jack-russell-breed-overviewSource: Freepik.com


The Jack Russell terrier is a spirited, energetic, and clever small dog. If you’re looking for an affectionate, charming exercise companion, this breed could be ideal for you, but if you’d prefer a dog that sleeps peacefully on the couch all day, a Jack Russell is definitely not for you. Originally bred to flush foxes from their holes, these little dogs are fearless and very vocal, and while they can be hugely entertaining, their instinct to bark at and chase everything that moves can make them a handful to manage and therefore better suited to more experienced dog owners.

  • Height: up to 38 cm (at the shoulder)
  • Temperament: energetic, fearless, vocal, intelligent and stubborn
  • Maintenance: low grooming needs but high exercise and training needs
  • Lifespan: 12 to 15 years


The exact origin of the greyhound remains up for debate. Some experts sugDeveloped in England in the 1800s, the Jack Russell terrier, also known as the Parson Russell terrier, is a true working terrier. The breed’s name relates to Parson John Russell (known as Jack) who wanted to create an efficient hunting dog to assist foxhounds. He developed a terrier that was bold enough to venture underground to drive out a fox from its lair, and yet could also run well. A bold, athletic, determined working terrier with speed, intelligence, and a strong desire to hunt, the Jack Russell soon became a favourite with sportsmen and huntsmen on horseback as well as on foot, fulfilling the role of barking to bolt a fox from its earth without going for the kill.



Small and cute, Jack Russell terriers are energetic and full of fun, but the entertaining little dogs seen on TV and in films are well-trained and it takes time and patience to get there. By nature, they are loving and devoted, but also very intelligent and extremely wilful, meaning they can be mischievous and tricky to train. It’s in their blood to assist in the hunt, and while they’re super friendly towards people, they will instinctively see other animals as prey and will fearlessly take them on. The same instincts can also lead to a tendency to wander as the urge to explore remains. In short, Jack Russell terriers can be wonderful companions, but they are unsuited to families with small children and their natural drive to bark, chase, and dig means they need a home environment with plenty of opportunity for exercise to prevent them from looking for mischief.



Owning a Jack Russell can be a challenge, even for experienced dog owners. They are strong-willed characters and require consistent, firm training from an early age. However, with rules and routine in place, they are very intelligent little dogs and highly trainable.

Jack Russell terriers thrive on structure, but training sessions need to be short and sweet as repetition will soon lead to boredom. As with all breeds, early socialisation and exposure to a wide range of sights, sounds, people, and experiences will help them to grow into well-rounded dogs. Always friendly, affectionate, and never shy around people, Jack Russell terriers can be aggressive towards other dogs and this could become a serious problem without appropriate training.

It must also be noted that Jack Russell terriers are hardwired to dig, and they will dig at every opportunity. Training an instinctive digger to dig in a designated area is a much easier option than attempting to break the digging habit. First-time or inexperienced owners may find it difficult to maintain the patience and perseverance needed to get the best out of this breed, but with the right person, there’s no limit to the learning potential of a Jack Russell terrier.


Jack Russell terriers are generally a healthy breed, but conditions they may be susceptible to include:

Interesting Jack Russell Facts

  • ● Explorer Ranulph Fiennes’ Jack Russell terrier Bothy became the first dog to set foot in the North Pole and the South Pole after being flown in to join the celebrations at the end of each expedition.
  • ● Jack Russell terriers Moose and Enzo, Moose’s son, became TV stars in the hit sitcom Frasier. The doggy stars received more fan mail than the rest of the cast.
  • ● Nipper, the dog featured in the famous painting ‘His Master’s Voice’ (and used in the HMV logo) is thought by many to be a Parson Russell terrier.
  • ● The Duchess of Cornwall (Camilla) is a Jack Russell terrier fan and owns Beth and Bluebell, both rescued from Battersea Dogs’ Home.
  • ● Jack Russell terriers are very bouncy and can jump over five feet.