Jack Russells

Canis lupus

Last updated: May 27, 2024
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Larina Marina/Shutterstock.com

Intelligent, athletic and fearless!


Jack Russells Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Jack Russells Conservation Status

Jack Russells Locations

Jack Russells Locations

Jack Russells Facts

Fun Fact
Intelligent, athletic and fearless!
Common Name
Jack Russel
Intelligent, athletic and fearless!

Jack Russells Physical Characteristics

Skin Type
12 - 14 years
15 pounds

Jack Russells as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
$800 to $2,500
Dog group
Male weight
9-15 lbs
Female weight
9-15 lbs

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Jack Russells, also called Jack Russell Terriers are very active, intelligent, and inquisitive dogs. They were bred to assist with fox hunting and are very happy when they are given a job to help their owners.

They can make a great family dog for families with older children but will need regular exercise and mental stimulation to prevent them from becoming destructive. In most cases, a Jack Russell will do best with an experienced owner who has the necessary time to devote to training and caring for this breed.

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Owning a Jack Russell: 3 Pros and Cons

Good family dog: These dogs can be great pets for older children. They are loving and playful.Barks a lot: Jack Russells are very vocal dogs and often bark a lot.
Easy to groom: Jack Russells are easier to groom than many other dog breeds.Can be aggressive: Jack Russells can be very assertive and may be aggressive with other dogs or younger children.
Affectionate: Jack Russells can be very affectionate and enjoy cuddling with their owners.High exercise needs: They need regular exercise to keep them from being destructive.
Pedigree Jack Russell Terrier dog outdoors on grass field on a sunny spring day.


Jack Russell Origins

Jack Russells originated in England in the early 19th century. This dog has a broad genetic makeup as a result of being bred strictly for hunting and they can be traced back to the now-extinct English white terrier.

The breed takes its name from the Reverend John Russell, who was a hunting enthusiast and bred one of the finest strains of terriers in Devonshire, England in the late 1800s. Jack Russells were characterized by the following traits:

  • White color so they wouldn’t be confused with foxes.
  • Hard and thick fur protects their skin.
  • A brave hunter spirit.

Size and Weight

Jack Russells are a small breed. Both males and females are around the same size and typically weigh between 9 and 15 pounds and are between 10 and 12 inches tall. When puppies are three months old, they typically weigh between 6 and 8 pounds. By the time the puppies are six months old, they’ll weigh between 9 and 11 pounds. The dog will finish growing when they are about 12 months old.

Height (Male)10 inches to 12 inches
Height (Female)10 inches to 12 inches
Weight (Male)9 pounds to 15 pounds
Weight (Female)9 pounds to 15 pounds

Common Health Issues

Overall, these terriers are a healthy dog breed. However, there are still a few health concerns that are more common in this breed that you’ll want to be on the lookout for.

Health and Entertainment for your Jack Russells

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One potential concern with these dogs is patellar luxation. This problem occurs when the three bones around the knee, the patella (kneecap), femur, and tibia, are not aligned correctly. This can be very painful for a Jack Russell and may require surgery to correct.

Glaucoma is another health concern for them. Glaucoma causes the pressure in the eye to rise which can cause damage to the optic nerve. Eventually, this can cause a Jack Russel Terrier to become blind.

These dogs also have a higher rate of deafness than some other dog breeds. Deafness is a hereditary issue and cannot be reversed. Some may experience complete deafness, while others may only experience a partial loss of hearing.

To sum up, some of the common health issues to look out for with a Jack Russell include:

  • Patellar luxation
  • Glaucoma
  • Deafness or hearing loss

Temperament and Behavior

These dogs have a very inquisitive and curious personality. They will quickly find new insects in your garden, so be careful that they do not eat one of the newly hatched cicadas! They are also highly intelligent dogs with a high need for exercise. If they don’t receive sufficient exercise and mental stimulation, however, Jack Russells may display destructive behaviors when left alone.

Jack Russell’s traits can also make them a good family dog. They are very playful and can also be very affectionate with the members of their family.

Dog, Jumping, Playing, Playful, Toy

The Jack Russell is an energetic, spirited dog with an insatiable appetite for adventure.


How to Take Care of a Jack Russell

These dogs will require a unique care plan from other dogs. Keep their temperament, potential health concerns, exercise needs, nutritional needs, and more in mind as you prepare to care for your dog.

Feeding Your Jack Russell

Adult dogs will typically require between 1.25 and 1.75 cups of dog food each day. Always choose high-quality and nutritious dog food for your dog and consult with your veterinarian if you need help choosing the best option. Different factors can contribute to the exact amount of food your dog will need. These include his weight, activity level, age, and health concerns. Again, your dog’s veterinarian is a good source of information if you are unsure how much he should eat. It is typically recommended to split the total daily amount of food for a Jack Russell Terrier into two smaller meals.

