Jack Russell Terrier Breed Information
|Average height||25-30 cm|
|Average weight||4-6 kg|
|Average lifespan||Over 10 years|
|Minimum exercise (per day)||1 hour|
|Minimum cost (per month)||£50|
Jack Russell Terriers are lively little dogs who love to run and chase. They’re confident dogs and very loyal to their owners (often picking a favourite person!). They’re always on the go which makes them good for active households.
They are clever dogs who love people, making Jack Russells a popular choice for first-time owners. You’re likely to find that your Jack Russell can’t sit still and prefers to be with you all the time, whatever you’re up to.
Common health problems in Jack Russell Terriers
Jack Russells are loving dogs who enjoy being with their owner, but sadly like most purebred dogs they can be prone to certain health conditions.
If you are thinking of buying a Jack Russell Terrier puppy, make sure the parents of your puppy have had the relevant health screening to reduce the chances of your puppy being affected by certain conditions. We’d recommend looking for a Kennel Club Assured Breeder as they meet extra requirements which will benefit your puppy’s health.
Some of the conditions Jack Russell Terriers may develop include:
- Luxating patellas – the kneecaps slipping temporarily out of place.
- Primary Lens Luxation – a painful condition which causes blindness. Parents should be screened before breeding.
- Late Onset Ataxia – a condition which causes loss of balance and lack of coordination with gradually worsens. There is no treatment available for this disease. Parents should be screened before breeding.
- Spinocerebellar Ataxia – a disease which causes the spinal cord to degenerate. No treatment is available for this disease. Parents should be screened before breeding.
If you want to minimise the risk of your dog getting problems, you can read our advice on choosing a pedigree dog.
Caring for your Jack Russell Terrier
Jack Russells are really active dogs and despite their smaller size they have bundles of energy. They form really strong bonds with their owners so ideally need someone around the home all day to keep them company.
As Terriers, Jack Russells love to chase! They are quick and agile so you might find your Jack Russell will chase anything they see that looks like a bit of fun. It’s really important to make sure your garden is secure if you have a Jack Russell, as they can squeeze through the smallest gap.
Jack Russell Terriers and barking
As with any dog, your Jack Russell is likely to make some noise and this a breed known for being a bit of a loud mouth! They tend to bark when they’re excited (which is most of the time as they are such excitable dogs). It’s important to start reward-based training early to try and reduce excessive barking and make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise to tire them out. If you’re having a problem with excessive noise we recommend seeking the advice of an accredited behaviourist.
Training and socialisation
Jack Russells are clever dogs who respond really well to positive, reward-based training from a young age. They tend to pick up on new commands easily and training is a really great way to keep their busy minds active. Because they can be quite lively, you need to be consistent with their training and make sure the whole household follows the same rules. If you’re a first time owner or need extra guidance, we’d recommend taking them to accredited training classes.
It’s important to socialise your Jack Russell Terrier from a young age with lots of different people, dogs and experiences. They can be confident little dogs and this will help them to grow into a happy adult.
Because Jack Russells are so people orientated, they can suffer with separation anxiety if left alone. You’ll need to train your dog that it’s OK to be alone and this should never be for more than four hours.
Jack Russells are active dogs who enjoy being on the go all the time. They can be very high energy so it’s important to make sure they’re getting enough exercise. A bored Jack Russell is more likely to cause mischief around the home!
Your Jack Russell Terrier will need a minimum of an hour exercise every day. This should be split into a couple of walks (with lots of time for sniffing and exploring!) and time to run off-lead in a secure area. On top of this, you should include plenty of playtime and training in your Jack Russell's daily schedule to help keep their brains active and prevent them getting bored.
Jack Russells have a high prey drive and love to chase and run. They often do really well at canine sports like flyball and agility so take a look in your local area for clubs. You can read our blog on getting started with agility training at home.
Jack Russell Terriers come in short coated or rough coated varieties. A weekly brush should be plenty to keep their coat looking healthy but the rough coated terriers may need to have their coats professionally stripped in the summer to keep them neat and tidy. As with any dog, they do shed and more so in the spring and autumn. Check out our blog for advice on staying on top of shedding around the home.
Some owners take their Jack Russells to be professionally groomed a couple of times a year, but this is down to the owner’s choice.
Jack Russell Terriers and children
Jack Russells can make good family pets if they have been trained and socialised properly from a young age. They can be less tolerant with younger or boisterous children and have been known to show their frustration by nipping. They’re better suited to families with slightly older children who understand how to behave around dogs. They are also very excitable so sometimes get more wound up if an equally excitable child is around!
Remember to make sure you can recognise your dog’s body language so you can put a stop to any potentially stressful situations before they escalate. Always supervise your dog with children and vulnerable adults.
