67 Fun Facts About Jack Russell Terriers

Jack Russell Terrier by the Water

Before I even knew what a Jack Russell Terrier was, the breed earned a forever memorable place in my heart as well as my childhood memories.

What seems like every day after school, I would sit glued to the television waiting to see my favorite show.

I was, and still am, easily entertained by the lively, little white and brown dog who dressed up in costume.

Little did I know I was learning a tremendous amount about classic literature and forming an interest that would stick with me throughout the years (literature, not dogs in costume…although, now that I think about it…).

In case you aren’t familiar with the show I’m talking about—it’s Wishbone. The star of which was a Jack Russell Terrier named Soccer.

Anyways, if you’re checking out this list, chances are you love Jack Russell Terriers as much as I do.

So keep on reading for some tidbits that would make Wishbone proud!

The Milkman and the Parson

1. The Jack Russell Terrier gets his name from Parson (a fancy word for a member of the clergy) John Russell, known by his friends as Jack.

2. Jack originated the breed in Devonshire, England, in the mid 1800s.

3. The inspiration for the Jack Russell came from a desire for the perfect fox hunting dog.

4. Jack wanted a dog who could hunt alongside his hounds, going into fox dens and driving them out so the hounds could chase them.

5. Canine Journal details that it all started with an English White Terrier that Jack purchased from his milk man.

6. In 1894, Blake Heinemann created the breed standard for terriers that centered around badger hunting.

7. The small badger holes required shorter legged dogs, and as a result the Jack Russell got the short stature we know and love today.

8. Other than its height, the Jack Russell Terrier changed very little over the last 100 years thanks to breed enthusiasts.

9. By the 1930s, the breed had found popularity in the U.S.

10. With this popularity came the formation of several breed clubs including the Jack Russell Terrier Association of America and the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America.

11. There have been some disagreements between the two over the Jack Russell being able to compete in dog shows or being considered purely a working dog.

12. This actually lead to the American Kennel Club renaming the breed the Parson Russell Terrier.

A Jack Russell By Any Other Name…

13. The Jack Russell Terrier is a smaller, but athletic breed, standing in at 10-14 inches in height and weighing 13-17 pounds.

14. The shorter Jacks (10-12 inches) are typically longer than they are tall and are referred to as “Shorty Jacks”.

15. There are two coat types available—smooth and broken.

16. The smooth coat is, as the name suggests, short and lays flat against the body.

17. The broken coat, however, is slightly longer and gives the Jack Russell the appearance of eyebrows and a slight beard.

18. Both coat types are coarse, double layered and according to Dog Time, never wavy or curly.

19. There is also a less common coat variety known as the rough coat which is just a touch longer than the broken coat.

20. The Jack Russell can be fully white, white with black or tan, or tricolor including white black and tan together.

21. The white on the breed is said to help hunters distinguish them from foxes.
22. A Jack Russell’s eyes are never light in color. They are dark and almond shaped.

23. They have V-shaped ears that fold forward.

24. Jacks are very similar in appearance to the smooth coat Fox Terrier.

Low Maintenance Jack
25. While the Jack does shed moderately due to its double coat, it only requires minimal grooming. 

26. According to Pet Wave, a weekly brushing is sufficient enough to keep your pupster’s coat healthy.

27. Since the Jack Russell has a double coat, be prepared for an abundance of shedding during the warmer months as he “blows his coat”. Brushing can be increased to daily at this time to help manage flyaways.

28. Brushing your Jack will also serve to remove dirt and dead skin.

29. Bathing your pooch is actually detrimental to its wiry coat. He should only need a bath if he rolls in something particularly dirty.

30. In between these very occasional baths, Pet Care Rx recommends a dry shampoo to help keep him smelling fresh without softening his coat.

31. If you have a broken or rough coat Jack Russell, he will need his coat stripped (plucked…it sounds worse than it actually is, don’t worry) once or twice a year.

32. Although it isn’t required, you can trim the fur on your Jack if you desire to give him an overall neater appearance.  Avoid his eyebrows if he is a broken coat and focus mainly on balancing the beard, clipping between the toes and around the genitals for hygiene.

33. The only other grooming required is basic maintenance such as trimming the nails, brushing the teeth and checking the ears for signs of infection. You can check out our article on the best doggie toothpastes for some tips on pupster oral hygiene.

A photo posted by Fleur (@thestudiobyfleur) on

A Happy Jack Is a Healthy Jack

34. Jack Russell Terriers are actually a pretty healthy breed.

35. Like most dogs, they can develop some health issues such as arthritis, patellar luxation, glaucoma and lens luxation.

