Jack Russell Terrier Dog Breed

By: Chewy EditorialPublished:


Jack Russell Terrier Dog Breed

The Jack Russell Terrier is a small terrier that is commonly confused with the Parson Russell Terrier. Although they do share a similar appearance, and are, of course, related, the Parson Russell Terrier is shorter-bodied and longer-legged, while the Jack Russell Terrier is longer-bodied and shorter-legged.

It is not yet an officially recognized breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Another American dog registry, the United Kennel Club (UKC) recognized both the Jack and the Parson under the same Russell Terrier breed until 2009, and the National Kennel Club (NKC) recognizes the Jack but not the Parson.

Jack Russell Terrier Physical Characteristics

Jack Russell Terriers are small dogs with a square compact build. The head is small and blocky with almond shaped dark eyes. The ears are drop v shaped and set high on the head, the tail slim, in keeping with the rest of the body and carried high. It is not uncommon to see the Jack Russell with its tail docked (surgically shortened.) The rough, wiry coated Jack Russells sport the mustached, bushy eyebrows and short beard that is a recognizable characteristic in many terriers.


Most commonly seen in tan and white or black and brown, and sometimes they have all three colors.


The coat can be short and smooth, medium and rough/wiry, or “broken,” a cross between the two coat types.

Jack Russell Terrier Personality and Temperament

Activity Level

Moderate to high


Jack Russell Terriers are very active and alert dogs. They are high energy indoors and out. This breed will keep you on your toes, as they are always looking for ways to get attention. This is a fun breed to own, but they require a family that can provide a stimulating environment. They are generally good with children and other dogs. This breed tends to excel in canine sports and they make great running partners.

Things to Consider

This breed needs to have rigorous play and exercise daily. They have a tendency to dig and, due to their chasing drive, may chase cats. Jack Russell Terriers will bark at people or animals that they seem making them potentially ideal watch dogs.

Jack Russell Terrier Care

Ideal Living Conditions

This breed would do well in the country or city as long as they are exercised regularly.

Special Requirements

Jack Russells are known to have a bit of a Napoleon complex; it is not uncommon for them to pick fights with bigger dogs.

Jack Russell Terrier Health

The following conditions are commonly seen in Jack Russell Terriers:

Jack Russell Terrier History and Background

Reverend John Russell was a parson with a passion for fox hunting back in the 19th century. He developed a strain of fox hunting terriers from the now extinct English White Terrier, a breed that was bred to be white in color so that they could be distinguished from the quarry they were pursuing. This breed line eventually broke off into the Parson Russell Terrier and the Jack Russell Terrier.

Following World War II the need for hunting dogs began to decline drastically, and with it, the Jack Russell Terrier’s numbers. At that point, the breed increasingly was kept primarily as family and companion dogs.

The Jack Russell Terrier Club of America was formed in 1976 by one of the first Jack Russell Terrier breeders in the U.S., Ailsa Crawford. In the late 1990’s the AKC moved to recognize the Jack Russell as an official breed, but the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America opposed this move as they wished to keep the Jack Russell’s working characteristics intact. In show, Jack Russell Terriers are not judged for their worthy physical characteristics the way non-working breeds are, but rather for the characteristics that make them excellent work companions. They lose points for exaggerations or faults that interfere with their ability to work and for aggressiveness – a trait they are not supposed to have if they have been bred well.

By: Chewy Editorial


By: Chewy EditorialPublished:

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