Jack Russell Terrier

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These little dogs are still not recognised by the Kennel Club in the UK.  However, they are recognised by just about everyone who has the slightest interest in dogs and they are one of our most popular breeds. 
The Jack Russell Terrier stands about 10-12ins high (25-30cm) and weighs around 9-15lb (4-7kg).
They make excellent agility dogs and they normally compete in the small category.  Jack Russells have a jump in them that seems out of all proportion to their small size.  The breed is generally enthusiastic about life but like a lot of small terriers they can be willful.

Photos above and left are by Jeff Ellis, courtesy of Morguefile

If you've ever tried to train a terrier to do something you'll know just how hard it can be.  Just when you think you've got the problem licked and you can go and have a cup of tea the dog will go off and do its own thing again.  Nevertheless these dogs can be very entertaining and rewarding and once they start to go well in agility they take a lot of beating. 

Jack Russell terriers are mostly white with black or brown patches.  Becky Tate's Louie (pictured right) has typical face markings of a brown and white Jack Russell terrier.  The coat can be smooth or broken and is generally easy to groom.   They are generally healthy and long lived little dogs.  I knew one that sired a litter of puppies at the grand old age of eighteen and it's not unusual to hear of them living to the age of nineteen or twenty.  

 

People who run Jack Russells say that they would choose the breed again for agility although training isn't easy.   They have a great deal of fun with their dogs and these little terriers have an enormous jump in them.  Becky Tate's Louie is showing his jumping skills in the picture on the left.  More photos of Louie and Banjo can be found on Morguefile.

 

Jack Russell crosses are also popular and respondents to the survey found them generally easier to train than the pure bred terriers.  The crosses often fall into the medium height category rather than the small but this depends on the breed of course.  I haven't heard of a large Jack Russell cross yet but I'm sure there is one somewhere.

Jack Russells are a very popular breed and much has been written about them.  There are also lots of collectable bits and pieces for the breed and some of them are shown below.  There are also loads and loads of useful comments from JRT owners further down the page.  More dog products can be found in the Agility Bits Doggie Shop
 


Comments received on the Jack Russell Terrier and its crosses:

Gill - Parsons Jack Russell
This is my first agility dog. He was a rescue which we have had from 13months. When we first started agility training at 18months he was very easily distracted but a natural for agility, very fast and loves running, jumping and clI'mbing. He has no fear! At almost 3 years old he is showing great promise and his concentration has I'mproved a lot. He would do very well with a more experienced handler -if I hesitate for a second I've lost hI'm (off to sniff or jump a everything in sight!)But as long as I'm doing my job well he does very well too.

Jack russell x dachshund
My dog is three and I have just started training her she is fab

Teresa:
I have a Lovely 5 month Jack Russell who is adorable and loveable, from early age I started her training her because we know Jack Russells can be stubborn and wont to rule the roost, She is a short haired Jack, does any one know how big they will grow too, although she is growing, I dont think she will be that big.

Patterdale handler (Patterdale/ Jack Russell):
She's very stubborn and has a mind of her own, which I expect being the breed cross she is, but she is only good with our family and dogs, and detests others, HELP

Claire:
Also very good at flyball, as the curent one is obsessed with tennis balls

 Julie Mihalcik-Eno (Terrier mix)
My oldest dog is sensitive to noises, and has mood swings. She's got a stubborn streak in her. That's probably from the terrier. When she doesn't want to do something, pretty much nothing will convince her to do it. Other than her mood swings and stubborness, she's a great agility dog. We started agility when she was about 12 years old. She's still going at 15!

Bex (Jack Russell/whippet):
He is a wimp

Karen (Jack Russell Border terrier cross):
A little on the small size, but what a wonderful cross!! My little terrier Boo is soooo beautiful, loves agility and is amazing with my little girl! If I could clone her I would!!

Karen (Jack Russell Cavalier cross):
What a great cross!! Happy in the house, great with children, full of love and good at agility!!

Jack Russell Handler:
I have owned jack russells for years & currently have 3, but I only run 2 of them. Training is frustrating but the extra hard work pays off as once the penny drops it tends to stay dropped! The most annoying part of training a jack russell is distraction. Every little thing seems to take their mind off the task and regaining control is tricky as they can be very stubborn!

John:
Thinking of buying jack x whippet  as pet. I have kids and a cat. Good idea or not?
Pat Comments: Possibly not.  Terriers are quite strong willed and they need a firm hand sometimes.  Whippets can tend to be a bit difficult as well and a cross like this may turn out to be a cat chaser.  Children generally like to have dogs that they can play with and train easily. They like to be able to hold the lead if you go out for a walk and they may want to go to family dog shows or do some agility in the garden.  Cavalier King Charles spaniels and their crosses make excellent pets for children.  They are real little spaniels and they're easy to train.  In general you want a dog that's easily trained and small enough for the children, and even tempered enough for the cat.

