The Jack Russell Terrier Personality: Small Dog, Big Attitude

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Jack Russell TerrierThe Jack Russell Terrier is a small dog with a particularly big attitude. When people talk of a small dog with a big dog attitude most of the time they are referring to this spunky terrier whose roots are in fox hunting. While it may be a small dog the Jack Russell is a very adept hunting dog and uses its small size to its advantage. Despite this fact, however, it has earned a place in hearts of dog lovers everywhere.

Origins of the Terrier

It is thought that the Jack Russell Terrier found its beginnings from the English White Terrier when a parson, Reverend John Russell purchased a small terrier talented at fox hunting, from his local milk man. The female “fox terrier,” so named because of its ability to fox hunt and not for any relation to an actual Fox Terrier, became the beginnings of Reverend John Russell’s breeding program in which he strived to breed courageous fox hunters with good stamina. As a hunter himself, it was important to Russell that he had a fox hunting dog that was able to keep up with the hunt as well as drive out the foxes from their holes. Already by the 1850’s these dogs were recognized as a specific breed and this is where the Jack Russell Terrier began.

The Terrier of Russell’s time, however, was larger than the Jack Russell of today. Through demands of the breed over time they began to change. It was around 1894 when Blake Heinemann created a breed standard for terriers that were to be used for digging out badgers, he required shorter legged dogs and it is thought that perhaps this is where the Jack Russell began to shrink down in size from Reverend Russell’s larger fox terrier. As time progressed changes in the dog began to become more apparent but it was post World War II that brought a drastic change for the small terrier.

From Hunting to Household

After World War II there was less demand for hunting dogs and so the Jack Russell began to serve more as a home dog and less as a hunting dog. During this time they were also cross bred with a variety of other smaller dogs creating a wide range of off shoots from the Jack Russell Terrier including “Shortie Jacks”. As society moved further away from post war life it became a popular dog among households worldwide and prompted the formation of a variety of breed recognition clubs.

History of the Jack Russell Terrier

While there have been some changes in the Jack Russell over its history (namely in its height and leg length) the actual  breed has changed very little for the past two hundred years or so. The standard for the breed today has the dog measuring in between 10 – 15 inches tall at the withers and weighing in at anywhere from 14 – 18 lbs. Due to their small size it is increasingly common to find overweight Jack Russell’s from their being fed table scraps or too much food in one meal. The Jack Russell Terrier can have a smooth or a broken coat and these coats are always thick double coats which serve to protect the dog that works as a hunter. It is generally white with brown and black spots and it should also have small ears that are triangular in shape.

A Spunky Personality

Jack Russel Terrier PuppyThe Jack Russell Terrier is still built as a dog that is intended for hunting and the tradition of docking the tail so it may serve as a handle to hold while pulling a ratting dog from a hole is still intact today (although rarely done for practicality it is mostly done for the look of it.) It’s tail is long when not docked and often carries patched markings similar to those on the dog’s coat. One of the most favored characteristics of the spunky Jack Russell Terrier is that of its almond shaped eyes which shine with life and excitement in a truly happy Terrier. Overall though it should be noted that the number one reason that people choose this dog is for their attitude.

The Jack Russell Terrier is a dog who has never known a hard day of work in its life. It lives to work, and perhaps play as well, because being bred to hunt they are runners that enjoy a good run and in particular a good chase! An unfortunate instinct, however, is their barking and general noise level. A working Jack Russell would have to gain the attention of its master as well as frighten foxes and badgers from their holes and they did so by barking. Unfortunately for most, for owners today this is a characteristic that stuck with the breed and they are known for being noisy dogs that aren’t afraid to bark to get the attention of their owner or other companion animals.

No Shortage of Energy Here!

In addition to barking the Jack Russell Terrier is a particularly high energy dog that was bred to have good stamina when it came to the hunt. The Jack Russell Terrier can be deceiving being such a small dog; however, the amount of energy that these small dogs possess can rival even a young big dog on days. The potential owner should always be aware of this stamina and need for exercise because the Jack Russell will always find a way to entertain itself if it is not provided with adequate exercise and stimulation.