Since a puppy has a smaller stomach, it is important to feed them smaller, more frequent meals. Younger puppies will need about three or four meals each day. Once the dog is between five and six months old, two meals a day should be sufficient. Since a puppy needs a higher ratio of protein and calories for each pound than an adult, most will eat the same quantity of food when they are a puppy as when they are fully grown.

Fromm dog food

Jack Russells need to be fed twice a day but shouldn’t be free fed as they are prone to overeating.

©Javier Brosch/Shutterstock.com

The Best Food for your Jack Russell

A-Z Animals says the best dog food for Jack Russels is Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food.

Jack Russells tend to be pretty healthy, so most owners don’t have to worry too much about customizing their diet to any major health concerns. But you still want the best for your little pal, so at least find quality dog food that meets their basic nutritional requirements.

This dog food covers all the bases for Jack Russels. The taurine helps maintain eye health and eyesight since this breed can end up with glaucoma. The eggs and fish provide important omegas and DHA, and the glucosamine content is 400 m/kg to step up the joint protection against patellar luxation. There are even natural anti-inflammatory ingredients like turmeric.

You can find Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Small Breed Dog Food on amazon.

Best for Small Breeds
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food
  • Quality protein from chicken for maintaining healthy muscles
  • Whole grains, veggies and fruit to give energy to smaller dogs
  • Smaller kibble size for smaller jaws
  • Promotes healthy coat, skin, and joints
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Maintenance and Grooming

These dogs require less maintenance and grooming than other dog breeds. They may have either a smooth, broken, or rough coat. Jack Russells with a smooth coat will need to be brushed using a soft brush about once a week. Rough and broken coats, while they don’t need extra grooming, should still be brushed about once a week.

Types Of Coats

Coats are divided into three different categories:

  • Smooth Coat
  • Rough Coat
  • Broken Coat

Smooth Coats do not have trace hair on the face, head, legs, or body. A rough coat has excess hair covering its entire body. A broken coat has a combination of both smooth and rough coats.

In addition to brushing your terrier, it is also important to brush their teeth a few times a week, trim their nails to prevent them from getting too long or painful, and check their ears to remove any excess wax, dirt, or other debris.


Jack Russells are intelligent dogs who are eager to please their owners. These traits can make them easier to train than some other dog breeds. However, because of their intelligence, they can also get bored quite easily, which can make training them a greater challenge. For this reason, be sure to keep the training session exciting and varied. These dogs do best with positive reinforcement and won’t respond as well to punishment-based training methods.


These terriers are very active and energetic dogs. They require frequent exercise to keep them both physically and mentally stimulating. Possible ways to exercise these dogs include going for hikes, taking long walks, playing in the backyard, or playing around with older children.


When you bring home a puppy, it will be important to start training your puppy right away. This will help him or her learn expectations as well as the appropriate way to interact in different situations and around other dogs and people.

Before you bring your dog home, you’ll want to make sure that your home is puppy-proof. Move anything that you wouldn’t want to see destroyed by a puppy or that could be potentially harmful to your new dog. Also, make sure you are prepared with a bed, a collar and leash, food, treats, and other supplies before bringing home a Jack Russell.

Gorgeous puppies of Jack Russell Terrier in the garden


Jack Russells and Children

With proper training and care, these terriers can make an excellent family dog. They are very playful, loving, and devoted to the members of their family. However, these dogs can be overly active and might be a bit much for babies or toddlers.

It will be important to make sure these dog’s needs for exercise and stimulation are met to prevent them from getting overly active. Even though they are good with children, it is always important to supervise children around them and other dog breeds. This is especially true for younger children who may not yet know how to interact appropriately with a dog.

Dogs similar to Jack Russell

Three dog breeds similar to these dogs are Boston Terriers, Basenjis, and Norfolk Terriers.

  • Boston Terriers: Boston Terriers and Jack Russells are both small dogs who are very affectionate and can easily adapt to new situations. One difference between these two breeds lies in their history. While Jack Russells were bred to be hunting dogs, Boston Terriers were bred to be companion dogs.
  • Basenjis: Basenjis and Jack Russells are both high-energy dogs who need a lot of exercise. Basenjis are a bit larger with an average male weight of 24 pounds compared to the 14.5 pounds that an average Jack Russell weighs.
  • Norfolk Terriers: Norfolk Terriers and Jack Russells can both be very playful. Both breeds are also more vocal than many other dog breeds. Jack Russells have higher intelligence than Norfolk Terriers and are also much more likely to try to chase and catch something they perceive as prey when compared to a Norfolk Terrier.

Famous Jack Russells

These terriers are a very popular breed, so it should come as no surprise that there are quite a few famous Jack Russells:

  • Uggie was a famous dog who was in movies such as ‘Water for Elephants’ in 2011 and ‘The Artist’ in 2011.
  • Beth and Bluebell are Jack Russell Terriers who were rescued by the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla.
  • Moose and Enzo were dogs who portrayed Eddie Crane on the sitcom Frasier.