Jack Russell Terriers and other pets
Jack Russells should be socialised with other dogs from a young age. They are confident little dogs so as long as they have been given time to meet lots of other dogs, they should be fine with them as they grow up.
Jack Russells have a very high prey drive and love to chase. They are little hunters at heart and this really shows! We wouldn’t recommend having smaller pets if you own a Jack Russell. It’s also best to keep a good grip on their lead out and about so they don’t take off after something that looks fun to chase.
Your vet will be able to tell you how much your Jack Russell Terrier should be eating. You should feed them a good quality, commercially available, complete dog food. We usually recommend splitting their daily allowance into two meals. If you give your dog the occasional treat or use treats for training, remember to take this into account and reduce their daily allowance. Treats shouldn’t make up more than 10% of their daily calorie intake as this can unbalance their diet.
Try to feed your dog at similar times every day as they like routine. Remember to leave a gap between eating and exercising.
The cost of owning a Jack Russell Terrier
You can expect your Jack Russell Terrier to cost you a minimum of £50 per month after purchase and set-up costs and over £8,900 across their lifetime.
Costs you’ll need to think about include:
Adopting an adult Jack Russell Terrier from a rescue centre may be a more cost-effective option, with the added advantage of giving a home to a pet without one – check if the rehoming centre you’re looking at asks for a donation for rehoming.
If instead you’re buying a Jack Russell Terrier puppy from a breeder, you’ll need to factor in this cost. Beware unusually cheap puppies as they could come from a puppy farm. If you’d like to buy a pedigree puppy, we recommend looking for a Kennel Club Assured breeder. These breeders must do extra health tests and meet higher standards.
- Puppy vaccines – if you rescue a dog, reputable centres will often vaccinate them for you. Remember that ongoing booster vaccinations will be needed to continue their immunity.
- Neutering – you should usually arrange for your dog to be neutered at around six months old, though your vet will be able to advise you exactly when is best. Check prices at your local practice as these will depend on your vet and where you live. Some rescue centres will neuter any dogs they rehome, saving you this cost.
- Equipment – including a collar and tags, lead, harness, dog beds, dog bowls, pet-safe toothpaste and toothbrushes, grooming brushes and toys. Keep in mind that all these will need to be replaced with wear or damage or if your dog outgrows or damages them!
- Preventive healthcare – budget for routine vet visits to help stop your dog getting ill and catch any problems early. They need annual check-ups, vaccinations and regular flea and worming treatments. Check if your vet offers a health care plan as this can help spread the cost throughout the year.
- Vet bills* or pet insurance – if you don’t have pet insurance and your dog needs veterinary treatment for an injury or illness, costs can rapidly mount up. Check what’s covered and what isn’t when comparing policies.
- Accessories – including lots of poo bags, replacing worn toys and grooming accessories, buying doggy toothpaste and any other extras they might need.
- Training – basic training is very important and dogs can benefit from formal classes. Some dogs may have, or develop, behavioural problems which might need professional management.
- Boarding – you may also need to budget for boarding or dog sitting costs if you are planning to go away from home on holiday.
- Dog walkers/day-care – you might consider a professional dog walker to keep your dog happy and healthy if you’re unable to get out with your dog enough yourself, or to look after them during the day if you need to be out for more than four hours.
* It’s always better to plan ahead and budget or get pet insurance in case your pet gets injured or unwell. If you are having difficulty with veterinary costs, you can check if you are eligible for treatment at PDSA here.
If you’re considering pet insurance, our PDSA Pet Insurance could be a great option for you and it’s quick and easy to get a quote online.
- They have always mainly been working dogs, which is partly why they weren’t recognised as a ‘show’ breed in the UK until 2016.
- They might be small, but Jack Russells are jumpers! You’ll need to make sure your garden fencing is tall enough to stop them getting over it.
- They’re really not ideal if you take a lot of pride in your garden because they love to dig.
- They’re clever dogs and do really well at canine sports.
Getting a Jack Russell Terrier
Do plenty of research before getting a Jack Russell. These lively and bouncy dogs can make really great family pets but will need plenty of training and guidance from their owners along the way. You’ll need to be patient with them and curb any unwanted behaviours early on. Given the right care, they can make wonderful pets.
There are plenty of rescue centres across the country where you may find a Jack Russell Terrier. Breed-specific rescues that specialise in Jack Russell Terriers are also out there. You’ll need to ask any rescue centre about the dog’s history to make sure they will be comfortable in your home. Good rescue centres should let you know of any health and behaviour problems.
If you buy from a breeder, make sure your puppy will be well socialised and have all necessary screening tests, health checks and vaccinations. It’s really important that Jack Russell Terrier puppies from a breeder get the right early socialisation so always ask the breeder about how they go about this. We recommend looking for a Kennel Club Assured breeder as they meet higher standards. We’ve put together some advice to help you find a good breeder.