As a breed type, the Jack Russell Terrier (or JRT) has been around for a long time. Often showing a wide range in type and size, they have recently been accepted as a recognized breed by the Kennel Club.
Designed to be able to go to ground and flush out foxes, the JRT also had to keep up with hounds. Its colour should be at least 51% white, which stems from the need to have a distinctive dog easily distinguished from its quarry that bolted from their bolt holes. The JRT was bred to be a feisty little dog that was also great with people.
The Jack Russell Terrier is distinctive from the Parson Russell terrier. The Parson is slightly bigger and has been recognized by the Kennel Club since 1990 whereas the Jack Russell is a new breed having only been recognized since the 1st January 2016. This may seem surprising, yet although the ‘type’ has been around for years there has been too much variation between individuals to classify it sooner. It is only through the dedication of breeders in recent years to establish and maintain the dogs to the standard that they have finally been able to be recognized as a distinctive breed in their own right.
Personality of the Jack Russell Terrier
The Jack Russell is a terrier and as such is a dog full of confidence and attitude. Great with people, this is a lively little dog that enjoys an active lifestyle.
The Jack Russell will require patient yet persistent training. They are independent and can be selectively deaf at times! Despite this, they can also be incredibly loving with people. Just ensure they are well socialized from a young age to ensure they are also good with other dogs.
Grooming a Jack Russell Terrier
The Jack Russell coat can come in three different coat types. The smooth coat is low maintenance, requiring little more than a once over with a grooming mitt to remove dead hair and a bristle brush to keep it in order from time to time. A broken coated Jack Russell is much the same, with longer hair on the face, legs and occasionally the body too. The final type, the rough coated JRT, should again have longer hair on the head, face, legs and body. This coat should be hard and wiry to ensure protection from the elements. A soft coat is considered a fault.
The rough coated Jack Russell will need a trim from time to time, although the coat is hardly unmanageable. Electric clippers can be used, however if you wish to show your JRT then a specialist technique called ‘stripping’ of the coat is needed. This can be done by a professional groomer, or ask your dog’s breeder to demonstrate.
Size of the Jack Russell Terrier
Maturing at between 10 and 12 inches at the shoulder, there is not official weight stated. Instead the standard simply calls for the weight to be proportionate to the height. It should not be as lean as the Parson Russell which has longer legs, but it should not be hugely compact either. Males are generally slightly bigger than females.
How much exercise does my Jack Russell Terrier need?
Despite being a small dog, the jack Russell is used to being active and needs two decent walks each day. They are tough, and should be fine going out in all weathers wind, rain or shine! Aim for them to get at least one hour per day, this is adequate although if you can manage more they will always appreciate it.
Remember they are a terrier and as such can be willful. If you do not have good control of your Jack Russell keep them on a long lead at least!
Diet – What should I feed my Jack Russell Terrier?
Feed your Jack Russell on a good quality diet made with real meat. Avoid cheap foods as these will be full of carbohydrate ‘fillers’. These have little nutritional value and can cause your dog to gain weight. Be guided by the brand as to how much to feed and if you have any concerns always speak to your vet.
There are many specialist small breed dog foods on the market, with puppies needing their own formula due to the different nutritional requirements of growing dogs. Jack Russell’s grow fast, reaching full size within 10-12 months of age. Puppies should be fed three meals a day when you first get them home, once they reach adult hood they can be reduced down to two or even one meal a day if required.
Breeders – Where can I get a Jack Russell Terrier?
As mentioned for many years the JRT was a type, not a recognized breed as such. Unregistered dogs bred unscrupulously for money are sadly, still on the market and should be avoided. Instead when searching for a JRT puppy, do your research and try and find a reputable breeder.
The ideal scenario is where puppies are raised in the home, well socialized and used to the sights and sounds of a normal household. Puppies in pet shops may have come from puppy farms so avoid buying from them. Additionally never agree to meet someone halfway or in a car park; you should always be able to visit the breeders house and see the puppies with their mum. Do not expect breeders to have puppies available on demand, many will have a waiting list.
If you having a young puppy doesn’t bother you, why not consider a rescue? Many dogs need new homes for various reasons such as divorce or moving home; not all of them have behavioural issues. There are breed specific rescues just for Jack Russell’s that would be happy to receive enquiries.
How much does a Jack Russell Terrier cost?
Expect to pay between 180 to 700 euros plus for a JRT puppy. Expect to pay nearer the top end for registered puppies, while those of a Jack Russell ‘type’ with little history will be nearer the lower end. When purchasing from a breeder, make sure that you see the mother and that both parents are healthy. In the case of the JRT, the breed is lucky in that it is considered relatively healthy and there are no required health checks for the parents at this time.
Puppies should have been well reared and handled. They should also have been wormed and if old enough, vaccinated accordingly. If they are registered make sure you get the relevant paperwork at the time of sale.
Should you get a Jack Russell Terrier
Jack Russell’s are lively little dogs with a big personality in a small package. If you are limited for space yet still enjoy the outdoors this may be the dog for you. It is not a dog that enjoys being cooped up indoors with limited entertainment, pick a JRT if you want a lively companion to spend the day with.