers can be prone to weight gain if not properly managed.
  • Consult with your vet if you have any queries about their dietary needs or specific health conditions.

Are Jack Russell Terriers healthy?

Jack Russell Terriers are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health issues. Being aware of these potential concerns and providing regular veterinary care is important for their well-being. Some health issues that can occur in Jack Russell Terriers include:

Bones and Joints

  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: a hip condition that affects the blood supply to the head of the femur bone, leading to breakdown of the bone, pain and lameness.
  • Luxating patella - this is when a dog’s kneecap moves out of where it should normally be


  • Deafness - either very little or no ability to hear


  • Cataracts - a common cause of blindness due to a clouding of the lens of the eye


  • Ataxia - a loss of balance and lack of coordination. JRTs can experience both Late Onset and Spinocerebellar, and there is no treatment available for either. Parents should be screened for these conditions.
  • Glaucoma - the pressure of the eye becomes too high which can damage the eye
  • Primary Lens Luxation - the lens of the eye shifts from its normal position, which results in glaucoma and  inflammation

This list is not exhaustive, so if you have any concerns about the health of your Jack Russell Terrier or want to discuss further if this breed is right for you, consult with your veterinarian.

BorrowMyDoggy loves Jack Russell Terriers

BorrowMyDoggy has 19672 Jack Russell Terrier members

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian. Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog's health, contact your local vet.

Terrier Dog Breed Guides

Airedale Terrier

Bedlington Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier

Manchester Terrier

Norfolk Terrier

Parson Russell Terrier

Patterdale Terrier

Smooth Fox Terrier

Welsh Terrier

West Highland White Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier

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