Jack Russell Characteristics

Jack Russell CharacteristicsMany individuals will purchase or adopt a pet dog without delving into the characteristics of the breed.  In doing so, these individuals are ill-prepared to cope with the various responsibilities and requirements that come with pet ownership.  Well, don’t let it happen when making the decision to own a Jack Russell.

The importance of knowing, understanding and then accepting the Jack Russell characteristics before actual pet ownership cannot be overemphasized.  The Jack Russell is one of the most energetic, most determined and most intense breeds in the dog world.  Keep in mind that it was breed to be a working terrier and, thus, must possess the qualities of tenacity, fortitude and controlled aggression particularly during the fox hunt.

As such, it takes a special breed of individuals to become capable owners of Jack Russells.  If you deem yourself up to par with these unique characteristics of Jack Russells, then by all means ask your local kennel or local animal shelter for information on purchase or adoption, respectively.

Physical Characteristics

The Jack Russell is a small terrier with a predominantly white body, which can possess either a smooth or rough or combination coat.  The markings can range from black to tan while the skin can show patterns of small brown or black spots known as ticking, which should not carry into the white outer coat.  All coats are of the dense double types that must neither be silky nor woolly.

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The most distinguishable of the Jack Russell characteristics is the appearance of balance, alertness and intelligence in the dog.  Its stand is always proud with the chest out but it seems always ready to pounce on the prey, which is usually a red fox during hunts but can be anything that moves, flutters and squeaks in the home.

For most apartment owners, the size of the Jack Russell may appear ideal for small spaces.  Although the Jack Russell is sized to enter fox dens, its behaviour is anything but suited to small apartments and houses.  Large open spaces are required for physical exercise and mental stimulation but that’s getting ahead of the story.

Behavioural Characteristics

The Jack Russell characteristics in terms of behaviour belie its small size.  As previously mentioned, Jack Russells are one of the most energetic, most alert and most determined of all breeds.  Owners are well advised to exercise great control over their Jack Russells lest one finds himself at their mercy.  Being the alpha dog at all times is essential in keeping a healthy master-dog relationship with a Jack Russell.

When the relationship is healthy, owners find that Jack Russells are one of the most intelligent breeds in the dog world. Training in obedience and agility can be undertaken with very little to no difficulty because of its innate intelligence although we must emphasize that a strong will is necessary to triumph over the Jack Russell’s instinctive desire to dominate other dogs and humans.  Rewards after training can include charming dog tricks, impressive agility and good companionship.

However, there are also serious issues related to Jack Russell characteristics that prospective owners will want to consider before actual ownership.  These behavioural issues include its dynamic temperament; need for physical exercise and mental stimulation at almost all times; extremely strong chasing instincts; aggression toward other Jack Russells and other breeds of dogs; destructive actions like digging, barking and jumping on people; and constant need to chew and carry anything in its mouth and hands.

Keep in mind that Jack Russells are remarkably similar despite age and environment differences.  You will find these dogs to be bossy, feisty and impulsive on one hand but lively, clever and independent on the other hand, all of which can either work for you or work against your favour.

Taking account of all these Jack Russell characteristics, the main issues that must be addressed before pet ownership of this breed must include:

  • Strong human will to be the alpha dog to the Jack Russell
  • Sufficient time to provide physical exercise and mental stimulation to keep destructive and aggressive behaviour at bay as well as to safeguard the dog’s health.
  • Adequate space in which to spend their excess energy, to chase prey and to do something with their mouths and paws.
  • Obedience training to prevent bad behaviour such as barking, biting and digging, to name a few behavioural problems.
  • Satisfactory level of veterinary care to keep the dog healthy.

With this primer on Jack Russell characteristics, you should then be able to see clearly if you have what it takes. Well, do you?