Sharon:
Brilliant little dogs but you need to keep their mind off scents

Tasha Cox:
Griff is smooth coated tri colour, blue, light tan and white. Very striking dog, good nature and easy to train. he does basic agility, walks well off the lead and responds to call back. I think the fact that he is neutered has helped because his mind is focused on me. he gets on well with other dogs and is no threat to our parrot who bosses him around all of the time. He will happily sit with the rabbits and share their food, it seems that no one has yet explained the JR job description to him! Although Griff is a Yam Yam through and through, born and bred in Bilston in The Black Country.

Emma:
We have Rune who is full Jack Russell. She is 20 month's old and a dogs trust rescue bitch (adopted at 5 months old) , she's loyal and very smart, and loves being close to "her people". We also have a 10 week old Jack Russell Daschund cross called Lilith. She looks a lot more like a Daschund but is ALL Jack Russell with her personality. She is already leaning basic commands - sit, up, wait. She loves coachies snacks, so this is making training much easier (Rune doesn't like them much though). I never saw myself as a small dog person, but all the Jack Russell's I've met are BIG dogs in a small package.. PERFECT!

Teresa:
I have a Lovely 5 month Jack Russell who is adorable and loveable, from early age I started her training her because we know Jack Russells can be stubborn and wont to rule the roost, She is a short haired Jack, does any one know how big they will grow too, although she is growing, I dont think she will be that big.

Lesley:
My dog Norman is about a foot tall but can jump almost quadruple his height!! There's good stuff in small packages! Hee hee.

Kim Wilkinson:
We have a three year old Patterdale/jack russell boy and a year old rescue jack russell. They really love each other and play all the time. The jack russell now knows his name but when or if do you know if you can ever trust him off lead? The Patterdale is fine but we had him from a pup. The jack russell loves to run ad play with other dogs but I think it only needs that on moment of seeing a squirrel etc and he could be gone. They are lovely dogs though and both have so much love to give!!

Harry Turner:
My dog is a Jack cross terrier and she is only 8 weeks old. I got her for christmas 07 and I love her to pieces. Her name is Bell and she love to play with cat toys. Haven't tried training her yet bit hard at this age. My other dog is a Labrador cross spaniel and she loves mothering Bell and rolling her in the mud.

Lisa (Patterdale /Jack Russell cross)
We acquired our Poppy at the grand age of 13 weeks. We were originally told she was a Jack Russell, but questioned this due to her black and tan colours and white chest. After talking with the breeder she has confirmed that her Aunt's Patterdale must have had his wicked way with our breeder's bitch. Our Poppy is a lively pup and yes she nips especially at our 3 year old lad. We are working with our Son to change the pecking order and he is feeding her all the time. We love Poppy and wouldn't change her for the world. We have just taken her on her first walk to the lake and she loved every minute. She had to have her first bath when she got back as she was covered in mud!! People we see keep saying Poppy is a Rottie, but she clearly isn't as her paws would be HUGE!!! We are going back to the same breeder in a week or so to get another pup. This one is definitely a Jack Russell and is tiny!!! We hope Pops will invite Jazzy into our home with open arms as we are a little concerned. There is only 8 weeks in age difference, but there will be a substantial difference in height!!!! Does anyone have a Patterdale and Jack together??? How do they get on???

Staffie/Jack Russell cross handler:
She's got the speed of the JRT; the sweetness of the SBT; the stubbornness and independence of all terriers; Agility is her favourite game (equal to chasing and retrieving a tennis ball)

Paul McKenzie:
I have a two year old jack russell x norfolk terrier girl,Tess. This small, rough coated, honey coloured dog is the light of my life. My constant companion is intelligent, easy to train, with a wonderful sense of humour. Very friendly, kind with my cat & parrot, I would trust her in any situation. A wise little soul,& so very much loved. A fabulous cross.

Alan:
We have 3 JRTs, one male neuter who is 5 years old, short legged but can comfortably jump into my arms and I'm 6' tall! He's called Jock and has a great temperament although he doesn't really like dogs he doesn't know and sometimes gets completely obsessive over certain objects. We have a 2 year old bitch called Harley who we suspect may have a little chihuahua in her as she never drops her ears and is really cheeky! Then we have Milo, a full male with great big paws and who is 5 months old, he's pure white with tan 'panda eyes' These are great dogs but can be hard to train. Really rewarding, and (at least for us) great with kids.

Rebb:
My Jack Russell, Louie is 10 months old and I have had great fun training him over very small jumps and through tunnels. He seems to love it although I have to admit they are a tough breed to tackle. My other dog, Cadet, is a Pharaoh Hound and we have competed at county level successfully. Good luck to everyone with their Jack Russells.

Sharon:
Jack Russels are great as they have boundless energy and can jump with the best.

