Canine Breed Spotlight: Jack Russell Terrier

Let’s look at the Jack Russell Terrier!

Dog breed group: Terrier

Average life span: 10-15 years



The Jack Russell Terrier was developed by Parson John Russell in England in the mid-1800s. His goal was to develop a hunting terrier with high stamina and courage to chase out foxes that have gone underground. Following World War Two, the need for fox hunting dogs greatly decreased. It was then that the Jack Russell started to become a companion dog.



Energetic, tenacious and spirited are great words to describe the Jack Russell. These dogs have a big personality packed into their small body. Without proper exercise, stimulation and companionship they can get bored and become destructive. They can be aggressive towards other dogs and any animals that resembles prey, such as cats, rabbits, birds, guinea pigs, hamsters etc. because of their hunting history. With proper training and socialization Jack Russells are loving and devoted pets to their families. They make excellent jogging companions and active, older children make great playmates for a Jack Russell.

Is this dog right for you?

  • This dog needs space to exercise, so they don’t make great apartment dogs. However, even in a place with a large yard, they need supervision as they are good jumpers and diggers and they may try to escape. The best thing for them is the opportunity to go for long walks or runs or to participate in activities such as agility or fly ball.
  • Grooming requirements are minimal. They do shed a lot, so your place will be covered with fur.
  • They have a tendency to be barkers. They will alarm you to new sights and sounds.

Health Concerns

Both pure-bred and  mixed-breed dogs have varying incidences of health problems that may be either influenced by genetics or environmental factors.


Lens Luxation is an inherited disease that has a slightly higher occurrence in Jack Russell Terriers. It causes the lens dislocate and it can happen in one or both of the eyes. Lens luxation is more likely to develop when your dog has reached their senoir years.

Deafness is traditionally associated with fully white coated Jack Russells. There are several studies showing that deafness in Jack Russells is significantly influenced by coat color. This means that Jack Russell Terriers that have large amount of white coat will have a higher chance of being deaf.

Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease occurs when there is spontaneous degeneration of the head on the femur bone, leading to the disintegration of the hip joint. While this disease is not limited to Jack Russell Terriers, it does have a higher occurrence in both terrier and toy breeds of dogs.