Jack Russell Terrier

Energetic / Feisty / Affectionate

Although Jack Russell terriers (JRT) can be excellent family pets, but as working dogs with a high energy level, they need plenty of direction and stimulation to help them become a great addition to your home. They’re very energetic and feisty, sometimes thinking they can take on bigger dogs.


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Lifetime Care

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Breed Profile


breed height icon
  • 10 – 15 inches


breed weight icon
  • 13 – 17 pounds


breed lifespan icon
  • 10 – 15 years

Health Risk

breed health icon

Patellar Luxation

What is it?

Patellar luxation is a condition where the kneecap (patella) randomly dislocates itself (luxates). It can happen for various reasons. It can be inherited and caused by structural abnormalities. It is also possible for trauma to cause the luxating patella.

The patella can luxate if the groove it sits in on the bone is too shallow, the point of attachment for the patellar ligament is in the wrong place, or the ligament is too long. These are just a few of the possibilities.

% Dogs affected:


Clinical signs:

Walking on three legs/skipping, sudden lameness, bow-leggedness, limping


Reconstructive surgery, deepening the trochlear groove, tightening the ligaments/tissues that keep the kneecap in place

Other risks:

If your pup suffers from a luxating patella, it increases the likelihood of a cranial cruciate ligament rupture. Being overweight can also have a negative effect and make the condition more difficult for your pup to deal with.

Average Vet Bill


Amount a Spot accident & illness plan would cover*

90% = $1800

80% = $1600

70% = $1400

*Hypothetical reimbursement examples illustrate reimbursement of an eligible vet bill at the noted reimbursement rate, assuming the annual deductible had already been met.


What is it?

Cataracts occur when a cloudy film blocks light from entering the eye. Proteins that are normally in the eye begin to clump together, causing the cloudy film.

% Dogs affected:


Clinical signs:

Cloudy eyes, difficulty seeing


Cataract surgery, treating underlying conditions (if there is one)

Other risks:

If untreated, cataracts will cause blindness, but they can also cause pressure to build up in the eye, resulting in glaucoma, a very painful condition. It can also lead to lens luxation and uveitis.

Average Vet Bill


Amount a Spot accident & illness plan would cover*

90% = $2700

80% = $2400

70% = $2100

*Hypothetical reimbursement examples illustrate reimbursement of an eligible vet bill at the noted reimbursement rate, assuming the annual deductible had already been met.


breed personality icon


It may take some time, but Jack Russells can be very loving pups. Their families are on their top 10 list of favorite people to hang out with.


Jack Russell terriers may be small, but they have plenty of courage and spirit. They’re ready to challenge anyone, including big dogs, so these terriers are best suited to a one-pet home.


As dogs that used to help hunt foxes, Jack Russells have plenty of energy that they need to burn off. They also have active minds that need to be exercised too.


Jack Russells love to have fun. Once they’ve got some obedience training under their belt, they can be great companions to energetic kids who know how to play with dogs.

Lifetime Care

breed care icon


Coat Jack Russells have short coats that can be rough, smooth, or broken (patches of smooth fur and rough fur). Coat Colors White with brown, tan, or black markings





They need weekly brushing, and they should get occasional baths. Their nails should be trimmed on a regular basis, and both their ears and their teeth require regular cleaning.


Jack Russells are smart and good at learning. They need positive reinforcement from a firm hand that isn’t overbearing.

Life Time Care Cost:


Jack Russell terrier: Dog Breed Information Guide 2022

Jack Russell terriers may be small, but they shouldn’t be underestimated. These adorable pups are excellent family pets who have the courage of a much larger dog. They’re also pretty agile and fast, with plenty of energy for exercise and play.

If you’re thinking about adopting a Jack Russell, you need to be prepared. These pups are great for active families with a yard. An apartment is too confined for these energetic pups. They also require plenty of guidance and training in their early years. Otherwise, they can grow up to be bossy troublemakers.

At Spot Pet Insurance, we know that the best pet parents are informed pet parents. We want to help prepare you for this new adventure, so we’re hoping that our educational resources like this one will help you provide a happy home for your pup.

If you’re thinking about adopting a Jack Russell, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn more about this playful and energetic breed.

Meet the Jack Russell terrier

Jack Russells are small dogs. These purebred dogs usually have markings with white fur as the primary color.

Jack Russells have a short double coat in three different coat types. They may have a smooth coat, a rough coat, or a broken coat. Broken coats have patches of smooth fur and patches of rough fur.

Jack Russells are always white. They can have brown, tan, or black markings, but these are usually limited to a spot on the back and spots around the ears.

The Jack Russell came into being as part of an effort by a pastor named John Russell. Along with his theological studies, John Russell loved hunting, and he wanted to breed a dog that could follow foxes into their dens during the hunt.

Pastor Russell did not keep very good records, although it is theorized that Jack Russells are descendants of English foxhounds and white terriers in the early 19th century. They were popular among those who hunted foxes since the Jack Russell could chase a fox into its den, and flush them out, thereby continuing the hunt.

By the 1930s, Jack Russells were in the United States. Their club, the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America (JRTCA), was formed in 1976.

Why are there so many Russell terriers?

Jack Russell terriers aren’t the only dog breed developed by John Russell. There are also two other kinds of Russell terriers: the Parson Russell terrier and the Russell terrier. Although all three have similar characteristics, each breed has their own little quirks.

