Jack Russell Terrier: Breed Information, Traits & Temperament

In England, Jack Russell Terriers were originally bred to hunt red foxes on the ground and under the ground. They learned to be very good diggers.

These days Jack Russell Terriers can do many different activities. They participate in earthdog competitions, play ®Frisbee, compete in agility, and enjoy fly-ball.

Many of these dogs still have their natural working ability and are entered in hunting contests, called field trials.

Size and Appearance

Jack Russell Terriers can grow up to between 12 and 14 inches tall, and weigh 13-17 pounds. Females are usually a little smaller than males.

These handsome terriers come in two varieties: a smooth coated and a rough, or broken-coated. The Jack Russell Terrier’s hair is flat and hard, and it is thick. The broken coat is kind of wiry, and feels harsh when you touch it. This dog even has little eyebrows and a beard!

Both smooth and broken-coated types have a double coat. There is a short dense (thick) undercoat that keeps him warm, and helps protect him in bad weather. The hair is mostly straight, and usually doesn’t have any curly or wavy areas.


Jack Russell Terriers come in several different colors:

• white
• white with black or tan markings
• tri-color (white, black, tan)

Colored markings are usually on the head or base of the tail.


Jack Russell Terriers will shed some. They need to be bathed regularly and brushed. The broken coated terrier needs a little more brushing than the smooth-coated dog.


These dogs need exercise very often. It would be a good thing to walk your Terrier everyday even if he has a yard. Terriers are active and like to play games like hide and seek, fetch, and other activities like fly-ball, and agility, tracking, and obedience.


Jack Russell Terriers are cheerful, kind, and gentle. They are very affectionate, too. They like kids and will make a good best friend.

Jack Russell Terriers are playful and love to entertain anyone who will watch. They learn tricks quickly and love performing for an audience.

They have lots of energy all of their lives and it’s a good idea to give them things to do if they are left alone during the day.

Know Your Breed

Because Jack Russells were bred to hunt, some have a very strong instinct to dig. Your parents will want to protect their favorite roses in the yard.

Some of these dogs also use their hunting instinct to chase or harass smaller animals like birds, rabbits, cats, mice, or rats.

Terriers are self-confident, which means they are usually not afraid of things. They are also alert, which means they notice things around them. Their fearless nature, confidence, and alertness makes them very good watchdogs.


Jack Russell Terriers are very trainable. They love you and they want to learn from you. When you get a pup, let him get used to his new home. When he is a little older, you can start to take him places.


It is a good idea to socialize your pup from an early age so he is comfortable in many different kinds of situations. This will make him a better companion for you.

Jack Russells are alert dogs and are very good at paying attention. This makes them fast learners in obedience. Teaching your dog obedience will help him become a good citizen and help him to have good manners.

All About Jack Russell Terriers

(from their kids!)

Jack Russells love kids
“Every boy should have two things: a dog, and a mother willing to let him have one.”
– Anonymous

“Skip is two years old. He is a Jack Russell Terrier. He is the best dog in the world. He has never bitten anyone, but is a tough guy. He chases after other dogs. Sometimes I take him across the street to a playground. He LOVES going down the biggest slide. He is great to play with because he just jumps up and starts playing. He is very spoiled, but very smart. He always gets his way. My family and I love him
very, very much.” Shelby, age 11, Missouri USA

“I have a dog with a good attitude and he is very musceled up. His markings are a brown patch on his left eye and a black spot on the tip of his tail. The rest is white. He is energetic and loves to play tug-o-war and monkey in the middle. I can always play with him no matter what.” Rachel, age 14, Kentucky USA

“My dog, Emma, is a Jack Russell Terrier. She loves to take walks, nap, and watch TV. I got Emma when she was nine weeks old and now she is 15 weeks old.” Faith, age 13, Illinois USA

‘I got my Jack Russell about a month and a half ago, and she is already my best friend. She is just like a baby and I love her to death.” Stacey, age 16, Ohio USA

“We have had Winnie for one year now. When we first saw her she was only as big as my hand. Now she’s nearly full-sized and she’s only one! She is kind, affectionate, and gentle. She is getting used to basic commands now like SIT, ROLL, STAND, and GENTLY. She has got a white body, a black tail, and a black head with orange either side of her cheeks and her eyebrows.” Alice, age 10, Wales

“My puppy, Ditto, is 3 years old. I’ve had her since she was born. Her mother abandoned her because she was the runt so I raised her. She is the most wonderful dog ever. Not only is she very smart, she’s also my best friend. She is spoiled and has her own bed, but I wouldn’t trade her for the world. I love my puppy.” Lindsey, age 16, Texas, USA

