Breed of the Week: Jack Russell Terrier

July 30th, 2007 by Kathy Hawkins

Jack Russell at door
Photo by Jim Rafferty.

Thanks to Lassie, the collie may be one of the world’s most recognized dog breeds — but the Jack Russell Terrier comes in at a close second place. This small and sprightly breed is just as photogenic as the heroic collie; members of the breed have played large roles in several TV series, most notably as the literary pooch on PBS’s children’s show, Wishbone, and as Martin Crane’s pet dog, Eddie, on Frasier. In the United Kingdom, cooking show host Rick Stein was joined by his Jack Russell, Chalky, for every performance until his death this year — the dog was so well-loved that he even had his own line of beer!

You only need to meet a Jack Russell Terrier once to understand why these little dogs are so popular. Originally bred for hunting foxes, these dogs are as smart and energetic as they come. Jack Russells get along well with children and everyone else they meet, and are fiercely loyal to their families – last month, a Jack Russell Terrier in New Zealand named George made worldwide headlines for sacrificing his life to save a group of children from a pit bull attack, which earned him a posthumous Purple Heart.

The Jack Russell Terrier is named, logically, after a man named Jack Russell, who was a reverend and an avid hunter in the 19th century. Russell began a terrier breeding program to breed a dog that would serve as an expert fox hunter — the dogs resulting from the program became very popular companions on fox hunts. However, researchers believe it is unlikely that any of the dogs known as Jack Russell Terriers today are original descendents from Russell’s line. A similar dog breed is the Parson Russell Terrier — this breed is a more narrowly defined version of the Jack Russell; these dogs are most often seen in dog shows, rather than as family pets or hunting dogs.

Jack Russell running
Photo by drewleavy.

The Jack Russell Terrier is a small dog, but he’s got plenty of energy — he can deal with living in an apartment, but he won’t like it; make sure to take him for a daily walk or two. He’d also love a fenced-in yard where he can run around and chase after birds and squirrels, as he was born to do. It’s important to regularly train and discipline your Jack Russell — if they don’t receive proper attention and discipline, these guys can quickly become unruly, with common behaviors including incessant barking, digging underground, and destroying furniture. But as long as you keep a firm hand with your dog, you’ll be rewarded with a loyal and loving clown of a companion. For a look at how much fun the JRT can be, just check out this video of Vinnie and his favorite stick.

Ready to bring some joy into your life with a new Jack Russell Terrier? Many of these little sparkplugs are living in shelters or with foster families, just waiting for their forever home. Find the one for you through or a breed rescue organization, such as or, and get ready to say hello to an incredible new friend.

Jack Russell sitting
Photo by eviltwin.

27 Responses to “Breed of the Week: Jack Russell Terrier”

  1. Super Pet Expo Coverage: Dock Diving Dogs! | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] While most of the dogs that competed were Labrador Retrievers, there was also a Vizsla and a Jack Russell Terrier taking part. The Jack Russell was a bit manic- struggling, screeching and barking to try and get at [...]

  2. Dog Video Of The Day: VW Ad Featuring Singing Jack Russell | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] is onto something with this ad campaign….The little Jack Russell (actually known as a Parson Russell Terrier)can’t contain [...]

  3. Dog Video Of The Day: Jesse The Jack Russell | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] the Jack Russell Terrier has an amazing repertoire of tricks! Check him [...]

  4. Dog Video Of The Day: Meerkat and Jack Russell Play | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] blind Jack Russell Terrier has made friends with a Meerkat at a lodge in [...]

  5. Canines Celebrating The First Day Of Fall - 14 Autumnal Photos | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] Cattle Dog/Jack Russell Mix Celebrates The Coming Of [...]

  6. Dog Photo Of The Day: Halloween Ham! | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] Jack Russell Terrier is dressed as a Halloween Ham – complete with pineapple [...]

  7. Dog Photo Of The Day: Stick = Euphoric Jack Russell | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] for this Jack Russell comes in the form of a big [...]

  8. Dog News: Trouble For Woman Who Adopted 27 Shelter Dogs | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] the trip back to Nevada. The rescued dogs included 10 Chihuahua mixes, one purebred Chihuahua, a Jack Russell Terrier , a Poodle, two Shepherd mixes, two Miniature Pinschers and an Australian Cattle Dog mix. There was [...]

  9. Happy Holidays From The Dog Guide! - 20 Photos Of Dogs Celebrating Christmas and Chanukah! | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] Jack Russells In Full Chanukah Splendor!: [...]

  10. Ask the Dog Guide: Unusual Mix | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] I presume that by “Jack Pug,” you mean a Jack Russel Terrier/Pug cross, but either way, while I’m sure mixing such a dog with a Bullmastiff could [...]

  11. Dog Photo Of The Day: Duck Watching | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] Jack Russell Terrier is thinking about taking a swim with the [...]

  12. Dog Video Of The Day: Jack Russell and Magpie Friendship | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] unusual friendship between a Jack Russell and a Magpie (if there is an unusual canine friendship video, we’ll find [...]

  13. Dog Photo Of The Day: Mop Cut | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] A Jack Russell sporting a “mop cut.” [...]

  14. Dog Video Of The Day: JRT Amazing Dog Tricks! | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] This Jack Russell does an amazing assortment of tricks – all taught with positive reinforcement and clicker training! [...]

  15. Dog Photo Of The Day: Brand New! | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] A tiny, new Jack Russell! [...]

  16. Dog Video Of The Day: “I Decorated The Dog” | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] year old + markers + patient Jack Russell = rainbow fur smiley face for a [...]

  17. Hannah Says:

    I just read about these wonderful information about JRT, it’s fascinating to hear this active dog is very brave to be hunters too..

  18. Dog Photo Of The Day: Yaaaaaawn! | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] It’s tough to tire out a Jack Russell! [...]

  19. Dog Video Of The Day: Jesse’s Commercial | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] the scenes of Jesse the Jack Russell’s Virginia lottery [...]

  20. Dog Video Of The Day: Jesse Protects The House | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] Jesse the Jack Russell keeps the house safe while his owner is away! (This video reminds me a bit of “Home Alone!”) [...]

  21. vilmar Says:

    I would love to take a jack russel and visit de websites mentioned in the article

  22. Dog Video Of The Day: Aerobics With Jessie | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] Jessie the JRT does his morning aerobics! [...]

  23. Pit bull fallacies refuted | Have dog blog will travel Says:

    [...] two on the list is an even more diminutive breed – the Chihuahua, while Jack Russells came in [...]

  24. Dog Video Of The Day: Saved! Jack Russell Pulled From Gulf Of Mexico! | Destiny too Says:

    […] spunky little Jack Russell survived 3 hours treading water in the Gulf of Mexico thanks to his life vest! What an amazing […]

  25. Dog Video Of The Day: Balloon Popping Record Breaker! | Destiny too Says:

    […] This JRT can break 100 balloons in just over 39 seconds – a world’s record! […]

  26. kendall woodward Says:

    i told my mom if i could have a dog and she said yes and so i need a puppy please and any kind will do.

  27. Overcoming Breed resrictions - Wesley Steck Says:

    […] two on the list is an even more diminutive breed – the Chihuahua, while Jack Russells came in […]

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