Your typical Jack Russell Terrier personality is friendly, outgoing, energetic and affectionate. Jack Russells are high-intensity dogs with a cheeky sense of humor. When they are being ignored, they will do just about anything to get their owner's attention.
Check out my comprehensive JRT training guide to find out more about the role the Jack Russell Terrier personality plays in training.
Jack Russell Temperament
These are some of the most common personality traits:
High stamina and seemingly infinite energy. Unless you're a marathon runner you'll find it hard to wear a JRT out. They aren't the kind of dogs you'll find lying around for long stretches in the sun. They are active dogs - bred to be workers in the open fields of Britain, they like to dig and hunt.
Headstrong and independent nature. The way Jack Russells were used for hunting relied more on instinct than following the hunter's commands. This is what has given the Jack Russells of today their independent and headstrong nature. They're not really afraid of anything. Jack Russells can be trained, but you have to establish yourself in the dominant role. If you don't, most JRTs will naturally assume a dominant status in the pet-owner relationship. Most Jack Russell owners don't really own their dogs - their dogs own THEM. And remember, just because your JRT will listen to you, doesn't mean they'll have the time of day for anyone else.
High level of intelligence. Jack Russells are very intelligent, which means they are fast learners, but it can also lead to a clash of wills. Because JRTs are smart, they know what's happening when you get out the dog crate or come home with special dog shampoo. They have long memories. It's very hard to trick a JRT into doing something it doesn't want to do.
Impressive strength. Because they are little powerhouses, if they really don't want to do something, there's a good chance you won't be able to hold them down and force them. They will wriggle out of your grasp and be out of sight before you know what hit you.
A reputation as being naughty little rascals. Jack Russells can in fact be well-behaved, for the right owner with the training information. The right attitude is also essential - don't get a Jack Russell if you want a quiet lap dog. If you want to own a JRT, be prepared for a healthy dose of mischief. It's a trademark of the Jack Russell Terrier personality, all part of the fun and the reason I wouldn't own any other breed.
Playfulness. JRTs love to play games. They tend to remain very 'puppy-like' into their old age.
Adaptability. Despite the fact that they were bred for fox-hunting in wide open spaces, Jack Russells can easily find happiness in the suburbs or even a city apartment - as long as they get regular exercise. Because they are so adaptable, don't expect every Jack Russell Terrier personality to conform to this description. There are plenty of unique characters in the JRT world.
High alertness. They make great watchdogs as they notice the slightest sound that's out of the ordinary.
Cheekiness. JRTs will try to get away with just about anything.
Easily becoming excited, often, apparently, by nothing in particular. A bird passing overhead can sometimes set a Jack Russell off on vigorous laps around the garden.
Lots of affection for their owners. They are very loyal. Over-aggressiveness may be a sign of bad breeding or mistreatment as a young dog.
As you can see from these characteristics, the Jack Russell is a breed that requires some special knowledge in order to keep it under control. It helps if you know about the major training mistakes many people make with this breed, as I explain in m free special report.
Jack Russell Charm
Let's face it - chances are, you're reading this because you saw a Jack Russell and fell in love at first sight. JRTs are the master charmers of the dog world - they know just how to look at you and just how to whimper to get what they want. So be warned: don't be suckered into giving a dog unhealthy table scraps just because of a pair of shining, curious eyes.
What Are Jack Russells Like With Other Animals?
Most Jack Russells are fine with other dogs, although among males there may be some aggression. There will definitely be a lot of vigorous sniffing. Most Jack Russells can also get along fine with cats, as long as they are introduced slowly and under close watch. As for rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, mice or rats - forget it. Unless your JRT is extremely well trained, these little furballs will be dead in an eyeblink.
The Jack Russell Terrier personality can be intense and difficult to manage at times, but their loving and friendly nature has won the hearts of dog lovers all over the world.
Your Jack Russell Terrier's character plays a very important role in training, and it will affect the techniques and methods you use to train. For more information on this, check out my new ebook, The Jack Russell Lover's Ultimate Guide To Training.