Jack Russell Terrier Information - All About Jack Russell Terriers

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Basic Info

Average Height: 10-15 inches (25.4-38.1 cm)

Average Weight: 6-8 kilograms (13.2-17.6 lbs)

Colour: Mostly white with black and brown markings

Average Lifespan: 12-13 years

Rought coat Jack Russell Terrier on grass.

What is a Jack Russell Terrier?

A Jack Russell Terrier (JRT for short) is a small dog, originally developed for the purpose of fox-hunting in Britain in the 1800s. True, purebred Jack Russells are mostly white with patches of black and/or brown. There are three different coat types: The rough coat, the smooth coat and the broken coat.

What Is NOT a Jack Russell Terrier?

The answer to this question depends on the breed standard used to assess the dog. There has been a lot of controversy in Jack Russell circles since the dogs were first bred over whether they should be registered with an all-breed dog club, like the United Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club. People who breed Jack Russells as working dogs are afraid that over time the hunting instinct will disappear as people breed more and more show dogs to compete in Kennel Club competitions, and thus the real Jack Russell will be lost forever.

There are now three separate types of the original Jack Russell Terrier. They are the Parson Russell Terrier, the Russell Terrier, and the Jack Russell Terrier. The Parson Russell is the Kennel Club variety - a show dog. Parson Russells have longer legs than the other varieties. The Jack Russell Terrier is the "true" Jack Russell, according to the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America (JRTCA) standard, and should measure between 10 and 15 inches (25.4-38.1cm) at the withers (top of the shoulders). The Russell Terrier is essentially a short-legged Jack Russell and should not be taller than 12 inches (30.5cm) at the withers.

Why the difference in size? Smaller dogs find it easier to squeeze into underground holes when hunting. The longer-legged Parson Russell is not a practical working dog.

What Are Jack Russells Like As Pets?

Jack Russells were bred to hunt. They are working dogs at heart. Though they can easily adapt to living in an urban environment, the call of the wild is never far from their minds. They have seemingly boundless energy. They are incredibly lively and intelligent dogs. They are also fearless - their role in the hunt was to pin the hunted animal down in its hole, so they had to be brave enough to face a badger or fox at close range. They are excitable and can be extremely noisy - lots of barking was prized in a JRT because a Jack Russell who barked a lot was much easier to find when it was underground, in a fox hole.

Just to give you an idea of how gutsy Jack Russells are, I'll use the now famous case of George, a Jack Russell that lived in my home country, New Zealand, until 2007. George died taking on two pitbulls to save five children from being attacked. Pitbulls were bred for fighting ability, are much bigger than Jack Russells and are involved with more than half of all dog-attack deaths in some countries. What's more, George was 9 years old - virtually a Jack Russell senior citizen.

Do Jack Russells Make Good Pets?

It depends entirely on your personality, patience, family situation and lifestyle. Jack Russells require quite a lot of exercise - if you don't walk them enough and play games, they will make their own fun by destroying your shoes and furniture. If you want a dog with spirit, courage, intelligence, and a sense of humor, then Jack Russells make excellent pets. But you have to be prepared for the difficulties and time commitment involved maintaining such a high-intensity dog day in and day out. Jack Russells are definitely not suitable for families with children under 5 or 6 years old. Young children simply can't understand that a dog is not a play toy, and with JRTs this can lead to accidents.

Are Jack Russells Easy to Train?

Yes, if you do it the right way. Unfortunately most people do it the wrong way, so Jack Russells are now considered by many to be disobedient, untrainable dogs. This is not true and doesn't fit in with their breeding history - an untrainable dog would be virtually useless for hunting. The most important parts of training are building a good relationship with the dog from the beginning and keeping good Jack Russell Terrier information on hand. To get yourself off to the best possible start, learn how to avoid all the common major training mistakes.

More Jack Russell Terrier Information

There is plenty of specific Jack Russell Terrier information on this web site that covers breeders, breeding, training, feeding, puppies, JRT rescue and more. Use the buttons on the left or return to the Home Page to find more Jack Russell Terrier information, or read more about my comprehensive Jack Russell training guide, The Jack Russell Lover's Ultimate Guide To Training.

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