Date updated: 20 09 2018
Hardy, healthy and with loads of energy, Jack Russells are happiest when they’ve got a job to do! But it’s definitely not a case of all work and no play with these little guys. Walk through the door and their joy at having you home is obvious. And with that special combination of loyalty, affection and enthusiasm, it’s no surprise that this is one of the UK’s best-loved breeds.
Average lifespan: 13 to 16 years
Weight: (Males and Females) 6.4 to 8.2 kg
Height: (Males and Females) 25 to 30 cm
Colouring: All “standard” Jack Russell coats contain mostly white, often with patches, masks or saddle markings in another colour. Common secondary Jack Russell coat colours include black, sable, tan and red.
Grooming requirements: low
Average purchase cost: Around £300 for a registered pedigree puppy
Jack Russell facts...
If twice-daily long brisk walks are what you’re into, then you and your Jack Russell are likely to get along just fine. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a companion to spend hours on end chilling in front of the TV, this probably isn’t the best dog for you!
These guys can get bored easily when left to their own devices and they can also make a lot of noise. As such, they’re not ideal for you (or your neighbours!) if the house is empty for long stretches of the day.
That strong prey drive means that introducing a Jack Russell into a home where there’s rabbit, cat or other small animal is a highly risky move. They don’t always get along with other dogs although this potential problem can be overcome with a socialisation programme from a very young age.
Although their playful side means they can easily become best buddies with older kids, Jack Russells can get very snappy - so they aren’t the best choice if there are younger children around.
Jack Russell training and behaviour
A bored, restless Jack Russell can soon lead to furniture chewing and other types of destructive behaviour. So from the moment they arrive, it’s important to focus both on training - and on giving them lots to do!
On the training front, their intelligence means that a Jack Russell can soon pick up the basics (e.g. Sit, Stay, Down, Heel and Bed). The way forward generally involves a firm (but not harsh!) manner and lots of positive reinforcement. This type of approach can also help to address certain of their more antisocial traits such as their tendency to jump up at their favourite people as soon as they walk into the room (especially if you address it from a very young age).
It’s a fact of life that some breeds are more noisy than others and most owners find that life’s rarely quiet with a Jack Russell in the home. That said, there are steps you can take to turn down the volume, and our guide provides a handy starting point.
Activity-wise, one of the best home setups for a Jack Russell involves giving them access to a well-secured back garden for them to burn off any pent up energy during the day. And of course, they’re even happier if you can take lots of time out to give them a game of fetch!
For walking, you are looking at around 60 minutes each day for an adult dog; usually split between a morning and evening session. If it’s safe to do so, this should ideally include some time off the lead.
Looking after your Jack Russell
For grooming, these guys are low-maintenance, although their coat tends to shed all year round; more so in the Spring and Autumn. If you brush their coat twice a week or so with a slicker brush, it can go a long way in reducing the amount of hair on your floors and furniture.
Both smooth coated and rough coated Jack Russells are popular in the UK. Especially for the rough coated doggies, a twice-yearly trip to a professional groomer is recommended to have the coat stripped and to keep it in great shape.
The Jack Russell needs to be exercised all year long - and both the long and short coated varieties feel the cold in the winter months. As such, a thermal jacket and booties are recommended when it’s really wintry.
A high energy dog like this demands a good quality, fuel-rich diet. Your vet will advise on the right quantity depending on age and any specific health needs, as well as on the right proportion of dry to wet feed.
Common Jack Russell health problems