Please be sure to do your research on this breed before considering one for your home. Many Jack Russells come into rescue because their previous owners were not prepared for this tenacious little terrier.
Jack Russell Terrier 101
Jack Russell Terriers are first and foremost hunting dogs. They were created around the 1830’s to flush fox from their dens in order for the hounds to take pursuit or the hunters to make their catch. Today these little dogs are still employed as hunters, flushing fox, badger, rabbit, ground hog and other small mammals for their hunter companions. However, most of today’s Jack Russell Terriers revel in the pleasure of being a doted on, house pet, and make wonderful, active companions for those willing to train them and keep their minds working.
Because of their hunting heritage, Jack Russell’s tend to be energetic, lively little dogs with stamina to last all day. They are usually happy and outgoing, with high prey drives and a willingness to work for their owners (on their own terms of course … these are no golden retrievers or border collies).
Jack Russell’s can be described best as being “a big dog in a little body”. Though small in stature, they are by no means a toy dog or a lap dog. That being said, there is a wide variance amongst individuals of any breed, JRT’s being no exception. You will find laid back JRT’s, excitable JRT’s, timid JRT’s, outgoing JRT’s and the list doesn’t end there. However, it is best to keep in mind, when researching the breed for companion purposes, that they typically are dogs with strong personalities and tendencies towards removing the world of small mammals or birds. Not all JRT’s will take this militant stance on small creatures though, and some are happy to befriend the family cat, chameleon, or bird.
Jack Russell Terriers can and do make wonderful family companions IF raised and trained properly. Terriers are sensitive dogs overall, and usually don’t take well to rough handling from young children. Training is key for these intelligent little hunters to become stable loving companions. If left to their own devices, with no outlets for their minds or bodies, these feisty pooches will take over the couch, your bed, the car, and your entire home with everyone living in it.
Jack Russell’s can adjust themselves quite nicely to suburban living as long as they are giving enough physical activity to quench their insatiable stamina. JRT’s can be barkers, so apartment/condo living might not be the best place to house one. There are always exceptions to these rules, and you will find lazy JRT’s that just want to sleep all day, and never make a sound.
Overall, the Jack Russell is definitely not the dog for everyone, but is the dog for those looking for an intelligent, active companion who is smarter than most, feisty and will rid your backyard of cat’s, squirrels and rabbits so that your flower gardens and vegetable patches will flourish.
If you are looking to add a Jack Russell to your family, please do your research first, ask questions, and visit some individuals, be they from a breeder or a rescue. Make sure that you understand their needs and that they will indeed fit into your lifestyle.