The Jack Russell Terrier: A Working Dog
The Jack Russell is a happy, bold, energetic dog; they are extremely loyal, intelligent and assertive. Their greatest attribute is their working ability, closely followed by their excellent qualities as a companion. A Jack Russell can be equally contented bolting a fox or chasing a toy in your living room, or equally adept at killing a sock in the living room or a rat in your barn. Their funny antics will continually amuse you, their intelligence seems to know no bounds and their assertive nature and boundless energy can at times be overwhelming.
Review our Pictorial Guide to the Jack Russell Terrier.
The unique personality of this feisty little terrier is capturing the hearts of many, but they are not a dog for everyone.
A Hunting Dog
While adaptable to a variety of environments, they are first and foremost bred to be hunting dogs. City or apartment living, or a confined or sedate lifestyle, do not meet the needs of a Jack Russell. These little dogs require what may seem to be an extraordinary amount of human attention, outdoor activity, exercise, discipline and an understanding and acceptance of their hunting nature. They have been known to train their owners more often than not.
Jack Russells can be very aggressive with other dogs, and in fact more than two should never be kept together unattended. There have been many instances of terriers being hurt, even killed, by their fellow terriers; even young pups over the age of eight weeks must be carefully monitored. It is imperative that prospective Jack Russell owners understand this part of the terrier's nature. Special facilities and handing are absolutely necessary when owning a Jack Russell, and especially when owning two or more Jack Russells. Their natural hunting instinct also brings out aggression towards other small animals such as cats, gerbils, guinea pigs, etc.
It is said that the courage of the Jack Russell is never in doubt; surely a true statement, as they have often been known to take on an adversary twice (or more) their size. They require firm, consistent, responsible handing; they are very intelligent, determined and bold (sometimes to the point of abandon, which could be fatal).
While outdoor activity and exercise is essential, the Jack Russell should never be permitted to roam unattended, even in the most remote country setting. The Jack Russell is, above all, a hunting dog - and will go to ground at every given opportunity, to any quarry - they are afraid of nothing. Many a Jack Russell has been known to stay in an active earth for days, even weeks, without food or water because of the strong instinct bred into them to stay with their quarry. It can be very frightening experience to lose your terrier and an impossible situation to the untrained owner inexperienced in earthwork; the results could be tragic.
A Family Pet
The Jack Russell can make a terrific family pet, and gets along well with well behaved children. One of the Jack Russell's most surprising qualities is a kind and gentle nature. He is usually friendly with small children, provided the child understands how to properly handle the terrier. Having the natural assertive terrier characteristics, however, the Jack Russell will not put up with even unintended abusive nature from a child. This should be carefully considered, particularly with children under the age of six.
The Jack Russell has been a popular breed in England for many years, and is now attracting a variety of followers with varied interests in this country and other countries around the world. The JRTCA strongly encourages all those interested in the breed to thoroughly study all aspects of the Jack Russell, its special characteristics and needs, and to make a careful evaluation of whether this unique little dog will fit into your lifestyle.
The Jack Russell does require special handling, and there is special information to determine if the Jack Russell Terrier is the right dog for you.
The Jack Russell is a very special breed; it has been kept sound, functional, intelligent and relatively unchanged because of responsible people who have cared about its heritage. The major goal and purpose of the JRTCA is to maintain the Jack Russell as the wonderful working terrier that it has been for more than 100 years. The real future of the Jack Russell, however, depends on all owners and breeders, who will hopefully share the JRTCA's dedication to preserving the Jack Russell Terrier as the sound working breed it has been for many generations and for many more generations yet to come!