If you’ve been searching for the right name for your dog, look through the list below:

  • Jack
  • Hunter
  • Rush
  • Charlie
  • Bolt
  • Molly
  • Lily
  • Ella
  • Sofia
  • Trixie

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What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

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Should they be Hypoallergenic?

How important is health?
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What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
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About the Author

Melissa Bauernfeind was born in NYC and got her degree in Journalism from Boston University. She lived in San Diego for 10 years and is now back in NYC. She loves adventure and traveling the world with her husband but always misses her favorite little man, "P", half Chihuahua/half Jack Russell, all trouble. She got dive-certified so she could dive with the Great White Sharks someday and is hoping to swim with the Orcas as well.

Jack Russells FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are Jack Russels herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

Jack Russels are Omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and other animals.

What Kingdom do Jack Russels belong to?

Jack Russels belong to the Kingdom Animalia.

What class do Jack Russels belong to?

Jack Russels belong to the class Mammalia.

What phylum to Jack Russels belong to?

Jack Russels belong to the phylum Chordata.

What family do Jack Russels belong to?

Jack Russels belong to the family Canidae.

What order do Jack Russels belong to?

Jack Russels belong to the order Carnivora.

What genus do Jack Russels belong to?

Jack Russels belong to the genus Canis.

What type of covering do Jack Russels have?

Jack Russels are covered in hair.

What is an interesting fact about Jack Russels?

Jack Russels are intelligent, athletic, and fearless!

What is the scientific name for the Jack Russell?

The scientific name for the Jack Russell is Canis lupus.

What is the lifespan of a Jack Russell?

Jack Russells can live for 12 – 14  years.

How much does Jack Russell cost to own?

The price to purchase a Jack Russel Terrier can vary, but on average, you should expect to spend about $1,500. Some puppies may be priced as low as $800, while others may cost as much as $2,500. As with other dog breeds, be skeptical when purchasing a very low-price Jack Russell Terrier as the breeder may not be being honest about their health. If you adopt a Jack Russell from a shelter, it will likely cost a few hundred dollars to cover the paperwork and vaccinations.

Jack Russell Terrier mixes are also popular. One popular mix is a Jack Russell Terrier and a Beagle. The name for this mix is a Jack-A-Bee, and the price to purchase one is typically about $600. A Jack Russell and Australian Terrier mix is another popular choice. The price for these Australian Terriers is maybe closer to $1,000.

In addition to the cost to purchase or adopt a Jack Russell, don’t forget to budget for the cost of owning a dog. Think about expenses including food, veterinary care, training, and other supplies. Since you’ll have to purchase more the first year you own the dog, expect to spend up to $1,500. For subsequent years, you should budget between $500 and $1,000 to cover expenses.

Is the Jack Russell a good family dog?

Yes, Jack Russells can make a good family dog, especially for families with older children. These dogs are very active and playful, but they can also be quite affectionate to the people they love.

Are Jack Russells cuddly?

Yes, Jack Russells can be very cuddly dogs. They love being around their owners and giving and receiving attention.

How do you discipline a Jack Russell?

When training a Jack Russell Terrier, it is important to choose a positive method with rewards. Try to avoid giving punishments for negative behaviors, and instead focusing on giving rewards and praise for positive behaviors. Since Jack Russells aim to please, they will quickly learn which behaviors make you happy and which don’t.

What does a Jack Russell look like?

Jack Russells are predominately white and have black or tan markings. They may have a smooth or coarse coat. The body of a Jack Russell is small and muscular. They typically only weigh between 9 and 15 pounds and are only between 10 and 12 inches tall.

What is the difference between a Jack Russell terrier and a Parson Russell?

The main way to differentiate a Jack Russell from a Parson Russell is by their size. Jack Russells weigh between 11 to 17 pounds, with their heights ranging from 10 to 15 inches. Their legs are also shorter compared to Parson Russells’.

What's the difference between a Jack Russell and a Beagle?

There are many differences between a Jack Russell and a Beagle. Beagles are larger than Jack Russells on average, and Jack Russells are more territorial than Beagles are.

How long do Jack Russells live?

The average lifespan for a Jack Russell is between 13-16 years.

What is the difference between Rat Terrier and Jack Russel?

The Rat Terrier is taller than Jack Russell and heavier. It also has a lower energy level, which helps boost its trainability. Also, unlike the English Jack Russell, the Rat Terrier originated in the United States.

Check other differences here!

What are differences between a Toy fox terrier vs a Jack Russell terrier?

The greatest differences between a toy fox terrier (TFT) and a Jack Russell terrier can be found in their size and morphological qualities. In particular, the toy fox terrier is smaller than a Jack Russell terrier, weighing between 4 and 9 pounds and measuring between 8 and 11.5 inches in height while having erect ears, a muscular body, and a short, smooth coat. Meanwhile, the Jack Russell terrier weighs 13-18 pounds, stands 10-15 inches tall, and is known for having button style or drooping ears and a coat that can be smooth, rough, or broken.

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  2. Dogtime / Accessed January 28, 2021
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  9. The Real Jack Russell / Accessed February 12, 2023