What Kind of Dog Is Wishbone? Breed Information, Pictures, and Facts

Smart dog in glasses, sits with a book in a chair.
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Written by Kellianne Matthews

Published: December 14, 2023

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Nestled among the iconic Saturday morning cartoons of the 1990s, an innovative children’s show was born: Wishbone. Brought to life by the PBS Network, this live-action masterpiece featured a unique and well-read dog named Wishbone. His imagination and impressive literary repertoire have captured the hearts and minds of young viewers everywhere, kindling a deep appreciation for literary classics. But what kind of dog is Wishbone? Let’s delve in and learn about Wishbone’s breed and discover what makes him such an extraordinary dog!

Who is Wishbone?

Smart dog in glasses, sits with a book in a chair.

Wishbone is a dog who loves to read and explore literary worlds.

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Wishbone is the canine star of the 1990s children’s TV series, Wishbone. In the show, he is the canine companion of a young teenager named Joe Talbot. Viewers get to see Wishbone interacting with his human family, as well as the whimsical imaginary worlds he ventures into through his vivid daydreams. 

You see, Wishbone isn’t any ordinary dog; he is a portal to literary worlds. In each episode, he dives into a famous work of literature, taking on the role of the book’s main character. Wishbone battles pirates as Jim Hawkins in Treasure Island, reclaims his home as Odysseus in the Odyssey, and navigates the social elite as Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. 

Wishbone is a small but athletic dog, with short white fur and adorable floppy triangular ears. This charismatic pup is recognizable due to his unique markings. He has one spotted ear and one solid brown ear, as well as a distinctive brown patch encircling one of his eyes.

What Kind of Dog Is Wishbone?

jack russell in dog teepee

Wishbone is a small dog with an incredible imagination.

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Wishbone is a Jack Russell terrier. He was portrayed by the animal actor Soccer the Dog, a famous canine known for his many television commercials. Scott Williams, a skilled animal trainer, adopted Soccer when he was just two months old, already recognizing his immense potential. Although over 100 dogs auditioned for the part of Wishbone, Soccer’s charm and incredible skill — particularly the spectacular backflips he could perform on command — won him the role. As Wishbone is the main character of the show, Soccer needed to be ready to perform in nearly every scene. This also included complex tasks and wearing intricate and detailed period costumes.

Jack Russell terriers are energetic and extremely intelligent dogs. Their ancestors were fox-hunting terriers in England, with the new line first bred by Revered John “Jack” Russell in the early 1800s. These dogs were bred for their white coloring, which made it much easier to differentiate them from the animals they were hunting. In addition, the dogs needed to be gentle but determined, able to hunt fast and cunning animals without causing them any damage. 

Over the past 200 years, Jack Russell terriers haven’t changed a lot. Bred to work, Jack Russells are tough, strong, and determined little dogs with compact and well-balanced bodies. They measure 10 to 15 inches tall at the shoulders and weigh around 12 to 18 pounds. Jack Russell terriers are mostly white, with various tan, brown, or black markings. They can have smooth or rough coats, which are typically short. However, some dogs have a mix of both short and long hair, giving them an adorably scruffy appearance. 

Jack Russell Behavior and Temperament

Dog, Jumping, Playing, Playful, Toy

Jack Russell terriers excel at agility sports.

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Originally bred for work, Jack Russell terriers are extremely athletic dogs. Hunters used them as pocket-sized hunting dogs. Jack Russell terriers were popular because they could chase foxes and other small animals out of their dens due to their small size. They are remarkably fast and have a very strong prey drive. Jack Russell terriers are both energetic and enthusiastic, which makes them excellent companions for active families and agility sports.

However, due to their high energy levels, strong prey drive, and incredible intelligence, these dogs can be problematic if not socialized and trained properly. They can be especially stubborn and sometimes even aggressive towards strangers and lesser-known humans. They do not do well with small pets unless socialized early on. Their natural prey drive means they love to chase anything and everything, and they also have a natural affinity for digging. In addition, although they remain quiet and focused when hunting, these tenacious pups can be very vocal. 

Owning a Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell terrier outside

Jack Russell terriers have an endless supply of energy and love to play.

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Jack Russell terriers are small dogs, but they have a big personality. They do not do well in apartments as they need a lot of exercise and plenty of enrichment to keep them busy. Jack Russell terriers need ample mental and physical stimulation to prevent moodiness or destructive behavior due to pent-up energy. Although they can tolerate being alone, they can become bored easily. They tend to invent their own games to stay entertained — which often leads to damaging household objects. Some people even jokingly call Jack Russell terriers “Jack Russell terrorists.”

Owning a spirited Jack Russell terrier demands a significant investment of time and attention, and their boundless energy and zest for life will keep you on your toes. However, for those who are well-prepared and understand their needs, the rewards of sharing your home with these remarkable dogs are immeasurable. They thrive in active households that shower them with love, exercise, and training. Their loyalty knows no bounds, and their playful nature will bring endless joy and excitement to your life. 

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About the Author

Kellianne Matthews is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on anthrozoology, conservation, human-animal relationships, and animal behavior. Kellianne has been writing and researching animals for over ten years and has decades of hands-on experience working with a variety of different animals. She holds a Master’s Degree from Brigham Young University, which she earned in 2017. A resident of Utah, Kellianne enjoys creating, exploring and learning new things, analyzing movies, caring for animals, and playing with her cats.

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