Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier Breed description: Character & Co

Jack Russell Terrier


Origin and history of the Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier has been bred in Great Britain for over 150 years. The founder of this terrier breed was the Reverend John (Jack) Russell. This ambitious hunter bred this new type of terrier with his bitch Trump. The progenitor of the Jack Russell Terrier was bought by the vicar in Oxford around 1819. The breeding goal was to obtain a hunting dog for fox hunting: Because of their size, they could follow the fox into its den. The long tail was supposedly bred so that they could be seized and pulled back out of the den.

From about 1880, descendants of the Jack Russell Terrier were imported to Australia. There they were also used for fox hunting. The Australian foxes mostly used a rabbit hole for shelter. The hunting dog had to be able to enter this narrow burrow without danger. As a result, further offspring were allowed to have a maximum withers height of 30 cm.

In 1972 the Jack Russell Terrier Club of Australia was founded. In 1991, this type of Jack Russell Terrier was recognized as a low breed dog by the Australian National Kennel Council. The FCI also recognized this breed dog in 2000. However, in Great Britain, the FCI standard is still not recognized by the Kennel Club.

Jack Russel Terrier vs. Parson Russel Terrier

The Parson Russ el Terrier was called Jack Russell Terrier (or Parson Jack Russell Terrier) until 1999. Therefore, before the FCI recognized the Jack Russel Terrier, there was always confusion. In 1999, however, the English Kennel Club finally recognized the tall terrier of this type as a breed and agreed to rename it the Parson Russell Terrier.

While body size is almost the only distinguishable characteristic of these breeds in our country, a greater difference has developed in remote Australia, where the Jack Russell Terrier has been bred as a separate breed for much longer. Therefore, there are also conformation differences depending on the geographical location. In addition, it is often said that the Jack Russell Terrier has basically evolved in Australia.

Suitability and attitude

This small but sporty dog breed was originally developed as a hunting terrier, but nowadays it is rather kept as a companion dog. Sufficient exercise is necessary. In agility you can often meet him in his size on the first places, but also in tournament dog sports, obedience or dog dance he is an enthusiastic participant. In addition, he has also turned out to be a great riding companion.

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Alternate Name Russel Terrier
Origin England
Life expectancy 13 - 16 years
Care requirements low-maintenance
Activity level high
FCI group Small sized Terriers
AKC group Terrier Group
KC group not recognised

Typical character traits of the Jack Russell Terrier

You should already lay the foundations for future coexistence with a Jack Russell Terrier puppy. This fearless dog breed is the literal epitome of "small but mighty": a Jack Russell Terrier is an athlete who needs to be exercised physically and mentally. But this also makes him an ideal playmate for older children, because as a nimble "ball junkie" he never gets tired and is hardly sensitive. He also learns new tricks very easily. Unfortunately, however, he tends to like digging.

The biggest problem, however, is his innate hunting instinct, which can only be well controlled with consistent training. He will question pack leadership from time to time due to his self-confidence, which is why you need dog experience and possibly help from a dog trainer. However, a Jack Russell will defend his family and property if he has to.

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Breed diseases of the Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier can suffer from the hereditary diseases...

  • Ataxia (disturbed coordination of movements)
  • myelopathy (spinal cord disease)

suffer. These two diseases are common in terriers and develop during the first months of life. Also, make sure that your four-legged friend is not affected by the following diseases:

  • Atopy (hypersensitivity to various substances).
  • Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease (growth disorder)
  • Dermatophytosis (fungal infection with weakened immune system)
  • Eye diseases (possible genetic predisposition)

It is also important to note that in the 19th century in Australia, less attention was paid to possible consequences of inbreeding. Offspring of this breeding line may possibly have increased hereditary diseases.

Breeding, purchase and adoption

This pedigree dog has a life expectancy of 13 to 16 years, but this is not unusual for terrier species. Sometimes even a life expectancy of 18 years is no problem. So if you get a Jack Russell Terrier, you should be prepared for a very long responsibility.

When buying a puppy from a Jack Russell breed, you should definitely pay attention to a reputable breeder. On the one hand you have the guarantee for a relatively healthy partner at your side, on the other hand you support the Jack Russell breeding in a positive direction.

Often new owners underestimate the energy of these four-legged friends, so you can also inquire at animal shelters, if there have been any relinquishments of this breed. But always pay attention to the individual temperament of the dog, because not every dog of a breed has the same characteristics.

Jack Russell Terrier breed description

The Jack Russell Terrier is classified by the FCI as group 3(Terrier), Section 2(Lowland Terrier). A working test is optional.

This small dog breed grows to a height of about 25-30cmand reaches a weight of about 1kg per 5cm height at the withers (so a 25cm dogweighs about 5kg).

The head

The skull should be flat and moderately broad, graduallynarrowingtoward theeyesand tapering toabroad foreface. The stop is usually well defined, but not too pronounced.

