Terrier Breeds 101: The Jack Russell Terrier aka JRT

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jack russel terrier leapingA Jack Russell Terrier is quick-footed and quick-witted. The adage “Dynamite comes in small packages,” could not be truer of a dog breed. Those who understand this breed and embrace all the energy and drive that is a Jack Russell, absolutely adore them!

A Brief History of the Jack Russell Terrier aka JRT

We have the Reverend John Russell (aka Jack) to thank for the development of this much-loved small terrier breed. Parson Russell loved to hunt foxes in his spare time. Reverend Russell fell in love with a small terrier he bought from his milkman.

This terrier, Trump, is believed to be the beginning of the Jack Russell Dynasty some 200 years ago. It was the parson’s aim to breed a fearless working terrier that would hunt foxes and flush them from their dens.

 Jack Russell vs Parson Russell Terrier: What’s the Difference?

As with many popular working dog breeds, at some point comes a divergence of two or more different ‘types’. Those who are dedicated to the ‘working’ bloodlines will breed dogs who remain true to their original purpose irrespective of their looks.

The other camp will view working traits as less important. Thus, today, we have both the Jack Russell Terrier and the Parson Russell Terrier.

The Jack Russell Terrier Club of America (JRTCA) fiercely protects the working bloodlines of this breed. To such an extent that when the American Kennel Club (AKC) wanted to recognize the Jack Russell Terrier as a breed, the JRTCA denied them this. The AKC then renamed the breed, calling it the Parson Russell Terrier.

The Parson terrier is taller with a shorter body, while the JRT is shorter with a longer body.

The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) registers a Jack Russell Terrier breed. The breed standard of this JRT is similar to that of the traditional JRT.

The Appearance of These Terrier Dogs!

The Jack Russell Terrier is built for the specific purpose of flushing out foxes and vermin. It has short legs, a long body, and a white tipped tail. The Parson Russell Terrier has longer legs and a more compact body.

Coat and Colors! 

Jack Russells come in two different coat types: smooth or broken. The only difference being that of the length of the top coat and whether there is long hair present on the extremities.

For hunters to be able to spot their hounds out in the field, Jackies are mostly white. They can be only white, white with tan or black, or white with tan and black (tricolor).

No fancy hair-do maintenance for these live wires! A quick groom once a week to remove loose hair should suffice.

happy jack russell terrier aka JRT running

Average Size and Weight of Jack Russells!

These pocket pups can measure anywhere between 10 and 15 inches (25 – 37 cm) in height. They weigh in at approximately 13 – 17 pounds (6 – 7.5 kg). The Parson terriers tend to lay claim to the taller part of that spectrum, while the Jack Russell Terriers will seldom be taller than 12 inches.

There is yet another version of the JRT, called the “Shorty Jack”. This strain of JRT was bred as a companion dog. A Shorty Jack is longer than it is tall, with a height of between 8 and 12 inches. The shape of a Shorty Jack resembles that of a Dachshund or Welsh Corgi.

Is There Anything Cuter Than a Jack Russell Puppy?

A handful of cuteness! You can literally hold your terrier puppy in the palm of your hand. So small. And so endearing. With those alert and eager eyes and those ears cocked to let you know that they are listening to you to find out about all the adventures that you have planned for the day!

Because they have such strong personalities, it is important to socialize your Jackie pup from the moment you bring it home with you. Take your pup to socialization classes and on outings to all sorts of different places so that it can become accustomed to a variety of people, pets, and places.

Temperament and Personality of These Energetic Firecracker Doggos!

Not for first-time puppy owners and not for the weak-willed. If you do not lay down the law, your JRT will rule and possibly ruin your life. These doggos are tough, they were bred to chase foxes after all. They are also fearless. This can often get them into trouble when they encounter bigger, more aggressive dogs. A Jack Russell will not back down.

If you have time on your hands for training and want a fun-loving, energetic dog, the JRT is just the ticket. Jack Russells are ideal for people who lead an active lifestyle. If you are looking for a running companion or for a canine to go on hikes with you, this little fireball is the perfect match.

