Breed review: Jack Russell

Posted by Cyril. February 14th 2014.

Popular with dog-lovers, Jack Russell’s are plucky little dogs. This is probably down to their origins as hunting dogs with the breed being descended from dogs bred in England in the 19th century for fox hunting.

Modern-day Jack Russell’s are energetic and intelligent and their relatively small size makes them ideal pets.

Jack Russell


A typical Jack Russell is 10 to 12 inches tall with a body which is longer than its tail.

Its facial features include alert eyes, deep and powerful jaws and folded over medium-sized ears. Usually it has dark markings on its ears and the sides of its face with a white stripe down its snout. It’s not unusual to see Jack Russell’s with entirely white heads though.

The coat is smooth and predominantly white with black or brown markings.


This is a very active dog which requires disciplined training – something all prospective owners should consider before getting a Jack Russell puppy.

Training will result in a happy, well-adjusted and playful dog which gets on with its owners and children. Otherwise, it may develop into a restless pet which, when bored, can become destructive.

Jack Russell’s are ideal as companions or guard dogs, which makes them popular with elderly people. An unneutered male Jack Russell is fearless so its owner needs to keep a strict eye on it when walking as it will happily confront a bigger dog owing to its inbred lack of fear. If not on a lead, it will happily go off and sniff out excitement!

Unfortunately, it is a well-known fact that many Jack Russell owners abandon them to shelters as they discover that they cannot keep up with the exercise routines or deal with its energetic nature. Choosing this breed of dog requires consideration about how it will be cared for.

On the whole, a Jack Russell is ideal for someone who enjoys an active dog.

General health and lifespan

Not surprisingly given its history of hunting, a Jack Russell is a tough breed with very few genetic health problems. A healthy Jack Russell can be expected to live around 15 years.
In terms of grooming, no clipping is necessary and regular brushing will keep its coat in good condition.


Although a Jack Russell can spend a lot of its time indoors, regular exercise is essential in order for it to release its high energy levels. A minimum of thirty minutes of exercise a day will keep this dog happy and, unless it has been trained, it is best to keep it on a lead. Jack Russell’s will not have any worries about chasing other dogs if the fancy takes it so this is something to bear in mind.

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