What It Is Like Owning A Jack Russell Terrier Dog. Mark Gordon Brown's Pet Challenge.

what to feed a jack russell terrier

To own a Jack Russell Terrier can be an absolute pleasure, but there can be pro's and con's in taking on this breed of dog, and research is advisable before you lose your heart to one.

What It Is Like Owning A Jack Russell Terrier.

Owning any dog can be hard work, and this can become doubly so in the case of owning a Jack Russell Terrier . Terriers need experienced owners as many Rescue Centres will tell you. In fact they are reluctant to let them be adopted unless you have owned a terrier before and are aware of what you are letting yourself in for!

Jack Russell's are in a class of their own. Feisty, active little dogs, they can have a tendency to be a little possessive, so beware.

They make great companions for children with their endless energy, though won't stand for being pulled about by them so may nip if provoked.

These terriers were bred to be working dogs and so need a lot of exercise. If left under-exercised, they can become destructive as boredom soon sets in and can be great escapologists if left in a garden for any length of time unattended. Make sure your garden is secure, because this breed can jump up to 5 foot and even climb trees. hard though it is to believe.

As of all terriers, they are burrowers. If a Jack Russell sees a hole, then be prepared to see just the back end of a frantically waving tail as they tries to disappear into it, as this is their natural instinct coming into play to investigate, and they have little fear when in pursuit of a scent. Jack Russell's are born hunters .

Bred originally in Devonshire in the early 1800's by the Reverend John Russell . (known as Jack to his friends ) the Jack Russell terrier was initially bred for Fox hunting and flushing out prey from underground burrows. The aggressive 'kill' gene was not bred into them and therefore they would just burrow to hunt out but not destroy. The exception to this is when they are used for controlling vermin in a farm environment. The speed of these little dogs can be a sight to see as with a quick shake of the neck in literally seconds, vermin are swiftly dispatched.

Temperament Of The JR Terrier.

'The real Jack Russell Terrier does not sit on the sidelines of life.'

Unknown Quote.

Due to their small size, people don't always take into account how active and energetic these little dogs are. They do need to be taken out regularly as they can be a powerhouse of unreleased energy. They also need mental stimulation too so are happy to play with toys and chase balls endlessly whether exhausted or not.

They are observant and intelligent, and if not trained, can soon rule the roost and become 'Top Dog ' of your household, and I jest not!

It is often said of small breeds that they are born with a 'Napoleon Complex ', so you should take care to make them aware of the pecking order within the household and who is the Alpha male/female as soon as possible, or your four-legged 'best friend' could end up being the demon dog from hell! Yes, they look adorably cute but don't be taken in..they can be tough to handle.

It is due to their over active nature that so many of these wonderful dogs find themselves in Dog Rescue Centres , waiting to be rehomed .

They are strong-willed and stubborn but passionately loyal and protective to their home environment and the people in it. They have a tendency to think that they are bigger than they are, and it is often said of this breed that they are huge dogs squeezed into tiny bodies.

Jacks have a loving nature and a huge personality. Taking on one of these dogs means your life will never be dull.

Their intelligence, which can be considerable, makes them ideal to be taught tricks and trained to a high standard of obedience, though be warned, they certainly have an independent streak and if bored, will just get up and walk away, leaving you red-faced and jumping up and down on the spot!

They are also known to have a lovely comedic quality which can surprise and delight even the most hardened dog owner.

Living With A Rescue Jack Russell. Personal Experience.

I have had the honour of owning three Jack Russell X's. All of them rescues and all had very strong JRT personalities. Two of my 'girls' passed away after living very long and contented lives with us. Taff and Patches. were my first experience of having small dogs, and gave me my greatest learning curve too. If you would like to read their story please click on 'Rescue Me..' .

My 'girls were 10 years old when we adopted them. That is quite old even for a Jack Russell. but they went on to live for a further almost 10 years plus with us. Taff. who had personality in bucket-loads, passed at 19. and Patches. was 21 by the time she also passed over the Rainbow Bridge . leaving us totally bereft but blessed that we had them both for all those extra years.


experiencing the JRT personality. I knew that there could only ever be one breed of dog for me, and that is when Raffles. another JRT X from a Rescue Home. came into our lives.