Like most intelligent dog breeds that were intended as working dogs, Jack Russell Terrier must be stimulated every single day and offered an appropriate level of exercise to allow the dog an outlet of its energy. Without sufficient exercise the breed is prone to destruction of its master’s property and terrorization of other household pets…this may or may not include children who will generally receive nips at their heels.

The high energy level of the Jack Russell Terrier does not have to be a negative characteristic though; it can prove particularly helpful in a household with athletic individuals who are looking for a dog that can keep up with them. The Terrier’s energy level is also particularly useful when the dog is trained in agility or flyball, two activities that this breed in particular excels at. In short the Jack Russell Terrier is a dog that needs exercise and plenty of it and it should be noted that the average lifespan of this small Terrier is approximately fifteen years so bringing a Jack Russell Terrier in to your home is certainly not a decision that should be taken lightly!

There are a few other factors to consider when bringing a Jack Russell Terrier in to your home aside from energy level. One of the most important things to know about this breed is that while they are family-oriented dogs and can do well with children they do not tolerate being pulled on and taunted the way more family friendly breeds like Labrador Retrievers do. The Jack Russell Terrier is not afraid to nip or bite back when it feels that it is being threatened. In general, however, the Jack Russell is a particularly happy breed of dog and they can thrive in a household with children when the children are taught to respect the dog and not tease or hurt the dog in any way. This should, however, be a lesson taught to any children who are seeking to become dog owners!

It is also important for any potential owner to know that this breed has a tendency to fall in to what is referred to as “Small Dog Syndrome.” “Small Dog Syndrome” occurs when a small dog believes that he is the leader of his pack and he directs the actions and attentions of everyone in his pack – including his humans! In order to avoid falling in to this trap with your future Jack Russell Terrier it is important that you maintain a firm and confident hand throughout your dogs training and obedience classes and establish your position as alpha dog of the family.

Jack Russell Terrier Personality: This is One Smart Pup!

One impressive aspect of the Jack Russell breed is their intelligence and this is one trait for which they are renowned. They are often used in Hollywood films and commercials due to their high trainability and in general the breed also thrives on the intellectual stimulation it receives from being trained. It is possible to have a very well trained and well behaved Jack Russell if you are dedicated to providing a stable and structured pack for your dog to live in. Acting as your dogs master will garner you respect as well as a well behaved dog.

Potential Health Concerns

While the Jack Russell Terrier is generally a sturdy working breed of dog they do have a small variety of health problems which are common to the breed. Included in these health problems are kneecap dislocation, deafness (a popular trait among many dogs that are primarily white coated,) Legg Perthes (a disease that affects the dogs hip joints,) and inherited eye diseases. While most of these traits can be lived with a Terrier that is suffering from any ailment is not free to act like they should. This is an instinctively highly energetic dog with a high prey drive and a need to run so any kneecap dislocation that puts the dog on crate rest and limited exercise for a period of time is going to cause additional problems for the dog such as depression.

One way to avoid the majority of these health concerns is to ensure that the dog you select is from good stock. Ensuring that your dog is from good stock involves research in to your potential breeder, asking to see the health certifications of the puppies parents as well as grandparents is a great place to start. It is also important to ask about any problems that may have occurred with past puppy litters. By asking all of the right questions you can help to ensure that your new Jack Russell Terrier puppy is healthy and sure to live a long life without interference from health problems that could have been avoided.

There are many families that are well suited to the Terrier breed; in general these families are high energy families that always try to make their dog a part of their outdoor fun. Part of ensuring that this is the right breed for you involves researching the breed characteristics as well as actually meeting with your dog and assessing whether your family is a good match for the breed and vice versa. The importance of having a good match between a high energy breed such as the Jack Russell Terrier, and the family it will be living in cannot be over stated.

An unhappy dog leads to an unhappy family which almost always leads to another innocent dog sitting in the shelter waiting for a new home. By doing your research and learning about all the pro’s and con’s of this particular breed you can determine if you and your family are ready to take on this little Napoleon of the dog world and offer it the type of lifestyle that it deserves while still maintaining your families sense of normalcy. Bringing any dog breed in to your home is about meshing the characteristics of your new dog with the characteristics of your family and when done right everyone is happy.

