Jack Russell Terrier Temperament & Personality [Full Guide]




Jack Russell Terrier Temperament & Personality


They are cute and friendly but not for everyone, especially if you can't keep up with the energy and attention that the Jack Russell Terrier breed requires. The dog is restless and needs more time to explore and exercise than many other breeds bigger than they are. However, when treated right, they can be affectionate and loyal to their humans. Be careful, though, since they can be noisy due to their hunter's instinct and consider other pets, such as cats and hamsters, as prey. Let's take a look at this amazing breed!



About the Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier breed was first developed in England a couple of hundred years back. This little dog is clever, independent, lively, and charming. While they are affectionate most of the time, the breed could be difficult to manage and train. It is recommended to get this dog only if you have sufficient experience in raising similar breeds.


They may be small in size, but don't get fooled. You need to have enough energy to keep up with this dog's constant need to train, play, and exercise. They are intense and expect nothing less from you. If you are not up for such hyperactivity, you might end up with a dog acting restless and bored. On the other hand, as long as you can keep up with this dog's demands, you will get the reward of having a loyal and loving fur friend for a long time.



Jack Russell Terrier's History

Approximately 200 years ago, Reverend Parson John Russell, who was called Jack by people close to him, decided to train and breed a dog that would become an efficient hunter. At the time, hunting was a common pastime of honorable men, including those involved in the church. Aside from being a huntsman, Russell served for 40 years as the vicar of Swimbridge.


Coming from a family of hunters, Russell was set to find the right breed of terrier that would be a good hunting companion. He trained terriers in ways that they would not kill or seriously injure a fox but only nip them enough to get them out from cover.


Russell succeeded in developing a dog breed according to his plans and named it after himself. The breed loves hunting and has impressive levels of determination, intelligence, and agility. The dog is small but quick, has boundless energy, and has a fearless personality.



small terrier with minisoccer ball



Jack Russell Terrier's Personality

The Jack Russell Terrier dog breed is preferred by animal trainers for television and films, dog sports lovers, and horse owners. However, you should have them trained and practiced to hone them as a civilized companion.


While they are trainable, you will need loads of humor and patience to get the job right. This breed hates getting bored and has its own mind. If you don't keep them happy, they will look for joy elsewhere. Expect drastic results.


The breed can be charming when trained and handled properly, but it is a continuous process. This is the dog for you if you are looking for the type who will play endless fetch or flyball with you, run whenever they want to, and be open to learning tricks all the time.


They may look cute, but it is far from their personality. This is the kind of dog that will always make excuses for your commands, chase small animals and cats like they are their prey, and constantly dig, chew, and bark.


You don't want to raise a Jack Russell Terrier if you live in a small apartment if you want to keep a harmonious relationship with your neighbors. However, it can be a good dog for as long as you have the time and patience to keep them trained, happy, and active. As long as they are content, the dog can be an ideal family dog who loves its humans. They may be more suitable for older children and adults but are also great for younger kids.


The dog has endless energy that you may need to devote at least an hour each day to giving them vigorous exercise. They love fetching, jumping, and running and won't be satisfied if you will only walk them for several minutes around the block.






Jack Russell Terrier's Health

Owning a dog requires commitment. You have to understand your dog's needs, depending on their breed. While most Jack Russell Terriers are healthy and happy, you have to look out for signs of the common health ailments they suffer from. They include eye problems, deafness, or loose kneecaps.


If you are getting a puppy, ask the rescue, breeder, or shelter regarding the relatives or parents' physical health. This way, you will get to know the potential genetic illnesses of the dog before you commit to them.


Poor breeding practices of Jack Russell terriers can increase their risk of health conditions.



Jack Russell Terrier General Health Information

Here are some of the most common health issues that can affect Jack Russell Terriers.


Dental Disease

Poor oral health can lead to foul-smelling breath and other more severe dental problems. Tartar build-up can cause gum inflammation and infection of the roots of your dog's teeth. Aside from the probability of losing their teeth, it can also worsen other health problems in other parts of their bodies, including their joints, heart, liver, and kidneys.


To keep your dog's oral health in tip-top shape, clean their teeth at least 2-3 times a week or daily for best results. You can also set an appointment with a groomer to have your dog's teeth professionally cleaned. At home, you can use toothpaste and toothbrushes intended for dogs. You can also use other stuff that will help keep your dog's gums and teeth healthy, such as chews and toys. If your dog has dental problems consider giving them softer treats that are easy to chew.


The breed commonly suffers from the following dental abnormalities, with the severity varying depending on the cause and general health of the dog:


  • Misaligned teeth
  • Having only a few teeth or oligodontia
  • Underbite or overbite
  • Infections


Many of the viral and bacterial infections that your pooches could get can be prevented through vaccination. However, Jack Russel terriers are vulnerable to infections other dogs also get, including distemper, rabies, and parvo.



You have to watch your dog's diet to maintain a healthy weight. It is not advisable to leave food for your pets all the time, but instead, give them regular meals according to the recommended food servings depending on their size. To limit unwanted weight gain we suggest providing nutritional treats and food without excessive fillers. Being obese can cause other health issues, including heart ailments and joint issues.



