Dog Breed – Jack Russell Terrier
Should You Get A JRT?
The Jack Russell Terrier has a compact body and streamlined head. You can get an idea of the variety in appearance when viewing the photos below. It may be smooth or broken coated and is generally an amenable little dog with a larger than life character. It can be a happy go lucky, generally healthy, extremely loyal and well behaved companion or it can be a hound of hell depending on how much effort you are prepared to pour into training, socialization and learning about this breed.
History of the Jack Russell Terrier
The Jack Russell breed originates from small fox terriers which were bred by the Reverend John Russell in Devonshire, England over 100 years ago. At that time, many little working terriers were too similar in coloring to the animal they were intended to chase so the Reverend Russell acquired a small white and tan terrier named Trump and set upon a breeding program.
Trump had the perfect coloring as far as Reverend Russell was concerned being almost completely white with a patch of tan above each eye and at the base of her tail. Having found Trump, Russell turned his mind to creating a new breed of dog. One that had the right coloring, stamina, courage and the right body shape to go after a fox in the den and chase it out into the open.
His terriers must also have enough control not to attack the fox as its job was only to pursue and flush its prey so that the chase could continue.
JRT Size: The Jack Russell Terrier stands 11-15in at the shoulder and weighs between 10-16lb.
JRT Exercise: This is an energetic dog, bred for years for its stamina and athletic ability. It is not really an apartment dog unless the others in the apartment are prepared to walk – a lot – or perhaps take part in dog agility, hunting or other outdoor activities with their Jack Russell on a regular basis. Being an intelligent little guy, the Jack will get bored if not physically and mentally exercised. They can be dog aggressive too so if you want to let your Jack Russell run off steam with others dogs you need to get him socialized and dog-friendly from a young age.
JRT Health: The Jack Russell is generally a healthy breed, living to about 15 years old. The breeders have done a great job generally of discouraging the level of inbreeding that you see in more popular breeds like the German Shepherd. As a result although the JRT is vulnerable to some diseases such as cataracts, deafness, ectopis lentis and patellar luxation his heart, digestive and circulatory system is less susceptible to disease than many other breeds.
JRT Feeding: The best thing to feed your Jack Russell terrier is a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Buying cheap store brand dog food ends up costing more in the long run as it can expose dogs to poor growth, bad joints, allergies and digestive problems. Feed your pup on quality kibble from the outset and you will ensure a healthier longer life for him, with fewer vet visits along the way.
Remember when comparing dog foods that the items that make up the largest percentage of the food must appear first in the list of ingredients so you are looking for one that lists a high quality protein like chicken, duck, beef etc. (not by-products) first. Avoid foods which list byproducts, meal, corn or rice as a major ingredient as these are used as filler and have little nutritional value.
Famous Jack Russell Terriers Owners
One person who you would expect to perhaps own a different breed of boxer altogether is champion boxer and politician, Manny Pacquiao. Shouldn’t he have something larger like uhm… a boxer? No, as it happens, Manny enjoys the scrappy intelligence of the Jack Russell and can certainly appreciate the lion-sized heart of the little guy. His Jack Russell is called Pacman. Obviously Manny has the energy, drive and commitment to handle a Jack Russell.
Is a Jack Russell Right For You?
The JRT might be a little dog, but he doesn’t know that. He is a larger than life kind of guy, bursting with character, mischief and courage. Despite its small size it is not a good dog for first time dog owners or for those with small children. Those with cats have to consider that the JRT brings with it 100 years of hunting instinct. It is in his genetic make-up to go after small animals and no matter how well you train your JRT you cannot guarantee that his natural instinct will not emerge at some time in the future.
It would be extremely unfair to get a Jack Russell terrier for your family if you were not willing or able to devote the time and energy to train, exercise and bond with him. The shelters are full of JRT and JRT mixes because without this understanding this feisty little terrier has proved too much too handle for too many people.
A JRT will Suit You If…
you have experience with strong willed dogs.
you have time and energy to spend on exercise and training.
you have no children or older children.
you understand and can handle the dog’s prey drive.
A JRT May Not Be A Good Choice For You If…
you are not a natural leader.
you are looking for a low energy lap dog.
you have a baby or young children.
you have small animals and no JRT experience.