Lynda Johnson (JRT/patterdale):
The JRT is naturally lively and full of energy but can be somewhat stubborn, by crossing with a slightly taller Patterdale who are generally more athletic and easier to train you get a fabulous mix. This does depend on the individual parents taking their temperaments and conformations in to account.

Danielle:
I love the pictures of the dogs they're sooo sweet , I'm looking for a patterdale at the moment.
Pat comments:
The little dog in the photos is called Banjo, and Jeff says he's becoming quite famous on the internet as so many people want to use his photos.

Lynda:
I have three dogs, 2 rough coated short legged JRTs and one JRT X Patterdale, who is starting agility training this week. He's already been placed at a local show in his only competition to date and we hope to go on to some serious competing because he absolutely loves it.

Kayleigh:
I have a rescued Jack Russell cross something?? We think its a whippet type dog, he's too big for a Jack Russell and his chest is too deep for one two. He's brilliant, they are like a rottweiler all rolled up into a tiny package, they can take on the world without a second glance. Alfie is not the best to train, a bit slow but once a ball is introduced, sometimes a tit bit he'll try and work it out. Got him doing sit, speak, whisper (growl), down, go away, go to your bed, jump, figures of 8 through your legs and paw if he wants to. For some reason he doesn't like that?? Trying roll over but his little brain can't quite comprehend what's going on. Would love to start him on agility but there are no classes around here so will have to do some DIY. Jack russells are great dogs if you would love a big dog but you don't have the space for one.

Demi and Sue:
I have two jack russells one is called Sasha and the other one is called Tia but Sasha is really good at agility and we are looking for some classes again.

Becky:
My jack Russell terrier is tiny but I am training him over 50 cm jumps... he is only 7 months old but easy to train... although he is very stubborn!

Pat comments:  Becky, I do hope you come back and read this.  Please, please stop training your Jack Russell over jumps.  He is much too young to be jumping at the moment.  I know you and your dog are both enjoying yourselves enormously and no doubt you will have loads of fun and success in the future but you could cause damage to his young joints by training when he is little more than a puppy.  It's hard to wait I know, but you must let a dog grow to maturity before you start jump training.  Also your little dog won't be asked to jump higher than 35cm at Kennel Club licensed shows  so when he is old enough, the very most he should be asked to jump is 35cm.  Please believe me that it's not the height of the jump that matters but the way in which the dog can tackle the course.  Sasha often trains over 35cm jumps to make sure that she is accurate and Jamie never jumps higher than this now that he's older. 

Jack Russell handler:
Would not choose this as my first dog to train . I have three terriers of all shapes and sizes and he is the one who is really up for it, but I now know a little more so can control and use the excitment.

Travis:
We have two Jack Russell/Yellow Lab crosses. They are siblings and the most awesome dogs. Sara has more of the Jack traits, while Sam has more of the Lab traits in him. They are awesome with kids and very protective of the family and the home.

Natalie:
I have 2 jack russells, Guinness 5 years old, he was really easy to train basics to and even tricks . Tinkerbell, 1 year old, however was not so easy. She is very single minded and is still not brilliant at the basics but she is very loyal and follows me round the house. They both are extremely loving with big personalities and very hyperactive and I love them to bits.

Sarah:
I have a jack russell terrier named Orlando. I want to do agility.
Pat comments:  This is an excellent breed to start agility with. They're very keen and thoroughly enjoy the exercise.  

Sarah Dryden:
I have a fantastic 3 year old Jack Russell who we got as a rescue dog from Mrs Murrays cat & dog home in Aberdeen. He is an absolute angel with not an ounce of aggression in him, he is 100% trustworthy and an absolute joy to have!

Damien:
Energetic and excitable dogs, a great way to let out any energy is definitely through agility. Plus it's great to meet other dogs at training.

Emma:
 Hi, I have a nine week old JRT / Yorkshire Terrier she is wonderful very energetic and has learnt the sit command already. She loves attention and a cuddle and very nosey about what people are doing

Helen (Patterdale /Jack Russell cross):
I got my Patterdale cross (Jack Russell) in Oct 05, Poppy is the absolute light of our lives, we couldn't have asked for a more loving, fun, energetic dog! She was easy to housetrain and is quite obedient in the home, however, outside is another issue! She does pull on the lead and I am not confident at letting her off (unless we take the football which she loves). She loves to come on very long walks and never seems to tire. I have never known a dog be so friendly with everyone she meets, both human and canine, she never ever barks (not sure if that is typical of the breed?) and has never snapped or shown any aggression at all. We are currently looking to get another 'patterjack' or similar, so if anyone knows of any litters please reply!

