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Jack Russell Colours And Coat Types

The Jack Russell is one of the most popular small dog breeds in the UK, and these plucky, bold little terriers are instantly recognisable to most dog lovers! However, even within the simple breed grouping of the Jack Russell, a significant amount of variation is permitted in terms of the different coat colours, patterns and types available.

Added to this, a lot of other small terrier breeds share some common ancestry with the Jack Russell, and it can be difficult for people who are not incredibly well versed in the differences between different types of terriers to tell the different breeds apart!

Read on to learn more about all of the different coat types, markings and colours that the Jack Russell may possess, plus how they differ from their nearest relative, the Parson Russell terrier.

Jack Russell coat textures

The Jack Russell coat can be very variable, and is available in three different types. While it is more common for puppies to take on the coat style of their parents, it is entirely possible to see examples of all of the different types of coats within the same litter, particularly if the dogs in question have ancestry with different coated dogs.

The three Jack Russell coat textures are:

Smooth coat

The smooth coated Jack Russell will have very short fur, which is smooth and lies all in the one direction. This is of course an incredibly easy to care for coat, but does have a tendency to hold dirt! Smooth-coated Jack Russells may be prone to feeling the cold during the winter months, and may benefit from investment in some waterproof and warm coats for their winter walkies!

Rough coat

The rough coated Jack Russell has relatively long fur, which is wiry and rough in texture, as the name implies! The fur will range from an inch or so long to a couple of inches all over, and the fur may grow in various different directions. Rough coated Jack Russells are also occasionally referred to as wire-haired or wire coated.

Broken coat

A broken coated Jack Russell is a dog whose coat is a combination of both a smooth coat and a rough coat. This means that some patches of the body will have short, smooth hair, and other areas will display longer, wiry hair in combination. The mixture is usually around 50-50, but this can vary greatly from dog to dog!


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Jack Russell coat colours

The Jack Russell can be found in a relatively large assortment of colour variants, although they all contain white!  Jack Russell coats are based around the colours of white, black and tan, although the “tan” part can encompass a wide range of different shades.

The common Jack Russell coat colours are:

  • Tricolour, which is white with patches of both tan and black
  • Tan and white, a mainly white dog with patches of tan
  • Black and white, a mainly white dog with black patches
  • Sable tan and white
  • Lemon tan and white
  • Red tan and white
  • Sable tan, black and white tricolour
  • Lemon tan, black and white tricolour
  • Red tan, black and white tricolour

Jack Russell markings

The distribution of the colour pattern on the body and face is known as the dog’s markings, and no two Jack Russells look exactly alike! This is a fairly rare trait in purebred dogs, as most dog breeds have a relatively limited range of permissible markings and marking distribution over the body.

Some of the most common Jack Russell markings are:

  • A patch eye, with tan or black over one eye on an otherwise white face
  • A patch ear, with a coloured ear but white face
  • A mask, where the head is tan or black and the rest of the body is white
  • A mask with a blaze, where the head is tan or black but with a white stripe along it around the middle of the face
  • Saddle markings, where the dog’s white body has a colour patch around the back and sides similar to the position of a saddle

Differences between the Jack Russell and the Parson Russell terrier

The Parson Russell terrier is a close relative of the Jack Russell, and the two breeds are often confused with each other! This is not helped by the fact that the Parson Russell terrier can display the same styles and types of coats, markings and colours as the Jack Russell himself.

If you are not sure if you are looking at a Jack Russell or a Parson Russell terrier, try to compare the following differences:

  • The Parson Russell terrier is taller than the Jack Russell, and has longer legs
  • The Parson Russell is also deeper in the chest, and the front legs are slightly more widely set
  • The Parson Russell also has a slightly longer and larger head than the Jack Russell, and is over all rather stockier and larger, but only by a hair!

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