“One Thursday night my dad came home from work late and I was sad because we didn’t have a dog. In his pocket something barked and it was a new born Jack Russell Terrier! She was so cute. All of the girls in my family had names that started with K except mom. We felt the dog was our sister so her name should start with a K too. We named her Kamereon. We call her Kammi for short. Kammi is 3 years old now and is very gentle and kind. She is all white except she has a black circle and a brown circle inside of the black circle around her left eye. She knows tricks. She knows to sit, lay down, shake, roll over, play dead, speak, stand, and jump on two feet. Kammi is one of my favorite pets I’ve ever had. She sleeps beside me in bed at night and loves us all a lot!” Kaci, age 10, Kentucky, USA

“I have one Jack Russell named Shiloh Anne. She is my best friend ever. She keeps me safe and makes me happy when I’m sad and she never lets me down. We found her as a stray and ever since then she’s been my best dog and best friend. I love her so much. Her favorite game is ball and try to kill my hamster
which I don’t get mad because she’s a rat dog and I understand, but I don’t let her get it. The weird thing about Shiloh is she loves to play hide-n-seek. I hide and then I say READY! Then she goes for the search. She does not stop until she finds me and when she does find me, I praise her and then I say go get Dad. Then she’s off. She gets Dad, then brings him to me and of course we praise her. So if you want to try to play that with your dog, train her, but remember it takes time and patience. Love, Sarah and Shiloh.” Sarah, age 14, California USA

“I have a Jack Russell Terrier named Eddy. My dad brought him home one day and that was the best thing that ever happened to me. We now have seven Jack Russell Terriers and love all of them. I love how aggressive they are around snakes. Eddy loves to kill snakes. “Max, age 17, Missouri USA

“Well, my Jack Russell was just born about five weeks ago and her name is Molly. She’s the cutest little thing you’ve ever seen! She’s got a brown spot around her eye and a pink little one around her left. I love that dog to death!” Andrew, age 14, Ohio USA

“I have a two year old Jack Russell. He’s very fun and loves to do agility. We go to a show called Super-dog. It’s really fun. We won first last year and we’re hoping to win again. She’s great and a lot of fun and full of energy!” Cindy, age 13, Alberta Canada

“I have a 3 year old Jack Russell Terrier named Buster, and he is the best pet anyone could wish for. He is our second dog since we moved here and I can honestly say that nothing in the world could replace him. He is smart, and he actually has his own little personality. He loves to go “bye bye” (car rides) and put his nose on anything possible. And he is small enough to sleep in your bed with out your parents
getting mad. He also loves to lick. And he thinks he is the roughest, toughest little protector. Sorry if this seems odd because I’m older and all but I love dogs and I had to write about my little angel.” Jamie, age 18, Minnesota USA

“My grandma, Pat, has a dog named Jesse and she is really wild. She is a Jack Russell Terrier. She helps my grandma with the dishes and she steals everyone’s shoes. Well, one time I was washing her up. Man does she hate baths. One time when I was washing her she snapped at me and then she jumped out of the tub and got water everywhere.” Jenny, Age 11, Illinois USA

“My 1 year old dog, Raskle (Jack Russell Terrier ), is very good with the new baby. He doesn’t bark or growl when the baby tugs on his little tail or yanks on his “Taco Bell Dog” ears. My mom has a double stroller, and Raskle walks beside it. But sometimes he jumps right in! And when I took the baby and Raskle for a walk to the park, Raskle did something real funny. I had put the baby in the baby swings and was pushing him. Well Raskle kept jumping up, trying to jump onto the baby. So I looked at Raskle and said, “Raskle, do you want to go in the swing?” And of course Raskle looked at me with pleading, big, brown, puppy dog eyes, so I put Raskle in the baby swing. And you know what? Raskle was smiling and barking happily as I pushed him back and forth.” Stacia, Age 12, British Columbia, Canada

“I used to read and read and read and read so many books about dogs until one day, in April of 2000 my mum bought home a dog for me. She had been down at our local pet shop and was picking up some food for our cat when in the window she saw the most adorable Jack Russell. She was only eight weeks old and was half price. Mum knew that the Jack Russell was the dog I wanted so she bought it and
thank God she did! I now have a gorgeous puppy and play with her everyday and night!” Chezz, Age 13, Australia

Adopt a Russell Terrrier

There are many Jack Russell Terriers around the country without homes. Have your parents call a Jack Russell Terrier rescue to adopt a warm, loving dog just waiting for a home. You’ll be doing a good thing.

Some Famous Jack Russell Terriers

  • Eddie, star of the TV show, Frazier , whose real name was Moose
  • Wishbone, from the famous PBS show Wishbone, played by Soccer
  • Chalky, Chef Rick Stein’s dog who appeared in his British cooking show
  • Unnamed, made a guest appearance in the film Crimson Tide
  • Tillamook Cheddar , the animal artist from Brooklyn, New York
  • Milo, from the movie The Mask
  • Moose and Enzo , from the movie My Dog Skip
  • Nippy, from the movie Problem Child 2