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Amy grew up in England and in the early 1990's moved to North Carolina where she completed a bachelors degree in Psychology in 2001. Amy's personal interest in writing was sparked by her love of reading fiction and her creative writing hobby. Amy is currently self employed as a freelance writer and web designer. When she is not working Amy can be found curled up with a good book and her black Labrador, Jet.

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Fred C.VanPelt
Thanks for the information,my JRT,is a blessing. I had just retired when I got him as a rescue, he keeps me active. He doesn’t like other dogs and goes ballistic when he sees them when we are walking.
Trish Kane
This article was great and gave us some good insight into the JRT breed. We have our two year old Jackson, who is a delight. He is a smooth coat, and has tall legs! I was so surprised at that as he kept growing. He has settled in at 12 pounds and loves to play and to sleep under a blanket or lap rug. We have another dog who is a male Schnoodle (half poodle/half schnauzer) and is 13. Jackson has been good for him to help keep him young at heart. However, Jackson has started to fight with Barnee if Barnee gets too near his food as Jackson is eating it. Jackson also seems to be taking the position of Alpha dog and is jealous of us and tries to keep Barnee from laying with us. Jackson is neutered and these issues didn’t start until after he turned two. Any ideas for countering this behavior?
Yes. Stop allowing Jackson to feel like the leader of the house.
We had our first smooth-coat JR, Zeke, for 15 years and four months, when he passed away. He was our dear boy and we scattered his ashes at his favorite camping spot near Winter Park, Colorado. He died on a Sunday and by Tuesday, I was on the phone with his breeder to find our next JR family member. Our “youngest son” is a rough coat JR from the same line as our first boy. Jax has been bringing joy to us for three years now. We love JRs, but you REALLY need to know what you’re getting into with these little fireballs–please do your research before bringing one into your home–they are such wonderful dogs for the right family and they do not deserve to end up at a rescue.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I’m sorry for your loss, Beth. So happy to hear you’ve loved your Jack Russells!
Catherine Anderson
Oh, also, she looks like a Jack Russel. The vet says she will be a smaller dog, never more than 30 pounds. She has the JRT personality, VERY energetic, playful, and full of spunk, but she is also settling in for seconds at a time already for petting, which she is learning feels really good. I live on a large acreage, and I see the hunting instinct in her as well. Very different from any puppy I’ve ever tried to raise, for sure. JRTs are a breed all their own, I think. I hope to find a JRT enthusiast.
My pup is an aussie – jack. they are incredible. But yes, high energy and lots of playtime required. It’s a super smart and fun dog! Great personality! Super happy. I hope this girl finds a wonderful home. I’m almost tempted 🙂
Catherine Anderson
I recently rescued a JRT/mini-Australian shepherd mix who was doomed to possible death. Well, actually, my son rescued her by snatching her from the woman’s arms and telling her he couldn’t bear the thought of putting her down She is high energy! Her name is Pepper. She is 13 weeks old. I live south of Missoula, Montana. I am turning 70 next month, and I am a writer, which is a very quiet, sedentary profession. As dear as this baby girl is, I know I cannot give her the best possible life. I would love to find her a FOREVER home with people or a person who understands and is familiar with the JRT. Until then I am providing her with a good home and trying hard to be a good puppy mom.
OK….so after all these tales of JRT…yesterday i figured out that is what i have. . I thot they were smooth coat, she’s very wire coated.

My ex bfriend bought a trailer in the texas country…and this momma had 4 pups underthere. got them out the second weekend….they were still nursing around 5 weeks. omg I’ve never seen fleas so thick…i still have scabs from my flea bites 3 weeks later. i wormed and deflead sev x’s. the baby rattlers were extra bad this year.

3 surviving pups crawled under my good fences…and we put out fliers for the pups. all 3 pups founders asked to keep them, that they had “fallen in love” or were “too attached” to return them; they asked to keep them. I still have momma, the gas station guys called her suzy q. i didn’t think i would keep her bc she did not like my sooooo friendly rottie male (only 2 years)….well they are getting along better.

I will keep her, if she is not a flight risk. the city charges me as a bad dog owner when my dog burrows out. so far, she seems to like being here and regular meals; i know she misses her pups. i hope i am her last home. i’m finding out that she is potty trained. I’m crate training her too. i just want a dog that will not cost me time andd energy to pick up after her, destroy items, etc. I think she’s good.

meanwhile the bf’s house underwhich i found her, he is much less loyal.