Jack Russell terriers and Parson Russell terriers are the most similar. They were actually considered to be part of the same breed, but breed clubs, like the Parson Jack Russell Terrier Club of America, decided that Jack Russells shouldn’t be part of the American Kennel Club (AKC), while the Parson Russell was accepted. Breed standards often differ between clubs.

Parson Russell terriers are built more for hunting, while Jack Russells are family dogs, although they do retain some of the necessary hunting traits. Jack Russells typically have shorter legs and a more rectangular build.

Russell terriers have their own breed group recognized by the AKC, but they share many features with the Parson and Jack Russells. Depending on where they’re from, they’re either referred to as English Russell terriers or Irish Russell terriers.

Russell terriers are the smallest of the three types, and their development ended in Australia. Their size is primarily because their legs are much shorter, allowing them to follow foxes into their dens if they need to.

What are the potential health conditions for Jack Russells?

Every dog breed has its own inheritable health conditions, so we need to learn about possible health problems to be prepared. If we can recognize symptoms, we can help our pups get the treatment they need if health issues pop up.

Some of the conditions that affect Jack Russell terriers are cerebellar ataxia, primary lens luxation, patellar luxation, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, deafness, glaucoma, and progressive retinal atrophy.

We may not be able to help your pup physically since we aren’t licensed vets, but we can help you get in touch with a vet if you’re a member. We have a 24/7 telehealth service powered by whiskerDocs. We can also help cover eligible costs for conditions that aren’t pre-existing.

How to be the best pet parent for a Jack Russell terrier?

Jack Russells usually require someone who can take charge and keep them out of trouble, but every individual dog has their own quirks. That’s why good pet parents get to know their dogs and spend time with them.

How much does a dog or puppy cost?

Adoption fee$50-$2,500

[Expense: first year, following years]

Food: $50-$130, $45-$135

Water/food bowls: $5-$20, N/A

Treats: $40-$240, $40-$240

Collars: $5-$40, N/A

Leashes: $5-$20, $0-$20

Dog bed and crate: $35-$145, N/A

Toys: $15-$50, $0-$50

Vaccines and routine care: $385-$1,095, $280-$645 

Heartworm and flea prevention: $120-$210, $155-$220

Training: $1,050-$1,400, N/A

Total: $1,710-$3,350, $520-$1,310

Basic training and behavior etiquette for your dog

Part of teaching any dog how to behave in public is by socializing them from an early age. This means introducing your Jack Russell terrier to new people, places, and dogs gradually as they age.

All dogs need to learn basic commands like sit, stay, and come, but Jack Russells need to learn a few more obedience commands. Jack Russells can be pretty naughty if they think they’re the boss of the house, so it’s important to establish their place in the home so they know you’re the boss. Obedience training is a great way to establish yourself as the boss and keep your Jack Russell’s mind active.

Even with their small size, Jack Russells are hunting dogs, so you need to make sure that they behave around smaller animals.

Jack Russells are vocal watchdogs, so if you prefer a quiet home, you’ll need to train them to keep quiet when asked, or look for another, less vocal terrier breed.

What type of foods should a Jack Russell never eat?

Although there are some foods that we can enjoy with our pups, like blueberries, there are also foods that can be harmful to them. It’s important to learn what your dog can and can’t eat, especially if you’re thinking about cooking their food yourself.

Some of the foods that are toxic for Jack Russells are:

  • Licorice
  • Onions
  • Chocolate
  • Grape and raisins
  • Avocado
  • Salt
  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Rhubarb
  • Yeast dough
  • Garlic

Exercising tips to keep your dog to stay fit and healthy

You may know that Jack Russells are high-energy dogs if you’ve ever watched an episode that included “Eddie” on the TV show Frasier. They’re hunting dogs, once used for fox hunting, so these working terriers have a hunter’s energy.

Jack Russells also have surprising abilities for such little dogs. They can keep up with you on a jog since they were bred to be able to keep up with horses. They can also jump up to five feet into the air.

Jack Russells need lots of exercise daily. Dog owners should take them for a long walk, play games with them, or let them out into a fenced yard to run around.

With a strong prey drive, your Jack Russel terrier needs to be in a fenced yard or leashed, or it will run after small animals.

If you let them out into the yard, you need to make sure that the fence is above five feet and that your pup can’t dig holes underneath it. Since they hunted foxes, Jack Russells are excellent diggers.

Jack Russell terrier life stages

Puppy: 0-2 years

Adult: 2-11 years

Senior: 11-15 years



25+ Things Jack Russell Terriers Should Never Eat | The Paws

Cataracts in Dogs: Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention & More | webmd.com

Cushing’s Disease in Dogs | American Kennel Club

The epidemiology of patellar luxation in dogs attending primary-care veterinary practices in England | PMC

How Old Is My Jack Russell In Human Years? [Age Calculator] | jackrussellterrierdog.com

The Jack Russell Terrier Cost Guide (with Calculator) | PetBudget

Jack Russell Terrier: Dog Breed Characteristics & Care | thesprucepets.com

Jack Russell Terrier Dog Breed Hypoallergenic, Health and Life Span | PetMD

Patellar Luxations | American College of Veterinary Surgeons | ACVS

Parson vs Jack Russell vs Russell Terrier: What’s the Difference? | Hepper