Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier Jack Russell Terrier Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell terrier is a small dog which was bred to hunt foxes. It also was used to hunt badgers and groundhogs. It is confused often times with the Parson Russell terrier and the Russell terrier. Often times the breeds are confused between each other. This breed originated from the breed done by Reverend John Russell in the early part of the 19th century. They were bred from white terriers from that era. They share similar origins to the Fox Terrier. The heritage of this dog traces back to the English White Terrier (which is now unfortunately not with us). The reason that this dog is mainly white is to solve the problem that the dog would tend to look like the prey it was hunting, and it was important that the hunters did not mistake the dog for the prey. In the last year of university at Oxford the Reverend bought a small tan and white fox terrier called Trump. The fox terriers were named as such as they were ideal for hunting foxes. From this animal the breeding program continued to get a dog who had high stamina levels and courage to chase out foxes who were hiding. The breeding mostly finished by 1850s and the breed was similar to what it is today. There are many other breeds out there which also put the fox terrier in their lineage. These are the rat terrier, the tenterfield terrier, the Ratonero Bodeguero Angaluz, the Japanese Terrier and the Brazilian Terrier. After the second world war the need for hunting dogs reduced drastically, and given the Jack Russell's primary role in this meant, that their popularity also declined. Instead they were used as more for companion and family. More cross breeding was done with the Jack Russell with chihuahuas and Welsh corgis, leading to Russell Terriers. This breed is quite recognisable as it has been used in the media, for example as the logo for HMV and the comedy movie the Mask.


The Jack Russell terrier ranges between 25 to 38 cm. The Parson Russell terrier between 30 and 36 cm tall while the Russell terrier is only 20 to 30 cm tall. These dogs have a body length which is supposed to be in proportion to their height, and the dog is compact. It must be more white than any other colour, and have smooth, rough or a mixture of both (which is called a broken coat). The head of the Jack Russell Terrier has an average width at the ears, but it narrows at the eyes. The jaw is generally very strong and the dog has a scissor bite with straight teeth. Generally the eyes will be almond shape and expressive. The ears are droopy. As a working dog it is essential that the Russell's chest not get too big otherwise it would not be able to fulfill its original task of getting into burrows.


This breed is very high energy. It has tempered aggression, this was bred in so that it would run the prey to ground but would not harm the prey, as this was considered to be unsporting. In short the Jack Russell would not taste any blood. The Jack Russell Terrier is quite a vocal dog, this makes for a pretty good watch dog. If they are not given the right amount of exercise they can get quite destructive with property. These dogs love do tricks and play fetch. It should be noted that this dog may be aggressive towards fellow dogs and strangers if it has not been properly trained. Even though it is a relatively small breed, it can still give a nasty bite. Also when children are considered it should be noted that these dogs do not take any kind of abuse without probably retaliating, so children need to be taught how to interact appropriately with the dog. Legg-Calve-Perthese syndrome is a problem which sometimes occurs, it is where the ball section of the femur in the hip gets problems due to a blood flow stoppage. This can lead to a lame dog.

Grooming and care

This dog needs a lot of exercise and to be constantly stimulated. Generally the coat on this dog is very easy to groom, a comb and brush is all that is necessary, bathing is generally only recommended when necessary. If someone wants to put this dog in a dog show then stripping of the coat is needed. This type of dog needs to be exercised regularly, for at the very least a long walk or a brisk jog. They can be left in the house on their own but then it is recommended to take them out for at least 2 times, unless you want to come back to a destroyed apartment.


The Jack Russell Terrier is a relatively healthy breed, it can live an average of 14 to 21 years. Two particular problems which may be encountered are ectopia lentis. This is were the lens in the eye are displaced. The options are either medical or surgical to repair the damage. Cataracts are also a problem for this breed, though this problems also affects many other breeds of dog.