JRTs have a strong prey drive. For this reason, they are not ideal companions for people with cats and small dogs in the home. Unless they grow up together, the Jackie will mercilessly chase the cat whenever it feels like a bit of sport.

Jack Russells will get along well with other high-energy working dogs such as Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Bernese Mountain Dogs.

Jack Russell dogs love people. They are good family pets for families with older children.

cute jack russell puppy staring

A Busy JRT is a Happy JRT!

JRTs were bred to work. Following a fox over hill and dale is arduous labor and a Jackie does it with glee. Keep this in mind when planning activities for your working terrier. Partaking in fun activities such as agility or flyball training would be a great way to burn off some of that endless energy.

Jack Russells are incredibly intelligent. Put their intellect to good use by teaching fun and clever tricks.

What is Their Lifespan? 

You must be very sure about what you are getting yourself into when you decide to get a JRT. Jackies have a longer than average life expectancy of up to 15 years. To guarantee a long and happy life, keep your dog slim and trim with plenty of exercise and a healthy, balanced diet.

What About Jack Russell Mixes?

As with all mixed breed dogs, the traits inherited from the two different parents are difficult to predict. Due to the popularity of the breed, there are so many different mixes.

Jack Russell mix breeds tend to inherit the energy of the Jackies, while elements such as build and coat texture and color differ from cross to cross.

  • Jack Russells and Fox Terriers are very similar in most respects. This combination should yield a dog with the same traits as both parents.
  • A Bully Jack is a Bull Terrier crossed with a Jack Russell Terrier. A sturdily built muscular dog. An energetic dog that loves people.
  • Rustralian Terrier is a cross between an Australian Terrier and a Jack Russell. This is an active dog with a strong work drive.
  • A Cocker Spaniel mixed with a Jack Russell while most likely be an energetic and playful dog. A spaniel is slightly more docile, so this combo should be a little easier to train.
  • Crossing a Jack Russel with a Yorkshire Terrier yields a puppy that has a calmer nature. A Jackie-Yorkie cross also inherits the silky glossy coat of the Yorkshire Terrier.

4 Potential Health Issues for Jack Russell Terriers

As far as purebred dogs are concerned, Jack Russell Terriers are quite healthy. Some of the following conditions are more prevalent amongst Jack Russells:

  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease.
  • Congenital deafness (associated with white coat color).
  • Patellar luxation.
  • Glaucoma, progressive retinal atrophy, and cataracts.

Jack Russell Terrier Puppies for Sale!

When researching Jack Russell breeders, be sure to find one that is knowledgeable and responsible. The right breeder will be able to make sure that you get the right dog to suit your lifestyle. Responsible terrier breeders check their breeding stock for diseases and genetic conditions. They can provide health certifications to show that you are receiving a dog from healthy bloodlines.

jack russell terrier puppies huddling together

A good place to start your research for the right breeder is the Jack Russell Terrier Club, the American Kennel Club and the Parson Russell Terrier Association of America.

Jack Russell Terrier Puppies: Price

You can expect to pay anything between $ 600 and $1000 for a Jack Russell or Parson Russell Terrier from a reputable breeder.

A Jack Russell Terrier breeder who nurtures and cares for their dogs and puppies in a loving and hygienic environment has many expenses to bear. Not to mention all the expenses incurred in having the necessary certification done.

Adopt, Don’t Shop! Ask an Animal Shelter About Jack Russell Rescues!

There is much to be said for the convenience of adopting an adult dog. Due to the popularity of the breed, there are many adult Jack Russells in need of new homes.

Get in touch with your local Jack Russell Rescue group or nearby animal shelter to find out about awesome adult Jackies looking for a new family.

Common Questions on Jack Russell Terriers

Are Jack Russell puppies Easy to Train?

Do JRTs Make Good Family Pets?

How Long do Jack Russells Live for?

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