All kinds of parasites can invade your dog's body, from their skin and fur to their insides. They can get infected with whipworms, heartworms, roundworms, and hookworms from getting bitten by mosquitos, getting dirt from contaminated soil, or drinking unsafe water. Their ears and skin are prone to ear mites, ticks, and fleas infestation. You have to get them tested regularly to prevent any untoward repercussions, including discomfort or pain.


Spay or Neuter

It is recommended to get your female dogs spayed and the male ones neutered to decrease their chances of suffering from certain kinds of diseases. The processes will also prevent your canine friends from having unwanted puppies.


Both processes will require surgery. Neutering will remove the male dogs' testicles, and spaying will remove the ovaries of the female dogs. While your terriers are under anesthesia, their vets could look into their other health concerns and may proceed with tooth extraction or perform hip x-rays.



small litter of puppies



Jack Russell Terrier Genetic Predispositions


Eye Problems

Jack Russell terriers can develop different kinds of eye problems as they age or due to their genes. If not immediately looked upon by a vet, the condition can become painful or even develop into blindness.


Cataracts: The imminent sign of this problem is the cloudiness of your dog's eyes. Cataracts are a common cause of blindness for adult terriers.


Glaucoma: It's a painful eye disorder that can cause blindness if not treated early. It is considered a medical emergency in dogs with symptoms that include the following:


  • Tilting of the head often to relieve pain
  • Pressing of the head to any object
  • Watery eyes
  • Squinting
  • Hazy eyes


When the condition becomes worse, your dog's eyes will bulge and get swollen. Make sure that you check for the symptoms all the time and have your dog treated by the vet before the condition becomes out of hand.


Primary Lens Luxation: This inherited eye problem causes the degradation of the fibers holding the dog's eye lens in place. It can lead to the lens dropping out of place, which can cause secondary glaucoma and requires surgery to have the lens corrected.


Liver Problems

Here are the common signs, which indicate that your canine friend may be suffering from a liver problem:


  • Straining to urinate
  • Blood in the urine
  • Stunted growth


It is vital that before going to an anesthetic, have your dog undergo a liver function test first. Like many other breeds, the jack is prone to suffering from a liver disorder called PSS or portosystemic shunt. The condition prevents blood from flowing into the liver, causing the organ to malfunction. While certain liver problems can be resolved through medication and a special diet, other kinds may require your dog to have surgery or a liver ultrasound.






Bladder or Kidney Stones

Bring your dog to the vet at the first sign of straining or blood in the urine. They may already be an indication that stones have developed in your pet's bladder or kidneys, which is painful and requires immediate attention. Many vets also advise their clients to have their dogs undergo regular urine testing to monitor the signs of the problems.


Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

The problem may start while the dogs are still puppies, Hip and elbow dysplasia result from improperly developed joints that can become a problem as the dog matures. As a result, they often have trouble getting up and can also become lame. Dysplasia is typically a genetic condition that should be avoided.


Skin Infections

Symptoms of skin infections may likely show when your terrier reaches the age of one or three. This breed is prone to atopy or developing itchy skin as an allergic reaction to dust, mold, or pollen. The most common symptom that they have an allergic reaction is frequent ear infections.


Heart Disease

Heart disease in Jack Russell Terriers is commonly caused by pulmonic stenosis, which is a genetic disorder. Your dog will lack energy when the condition gets severe, leading to loneliness, weakness, and stunted growth. Early detection is the key to treating the condition through medication, special diet, or surgery in more severe cases.



Taking Care of Your Jack Russell Terrier at Home

Your pet's health depends largely on how you take care of them. Aside from providing sufficient attention, proper food, sanitation, and exercise, you must also regularly have them checked by a vet.


Regular check-ups will allow you to discover ailments before they can cause more troubles and pain for your canine friend. In addition, it is a good idea to sign up for pet health insurance so that you will be prepared for any sicknesses your dog may suffer from, especially as they grow older.



Jack Russell Terrier Routine Care, Diet, and Exercise

To ensure a long and healthy life for your terriers, always perform the following routines in caring and looking after their wellbeing:


  • Exercise your pet regularly.
  • Give them proper diet fit for their age.
  • Provide food and treats that are nutritionally beneficial
  • It is not advisable to give your dogs human food.
  • Play with them.
  • They can jump high, so you have to secure your area with a tall fence.
  • Always put your dogs on a leash when going outdoors since they can't resist chasing other pets they consider prey.
  • Ask your vet to teach you how to clean your dogs' ears so that you can do it once a week. Brush their teeth thrice a week or every day if you can.
  • Brush their coat multiple times a week, if not daily.






More About the Jack Russell Terrier

It may be tiring to care for a Jack Russell Terrier, but it can also be rewarding. Always be on the lookout for any signs of ill health and bring your pups to the vet before they get worse. Feed them right, play with them, and always make them feel loved.


These hyper dogs will turn into loyal companions as their way of giving back all the affection and attention they have gotten as they age.


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