Out of the 5 dogs I’ve had during my life, my JRT, Honeygirl, was by far the best dog. Jacks are the perfect blend of spunk and love. We rescued her from an abusive household, she was extremely underweight/had a yellow stained belly from laying in urine. When she first came to live with us she growled, snarled, barked, the works. Fast forward a year later and she’s walking down the street to her favorite ice cream stand-asking for pets from anyone who walked by, she had quickly become the un-official mayor. Jacks are not only playful, cuddly but boy are they smart too. “You don’t train a jack, a jack trains you.” Anything she needed she would walk into my room stand at the doorway so I would get up and she would lead me to what she wanted, always pausing to look behind to check that I’m still following. Honeygirl had lived with two different dogs while with us, first with a fox terrier Ang a three-legged gentle soul, whom Honeygirl loved and adored until her death. Then we took in Noni a chi-mixed with god-knows-what from off the street, Honeygirl was older by then and I think she got a kick out of bossing him around (nevertheless still sweet). Even on her death bed, he laid down beside her and with her last bit of energy she rolled over and snapped at him, letting him know she’s not dead yet and this is still HER bed so get off. When I was going thru a hard time for a month I laid in bed a lot. As she was always cuddling up with me, sometimes when I would cry she would get up and leave, then take one glance back at me before leaving the room. Harsh, which is what I loved about her. I swear it was as if she was rolling her eyes at me and thinking get a grip. Immediately this would send me into a full belly laugh. Jacks are good at making you laugh, I would recommend this dog to anyone, Jacks truly bring the purest form of joy. She did take a lot of patience and training in the beginning but she was worth every second of it. She loved babies as much as she loved grandmothers, and she loved every dog she ever met, (sometimes scared of large dogs when she was older but never confrontational.) JRT is a phenomenal breed and I think most Jack owners would agree that their Jack is without a doubt their soulmate.
Molly Campbell
I love my Jack Russell terrier, Barney, so much. A lot of this rings true for Barney, except being energetic. Barney is very lazy. I think this may be due to the fact that his first owner was an elderly man. Barney is probably the laziest Jack Russell ever. While he loves a good walk (he can only run for a short amount of time now that he is 14) he is happy to spend all day on the couch sleeping. My husband and I estimate that he spends 20 hours a day sleeping! He also snores which is adorable.
Barney is a people dog, he loves to snuggle and sleeps with me every night. He is interested in dogs but HATES cats. He often tries to attack small dogs and cats. He’ll even try to take on my parents’ dog, a 140 lb Great Dane! Be warned about Jack Russells though, they are hunters. Sadly, about a week ago 2 stray kittens got in our yard and I found them dead…,pretty sure it was Barney.
Jack Russell terriers are super smart. Barney let’s you know when he is mad. One night my husband kicked Barney out of the bedroom. How did Barney express his anger? He peed on my husband’s spot on the couch .
Also, Jack Russell’s do have eye conditions. I got Barney when he was about 11 and he had terribly cloudy eyes that we thought were cataracts. Long story short, he got an eye infection and I ended up having to take him to an ophthalmologist who diagnosed him with corneal epithelial degeneration which can be medically managed.
Overall, I love my JRT Barney SO much!!!! He is the cutest, most loving, stubborn, full of personality dog I have ever had!
Iain Adam
My Jack Russell has a real problem Bi polar . I love him but do not trust him due to his behaviour. he has bitten me and my daughter a few times. I got him second paw ??? He is a Jack Rascal. I feed him well, take him walkies, he will fight with with most dogs, not very social – always on the leash. Will not let me put a coat on him in the winter time or a harness. Growls
My Jack Russell was also problematic, but he is now the most perfect dog ever. It seems to me that you are a very kind and decent owner, but you don’t show him who is boss. Jack Russell Terriers needs to know that you are the boss. Biting is an absolute no-no and shouldn’t be tolerated. Also keeping him on the leash is not a good idea because you are constraining a high-energy dog, which is counterproductive.

