Family Pet Guide > Dogs > Terrier > Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier

Quick Checklist
with kids
with seniors
with other animals
Training Needs
Grooming Needs
Size: Small (10 to 25 lbs.)
Lifespan: Long (12 to 15+ years)
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Jack Russell Terriers, also known as Parson John Russell Terriers, are smart, feisty, and friendly working terriers with endearing facial expressions, lots of energy, and lots of charm, making them very popular family pets. Jack Russells are demanding pets, however. JRT's were bred to hunt small prey and sound the alert, making them very vocal dogs. This is also a fearless breed noted for having a "Napoleonic complex"--picking fights with much larger dogs--which can come in handy but can also be dangerous. In spring 2007, a Jack Russell named George staved off two pit bulls trying to attack three children in New Zealand, allowing the kids to get away before the pit bulls got the best of George. This is typical of JRT's: they are fearless and protective to a fault. Jack Russells should generally be supervised around children, however, since they are not very tolerant of being hurt, even unintentionally. Jack Russells are frequently cat-aggressive, and don't do well in homes with small animals (even caged ones).

Famous Jack Russells include Ron Weasley's patronus in the Harry Potter series; Milo from The Mask; Moose from Frasier; Tillamook Cheddar "Tillie" from Late Night with Conan O'Brien; and Wishbone, from the eponymous children's series.

General Care

Jack Russells are active, adventurous, playful and energetic dogs that need lots of play, attention, and exercise daily. They are a handful and need constant and consistent training and interaction from their owners. JRT's can easily become aggressive, possessive, destructive, and worse. JRT's are known for only being truly obedient for short periods at a time. This breed needs little grooming but lots of your time and energy. Jack Russells are not recommended for kids under the age of six unless you've previously owned this breed and know what you're getting into. If you do decide to own a Jack Russell in an apartment, condo, or city environment, you will most certainly need to enlist a dog walker or sign up for a doggie day care. Jack Russells are well-suited for active, retired persons or families in which at least one adult is home most of the day. Jack Russells are generally healthy as a breed: their biggest dangers are being aggressive with other dogs and being surrendered or abandoned by owners that weren't educated about this breed.

For more information on Jack Russell Terrier ownership and care, check out the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America Breed Rescue.

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