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The Irish Jack Russell is a strain of Jack Russell Terrier that has been bred to emphasize shorter legs and a calm temperament. Irish Jack breeders have attempted to breed out the hunting instinct from the their breeding lines, resulting in a calmer dog which is more suitable as a pet for most families than the typical working-dog Jack Russell.
Essentially, while an Irish Jack may look very similar to your typical Jack Russell most of the time, it has a personality which is closer to a companion dog, like a Shih Tzu. An Irish Jack Russell would be ideal for someone with their heart set on a Jack Russell, but who has a family with young children. While I generally don't recommend people buy a Jack Russell if their children are under 6 years of age, an Irish Jack may be appropriate in these circumstances.
However, you do have to be careful and do your due diligence with breeders, as always. There are scammers in every walk of life, so be sure that the dogs actually have a calm temperament. Make sure you see the dam (mother dog) and see how she behaves, as well as checking out the conditions in which the puppies were raised and how they have been socialized (ie, introduced to other animals and people).
If you live in an apartment, you may also find that and Irish Jack Russell is more suitable. They still need lots of exercise, but they are less likely to find a frantic outlet for pent-up energy, like doing laps around the dinner table.
Many owners also find Irish Jacks to be relatively easy to train. Although most issues and difficulties related to Jack Russell training come from a few simple misunderstandings about the breed, some people find that the calmness of Irish Jacks makes them easier to teach.
Still, you're bound to run into training problems with any Jack Russell, no matter how calm your JRT is. And when you do run into problems, my Jack Russell training book will tell you exactly how to solve them.
As I mentioned above, Irish Jacks often look very similar to any other Jack Russell.
The most significant physical traits of an Irish Jack are shorter legs, and sometimes difference in coat color. It's possible to have an Irish Jack which is completely tan, black and tan, completely black, or several other color variations, as opposed to the typical Jack Russell from working stock which is mostly white according to the JRTCA breed standard. Because they are bred purely for personality and temperament, there is more variation in physical features and these are not taken into account so much by breeders.
Because of their shorter legs, they'll often be referred to as Shorty Jacks or short Jack Russells. Now be aware if you're looking out for an Irish Jack that not all short-legged Jack Russells are in fact Irish Jacks. There are various different strains of Jack Russells with shorter legs, such as the English Jack Russell and Australian Jack Russell, as well as dwarf Jack Russells and other unhealthy dogs that are simply the result of breeding between generations of runts. Irish Jacks are also sometimes known as Puddin Jack Russells. Again, do your homework and only buy from a reputable breeder.
What's The Downside Of Irish Jacks?
If you're dreaming of winning Best In Show with an Irish Jack, forget about it. Same goes for hunting. These dogs are bred to be companions - they are not show dogs. However, they have been known to do well in trials when properly trained.
They don't adhere to any existing Jack Russell breed standard, and they are not a recognized breed according to any all-breed dog club such as the AKC. But these factors are not important to the typical family looking for a well-behaved pet.
However, some people - myself included - like Jack Russells purely because of their intensity and activeness. If you're like me then you may be better off with a more typical Jack Russell Terrier.
Irish Jack Training Tips
Even with the calmer temperament, an Irish Jack Russell can still be a handful. You will want to make sure your training and care knowledge is up to date to avoid a lot of the pitfalls of training that can create stress and tension in your life. Many owners suffer from the challenges involved in managing these crazy pets. This is why I've created the most comprehensive complete guide to Jack Russell training available on the Internet.