The Jack Russell Terrier is a small breed that was developed in England. It is a bold, fearless, friendly, confident, and stubborn breed, typical of a terrier. The Jack Russell was originally bred to hunt foxes, with longer legs so that it can cope up with the hounds on the hunt. A flexible body gives the breed enough mobility to squeeze into burrows and underground dens where its prey hides. This ability, coupled with its appealing terrier characteristics makes it an absolutely wonderful house pet and an excellent hunting partner. The average weight of a Jack Russell is 8.2 kg. The muzzle tapers to a point with a well-defined stop, has almond-shaped eyes with keen expression, button or dropped ears, fairly deep chest and a tail that is carried completely erect when moving. The weatherproof coat of the Jack Russell Terrier may be smooth, rough, or broken, predominantly white with black and/or tan markings (light tan to rich chestnut tan). The average size of the Jack Russell Terrier is between 25 cm and 30 cm.
The Jack Russell Terrier that we know today was developed in England in 1819 by Rev. John “Jack” Russell (1795 – 1883). Jack Russell was a parson and hunting enthusiasts who developed the breed for fox hunting from a small white and tan terrier female named Trump which he acquired from a local milkman. Russell’s breeding program revolved around the development of a terrier with great stamina for hunting, as well as the bravery and intelligence to bolt out foxes from their burrows without harming them. These attributes made these terriers well-known and a lot of hunters took interest in the breed. Following Russell’s death in 1883, several breed enthusiasts continue breeding Russell’s strains albeit the targeted size were a little smaller than Fox terriers. The first breed standard was written in 1894, and although it is an old breed, it was only recognised as a breed by the Kennel Club (UK) in January 1, 2016.
The Jack Russell Terrier is alert, courageous, energetic, intelligent, lively, and stubborn at times. It is a muscular, rough, and obstinate working terrier and many Jack Russell Terriers are moody or destructive if not properly exercised or mentally and physically stimulated. It has a tendency to become bored very easily and will often channel its boredom into its very own unique amusement when left alone for long periods of time. It is not an apartment or condominium dog because it needs a lot of physical activity in order to stay healthy. It is best suited to a home with a fenced-in yard because this breed will take off like a shot when it encounters any unfamiliar moving animals or objects such as rabbits, cats, other dogs, bicycles, and cars. This breed is also an escape artist who can dig his way out of the fence so make sure the garden fence is buried enough to discourage the Jack Russell Terrier from digging an escape route.
This high energy terrier makes is ideally suitable to a number of dog sports where it can be exceptionally good, including flyball, sprinting, retrieving or agility trials. Obedience training is also highly recommended to potential owners as this small dog packs a lot of attitude. It has a stubborn streak and can become aggressive towards other animals and humans if not properly trained and socialised early. Training should be firm, gentle but consistent and must be handled by an owner who is committed to getting the dog to do what it is commanded of it. It is not a pet for a first-time dog owner. In that sense, it is more suitable to an owner with prior experience to handling terrier-type breeds.
The Jack Russell Terrier will benefit from weekly brushing to keep the hair clean and neat-looking, no matter what the coat type is – smooth, rough, or broken. The coat of the broken-coated Jack Russell Terrier should be plucked or stripped using a stripping knife twice a year to allow new hairs to grow and maintain proper coat texture. Stripping will also lessen shedding. Bathing is on an as-needed basis. Inspect the ears for signs of infection and wax build-up, cleaning as necessary. Teeth should be brushed on a weekly basis to prevent gum problems and bad breath. Nails should be trimmed monthly if clicking sound on the floor is heard when the dog is walking or running.
The typical lifespan of the Jack Russell Terrier is 13 to 16 years and is considered a long-lived dog. Strict breeding practices for generations kept the breed generally healthy and free from major hereditary health issues, unlike other dogs. There are however, certain lines of Jack Russells that have been observed to be affected by a few minor health issues, including hereditary cataracts, lens luxation, congenital deafness, luxating patella, ataxia, myasthenia gravis, Legg-Calve-Perthes syndrome, and Von Willebrand disease.
The Jack Russell Terrier is a very high energy dog because it is a working dog. Despite its small stature, this breed is not recommended for an apartment or condominium life, unless it is given proper physical and mental exercises on a daily basis. Take note that this breed has a tremendous amount of energy for its size, which can become a potential problem towards other animals, especially larger ones. A great way to exercise the breed is to play catch with a ball. Jack Russell Terriers love to chase balls so much that they seemed obsessed with it.
The Jack Russell Terrier is a wonderful companion dog in a hunt but the same may not be true as a family dog. Although different dogs have different personalities, in general, the Jack Russell Terrier will not tolerate abuse from children even if it is unintentional. However, with early socialisation and proper training, this breed can be friendly towards children. It is generally aggressive towards other dogs.