About Jack Russel Terriers...
(from The Bad Dog Talk: I am not "Wishbone")
Is a Jack Russell Terrier the right dog for you?
If you are a prospective Jack Russell Terrier owner, be SURE that you understand
the unique needs and character of this active little working terrier BEFORE
you purchase or adopt!!
The points made in this section have evolved over the years, and represent
the worst case scenario of owning a Jack Russell Terrier. Many experienced as
well as inexperienced dog owners are overwhelmed by the demands of a Jack Russell
Terrier. This can lead to the dogs being abandoned, even before they reach adulthood!
Jack Russell Terriers...
... are first and foremost hunting dogs. The traits and skills that make
them excellent hunting dogs (i.e., digging, barking, aggressive nature, ability
to follow scent) are often interpreted as bad habits that cause people to give
... are bred to go underground, following scent to locate and bark at
quarry until they are dug down to or the quarry bolts. If they do not have an
outlet for their natural instincts, they will invent new and fun jobs for themselves,
which frequently include guardian of the world and/or their possessions and
family, chasing cars, hunting birds, bugs or leaves, or endlessly digging in
... are a big dog in a little body. They have the same need (or more!)
for exercise as a much larger dog... and the mentality to match -- they think
they are at least 150 pounds, and are fearless, often challenging other dogs
three times their size.
... are often aggressive with other dogs. Same-sex aggression and aggression
towards other breeds of dogs is well documented with this terrier. It is strongly
recommended that no more than two Jack Russells (of opposite sex only) ever
be permitted to stay together unattended.
... are NOT a non-shedding breed! All coat types shed! Smooth coats shed
the most, dropping hair continuously year round. Rough coats maintain the guard
and dead coat, requiring manual shedding a few times a year. The broken coat
is an intermediary coat, between the two types.
... require firm, consistent discipline. They are extremely intelligent,
continue to test their limits throughout their life. More often than not, train
their owners before the owner knows what has happened! This ability to train
their owners can include displays of aggressive behavior. Their assertive nature
must be understood and handled properly!
... can become very possessive of their owner or a favorite member of
the family or of what they consider to be their personal property if allowed
to do so to the point of showing aggressive protective behavior that must be
controlled from an early age.
... are commonly known to harass, injure or kill other small pets, such
as cats, birds, rabbits, mice, rats, etc., simply due to their strong natural
hunting instinct. Raising a puppy with a cat does not guarantee the cat's life-long
... remain active well into their 15-year-plus life span; their need
for activity and desire to hunt continues for their entire lifetime. Untrained,
unsupervised dogs rarely meet their life expectancy.
... require at least basic obedience training. The dog's life may depend
on it! Even well trained dogs will be tempted to chase something interesting,
or even disappear into a hole while you are not looking. Off-lead is always
a dangerous situation for a Jack Russell unless in a safe environment with experienced
... absolutely need a securely fenced yard! Jack Russells will roam due
to their hunting instincts.... even if left in an unsecured for a few minutes!
You can let them out every day for three years with no trouble....but one day
they will disappear and may never come back. Many JR's have been killed by cars
by darting into the road in pursuit of a squirrel, cat, etc. They can also dig
under, climb or jump over fences; some can climb trees and any height chain
... can be very destructive if left unattended and unemployed! Most behavioral
problems are due to a lack of companionship, discipline, activity and exercise.
If you've only seen perfect, well-behaved JR's, they are ones that were lucky
enough to be exercised, well socialized, and trained.
... are country dogs. When made to live in a city or suburban-type environment,
their needs and instincts do not change. It would be unreasonable to expect
them to be anything other than what they are genetically bred to be -- a serious
hunting dog. Your lifestyle must be adjusted to meet their needs; they must
have jobs to perform -- an outlet for their considerable energy and intelligence.
... are NOT recommended as apartment or condo dogs. They need a great
deal of exercise and outdoor activity, and are usually too loud for such high-density
living. They need room to run; leash walking does not satisfy their boundless
energy. Unless your schedule permits many hours at home and a lot of outdoor
activity, with a safe place the terrier can run, this is not the dog for you.
MANY rescues come from apartments, condos, or homes where the owners work away
from the home for long periods of time.
... will NOT TOLERATE even unintended mistreatment from a child. They
will not put up with typical child handling such as pulling of ears, tails,
etc., or taking or "sharing" of the dog's bones, food, toys, etc.
They are very assertive and demanding, and never still... jumping all over whoever
will allow it. Jack Russells are not recommended for households with children
under the age of six unless you are previously experienced with this feisty
little bundle of energy.
... are NOT as they are portrayed in the movies, on TV, or other forms of
media. Those dogs are professionally trained and handled, and are very obedient
only for VERY short periods of time. Celebrity dogs have their needs met by
the trainer, and perform their jobs accordingly.
... require a long-term commitment to obedience, activity, exercise and entertainment...
their unique character, intelligence and high energy level can frustrate you,
will undoubtedly entertain you, and can bring you great joy (when they're happy!)
or great grief (when they're not!). If this type of relationship does not appeal
to you, then consider another breed. Jack Russell Terriers are always a work
Please remember... Russell Rescue is very
busy with displaced terriers because
MANY PEOPLE UNDERESTIMATE LIFE
WITH A JACK RUSSELL TERRIER!