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Breed of the Month: Jack Russell Terrier

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Jack Russell Terrier

Country of Origin: Great Britain
Height: 10–12 inches
Weight: 11 to 13 pounds
Coat: Three types, all of which are weatherproof—smooth/rough/broken
Colors: White predominating with black and/or tan markings; also solid white
Registries (with Group): KC (Terrier)


In Devonshire, England, in the 1800s, the Parson John “Jack” Russell began breeding terriers for use in foxhunting. Using Fox Terriers and possibly small Beagles and bull-and-terrier-type dogs, he developed a strain of terrier that he felt was best suited to accompany his foxhounds—running along beside them until the fox went to ground, at which time the terrier could chase after and bolt the fox from its den. His terriers needed to be bold enough to go to ground, yet restrained enough not to kill the prey and ruin the hunt. By the end of the 19th century, terriers were used less for foxhunting (which had become prohibitively expensive) and were instead carried to fox and badger dens to kill or pull out quarry. During this time, all sorts of terriers were lumped together as “Jack Russell Terriers,” whether or not they possessed Parson Jack’s ideal of intelligence, stable temperament, and physical traits. Luckily for the breed, in 1904, a group of terrier fanciers in southern England was determined to save the Jack Russell Terrier and set the breed standard for the type favored by Russell.


The Jack Russell Terrier is up for any challenge and any game. If he’s busy on the hunt, he is fearless and single-minded; at home, he is an enthusiastic companion, ready to explore and engage in any family activity. He isn’t shy about requesting attention, and he will practically insist on being in the center of things. Fun-loving, frisky, sporty, eager, and handsome, the Jack Russell Terrier is a great companion for someone who shares his enthusiasm for the outdoors and adventure.


  • Exercise: He must get several long walks daily, preferably to places where he can keep his hunting instincts alive—he will sniff down every hole and explore around every fallen branch. He is active and alert, and the occasional stroll will not satisfy his physical or mental needs for stimulation.
  • Grooming: All three types of coats—smooth, wire, and broken—are easy to keep clean with occasional brushing and combing.
  • Life Span: 12 to 14 years.
  • Training: The intelligent Jack Russell Terrier is also independent minded. For training to work, it needs to be highly focused to keep him motivated. Short, frequent sessions with well-timed rewards are best. Socialization from puppyhood is important to develop his social skills and manners.

Excerpted from World Atlas of Dog Breeds, 6th Edition. © 2009 T.F.H. Publications, Inc. Used by Permission.

World Atlas of Dog Breeds

6 Responses to Breed of the Month: Jack Russell Terrier

  1. Jill September 22, 2011 @ 8:15 pm

    I have a 12 year old smooth coated jack russell. Even at this age he is game for anything that is going on, and still demands to be the center of everything going on. A great little dog and a fierce protector, in a family of 4 he is my dog. I feed, groom, walk him and my husband is his favorite person to play with, but at the end of the day he is on my lap until bedtime.
    I will always have a jack. Very intelligent and kind.

  2. leenie07 September 23, 2011 @ 3:50 pm

    Cody, my 6 year old Jack, was a challenge. He is true to his breed and was very stubborn but with continued training he is the most loving and obedient (he’s good at ignoring you if he wants) dog. He’s great with kids and loves to go to the dog park but gets bored there after a few run arounds and meet and greets. He is still very active and a great companion.

  3. Gail September 23, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

    My daughter and husband own a Jack Russell Terrier. They enjoy their little female named “Ella” alot. She does require alot of exercise and attention when they are home. They work outside of the home and keep her caged during the day when they are gone. They recently acquired a Siamese kitten named “Lucy” who rules the roost currently. She and Ella do get along well and play together often. Ella came from a “Rescue Home”. several years ago.

  4. Carol October 17, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

    This is almost the image of my Bella….she is all white with brown ears. A beautiful, loving dog that is my best friend since losing my mother to breast cancer. She is a Therapy Dog and shares her love with all.

  5. cONNIE December 1, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

    Love my Jack, Beatrice is the center of our family!! Shes just wonderful though she was a challenge to keep busy!! She grew into a very nice girl!! She is 16 now and deaf and blind but will still bring you a toy to throw!! The nose never quits.!!

  6. Steve vanzandt December 4, 2011 @ 4:09 am

    Rudy is a rescue JRT, he had a tuff life until he was rescued now he is happy.
    I love my JRT he rescued me.

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