Raffles meets every criteria for the Jack Russell breed. If you would like to read his story, please click here. Rescuing Raffles .

He can be crazy and charge around the garden at a rate of knots, he can walk for miles and still want more, he loves chasing balls, (though utterly useless at returning them!). He is very bright, too bright for his good at times, and unlike some Jack Russell's. he is very sociable with other dogs.

JRT's are not always the easiest dogs to socialise so this came as a pleasant surprise to us and he has even assisted in socialising other nervous dogs as he can be very calm yet playful, and dogs communicate best through this playful interaction.

Coming to us as a Stray. he took about 6 months to learn to trust us completely.

I cannot stress how important it is to build up that trust between you and your dog, particularly if it is a rescue. Once gained, it will last a lifetime.

Rescue dogs can carry deep psychological problems and I don't think that his life had been easy on the streets. It takes time for their 'real' personality to emerge, and Jacks are no exception to this.

Too many times we see Jack Russell terriers abandoned in rescue homes because poor training or little knowledge prepares potential owners for the challenge that can lay ahead of owning one of these amazing, lovable dogs. Before you decide to take on a JRT. please make sure you do some research to see if you can meet the requirements this particular breed needs.

If you do, you will have your heart stolen forever afterwards, even long after they have passed away.

Could you resist this face?

Diseases and Longevity Of The JRT.

Jack Russell's are hardy little dogs, with relatively few hereditary problems, but like all breeds, there can be certain weaknesses.

Some Health Issues Can Be:

Cataracts: Watching His Visual Capacity

Your dog’s eyesight is very essential to his training. And that is why you will have to be watchful of Cataract which can steal your Jack Russell’s health and eyesight. And because some cataracts are hereditary, it is best to always have your dog’s eyes examined by your vet.

Cardiomyopathy. A Barrier To His Energetic Nature

This disorder of the heart muscle which can also affect the lungs steals away one of the most outstanding quality of your Jack Russell Terrier – his almost bottomless energy. Sadly, this can make your dog weak during training which can be sad to look at considering that he was once a feisty one. So always have your dog’s cardiovascular health checked by your vet.

Von Willebrand Disorder. Avoiding Injury And Bleeding

This disorder attacks the platelets of your dog which makes him very susceptible to bleeding. Therefore, it is important that Jack Russell's diagnosed with this problem should avoid strenuous activities that can lead to possible injury of cut. Any wound should be avoided because the bleeding might not stop.

Patella Luxation: A Leg Problem

This is yet another physical disorder that can gravely affect your dog’s ability to properly carry out some training exercises. This disorder which causes your dog to have abnormal walking patterns is a result of a dislocated knee cap. This must be treated right away to prevent further injury.

Myasthenia Gravis: Motor Nerve And Mobility Problems

This disorder goes deep into the central core of your mobility – it attacks the motor nerves. This results in abnormal twitches and movements in your dog’s hindquarters. This Jack Russell health problem can steal away even seemingly easy tasks such as sitting up and walking. Therefore, it limits just about all training and exercise – a sad malady to an energetic dog that loves to play.


As to the life span of these wonderful active dogs, research states that a JRT can live from 12-15 years. Smaller dogs do seem to have a longer life span than average.

Taff and Patch had lived long outside this, and Raffles is approaching his 6th year, so I am hoping that we will have him for many years to come yet. His life span may be shorter due to having cancer diagnosed almost 17 months ago, but he has been in fine health since his operation. If the Gods are kind, he will be with us many more years yet.

So there you have it..A Jack Russell Terrier will always be an experience, but if you can learn to live with this over-active bundle of fur, you will never regret it.

These little loving dogs I promise you will leave paw-prints in your heart.

This article is dedicated to 'Bisto', the much loved and much missed JRT of our friend and fellow Wikinut writer, Tranquilpen .

Why not join us here on Wikinut and earn royalties on your work..

All other photos Authors own and not to be used without permission of the author.

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