Facts About Jacks: All About Jack Russell Terriers
The History of Jack Russell Terriers
Jack Russell terriers originated from the hard work of fox hunter and reverend John (nicknamed Jack) Russell, who lived in Devonshire, England, in the early 19th century. Russell often fox hunted instead of attending classes at Oxford. He wanted a type of terrier that could chase after a fox even when it burrowed underneath the ground. For this to work, he needed a dog both small enough and endowed with enough courage, intelligence, and athletic ability to follow a fox into its home.
Russell found and obtained a female terrier named Trump. She was roughly the size of a “vixen fox;” easily small enough to fit into a fox hole. Trump had a thick, white coat with a patch of dark tan covering each eye and ear and a spot of color on her lower back. She was the perfect dog for Parson Russell. Russell moved to the countryside to see if the terriers could trot behind horses for a long time, keep up with the hounds hunting, and still have enough energy to enter holes and bark at the foxes until they ran away.
Parson Russell's love for dogs caused him to become one of the founders of England’s Kennel Club. He didn’t take his Jack Russell terriers to dog shows or exhibits. Instead, he also bred fox hounds and preferred to watch his dogs hunt foxes in the field. Russell died in 1883. Although records exist confirming Trump as the mother of the Jack Russell terrier, no records remain of what other dogs were part of the breed. People know only that they were rough-coated, white terriers chosen by Russell and his successors for their small size, intelligence, courage, and stamina.
Facts About Jacks
There are two types of Jack Russell Terriers—long-legged and short-legged. Short-legged Jack Russell Terriers are referred to as English Jack Russell Terriers. The pictures above show a short-legged Jack Russell Terrier.
Age: Jack Russell terriers have a lifespan of approximately 15 years.
Size: Males weigh 12–17 pounds while females weigh 10–15 pounds.
Fur: There are three different fur types: smooth, rough, and broken.
- Smooth—a short, smooth, thin layer of fur, about 1–1.5 cm long.
- Rough—a thicker, rougher double coat of shaggy hair up to 10 cm long.
- Broken—a combination of smooth and tough types of fur. It can seem to be smoother or rougher in some places, or it can continuously be rough and shaggy like a rough coat only a lot shorter. It is usually longer than 1.5 cm, but not greater than 2.5–3 cm.
Temperament: Jack Russell Terriers are usually fearless and determined. They can stare at something all day waiting for it to move. Though this dog is small in stature, its fierce bark makes up for its size. These social dogs are extremely happy when they have company. For example, my Jack barks a huge “ruff” every time he sees someone or something come by the house. He also wags his tail in almost a complete circle every time I come home from work or simply spend time with him.
Caring for Your Jack
Jack Russell terriers love to hunt, run, bark, and dig. If you decide to get one, I suggest that you keep it outdoors in a big yard. These dogs play hard, and after a day of play, they need a place to sleep. Igloo dog houses are great because they shield your dog from the wind due to their curved walls. I have one for my dog, and he sleeps in it every night. For the winter, I got him a heating pad for it. The heating pad plugs in with a cord from the house and keeps my dog warm and cozy.
If they get bored, these dogs love to chew on things, so the house may not be a good place for them. Teething rings may help puppies fight the urge to chew. The most important thing to do with your Jack Russell Terrier is to give it a lot of attention and things to do. If you don’t, you may come home to a disaster.
Some toys that my Jack Russell Terrier loves are Fresh 'N Floss 2 Knot Rope Bones (toy ropes that when your dog chews on them, its teeth get cleaned), towels (sometimes dogs just want to get cozy with a towel or drag it around), tennis balls (for a nice game of fetch on a bright sunny day), and Hartz Chew 'n Clean Dog Teething Rings (your Jack Russell Terrier can chew to its heart’s desire).
Food and Grooming
Diet: There are many types of dog foods with a lot of different nutrients in them. How can you choose which food is right for your Jack? My dog has tried a lot of them, but his all-time favorite food is Cesar Canine Cuisine dog food. He gets enough nutrients to keep playing and hunting all day long. Cesar Canine Cuisine dog food is a type of wet food that is beefy and yummy. When buying food for your dog, I recommend letting them try a few different flavors and types to see which they like best. Of course, always follow your vet's recommendation!
Snacks: A nice treat for your Jack is Pup-peroni snacks! They come in all flavors, and my dog enjoys them after doing a simple trick like sit or down. Pup-eronis are sticks of bacon or beef that you can break up into sections or give to your dog whole. They look like beef jerky.
Grooming: Because these dogs are so active, they get dirty often and need to be groomed. I use a dual sided brush that is soft on one side and pointy on the other and Hartz Puppy Shampoo. In addition, if your dog loves frolicking in the grass and stopping occasionally to dig up moles, I recommend getting a flea and tick resistant collar.
Jack Russell terriers may be small, but they sure are a fun pet to have around. I love my Jack and I wouldn't trade him for the world.