Jack Russell Terriers

by BrendaReeves

Jack Russell Terriers make wonderful pets for the right person or family. To avoid regrets, do the research before bringing one into your life.

Local Animal Shelters

High Rate of Abandonment

Visit any county or city animal shelter, and you'll probably find at least one Jack Russell Terrier, if not more. Unfortunately, many people adopt these cute, feisty little dogs without doing their homework, and they quickly end up abandoning them at animal shelters all over the country.

As the owner of a Jack Russell (JR), I can tell you first hand about the unique characteristics of this dog. I brought the breed into my home as a companion and playmate for my golden retriever, Jessie. At the time, the one year old Jessie had the energy of five Jack Russells, and I had had enough of playing tug-o-war and fetch. It did the trick. Jessie and her new playmate, Jasper, took to one another and they're still wrestling six years later.

Parson's Jack Russell
Parson's Jack Russell

Spunky Little Dogs

High Energy Companions

Personality Traits

  • Happy dogs
  • Intelligent
  • Protective
  • Playful
  • Affectionate
  • Loyal
  • Watchdogs
  • Energetic

Personality Match

Are You Ready for A Jack Russell

These happy dogs smile constantly. Will Rogers never met a man he didn't like, and I never met a depressed Jack Russell.

Watch out! JRs are intelligent, and they'll outsmart you every time. They play constantly, so make sure someone in the home likes to play: another dog, children or you.

Jasper greets strangers enthusiastically when invited onto his territory by a household member. However, if someone he doesn't know comes in the backyard uninvited, he bites. I put up a taller fence after Jasper nipped a few visitors when they reached over the fence to pet him. He's doing what he's supposed to do, but I might get sued and Jasper might get carted off to animal control for the long sleep.

You may not think of JRs as affectionate. They're very affectionate, but it's usually on their terms. They like to play lapdog, but not for long with so many interesting things to explore outside.

These dogs like to bark which makes them great watchdogs. However, keep it under control so the neighbors don't report you to the noise ordinance police.

The JR never runs out of energy. I find it a plus, but you may not.

Adoption Considerations

Pros and Cons

With every good dog, there might come a few undesirable traits. Consider these before bringing home a JR:

  • Excessive barking
  • Nipping
  • Biting
  • Small children might be a problem
  • Escape artist
  • Runners

All of the above problems are fixable or avoidable in the first place, but you need to start training with your JR the moment you bring it home.

They can be nippy and you need to nip that in the bud right away. Biting can be another problem. Don't even let it begin.

Never hit your Jack Russell when disciplining. Like any dog, it makes a JR aggressive and it's cruel. Read some of the many great books on dog training or employ the help of a professional dog trainer.

Small children might be a problem. If you bring your JR home as a puppy and raise it with a small child, a problem shouldn't occur. Don't adopt an older dog that wasn't raised around children.

Jack Russells never run out of energy. They need an abundance of exercise.

These escape artists wait vigilantly for the chance to escape out the front door. That occurs for Jasper when we let down our guard. If he's successful, he runs wild through the neighborhood christening every curbside mailbox. I've given up trying to cajole him home with a treat. One time, I found him zig-zagging down the street on the tail of Bugs Bunny. Rabbits and christening mailboxes win out over treats every time. When I'm leaving home, I make Jasper sit and stay until I get out the door. However, my 88 year old mother opens the door without thinking and Jasper makes his get-a-way.

Now that you know the pros and cons of owning a Jack Russell, you might think a lab looks like a good dog. If you're still determined to get a JR, save one from the animal shelter. With children in the house, look for one that likes children. When very small children live in the house, it's best to get a puppy and raise the two together. Definitely take your Jack Russell to obedience training and enjoy your new family member.

Updated: 01/24/2012, BrendaReeves
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BrendaReeves on 07/18/2013

Yes, I love these dogs. Mine is quite comical.

Lilysnape on 07/18/2013

As you can see my dog is a JR, very affectionate and gets on well with the cat.

AnnaCia on 03/18/2012

Jack Rusell terrier are so beautiful. I like your article a lot; very useful. Thank you for sharing.

katiem2 on 02/29/2012

That's it, now I want a Jack Russell terrier. I loved watching that old show Kramer with my parents, loved the dog... what was that little jack russell terriers name. Oh this will drive me crazy! Anyway, what a nice dog, very cute.

BrendaReeves on 02/23/2012

Check a lab rescue or your local animal shelter. Labs are wonderful dogs but they are strong dogs and get dumped in shelters quite often.

Pinkchic18 on 02/23/2012

They are such beautiful dogs, so cute!! I learned a lot here. I think my hubby and I are going to adopt a yellow lab very shortly. So excited :)

ohcaroline on 02/05/2012

Great article about Jack Russell terriers. They are so cute...but definitely little bundles of energy.

BrendaReeves on 01/25/2012

Thanks for the comment. Now that it's winter, I take my dogs with me on errands. I get a lot of compliments about how cute Jasper is from people passing by the car.

happynutritionist on 01/25/2012

This is a great review on Jack Russels, I remember reading much about their personalities when looking for a small dog, ended up with our Yorkie. There is a Jack Russel across the lake from us, I love to watch him on the boat with his owner, so cute, constantly watching the water for...something:-)

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