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Is A Jack Russell The Right Choice Of Dog For You?

The Jack Russell terrier is one of the most commonly owned companion dogs within the UK, and is a small dog from the terrier grouping that was originally bred to work with fox hunters, pursuing prey into burrows that the larger foxhounds were too big to access.

The Jack Russell comes in a variety of colours on a white base, and can have a rough, smooth or broken coat, with a lot of variety possible in terms of their coat types and colours. They are a small breed of dog that can stand up to 15” tall at the withers, and weigh up to 7.7kg. Their small size belies their huge personalities, and despite being one of the smallest breeds of dog, they have one of the largest personalities!

Jack Russell terriers do make for excellent pets, as evinced by the sheer number of them owned within the UK, but they can be challenging to own and require a switched on, alert and conscientious handler to manage them! If you are wondering if the Jack Russell terrier might be the right choice of dog for you, in this article we will look at the temperament and core traits of the breed in more detail. Read on to learn more.

What is the Jack Russell temperament?

The Jack Russell is a confident, bold and plucky dog that does not consider their small size to be any barrier to holding their own, and they have big personalities and very outgoing natures.

They are lively, fun loving and entertaining dogs that are very rewarding to own, and will keep any owner both on their toes and entertained! They are very affectionate with their families and unlikely to be fearful of strangers, but if they are not well socialised with people, may become snappy or defensive. They can be prone to both stubbornness and dominance, two traits that the owner must actively work to curb, and they are independent, alert and watchful.

How much exercise do they require?

The Jack Russell is a lively little dog that is always on the lookout for something to do, and they love games such as catch, running around and general play. They need lots of variety in terms of their exercise requirements, and will not be happy if they are not regularly walked.

Despite their small size and short legs, they have bundles of energy, and like brisk walks on the lead as well as plenty of off the lead play. They are well suited to sports such as agility and flyball, and usually thrive with plenty of entertainment and physical exercise.

Are they easy to train?

Jack Russells are highly intelligent, tenacious little dogs that are more than capable of learning a wide range of skills, but their lively natures and high intelligence can also make training a challenge. They are easily bored and can be prone to stubbornness, as well as picking up bad habits through observation, and having a very independent streak. Selective deafness when bored is a common trait of the Jack Russell, and they can be prone to trying to take the upper hand when training, and are apt to see themselves as the alpha if their trainer does not firmly establish themselves in this role.

They require an experienced, confident trainer that can stay one step ahead of them, hold their attention, and keep them thinking and working hard.

Do they have a strong prey drive?

The Jack Russell is one small dog that has a very high prey drive, and they are apt to pursue wildlife and even enter burrows to try to seek potential prey. They are very one track minded when on the chase, and will think nothing of ignoring your recall cries when they are interested in a hunt! This means that strong, confident management in terms of recall and training is vital, and that they must be kept on a lead or muzzled when off the lead if they display a pronouncedly strong prey drive outside of the home.

Are they good with other dogs?

Good socialisation is vital from an early age for the Jack Russell, in order to ensure that they are well behaved and able to play nicely with other dogs. They are very plucky, and will think nothing of facing up to a much larger dog, and have a pronounced trait for dominance in some situations.

When well socialised and properly managed, the Jack Russell is usually perfectly happy to play with other dogs in the dog park, and to share their home with another dog.

What type of homes do they need?

The Jack Russell is equally at home in houses both large and small, assuming that they get enough exercise and are not left alone for long periods of time. They need plenty of company, clear, firm rules, and a confident handler that is capable of managing the confident and plucky Jack Russell personality traits.


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