Mhairi:
Hi, I have a terrier (probably Jack Russell) collie cross. He's definitely a mixture of both - very willing and fairly quick to learn but has the attention span of a flea especially if rabbits are in anyway around. He likes agility though especially when he got the hang of it and decided it was more interesting than the smelly riding school sand. I wouldn't say obedience is his forte (Chak the lack is his nickname as in lack of discipline) but we're working on it, having a fairly well behaved pure collie round helps a bit!

Joanna (JRT/Labrador cross):
Hi, I noticed that you said you hadn't come across a large Jack Russell cross, well I have a Labrador Jack Russell cross who is 12 weeks old and at the moment looks like a mini yellow lab. She seems to have quite a lively terrier temperament and although is going through a pretty bad nippy phase is very quick to train.

Jack Russell Norfolk Terrier cross:
The dog is good its the trainer who has the problems. 
(Ease of training was classed as fair to middling for this one.)

Claudie (Patterdale Jack Russell cross):
Two years ago we adopted Jack, who is going to be 9.  He is a quick learner to new rules. He is very agile and loves getting his prey i.e. next door guinea pig.  He is full of energy in the morning when he gets up.  At 9pm he puts himself to bed. We do not know why?  but he is a fighter with other dogs.  We cannot leave him off the lead in public area.  He has buried himself and needed the fire brigade to dig him out.  He can dig a hole in no time at all, as big as his own body.  He is a sun worshiper. He is a comis-chef in the kitchen as soon as the food is being prepared, he loves carrots and apples.  He is very patient and he can sit for hours by the oven door waiting for the roast to come out. He loves children.  He is very clean and independent.  He makes himself loved by everyone.  He still looks like a puppy.  So we do not know how much of the Patterdale characteristics are and the Jack Russell. But we are pleased we got him.

Karis:
I am 13 years old and I have a 10 year old Parsons Jack Russell Terrier called Spot. He is an amazing dog but unfortunately does not get on well with other dogs as we got him from the RSPCA at the age of 3 and he already had it in him. They are very cuddly and will sleep anywhere, anytime as long as there are blankets for them to sleep on or in. They are excellent with children as long as they are not teased or interrupted whilst sleeping. My Jack Russell has NEVER bitten me or anyone else. If you do get your own from a puppy then do be aware that they do tend to run off if unsupervised. If possible put a harness on instead of a collar when you take them for a walk (do make them wear a collar full time though so you have something to put your contact detail tag onto) as they are very clever and tend to back out of collars if they really want to be somewhere! .He has an excellent temperament and I recommend one to anybody. As long as you train them correctly, they will stay loyally by your side.
Karis also has a German shepherd dog and has written some useful comments about this breed.

Jack Russell/Poodle  cross handler:
 Bright, keen, energetic, willing to please - loved by everyone!!!!!!!!

Nic Hayls
We have a beautiful Jack Russell cross Cavalier. She has a beautiful smooth and silky short haired coat and the kindest nature. She is very gentle, snuggley and just loves a cuddle. She has a cav nature at home but when she gets to the park she runs circles round the other dogs and cant catch her. DEFINITELY recommend this breed if you can find it.

Jack Russell x Pomeranian Handler:
I think any type of dog should give agility a go.

Stella (Border terrier/JRT cross):
Milly needs to concentrate a little more but she is only 9 months old at present.

Jack Russell / Whippet Cross (small and easy to train):
S
he is very fast!!

Soraya Porter (Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen crossed with a Jack Russell):
I have found a hound terrier mix brilliant. For me you get the hound to live with when you're out at work, they are happy to snooze. However, for agility you mostly get the terrier to work with, with some moderating temperament factors from the Hound side. A lovely mix - highly recommend it!

Pat comments:  I didn't know what it was either but I've discovered that the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen is a small hairy thing that originated in Vendee in France.  It looks like a sort of basset but with a shorter back and less pendulous ears.  Here's a link to the page where I looked it up

Laura:
We have just bought a little Jack Russell puppy called "Dash. "  He's my next agility dog and is lovely, sweet and tiny. He loves his tugger and is doing well on his foundation work, he loves his clicker also and is mental about it! Laura.

Terrier handler:
"Terriers have a mind of their own but their smart and quick to learn (once they put their minds to it!!) - training was challenging - but the hard work pays off... they may not be as quick as a Collie but they add a little variety!"

Andy found the following with a Jack Russell Cavalier cross:
Easy to train,  would recommend the dog for agility and would choose another dog like this again.  He also points out that "You should never force your dog into agility.  Not all dogs will like it.  Most will love it."

Steph Rendall says of her Jack Russell Terrier
My 4 year old Pure-Bred Short-legged Jack Russell has competed in flyball for 2 years and is as reliable as you could wish for. We have just done our 3rd Agility show - and I was so shocked with her!!  She was so naughty - going off sniffing, totally ignoring me - which is not normally likeher!!!  You can never ever take a JRT for granted, they will always get one over on you!!

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