My dog was also prone to attacking other dogs as well as people running past and I was thinking of getting rid of him, but as a last-minute attempt at sorting him out, I took him to obedience training. The trainer asked me to walk into his side gently but with enough force to show him who is boss. I did that and he licked his lips and I was told by the trainer that when he licks his lips, that is a sign of subservience to me. That gave me the confidence to actually become his master, which is what he needed. As a Jack Russell Terrier, he will always be a little bit disobedient because that is part of his character (and is what makes him extra lovable). He knows what he can get away with and what he can’t and he pushes the boundaries, but he is an amazing companion.

Food/treats can be used to help train your dog. Don’t ever feed your dog with anything until after you have eaten – make him wait and then feed him after you have finished.

Only give him treats when he has been good and use the tone of your voice to indicate that when you are giving him a treat.

If he has been bad, tell him sternly and withhold the treat – don’t shout because dogs have better hearing than us and shouting indicates that you have lost control, which your dog won’t respect.

This is what I have learned over the past four years with what is now a perfect companion.

I hope this helps.



i have 3 jack russells 1 is 10 or 11 a male and 2 sisters from same litter 4 years old they all get along great they live with my sister and her 2 collie dogs when i go 2 work the 5 of them get along fine but the smallest one coreen tries to be the pack leader shes a wee cracker but a pest at times they are great fun and love my sisters 2 granchildren they are very high energy dogs and chase birds cats flies midges anything that moves they are a bundle of fun
I adopted a 9 month old Jack 4 years ago after she was returned twice. After some searching I found the foster family that took her in while she was at the kennel and they said she was beaten badly by her first family. Even with this past you can see the spark in her eyes. She is very protective especially towards men however she is great with my newborn nephews and once she gets to know you, once she knows you belong, well then its time to play… all the time, everywhere. The best is in the truck when I tell her to “get those winder washers” and turn on the wipers and she goes nuts trying to get them, lol. She is also way to smart. If I throw the ball from the couch she gets annoyed and starts pushing it under other furniture so I have to get up or she goes to the top of the steps and throws the ball, chases it, and repeats. They are great warning dogs as she lets me know who is around. They are very smart and training is a must imo because they love the work and they also become the most well behaved dogs.
I adore my little girl Coco. She is a rescue dog having had quite a horrific earlier life. She turns five soon and I have had her for half her young life. When she first came to live with me she was wild, jumping on the kitchen table, didn’t come when called etc. Her early life had required she jump extraordinary heights to find food and it took patience to train her to stop it. Six months of love and nurture and she is more and more perfectly behaved everyday. I have always adored her, even through those tough early months of adjusting to each other. JR’s need exercise and my little girl can’t do it on a lead – she needs to stretch those paws far quicker than I can keep up! I find a good off-lead location, let her stretch it out twice a day for about 15 minutes and that is enough for her to snooze the rest of the day away without a sound. If she doesn’t get her run she gets restless and chatty (woofer). If you are considering a JR, good on you – they’re adorable.
I have had my Russell Terrier, Lucy for 4 years as she is aged 10-11 years. Love her dearly for better or worse, but she is indeed a dog who belongs in a high energy household. Dogs fit best with the right owner, so folks should read first before picking out a dog just because they looked good in a commercial. I am indeed fit to keep up with a Russell Terrier and I would recommend folks thoroughly research before picking one of these balls of energy. If you can keep up, they make life memorable!
I just recently had to put down my 9-year old Shorty JRT. She passed from liver failure. It was devastating for the family but Chloe was the perfect family pet. I have two daughters aged 4 and 8 and Chloe was always snuggling with them, never any issue with biting or nipping at the kids. She was the perfect dog. Chloe was my 3rd JRT. Once the sting goes away from the loss of Chloe, our family will have another JRT. If they are trained right, you treat them with love, kindness and walks, they are the perfect family pet.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Chloe sounds like the perfect dog. I’m so sorry for your loss and am so glad your family had so many wonderful years with sweet Chloe. My thoughts are with you all.
My sweet babies are 13 years old as of November and are just the best dogs ever!!! Rocky and Abigail, I have had them both since they were 8 weeks old and they truly are soulmates. My Rocky did develop Cushings disease at 6-7, I was told he may have 2-3 years at best because he was allergic to the meds they gave him, I started treating him holistically and 6 years in he is doing amazing, you’d never know he was a cushings dog. That’s a good thing too because I was so distraught for my Ms Abigail at the thought of her losing her best friend too soon. Can’t go wrong with these dogs but, and this is a big BUT here, they do require you put in the work!!
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Wow, that’s so great you are able to treat Rocky holistically for 6 years and he’s doing great. So glad to hear they’re still together and creating lots of happiness I’m sure. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
I’ve now had my Jack Russel for 4 1/2 years and it breaks my heart to imgine only around 10 years left with him.

