Small, smart, and lively – the young breed has been able to win over a large number of urban fans. The “Jack Russell Terrier” refers to an independent breed with British roots, recognized by the FCI since 2000. The Jack Russell Terrier is distinguished from its close relatives, the Parson Russell Terrier, by its short legs.
Physique: small and agile
A Jack Russell Terrier likes to explore the environment with his nose close to the ground: the dog’s withers are 25 to 30 cm high according to the standard. Their ideal weight is between 5 and 6 kilos. Because of the short legs, the dogs are long rather than high. The size of the chest is between 40 and 43 cm and is especially relevant for the breed as a hunter: a larger chest would hinder him if he were to walk through the fox burrow. Its v-shaped ears are folded down. When the dog runs back and forth (something he likes and does often) his tail is erect. In rest position, the tail hangs down.
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Coat and color
The characteristic of the breed is also the typical color combination with a predominantly white coat with spots in different colors such as black, brown and black, and tan. Like cow spots, the spots can be spread out or concentrated in a number of places – a spot around the eye looks very striking – but the white must dominate. The texture of the coat can be smooth, rough, or spiky.back to menu ↑
Origin and use
The name of the breed comes from the first breeder: John (nickname “Jack”) Russel (1795-1883). In 1819, the Fox Terrier female “Trump” moved into his home in Oxford. She is seen as the founding mother of all current Jack Russell Terriers such as Parson Russell terrier. The breed in its current form, despite its British roots, originates from Australia, as the dogs were primarily bred here. This has to do with the area where the breed was used: the Jack Russell Terrier is a typical hunting dog, whose ancestors were mainly used for fox hunting in Australia. This became necessary, because in 1850 English immigrants released two foxes on the fifth continent – the dingo present there was not interesting for human hunters.
The foxes multiplied rapidly without natural enemies. That is why the aim was to reduce the number of foxes and there was a demand for hunting dogs, which, due to their small size, fit into the inhabited rabbit and wombat dens and were still able to cover great distances. Unlike the Parson Russell terrier, the small Jack Russell terrier with its short legs has the muzzle forward. The official history of the Jack Russell Terrier only begins in 1972 with the founding of the “Jack Russell Terrier Club of Australia”.
Today, Australia is still the most influential country in breed development. The small bundles of energy are also made famous by the American comedy series „Frasier“, in which the dog which, due to their small size, fit into inhabited rabbit and wombat dens and were still able to cover great distances. Unlike the Parson Russell terrier, the small Jack Russell terrier with its short legs has the muzzle forward.
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Nature: Charming Goblins
The Jack Russell Terrier may look small and cute, but he has the heart of a diligent hunter. Because of this combination, it is often underestimated what it means to keep this breed. He has a great urge to move. The four-legged friend is lively, very active, and definitely not a couch potato. The temperamental dog also stands out for its strong will. The breed is known for being kid-friendly, but caution is advised especially with small children. What the small dog needs, in addition to consistent education, is: movement, movement, movement! Compared to other dogs, with appropriate socialization, he is an open dog. In small animals such as cats, especially outside their “own” family, the hunting instinct quickly gains the upper hand. A well-balanced Jack Russell Terrier brings great joy to his owner: he is friendly,back to menu ↑
Health: prevention is better than cure
In principle, a Jack Russell Terrier is a robust nature lover, who can live more than 15 years with good care. However, there are a few typical diseases common to this breed. However, the risk of this can be reduced by going to a responsible breeder. Like some other terrier breeds, the Jack Russell is predisposed to ataxia and myelopathy. Symptoms of these neurological disorders include movement disorders and muscle tremors. Allergic skin conditions can also occur. With patellar luxation, the kneecap shifts, the dog usually walks on three legs. Surgery can remove the symptoms your protector is experiencing. It must be ensured that the dog gets enough exercise and that the food is adapted to the low body weight of the dog.back to menu ↑
Is a Jack Russell Terrier Right for Me?
Do you like being active and outdoors? Then a Jack Russell Terrier is a suitable companion! A well-behaved specimen of the lively breed makes a great family dog: long walks, jogging, playing with the kids – the little family member will be happy to be part of an action-packed activity! If you prefer only short walks, it is better to choose a different dog breed, because the Jack Russell Terrier needs to be physically challenged enough. Do you already have pets? Jack Russells who grew up around a cat can befriend the mustache paw. In general, caution is advised if the passionate hunter with potential “prey” lives under one roof. Good sources of information are breeding associations, regional breeders, and of course other Jack Russell fans with experience.back to menu ↑
Before moving in
Because the Jack Russell Terrier has a life expectancy of 15 years, one should think carefully about moving in. Determine in advance who can take care of your dog in the event of illness or vacation. If you have children, you must draw up clear rules before moving in. Give the children clear instructions about how to interact with the new housemate. If your children are respectful enough, nothing can stand in the way of a long friendship: children and dogs can make a good team! Can you imagine going on holiday with your four-legged friend? Nowadays there are many hotels that welcome your family including dogs!
