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May 25, 2012 at 8:00 AMComments: 2 Faves: 0

Jack Russell Terrier

By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Purebred Star Blog Series

The Jack Russell Terrier may be small in size, but they are a fun-spirited, intense, never ready-to-quit breed that just might be what you are looking for!

The Jack Russell Terrier and Parson Russell Terrier are very much the same dog. The breed wasn't recognized by the American Kennel Club until the 1990's, and then only recognized as a Parson Jack Russell Terrier. The Jack Russell Terrier Breeders Association was afraid the breed would lose its hard working characteristics through the AKC standards; the name was changed as well as some of the body characteristics.The difference between the two being their size, the Parson tends to have a larger head, chest, and body. The United Kennel Club (UKC) does refer to the breed as the Jack Russell Terrier not Parson Jack Russell Terrier.

Bred For

Part of the Terrier group, the JRT is a hard working breed that was bred to chase foxes out of their dens. They were also used for hunting groundhog and badgers.This breed would locate the foxes, chase them out, or hold them in the den until the hunters dug to it.


JRT's are a small and sturdy little breed. They have almond shaped eyes that are dark and small. Their nose is black and their ears are considered V-shaped that fold forward. Sadly, their tail is docked and should stand erect.; Their coats come in three different types; smooth, short, and broken. The breed standard requires that 51% of their body be white with tan, black or brown markings. Typically the markings are predominately found on the head, ears, and tail.


The JRT is extremely intelligent, brave, athletic, and stubborn. This breed is well known in the film and commercial industry, with the latest and most famous recognized JRT being Uggie. Uggie starred in the films "The Artist" and "Water For Elephants" in 2011. Because of how smart this little spirited breed is, they will be happy to find ways to entertain themselves if left alone for long periods of time. They are not good candidates for apartment or condo living due to their noisy barking (they are very vocal) and high energy level. Jack Russell's need training and socialization starting in their puppy stage (8 weeks to 6 months old) to help prevent aggressive tendencies towards other animals and humans. Although they are considered good with kids, this breed will NOT tolerate any form of mistreatment and will lash out. This is not a breed for the laid-back and easy-going personality. They listen and respond to assertive individuals that are eager to sign up for training classes.

Activity Level

Their activity level is HIGH. This breed will need an extensive daily exercise regimen. They make an excellent running, hiking or walking partner. This breed is a roller-blader's, bicyclist or skate-boarder's dream dog, they LOVE to run along-side of them and have the stamina to keep up. If you plan to walk your JRT, they will need three walks per day no less then 30-45 minutes per walk. Some JRT's LOVE water too! So a swim in a pool or lake is always fun and energy draining! They have a strong prey drive so a leash will be required for walks as they are not trustworthy around small animals. A fenced in yard is highly recommended, giving them plenty of room to romp around in and to keep them from getting into mischief. If you work all day, plan on dropping your little JRT off at Doggy Daycare for a day full of fun and play!

Health Concerns

A typical life span for the JRT is 13-16 years. Health concerns are: Cataracts, Ectopia Lentis (eye disorder), Congenital Deafness, Patellar Luxation, Ataxia (neurological sign consisting of lack of voluntary coordination of muscle movements), Myasthenia Gravis (neuromuscular disorder), Legg-Calve-Perthes Syndrome (degenerative disease of the hip joint) and von Willebrand Disease (bleeding disorder).

Rescue First

Are YOU a high energy and assertive personality type? Are you looking for a breed to keep up with your outdoor activities and would LOVE to participate in agility sports such as FlyballEarthdog Trials, or even Dock Diving? Do you have a home that has a secured fenced-in-yard? 

As you begin looking for a Jack Russell Terrier, please check with rescue organizations first. Every year there are millions of dogs being euthanized, not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescues? By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!

At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.

On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!

Photo Credits:


Dog Breed Info

Original Dog Bible, 2nd Edition by Kristin Mehus-Roe

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  • I have a rescue dog ,,she is 4 yrs. old,its very hard to find the food she should have because I do not know what she is used to.I am trying a very expensive food called Origin made by Champion dog food.They are supposed to be one of the best dog foods around.She is a miniature Chiwawa and has skin problems.I am using Gentaspray on her but it burns I think because she runs when she sees it coming near.She has a cough every time she drinks water. Please help me help her..Thank you

  • Hi Phyllis~

    I recommend you visiting your vet. If your dog has skin problem, you may want help from your vet determining the cause. If the spray you are using is burning her skin - I HIGHLY recommend to not use it anymore. Orijens is a very good quality food. You may want to consider trying Derma-IonX. As an oral homeopathic product it quickly goes to work in reducing itching, inflammation, rashes, hot spots, dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis. Derma-IonX can also be used topically on troublesome spots on the skin (the order comes with a mini spray bottle). Our product does NOT cure fleas, ticks, mites, or mange, but it helps relieve the symptoms of the issues caused by these parasites.

    You can find this product at

    I hope this helps your dog find comfort and relief with their skin issue.


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