36. Expect your Jack to be around for the long haul. Their average lifespan is 15 plus years.

37. Jack Russells are indoor dogs, but they require lots of exercise. They do best in homes with large yards for them to play in.

38. However, they are also quite the little escape artists. Your fence will need to be impossible to escape from to keep your Jack from running off after what he considers prey.

39. Be prepared to get pretty active if you plan on having a Jack. They require several long walks or romps in the yard a day.

40. What’s even better is if you can find something that challenges their minds as well as their bodies such as agility training, advanced obedience training or “Earth-dog” training (where pupsters dig after small critters who are secured in a cage so they can’t be harmed).

41. Typically, your Jack should have two meals of 1.25 to 1.75 cups of food per day.

42. Some of these health issues don’t manifest until the dog is fully mature. For this reason, health clearances won’t be given until the Jack is at least two. If you plan on getting your Jack from a breeder, make sure they don’t breed their pups until they are two to three years old.

A photo posted by José Bianco (@josebiancook) on

A Jack of All Trades

43. Jacks can be a bit of a handful when it comes to training. They need a firm owner, but don’t respond well to overly harsh corrections. They do best when they have some sort of positive motivation such as treats or praise.

44. Although they are very charming and affectionate, this stubborn nature makes them best suited for the experienced dog owner.

45. Like most Terriers, the Jack Russell is a big digger. Dogtime explains that it is easier to train him to dig in a specific area than it is to break him of the habit.

46. Jacks are known to be pretty noisy. They bark at most anything they hear (or think they hear).

47. The Jack Russell enjoys the company of his paw-rents and suffers from separation anxiety when away from his family. If you have to leave him alone during the day, try leaving the television or radio on for him to help ease his loneliness.

48. The Jack’s hunting instincts are very strong. He will take off after most small animals he sees with a disregard to his surroundings. Make sure if you are outside with him that he is on the leash or in a fenced area.

49. Jack Russells don’t typically do well with cats unless raised together due to their strong prey drive.

50. Don’t let their small statures fool you. While they are friendly towards humans and mostly aloof towards other dogs, they won’t hesitate to defend themselves even if it’s against a Rottweiler.

51. Two Jack Russell Terriers should never be left alone together even for a short amount of time. Their intense personalities can turn what seems like a carefree friendship into an all out brawl almost out of nowhere.

52.  Jack Russells, like most Terrier breeds, display the same Terrier attributes: lively, clever, independent, stubborn, quick to bark and quick to chase to name a few.

Hit The Road Jack

53. Jacks are capable of jumping over 5 feet high.

54. Doggies can get sunburns, too! According to Vet Street, Jack Russell Terriers are extra sensitive to sunburns due to their light colored fur.

55. Their fearless personalities have earned the Jack the nickname “Rebel Terrier”.

56. Named after Parson John Russell,  Jack Russell Terriers are only one of a few breeds actually named after their inventors.

57. Speaking of John Russell, he was a founding member of the UK Kennel Club but never showed his own dogs.

58. The smaller stature of the “Shorty Jack” is thought to be caused by a form of dwarfism.

59. The White Terrier who started it all was named Trump (I wonder if her hair was as fabulous as “The Don’s”).

60. Jack Russell fans are everywhere! Jack Russell clubs can be found in New Zealand, South Africa and Australia to name a few.

A photo posted by Enzo (@enzo_cazador) on


61. The 2012 film The Artist starred Jack Russell Terrier, Uggie. Uggie was such a star, a campaign was launched to get him an Oscar. He even published a memoir in 2012 (with human help, I’m assuming).

62. Fans of the popular Sitcom Frasier will remember Eddie, played by Moose and his son Enzo. Eddie received the most fan mail of anyone on the show!

63. Milo and his CGI green face is unforgettable for anyone who has seen The Mask.

64. By far my favorite Jack Russell Terrier is Soccer. Although, most of you will know Soccer by the name Wishbone.

65. Jacks have been in movies and television for decades. The classic black and white Thin-Man (not to be confused with the slender man) series starred show stealer Asta played by the Jack superstar of the era, Skippy.

66. Jack Russell Barkley dons an eyepatch in the comedy, Clean Slate, aside Dana Carvey.

67. Some of the celebrities who are proud Jack owners are Mariah Carey, Prince Charles, Audrey Hepburn and Paul McCartney.

Bonus: Be sure to check out our other fun facts about Shar Peis and Siberian Huskies.

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