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Adopt a Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier Dog Breed

Picture: Kent and Donna Dannen



Area of origin:


Original function:

fox bolting

Average size of male:

Ht: 12-14, Wt: 13-17

Average size of female:

Ht: 12-14, Wt: 13-17

Other names:

Parson Jack Russell terrier

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    Friendliness towards dogs

  • Friendliness towards other pets

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    Friendliness towards strangers

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    Ease of training

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    Watchdog ability

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    Protection ability

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    Cold tolerance

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    Heat tolerance

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Jack Russell Terrier Dog Temperament

This is a dog that thrives on action and adventure. In the process, he often finds himself in the middle of trouble. He is a true hunter at heart and will explore, wander, chase and dig when he gets a chance. He is very playful and intelligent. He gets along well with children and strangers. He does well with horses, but he may chase cats and is not good with rodents. He may tend to bark and dig. He makes an ideal companion for an active person with a good sense of humor who wants a lot of entertainment-and mischief-in one dog.

Jack Russell Terrier Dog Care

The Jack Russell needs a lot of mental and physical stimulation every day. He is not a dog that can sit around inside. He needs a long walk or strenuous game every day, plus a short training session. He enjoys the chance to explore on his own, but he must do so only in a safe area because he tends to go off in search of trouble, and some go down holes and must be dug out! He does best when allowed access to a house and yard. Coat care for the smooth type consists only of weekly brushing to remove dead hair; for the broken coat he also consists of occasional hand stripping.

Jack Russell Terrier Dog Health

Major concerns: none
Minor concerns: lens luxation, patellar luxation
Occasionally seen: glaucoma, ataxia, Legg-Calvs, deafness
Suggested tests: eye, knee
Life span: 13-15 years

Interested in the history of the Jack Russell Terrier dog breed?

Jack Russell terriers descend in most part from a dog named Trump, which was obtained by the Parson John Russell of Devonshire, England, in the mid-1800s. John Russell was a fox-hunting enthusiast, and he sought to develop a line of terriers that could keep up with the horses and bolt and dispatch fox. His line was so successful that it eventually carried his name: Jack Russell terrier. Although John Russell eventually became extremely active in the English Kennel Club, for some reason he declined to show his own breed in conformation shows. Jack Russell terrier aficionados followed his example, proving their dogs' mettle in the field rather than the show ring. This tradition holds true even today, although some JRTs have now entered the show ring. After heated debates in which most JRT fanciers objected to AKC recognition, the breed was nonetheless admitted into the miscellaneous class in 1998. In England, he was admitted into conformation classes as the Parson Jack Russell terrier in 1991. Jack Russells have long been popular with horse owners and are frequently seen around stables, but the type of terrier more often seen there has short legs and a long body. The term Parson was added to distinguish the traditional long-legged JRT. In the 1990s, the JRT became a popular media dog, and his exposure caused great interest in the breed. As a result, his numbers are growing at an alarming rate. As irresistibly cute as this irascible scamp may be, he is definitely not a breed for everyone.

Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. based on

Shelters with Jack Russell Terrier Dogs

Some animal welfare organizations with Jack Russell Terriers ready for adoption:

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