≡ Menu

Jack Russell Terrier… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

You’ll find folks out there who will commonly say that you should never judge an individual dog by the “type” of breed that they are. However, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone that will tell you that a Jack Russell Terrier isn’t have a ton of energy! Which is good news…

If you’re seriously thinking about adopting a Jack Russell Terrier or Jack Russell Terrier rescue dog, that boundless energy probably attracted you to this dog breed in the first place.


At least it should have been; otherwise, perhaps you don’t know enough about this dog breed yet. This is fine because this is why we wanted to write this article to give folks thinking about adopting a Jack Russell a bit of perspective on what it might be like to own one of these “bundles of energy”!

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Jack Russell Terrier Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin: England

Breed Group: Working Terrier

Height: 13 to 14 inches at the shoulder

Weight: 13 to 17 pounds

Life Span: 12 to 14 years

Origin of the Jack Russell Terrier

The Parson Russell Terrier, or Jack Russell Terrier as most of us know them, is named after the man who developed them, an Oxford student by the name of John “Jack” Russell, who, in the min-1800 decided that he wanted to try and create a perfect “fox bolting” dog. To do so, Russell decided to use a breed standard that went by the name of Trump (does the name sound familiar?) to create a line of terriers that could keep up with horses while hunting foxes.

This is why…

John chose Trump because he came from a long line of Fox Terriers who excelled at hunting down foxes. But John was looking for something with more “grit, “so he cross-breed Trump with other dog breeds, such as the now-extinct White English Terrier. And what he created became an overnight success in the UK. In the United States, however, the breed was divided into two different categories, one governed by the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America and the other by the Parson Russell Terrier Association of the United States.

The Parson Russell Terrier Association…

They were aligned with the American Kennel Club but could not use the Jack Russell trademark for their dogs. They were referred to as the Parson Russell Terrier only. The only difference between the two is that Jack Russell Terriers are “working” Terriers, while those under the Parson Russell category are mainly considered show dogs. While this distinction may be crucial to some folks, because we here at IndulgeYourPet only really care about the health and well-being of an animal and aren’t all that concerned about all of these technicalities, we would advise anyone who is to visit the American Kennel Club (AKC) website directly to get more information about the two “subsets.”

There you will learn…

The Jack Russell Terrier was first “officially” recognized by the AKC in 1997, but it was renamed Parson Russell Terrier in 2003, leading to further anger. It should be noted that the civil war between the two groups of Jack Russell Terrier owners in the United States continues today. This always makes us think of the line by William Shakespeare…

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

We’ll leave it to you to decide.

Physical Characteristics of the Jack Russell Terrier… Ah, we mean the Parson Russell Terrier

Jack Russells can come in various sizes and can vary in height from 10 to 15 inches and in weight from 13 to 17 pounds. Now, Jack Russells 10 to 12 inches tall are called Shorty Jacks; they are very similar to Dachshunds or Corgis. But the Jack Russells that belong to the Parson Russell Terrier Club of America and the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America are preferred to be taller and rise to 15 inches.

That said, however…

Regardless of how your “terrier” is, he should have a smooth and broken coat that comes in black or tan markings or tricolors – black, tan, and white. Their coat will also be a double coat with a coarse texture or sometimes a rough coat slightly longer than a broken coat. The JRT’s coat is never wavy or curly; while short, it requires weekly brushing.

Personality and Temperament

This is a dog that needs to be with people all the time. He craves human company and hates being ignored. He loves his human family to death and gets very attached to every family member. All that, and he is brave and will defend you when you are under attack, never mind that he weighs only 15 pounds! He is such a sweetheart to all those who mean you no harm and a fearless protector against anyone else.

But remember…

While Jack Russell is amusing around the house, he has a strong prey drive. He will go after cats, rats, or anything small and move. And he was created to be able to keep up with horses, so when this little guy decides he wants to “take off,” good luck trying to catch him. Additionally, these guys are fearless, so they’ll often like to take on anything. Anything can and often will mean taking on dogs much more significant than him, so if you Are very aggressive against other dogs and prefer humans to live with other dogs.

Now, with humans…

He is friendly and affectionate, eager to please, and very confident. He is even familiar with strangers. But he is very noisy and barks a lot. He is also a notorious digger and digs absolutely anything that can be explored. So please remember that, especially if you want to keep him indoors all day and are even remotely fond of your carpeting or hardwood floors.

Also, these little guys are generally better suited to living in a house with older children. You never know with toddlers or small children, as it is tough to teach them to be respectful to dogs. There is a chance that Jack Russell could snap at them.

Potential Health Concerns

Jack Russell Terriers are relatively healthy breeds with a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years. But they are prone to certain health conditions such as….

And a variety of eye conditions as well. And while many of these conditions may not be life-threatening, they can become quite expensive, particularly if they become recurring issues. This is why we here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now, will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?

No, probably not. But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Don February 29, 2020, 5:05 am

    I have had three Jack Russells two of them I rescued one named Ezekiel he passed away with pancreatitis after being 13 years old we have one now called Jebediah he never backs down and that includes any of them never backs down not afraid of nothing that could be good or bad but the most loyalist playful loving animal I’ve ever ever had and they are the best especially with the children

  • Adil N. December 16, 2020, 11:18 am

    I am from Mumbai India and we would love to adopt a smooth coat Jack Russell Terrier – but don’t know how! My kids are crazy about dogs and we have always had them…


Leave a Comment