Breed Spotlight: Jack Russell Terrier

4 min read
Jun 10, 2022

Jack Russell Terrier Quick Stats


 10 – 15 years


13 – 17 lbs


10 – 15 inches




Energetic, intelligent, loving

Common Health Problems: 

Patellar luxation, deafness, leg perthes

Jack Russell Terrier: How Do I Look?

These compact bundles of energy stand at a maximum of 15 inches tall and weigh in just under 20 lbs. Jack Russell terriers have almond-shaped eyes and perky V-shaped ears.2

Coat Type and Colors

Jack Russell terriers have white coats, typically with tan-to-black markings over their eyes, ears, and tail.


The Jack Russell terriers have small, V-shaped ears carried close to the head. Their ears can be highly mobile and expressive, standing up straight when alerted.2

Shedding and Grooming

Their fur is short and wiry, giving them an overall smooth coat. Because of this, the Jack Russell terrier does not require extensive grooming. They should be brushed once per week to allow for the removal of dead fur as well as to properly distribute skin oilsthrough the fur. This helps keep their coat shiny and clean. A shorter coat also means they won’t shed excessively, making them relatively low-maintenance.

Drooling Level

Jack Russell terriers score low in the drooling category, rarely creating a mess.

Jack Russell Terriers: Personality Traits

What My Adoption Bio Would Say:

Searching for a partner in crime? We might be a match! I always need a project and am constantly looking for ways to satisfy my curiosity. But I’m not just brainy — I’m also the outdoorsy type! I come from a hunting family and will gladly explore the wilds with you.

What You Need to Know About the Jack Russell Terrier

Thinking of adopting a Jack Russell terrier? It’s important to be sure that you’re a right fit for each other before making the commitment. Here are some Jack Russell traits to help decide if they’re the right breed for you.


As hunting dogs, the Jack Russell terrier is extremely energetic and high-spirited. They will require lots of attention, playtime, and busy toys to keep up with their boundless energy. They are also extremely loving and devoted to their pet parents. While typically friendly with strangers, a Jack Russell terrier is likely to let you know when someone is around.

Exercise Needs

Having been bred for a singular job, Jack Russell terriers still require lots of stimulation to keep them happy. They are not recommended for apartments and small living spaces, despite their size. Jack Russell terriers need lots of room to run around.

Good With Other Dogs?

Extremely sociable, Jack Russell terriers get along swimmingly with other dogs. Playdates may be a must to help burn off excess energy.


Jack Russell terriers need early socialization to become well-rounded as an adult. They are extremely intelligent but also known to be very stubborn. This may result in difficulties while training. Keeping them entertained is key, otherwise they may get bored quickly. Jack Russell terriers love to solve problems, master tricks, and show off.

Good With kids

The Jack Russell is good with older children; however, they are not recommended for homes with young children due to their tendency to become “snappy” if handled improperly.

Barking Level

Excessive barking is common with this breed. This breed must often be trained when to and when not to bark to avoid excessive barking.

Jack Russell Terriers: A History

Jack Russell terriers are one of the most popular small dog breeds. Energetic, curious, and full of personality, these miniature workhorses were bred in 1819 by John “Jack” Russell, a vicar in North Devon, England. An avid hunter, Russell was a founding member of The Kennel Club, the oldest canine club in the world.3

Legend has it that, while attending Exeter College, Russell purchased a small white terrier with dark tan spots over her ears, eyes, and at the tip of her tail. Named “Trump,” she became the matriarch to a line of fox hunting dogs bearing their breeder’s name: the Jack Russell terrier.

Common Boston Terrier Mixes

On the hunt for your new best friend? Consider some of these popular Boston terrier mixes:

  • Jack Chi: Jack Russell terrier Chihuahua mix
  • Jack-Rat terrier: Jack Russell rat terrier mix
  • Jack-A-Bee: Jack Russell terrier beagle mix
  • Bo-Jack: Boston terrier Jack Russell mix
  • Jackshund: Jack Russell Terrier Dachshund mix

5 Jack Russell Terrier Health Problems

  • Patellar Luxation: misalignment of the kneecap. This common health issue usually requires surgery.
  • Deafness: many dog breeds can suffer from deafness for a variety of reasons. In Jack Russell terriers, it is usually congenital.
  • Glaucoma: an issue with the inner eye that may lead to blindness. Corrective surgery is sometimes available.
  • Lens Luxation: a separation of the lens from the rest of the eye. If not treated quickly enough, the entire eye may need to be removed.
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: a genetic condition common in small breeds. Short legs can cause the dog to develop back and joint pain.

Protect your Pets

Even the healthiest of pups can come with unexpected vet costs. Pet insurance can help keep your dog and your bank account happy.

How Pet Insurance Can Help Jack Russell Terriers

Jack Russell terriers are typically healthy and happy throughout their lives. As a smaller purebred, however, there are some common health issues that may arise.

Patellar Luxation

This is a common problem in small dogs. The patella has three bones associated which include the patella (kneecap), the femur, and the tibia. Patellar luxation occurs when these three bones are not properly lined up. Jack Russells with patellar luxation almost always require surgery. A dog insurance policy with MetLife1 may help cover the cost of this treatment.


Deafness is often associated with Jack Russell terriers. This is a congenital issue and it may be a partial or complete loss of hearing. Your vet may require an otoscope, X-rays, a CT scan or MRI, or a neurological examination to diagnose deafness.4


Glaucoma is a painful health condition which results in abnormally high pressure in the eye. The eye pressure can lead to damage to the optic nerve resulting in blindness. Vets use a tonometer to measure the pressure within your Jack Russell terrier’s eyes.5 Electroretinography can help determine if corrective surgery can restore vision to the affected eyes.

Lens Luxation

This is a health condition which causes the lens of the eye to become displaced. In many cases, lens luxation results in the removal of the eye. Drugs may be prescribed to help manage your Jack Russell terrier’s pain until surgery can be performed to remove the displaced lens.6 Your dog may need to spend several days in the hospital for post-operative observation and care.

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease (LCP)

This is a hereditary condition that is common in many small dog breeds. It is a disease of the hip joint. It is particularly a malformed bone that does not properly fit into the hip joint. In a Jack Russell Terrier, there may be symptoms of extreme pain in the leg and lameness. X-rays are required to diagnose LCP.7 If it is a moderate case, your vet may prescribe medication for pain management. More severe cases require corrective surgery.

For more information on how pet insurance can help your Jack Russell terrier, check out our guide on How Pet Insurance Works, or find out if dog insurance is worth the investment for you and your Jack Russell terrier.

Protect your Jack Russell Terrier with Pet Insurance

Enroll in 3 Easy Steps

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions. 

2“Russell Terrier Dog Breed Information - American Kennel Club.” The American Kennel Club.

3 “Jack Russell Terrier.” Britannica.

4”Deafness in Dogs.” Merck Veterinary Manual, 2020.

5”Dog Eye Glaucoma - Causes & Symptoms.” Carolina Veterinary Specialists - Greensboro, 2022

6”Lens Luxation in Dogs.” VCA Animal Hospitals, 2022

7”Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease in Dogs.” VCA Animal Hospitals.

L0424039771[exp0426][All States][DC,GU,MP,PR,VI]