The muzzle

Thelength of the muzzle from the stop to the nose, which is covered with a black sponge, should be slightly shorter than that from the stop to the occiput. His lips lietaut and are equally black pigmented.

A very strong, deep, broad and powerful scissor bite is characteristic and the cheek muscles should be well developed .

The eyes & ears

Small, dark and with a penetrating expression, the almond-shaped eyesmust notprotrude under any circumstances.The eyelids should be tightly fitting withblack pigmentation .

Jack Russell Terrier ears are very mobile buttonorhanging ears with a good texture of the ear leather.

The body

The neck isstrong and well defined and should allow the head to be carriedin an upright position. His straight back is slightly longer than the height at the withers from the withers to the base of the tail. The loins are short, strong and distinctly muscled all the way down.

The chest of this breed appearsdeeprather than broad but withgoodground clearance,the sternum beingmidway between the ground and the withers . The ribs should be well sprung at the base of the spine and flatten out towards the sides so that the rib cage
can be encompassed behind the elbows with two hands - in circumferenceapproximately 40 to 43 cm. Thetip of the sternum is placedwell forward of the bow joint.

The tail

The tail may droop when at rest, but should be carried erect when moving. If docked, the tip of the tail extends to the level of the ears.

The limbs

Well laid back, the shoulder must not be overloaded with muscle. The forelegs consist of straight bone from the elbows to the toes, both seen from the front and the side. The upper arm is of reasonable length and angulation, so that the elbows are wellplaced under thebody. The hindquarters, on the other hand, are strong and muscular but balanced with the shoulders. The stifle joint is well angulated, the hind pastern should beparallel when viewed from behind in free stance. The hock joint is low.

Both front and hind feet areround but not large with hard pads and moderately arched toes. They should be turned neither in nor out.

The coat

The Jack Russell Terrier may be smooth, coarseor spiky haired. In all varieties, however, a certain weather resistance must be present. At breeding shows, the hair should not be altered (plucked) to make it appear smoothor sticky-haired.

Color-wise, white shouldpredominate in this breedwith blackand/ortan markingsin all shades from the lightest to the richest tan (chestnut brown).

Fur length short
Fur rough-haired
Ear shape Tilt-ear
Tail lang
Anatomy sporty
Size ♀ 25 - 38 cm
Weight ♀ 6 - 8 kg
Size ♂ 25 - 38 cm
Weight ♂ 6 - 9 kg
Suitable For -


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  • Cataract

    Cataracts are still one of the most common causes of blindness, even in dogs.

  • Numbness

    Often occurs in old age.

  • Ataxia

    Ataxia (from Greek ἀταξία ataxia 'disorder' 'irregularity') is a generic term in medicine for various disorders of movement coordination. Ataxia can occur even when there is no paralysis (paresis), that is, when there is normal muscle strength.

  • Atopy

    Canine atopic dermatitis or environmental allergy is characterized by itching with scratching, biting, and rubbing of the face, paws, and belly

  • Dermatophytosis

    Dermatophytosis (synonym dermatophytosis, from ancient Greek τὸ δέρμα derma, German 'skin' and ancient Greek φυτόν phyton, German 'plant') or tinea (Latin for 'woodworm', 'moth') is a skin fungal disease caused by specific fungi (dermatophytes).

  • extreme whiteness

    May be associated with some other diseases.

  • Legg-Calve-Perthes

    Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease (aseptic femoral head necrosis) is a growth disorder of the femoral head.

  • Dislocations

    Lenticular and patella luxation occur in some breeds and affect the eye.

  • Myelopathy

    Degenerative myelopathies of dogs are a series of slowly progressing neurological diseases associated with destruction of the spinal cord. These diseases are associated with slowly progressive movement disorders of the hindquarters.

  • Yes, the Jack Russell Terrier is a good family dog. Especially if the family and the children are very active and like to move a lot.

  • A Jack Russell Terrier puppy you can get from 1200 Euro.

  • A Jack Russell Terrier is a very agile and active dog, so when a puppy moves in with you, you should make sure that he has enough intelligence toys to keep him busy all the time. Besides the classic dog equipment for puppies things, you will also need toys, a Kong and other things to keep him busy.

  • The Parson Russell Terrier was called Jack Russell Terrier (or Parson Jack Russell Terrier) until 1999. Therefore, before the FCI recognized the Jack Russell Terrier, there was always confusion. In 1999, however, the English Kennel Club has finally recognized the high running terriers of this type as a breed and agreed to a renaming to the Parson Russell Terrier.

  • Jack Russell Terriers live on average 13-16 years.

  • No, the Jack Russell Terrier is not necessarily suitable as a beginner dog?

  • If you have enough time and motivation, as well as the certainty of having enough resources for a dog for the next few years, a Jack Russell Terrier could be a great fit for you.

Other medium dogs

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