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Jack Russell Terrier - Small Breed Dog Profile

Updated: Feb 21

A black and white Jack Russell Terrier small breed dog

Jack Russell Terrier: A Small Breed Dog with a Big Personality

If you are looking for a small breed dog that is lively, intelligent, and adventurous, you might want to consider the Jack Russell Terrier.

This breed originated in England in the 19th century, when a clergyman named John Russell bred them for fox hunting.

The Jack Russell Terrier is not only a skilled hunter, but also a loyal and affectionate companion.

Here are some facts and traits about this charming small breed.

What is the origin of the Jack Russell Terrier?

The Jack Russell Terrier is named after John Russell, who was also known as "The Sporting Parson".

He was an avid fox hunter and dog breeder, who wanted to create a terrier that could keep up with the horses and go underground to flush out the foxes.

He started with a female terrier named Trump, who had a white body with tan patches and a rough coat.

He crossed her with other terriers of similar type, and developed a strain of working terriers that were known for their courage, stamina, and intelligence.

These dogs were called Jack Russell Terriers, after their creator.

What is the Jack Russell Terrier bred to do?

The Jack Russell Terrier is a working terrier, meaning that it has a strong instinct to hunt and chase small animals.

The breed was originally used for fox hunting, but it can also hunt other game, such as rabbits, rats, squirrels, and even badgers.

The Jack Russell Terrier is a baying terrier, meaning that it barks loudly to alert its owner of the location of the quarry.

The breed is also adept at digging and can follow its prey into burrows and holes.

The Jack Russell Terrier is not meant to kill its prey, but rather to flush it out for the hunter.

What are the physical characteristics of the Jack Russell Terrier?

The Jack Russell Terrier is a small but sturdy dog, with a height of 10 to 12 inches and a weight of 11 to 13 pounds.

The breed has a rectangular body shape, with a slightly longer body than height.

The head is flat and broad, with a black nose and dark eyes.

The ears are small and V-shaped, dropping forward or folding back.

The tail is usually docked to about 4 inches and carried high.

The coat can be smooth, rough, or broken (a mixture of both), and can be any colour, as long as it is predominantly white with patches of tan or black.

The coat is weatherproof and easy to groom.

What are the personality traits of the Jack Russell Terrier?

The Jack Russell Terrier is a lively and energetic dog that loves to play and explore.

The breed is very intelligent and can learn almost anything quickly, but it also has a strong will and can be stubborn at times.

The Jack Russell Terrier needs a lot of exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behaviours.

The breed is also very loyal and affectionate to its owner and family, but can be wary of strangers and aggressive toward other dogs.

The Jack Russell Terrier is not suitable for apartment living or for people who work long hours, as it needs plenty of space and attention.

Small Breed Dog Jack Russell Terrier Grooming Requirements

Jack Russell Terrier's grooming needs are low.

Their short, weather-proof coat requires minimal grooming .

Jack Russell Terrier Exercise Requirements

Jack Russell's exercise needs are high, they're very active and need plenty of exercise, lots of playtime and daily walks.

Jack Russell Terrier Characteristics

Energetic, intelligent, and fearless.

Jack Russell Terrier Age Range

Jack Russell Terriers typically live between 13 to 16 years.

Jack Russell Terrier Measurements

Jack Russell Terriers typically measure: Height - 10-13 inches, Weight - 11-15 pounds.

What are the health issues of the Jack Russell Terrier?

The Jack Russell Terrier is generally healthy and has a long lifespan of 13 to 16 years.

While Jack Russell Terriers, often known simply as Jack Russells, are celebrated for their vitality and resilience, like many small breed dogs, they can be susceptible to specific health issues.

Staying informed about these potential concerns and taking preventive measures can contribute to ensuring a long and healthy life for your furry Jack Russell Terrier companion.

Like any dog breed, Jack Russell Terriers can be prone to some health problems, such as:

Eye disorders

such as cataracts, glaucoma, lens luxation, or progressive retinal atrophy.

Some Jack Russell Terriers may experience lens luxation, a condition where the lens of the eye dislocates, potentially leading to vision problems.

Early detection and intervention are crucial for preserving their eyesight.

Lens luxation is a condition to be aware of in small breed dogs like Jack Russells.

Patellar Luxation in Jack Russell Terriers

This condition involves the dislocation of the kneecap, a concern more commonly observed in small breed dogs like Jack Russells.

Regular check-ups with your veterinarian, especially if you have a Jack Russell Terrier or other small breed dogs, can help monitor and address this issue.

Musculoskeletal conditions

such as patellar luxation (slipping kneecap), hip dysplasia (malformed hip joint), or Legg-Calve-Perthes disease (degeneration of the femoral head)

Canine Epilepsy in Jack Russell Terriers

Some Jack Russell Terriers, like other small breed dogs, may develop epilepsy, which can lead to seizures.

Medication and a carefully managed routine can help control seizures in affected small breed dogs like Jack Russells.


Deafness can be congenital or acquired.

Deafness can be an inherited condition in Jack Russell Terriers and other small breed dogs.

Regular hearing checks during veterinary visits can help identify this issue.

Even deaf Jack Russell Terriers can lead fulfilling lives with the right care and training, which is essential for their well-being.

Skin allergies

Skin allergies can cause itching, scratching, or infections.

Skin allergies and conditions like atopic dermatitis can affect Jack Russell Terriers and other small breed dogs.

Regular grooming, including brushing and maintaining their coat, is essential to manage skin health in small breed dogs.

Dental Problems in Jack Russell Terriers and Other Small Breed Dogs

Small breed dogs like Jack Russell Terriers can be prone to dental issues, including gum disease and tooth decay.

Regular dental care, such as brushing their teeth and providing dental chews, is essential for maintaining good oral health in small breed dogs like Jack Russells.

To prevent or detect these issues early, it is important to take your Jack Russell Terrier to regular vet check-ups, follow a vaccination schedule, feed a balanced diet, and keep an eye on any signs of discomfort or illness.

The Jack Russell Terrier is a small breed dog that has a big personality.

It is a fearless and tenacious hunter that can chase any small animal that moves.

It is also a cheerful and loving companion that enjoys spending time with its owner and family.

The Jack Russell Terrier needs a lot of exercise, stimulation, training, and socialisation to be happy and well-behaved.

If you are looking for an adventurous and loyal friend that will keep you on your toes, the Jack Russell Terrier might be the perfect match for you.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for veterinary advice. For specific veterinary dog health advice, contact a veterinary pet healthcare provider.

At Mary Puppins, we prioritise your cherished pets' well-being, offering a haven of comfort and care during their stay.

Our commitment is to ensure your small breed dogs are treated like family, receiving top-notch attention and care.

BOOK NOW via our website. We have limited places and get booked up super fast. Give your little dog the five-star VIP holiday they deserve, while you enjoy yours.

Mary Puppins Cheshire

Mary Puppins, Jack Russell Terrier

mary puppins expert small dog breeds uk

Kate Phillips, Chief Editor

BSc (Hons), MSc

Kate is the UK's very own Mary Puppins, a professional Dog Nanny and expert in small breed dogs. With over 30 years' experience and successfully helping high profile celebrity pet parents raise their furry families, Kate shares her top tips with you. Kate guides readers on small breed dogs, dog health, dog training, dog nutrition, dog food, dog walks, dog accessories, dog enrichment, rescue dogs, dog behaviour, dog grooming and the best products for dog mums and dog dads to create the ultimate luxury lifestyle for their small dogs.


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