In addition to the basic equipment – belt, basket, combs and brushes, nail clippers, blankets, transport baskets for the car, etc. – there are regular costs such as a visit to a vet. The latter can of course also be higher in the event of unexpected illnesses of your darling. You should also check in advance that there is no family member who has an allergic reaction to dogs and that your landlord allows you to keep a dog if necessary. Of course, you also have to realistically estimate whether you have enough time for the dog – daily and for several years.
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Care: weekly care of the coat desired
The dog’s coat consists of guard hairs and an undercoat and needs regular grooming. This is easiest with smooth and spiky varieties, where brushing is sufficient. Four-legged friends with this coat type moult more than wire-haired counterparts. The more often you use the comb and curry comb, the fewer hairs you will find in your home. In addition to brushing your wire-haired Jack Russell Terrier weekly, you should be trimming – best done by a professional who instructs you – are on the program. Old and loose guard hairs are removed so that the coat can renew. It is best to check your eyes, ears, and nails on a daily basis so that you can immediately treat changes caused by mites, for example.
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Education: loving and consistent
The upbringing must be absolutely loving and consistent, taking into account the great hunting instinct of the lively Jack Russell Terrier. “No” really should always mean “no” – the smart dog likes to take advantage of inconsistent upbringing so that he can take matters into his own paws. It is best to get the dog used to other small animals while still a puppy – once the passionate hunters have matured, it is very difficult to keep them with cats. Like adult dogs, puppies also need a quick response to learning what is desirable behavior and what is undesirable. Consistent action is important for this: agree with all family members what the desired behavior is: If the dog can go to bed as a small puppy, he will always demand it;
A visit to a puppy or dog school is highly recommended. This is where your new family member usually gets to know dogs of other breeds, which helps keep him calm when interacting with other four-legged friends. He also practices basic commands such as “sit” or “stay”, making everyday life easier. It also strengthens the bond between you and your dog. In the ideal case, you are already looking for a competent dog school before the intake of your dog, where the trainer is able to answer your questions quickly and of which you have a good impression. Playing and learning are one of them.back to menu ↑
Activities for energy bundles
The little bundles of energy love action! If that is not the case, they will behave conspicuously or become overweight. So that your dog can enjoy themselves enough, in addition to long walks with enough time and space to dig and sniff, dog sports such as agility or dog dance are also recommended, because your four-legged friend can use his smart head for this. Your Jack Russell Terrier also likes to go with you while jogging! The good sleuths like sniffing games, which involve finding things or candies. It is important to give the dog rest after all the effort. To give an example: ball games – yes, please! But this is done in a controlled manner.
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This means that the ball, for example, is only picked up on command. By playing in a controlled manner, you prevent your dog from becoming too busy despite the movement. It is important to put your dog’s brain to work so that he is challenged. It also strengthens the bond between you and your dog. This can create a close-knit team. Of course, you can learn a lot of tricks with your dog – clicker training is often very fun for the dogs! A Jack Russell Terrier that is sufficiently challenged and well trained makes a good companion at any stage of life.
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How to find your animal companion
Those looking for a Jack Russell Terrier should look for serious breeding. Because the dog breed is very popular, there are also many bad apples among the breeders, who above all want to make as much profit as possible. A high price is paid for this: not only do they not meet the breed standard – serious breeders provide animals that are both physically and mentally healthy – but the health of the puppies and parents also leaves much to be desired. Bread breeders often keep animals in poor conditions and do not offer animal activities tailored to the animal. The mothers often do not get the opportunity to catch their breath again but have to be mated again as soon as possible. In addition, the young animals are often separated from the mother much too early.
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This endangers the health and can cause unwanted social behavior of the puppies. Serious breeders are members of an association or canine club and are required to follow their guidelines for the welfare of the breed.
With a breeder, who considers the well-being of the dogs of paramount importance, you have the opportunity to get to know the puppies and the parents, brothers, and sisters in the breeder’s house. He is happy to answer your questions about the health and nutrition of his breeding animals and is not only a seller, but also a point of contact. In addition, breeders also ask you questions about the future environment of the puppy, their living situation, and leisure activities. Finding the best possible shelter for the offspring is one of the tasks of a good breeder. National breeder associations are happy to help you find a serious breeder in your area.
If it doesn’t have to be a puppy, you can also look into special animal protection organizations for Jack Russell Terriers. Here you can also find older animals, sometimes also crosses. From time to time you can also find a dog of this breed in the shelter. Such dogs may have quirky character traits depending on their history but are generally happy with a new home. Animal protection will give you good advice so that you know whether the four-legged friend is right for you.
We wish you many adventures together with your Jack Russell Terrier!
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