He’s a very happy dog with great respect of his owner. He’s also a very calm and gentle do when need so, in particular with old people and young children.

His intelligence is unimaginable as he always knows when we’re talking about him. At time I wonder if he can tell when we’re talking about him even if we don’t say words such as “dog” and “take him” .

Overall he is a lovely natured and playful dog. He is definitely a dog to get.

However, the only negative thing about him in my opinion is the fact that he malts/sheds everywhere. So unless you’re prepared to vacuum everywhere 3-5 times a day for a clean house. It’s best to get a hairy dog, not a furry one.

It sounds like you could be talking about me and my Macy a jack/ mt feist. I too worry about the day we are parted. My sweet brother moved in with me during his divorce and lived there until the day I discovered that he had passed away in his sleep. Macy adored Bugs but wouldn’t have a thing to do with him if I wasn’t at home. She would ignore him completely but when I came in she would give me love then run to him like he just came in too.( so funny ). He used to yel people that if something happened to me that although he would see that she had the best care and life possible he would probably have to have her put to sleep or she would grieve herself to death but hated to have his little sister put to sleep if something happened to Macy first. I have no doubt that yours knows when you talk about him and in fact knows exactly what you’re saying. Some words I have to spell words like dog because she’s not fond of them and it hurts her feelings if somebody refers to her as one. Everybody that is around her is amazed at her intelligence and total devotion to me. I know she’s perfect for me.
I have a three month old JRT. He is a joy to be around however there are a few issues.
He still goes around the house doing his business, we have tried the sprays and everything, does not seem to work, some days he will be good and go on the training pads other days he will go underneath the sofa.
As of yet we have never left him alone and I worry the longer we leave it, the worse it will be. We have tried to leave him alone for 20 minutes and he howled and wined for all of that time, we gave him toys, left the tv on, it doesn’t work. The problem is that we live in a flat so can’t let him cry and whine, as our neighbours will not be happy. We have tried to tire him out before trying to leave however he is a very light sleeper, even if we leave the room, he normally follows us. We have tried crate training again he never took to this either.
Be patient JRT are some of the most difficult to potty train. It could take up to 2 yrs. Be thankful their poo is small and dog pee odor is no t forever like cat pee, lol/cry. Work your best on crate training, we failed and ours is 2 yrs old with insane separation anxiety. I think if we tried harder at crate training when a pup things would be better when leaving alone. There is a liquid product called Rescue Remedy that helps soothe them. All natural.
This might sound cruel, but it worked for me…

My JRT pooped in the house, so I rubbed his nose in a little bit of the poop, then put him outside at the place where he should have pooped (you could also put him onto the place where he should have pooped inside). He was devastated and I felt awful, but the next time he wanted to poop, he went to the door.

He has never pooped in the house since then.

He was also quite whiny when I first got him, so I left him alone in stages of 15 mins, 30 mins, 60 mins, 3 hours, 6 hours, all day. Each time when I returned, I gave him lots of affection and took him for a good walk.

Taking into consideration the above, I would recommend always ensuring that if your JRT poops on pads, they are always clean beforehand and that if you are going out for a while, you take your JRT for a good walk first.

He may need to release energy and if he poops outside, you could then have a fresher home (you will need to take poop bags with you).

I hope this helps.



