The Jack Russell is the most popular small terrier breed in the UK, and the 11th most popular dog breed overall. These little dogs have huge personalities and are usually very confident and outgoing, which makes them real characters that can be highly entertaining, as well as potentially prone to seeking out trouble!
This is one of the best-known dog breeds in the UK, and one that thousands of people every year consider buying as their next pet – but the Jack Russell, despite their small statures, are not good dogs for everyone, and can soon turn into a real handful with the wrong type of owner and management.
If you are considering picking a Jack Russell as your next dog, it is vitally important to meet and get to know as many dogs of the breed as possible, and to do plenty of research into the breed’s core traits, including their pros and cons.
If you’re beginning to research Jack Russells with a view to getting one, this article will start you off with pointers on ten things you need to know about the Jack Russell before you buy one. Read on to learn more.
The Jack Russell is of course a small dog breed, but they are the polar opposite of a toy dog or lapdog. The Jack Russell has the type of outgoing, larger than life personality that we usually associate with much bigger dog breeds, and most Jack Russells see themselves as big dogs and act accordingly!
They tend to be bold and confident dogs that will stand up for themselves even when faced with a large opponent, and they don’t tend to be daunted by new things or new experiences.
Despite their small size, the Jack Russell is one of the most high-energy dog breeds of all, and they need to spend a significant amount of time each day playing and exercising. Dogs of the breed require at least two fairly long and lively walks per day in order to thrive, as well as playtime and off-lead time as well, and so they tend to suit owners that spend a lot of their time outdoors.
Jack Russells are very enterprising dogs that are very one track minded once they fixate on something, and this makes them very tenacious but can border on the obsessive.
If they set their minds to something they can be very hard to divert from their goal, and they can be very stubborn about responding to commands and direction when it doesn’t suit their own plans!
Coupled with this, the Jack Russell has one of the highest levels of prey drive of any dog breed, and they were originally prized for their skills as ratters. This means that Jack Russells will tend to pursue rabbits and smaller animals when out on walks, and they can become a real danger to local cats.
A Jack Russell must be trained for reliable recall, and if the dog’s recall compliance is in any way unpredictable (which is common within the breed) they must be kept on a lead when outside of an enclosed outdoor space, and potentially muzzled to protect smaller pets and wildlife too.
The tenacity and obsessive tendencies that we mentioned above all add up to mean that Jack Russells can potentially be quite destructive dogs to have around and notably, they tend to be very keen to dig and may soon destroy a whole garden if left to their own devices.
They also tend to be keen chewers, and so plenty of appropriate chew toys should be provided to ensure that the dog doesn’t start gnawing on your shoes or furniture!
Jack Russells have busy minds and need a lot of mental stimulation, and they get bored very quickly if they don’t have something to do. This means that dogs of the breed don’t tend to thrive if they spend large portions of most days alone, and this increases the chances of them becoming destructive, unruly, and hard to manage.
Jack Russells are at their best when they have a job to do or a responsibility to fulfil, and if you can engage their brains and channel their energies, they will take this role very seriously. This means that you will find quite a lot of your time is taken up with entertaining and supervising your dog and keeping their minds occupied, and they need an attentive owner that is able to supervise and manage the dog appropriately.
Jack Russells are often a good pick for canine sports like agility, which gives them an outlet for their high energy levels as well as something to set their minds to. The dog has to be able to focus and concentrate in order to excel at canine sports, but this is certainly something to consider if you’re looking for a new hobby, or an activity to take part in along with your dog.
Jack Russells are themselves confident and can be prone to dominance, and as such, they need a knowledgeable handler who understands the breed and that has the confidence to provide them with clear and unambiguous direction.
A trainer that isn’t sure how to proceed or that does not have the skills or confidence to channel the Jack Russell’s energies will soon fail, and the breed can be somewhat complex to motivate and direct in a training environment.
The Jack Russell should not be overlooked as an option for people who have never owned their own dog before, but they are a breed that requires very careful consideration. Jack Russells are confident and sometimes challenging dogs, and so their owners need to understand this and know how to motivate the dog, and harness their core traits in positive ways in order to keep the dog happy and under control.