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Jack Russell Terrier

This terrier type dog rather unusually has two pedigree versions, the Jack Russell Terrier and the Parson Russell Terrier – but the dog that most people recognise as a Jack Russell (the short-legged, slightly barrel-shaped feisty little terrier that is one of the UK’s most popular breeds) isn’t a recognised breed at all! These terrier are typically between 10” and 14” tall at the shoulder (although sometimes can be smaller), may be smooth, broken or wire coated, and come in all colours – usually white with coloured patches of either black or tan or black with tan points. 

13 – 16 years
6 – 8kg
25 – 35cm
All colours, usually white with black/tan markings.
UK Kennel Club Groups
The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for owners with some experience
  • Basic training required
  • Generally healthy breed
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys one to two hours of walking a day
  • Small dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Barks and alerts to visitors/anything unusual
  • Could have issues with unknown dogs but gets along with known dogs
  • May need additional training to live with other pets
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Needs a small garden
  • Can live in semi-rural areas
  • Can be left occasionally with training

Jack Russell Terrier Personality

This is the ultimate ‘big dog in a small body’. A Jack has no idea they are little dogs and will happily take on the world with a wag and a twinkle in their eye!

All Jack Russell type terriers should be friendly to people, filled with fun and a strong sense of humour, affable and cheekiness – and slightly roguish! This is a working dog who can go from casually stealing a chip from your plate in the pub garden, to diving into the hedgerow and fetching out a now-deceased rat, and come back to chip-scrounging in seconds. Fast moving, fast thinking and cheerfully impulsive! 

Typical Jacks are not overly tolerant of fussing and prodding, and they don’t possess the greatest impulse control – owners should be prepared to work on this, and manage their expectations reasonably. They might never be safe with cats (especially unknown ones - although most will learn to live with their own) and definitely not safe with ‘small furries’.

Vet Rating

History and Origins

The Modern JRT Type Terrier

Ideal Owner

Exercise Needs

Space Requirements

Nutrition & Feeding

Grooming Jack Russell Terriers

Training Jack Russell Terriers

Suitability for Family Life

Did you know?
  • King Charles III and the Queen Consort have two of these Jack Russell type terriers – both of which were rescued from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home (where the Queen Consort is the Royal Patron).
  • All Jack Russell types (KC recognised and not) vary in size, leg length, coat type, and build, but they are always a terrier – feisty, loud, opinionated and quick! 
  • Reverend John Russell who developed the original Jack Russell terrier in the early 1800s was a founding member of the Kennel Club, and also bred other types of dog – however he never actually wanted the Jack Russell terrier to be a recognised breed, preferring that they were bred to fulfil a working role, rather than to a standard appearance. It is for this reason that the Jack Russell, while one of the most popular breeds, was also one of the latest to be recognised by the Kennel Club.
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