I just saw an article from our local shelter for a Jack Russell Terrier to be adopted. I would love to adopt the little guy but currently have a 10 year old Golden Retriever (female) and a female long haired cat who is 11 and very shy. I am very concerned about how the terrier will get along with our other family animals. Also have two grandchildren who would not necessarily interact so much with the dog but again am concerned how the dog would interact with the children, ages 1 and 3. Can anybody give me some advice? I don’t want to try to adopt and then have to bring the little guy back to the shelter-
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I suggest asking the shelter about doing a home visit, which would consist of the Jack Russell Terrier (JRT) coming to your home and see how your other dog and cat respond to him. If this makes you uncomfortable, my other suggestion would be to bring the cat and dog to the shelter to meet the Jack Russell Terrier. I also recommend having your grandchildren visit with the dog, but not on the first time you meet him. It’s important that you meet the JRT first and become comfortable with him, then introduce your dog and cat and finally, your grandchildren. You don’t want to overwhelm the JRT, so it’s important to take things slow and gradually introduce each of you to him. I hope it works out for you and you end up with a new furry family member! 🙂
Jack Russells are great dogs, and I have one. It all depends on the dog it’s self. As long as your family animals are okay with high energy dogs it should be fine. But the dog may want to play with the cat but the cat will take it the wrong way. It would probably be best to ask the shelter to reserve a quite room that you can use to introduce your animals with the dog. You would want to keep the dog on a leash and then gradually release more of the leash until the dog can reach your animals. You may also want to bring your grandchildren just to make sure. The shelter may say that the dog is good with kids, but just like dogs, all kids are different. The dog may be good with kids but not good with loud kids that may pull on its ears. And even if the children are quite they may be different with a NEW dog. Also even if the shelter says that the dog is good with only older kids, they may have introduced him/her to loud or roudy children. My last tip is if you choose to meet the dog, you will want to introduce them to your animals and kids, do one by one, and when you’re introducing a different animal or child, take the old one out of the room, and then at the end have all the kids and animals come in the room at the same time. I wish you luck!
I am a new owner to a Chihuahua mixed Jack Russell Everytime my kid wants to pet it he snaps at them I don’t know what to do to get him to stop he’s only a year old
Lisa Streett
Heather, I believe y dog is also Chihuahua Jack Russell mix and he doesn’t like my grandkids. Would you mind comparing pictures so I can see if he is mixed like I think?
I am the Momma to a 6yr old chi/Jack he’s the same way very protective of me…
Deborah padilla
Hello I adopted a parsons Jack Russell in May. Not my first I in past had 3 Rotti s and 3dobermans. But this little fellow is fisty loving and after reading many everyone’s comments. I see Russ in many. The peeing playful with balls but know he has been niping and today drew blood on my arm three places. I can’t put him in a pen with out him fighting and growling and trying to bite me. If my grandsons visit ages 6/8 if they fall asleep Russ will lay with them and if they move he wants to attack them and bite. If I move and try to put the boys to bed he gets aggressive growling and biting at me. It breaks my heart cause I want to provide him love and carry home. I live alone and he’s my buddy. I have trained and been trained with my dobermans . But this little guy is giving me a run for the money. I hate to give him up. And yes I have watch The dog whisper CEASAR EVERY Saturday morning .Nothing seems to work. I can’t afford to take him training for his behavior. I am not sure what’s gonna happen next I am not sure what type of home he had before. They said he was about six . Please help Sincerely
Debb and Russ
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I’m so sorry Debb. It sounds like Russ needs to be away from your grandsons until he is not aggressive. This will eliminate the risk of Russ hurting them. Unfortunately, I don’t have any other suggestions for you. Have you sought help from a dog trainer for Russ individually?
Have a look at positive reinforcement based training such as Victoria Stilwell’s. JRs need to work hard and if you set them jobs and tasks they will be happier. Keep the kids away until you have sorted the biting. Its not fair to the kids or dog to keep them together right now. Good Luck
i have a jack who the best dog iv ever had and I have lots of dogs.. he was only 5 weeks old when I got him. and he traing to do anything hunting come went call bring rabbit home. he can sniff out anythink I ask him . I just show him the sent and he find it.. theirs just me and him at home we never a part he three years old. coming up he can do trick .. but I would not trust him with kids he never bite any kid but he not to be trusted it his toys he let me take them off him. or some one he knows yes but not kids . ill love him until the day I die I know he loves me until the day he dies..
Mr. Bentley is now 3 years old, found him on a busy street as a puppy. Mr. Bentley is a clever smart little boy who loves children and being the center of attention. The only problem I have is he hates to be alone, he can be destructive, chewing up carpets and pooping in the house. Mr. Bentley knows he done wrong, and runs to the door. Mr. Benley is a runner this little dog has so much energy! He is a strong lilttle guy, walking him is like walking a pit bull! He is the love of my life! ..My best friend. Loyal and loving ..
We’ve had our JRT for just over a year. Got him at 6 wks old. We have tennis balls all over the house it seems! Champ, our beloved JRT’s name, loves to retreive them for hours on end. He has taught himself how to carry one in his mouth and kick the other back to whomever is playing with him. Caught our 16 yr old son “playing ball” with Champ. Son was sitting on the floor rolling the ball to him all the while Champ was literally kicking the ball back. Ignore Champ when he wants to play and you will be “punched” for lack of a better word for attention. He is the best dog we have ever had! Jack’s have a HUGE personality for their small size!
I have a Jack whom I love dearly. She’s almost 11 years old and I’ve discovered has an enlarged heart. Last year she started to cough in the spring of the year. I took her to the vet and he listened to her heart and said that it sounded very good. He suggested it might be an allergy to something in the environment. It seemed to go away so I thought they were right. This spring she started coughing again. I took her to the vet but insisted on having a chest xray. He said again that her heart sounded fine, but upon examination of the xray he found that she had an enlarged heart and some fluid in her lungs. Now she is on medication for her heart. I love her so much that I want her live her life as healthy as she can. Does anyone think that if I increase her Omega 3 fatty acids it would help her heart?
Rick Murray
We rescued a 4 1/2 year old female JRT about 6 weeks ago. We were told she had been treated badly. I have managed to teach her a lot in that time with the exception of coming when called. She shows no signs of aggression towards animals or our little grandchildren. If she gets a bit cranky she gives a little growl, but nothing else. She is still a bit skittish, but has come leaps and strides since we got her. Her tail constantly wags unlike when we got her. I don’t know if it was her previous like that has made her a little aloof, although she gets more loving every day.
She does chase my daughters cat, but I think she just wants to play. The one thing I’m concentrating on at the moment is getting her to come when called. This is made worse when she goes under the house, and won’t come until she’s ready. They do take a lot of patience and time to train, but ours is a truly loveable little dog and we are so glad we rescued her.
Debra Manos
When calling the “COME”, you need to be a pez dispensers with small treats (use soft, small treats that do not require a lot of chewing). You can use a long line (I do not like the retractable leashes, as they give false corrections) , until she realizes COME means treat. A fun thing to do with the grandkids is to make a circle (everybody with treats) and take turns calling her. Remember to praise because you will wean of treats to just praise. Call her name & COME. As soon as she looks at you (this is a desired response), praise. You have 3-5 seconds to praise for desired response (or to correct) – after 5 seconds, the action is gone from the dogs brain. As she is high prey drive, you may be able to call & run in opposite direction SWITCHING her prey drive towards you. Good luck !
Debra Manos
You may want to have under the house checked – she’s probably chasing the cat, but there is something under there putting her in prey drive.
Richard Livingstone
I (well, my then 12 year old daughter, encouraged by wife) with my very very reluctant acquiescence) got Abbie, our 3 yr old Parson Russell terrier at 10 weeks. Never having had a dog and not looking forward to life disruption, I can be honest and say I was crapping myself at the prospect (sorry). But, who knew – what a lovely dog she is now. Provided she is exercised for an hour a day and five minutes play with chew toys after meals, she’s happy as Larry and a joy to have around. I’m lucky to be a home worker so the above works for me too, and she’s a lively and lovely companion for me and our two cats, who she loves and vice versa. Can recommend Jrts on this basis – we selected a breeder very carefully though, and were not disappointed.
Alexis Poolos
I’m a first time dog owner and just brought home my 3 month JRT a few days ago. Things are going fairly well except for getting her to coexist with the cats. When I try to get them to meet, she seems excited like she wants to play but usually scares off the cat. When the pup and cat are held they’ll boop noses so I feel like that’s a good sign; any tips?
Sadie Cornelius (Admin)
Alexis, congrats on your new pup! Introducing animals can be a challenge, especially when the cats have been there first (as they can be territorial). We are actually working on an article on this very topic that is full of tips on getting dogs and cats to get along. It published in a few weeks so I’ll be sure to post the link here as soon as it’s live! In the meantime, good luck with your new furry family.