Before choosing a Jack Russell as a pet, consider the personality traits, as this breed is not for everyone. The energetic Jack Russell needs plenty of exercise, is noisy and, due to its hunting instinct, has a need to explore, resulting in a tendency to roam.
As they were bred for active work, it is and what they love and what drives them; if you have a job in mind for him that pushes him to his limits and attracts his undivided and enthusiastic attention, then he may be that rare person who is right for one of these dogs.
The Jack Russell’s desire to be digging, barking and investigating cannot and should not be repressed.
One of the remarkable traits of the Jack Russel dog breeds is their drive to dig. It is the legacy of his legitimate work that eradicates vermin on the farms where he originated.
He will dig up your garden and living room with as much determination as when he’s digging for a critter. A Jack Russell Terrier that digs does not have a behavioural problem, he is the epitome of the breed.
A dedicated owner can channel that enthusiasm into hunting, but if his interests lie elsewhere, Jack Russel is excellent at all kinds of organised and informal dog activities and, of course, excels at Terrier racing and land dog trials. He loves to walk, and can be an excellent agility dog, too.
The Jack Russell Terrier will need firm, fair and consistent training from an early age so that he can understand the boundaries necessary for living with humans. As long as he gets plenty of exercise and stimulation for his quick mind, he is perfectly capable of differentiating between the outdoors and the sofa in the family room, provided you take the time to teach him.
Jack Russell Terrier Temperament and Personality
Living with Jack Russel dog breeds is an exercise in patience, but people who love them wouldn’t have it any other way. This is a friendly, outgoing dog that is playful and affectionate.
When he is not hunting, he loves to work, and for him work means searching for quarry ranging from mice to the traditional fox. When he is hunting that is the only thing on his mind.
Next to the word tenas in the dictionary you will find a picture of a Jack Russell Terrier; that can make him difficult to live with unless you are able to channel his energy, intelligence and unique mentality into a dog sport such as the Land Dog, Terrier Breed or Agility trials.
He must have a job to do and careful supervision, or he will tear your house apart in search of something interesting to do. Daily exercise, for the most part, is essential.
The Jack Russell Terrier can be a good companion for an older child who can match his intelligence and activity level, but young children are not this breed’s cup of tea. They are not patient with having their ears or the thing pulled and will not hesitate to growl if their tolerance limit is exceeded.
Cats and other small pets should be wary of the Jack Russell Terrier, as this dog will see them as prey.
It may get along well with an indoor cat if raised together, but it is not something you should count on. Always remember that this dog is a relentless hunter.
With other dogs the Jack Russell Terrier gets on reasonably well. He is bred to hunt with dogs, after all, so he must be willing to work with other dogs. Its breed standard states that it is not quarrelsome or overtly aggressive towards another dog.
The health of the Jack Russell Terrier
The truth is that Jack Russell dog breeds are quite healthy, although they do have some genetic health problems. However, animal welfare enthusiasts are doing their best to control these problems and prevent them from developing in the next offspring.
Documented conditions include eye problems such as glaucoma, progressive retinal atrophy and cataracts; congenital deafness; and patellar luxation.
Do not buy a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide written documentation that the dog’s parents did not have access to health problems affecting the breed. Having dogs ‘screened’ is not a substitute for genetic health testing.
Basic maintenance of a Jack Russell Terrier
Jack Russell breeds of dog come with either a smooth or scruffy coat. Both coat types require minimal grooming: just a quick brushing a couple of times a week to keep hair removal under control. He is definitely destined to be a trouble-free dog.
The rest is basic care, such as trimming nails as needed, usually every one to two weeks; brush teeth frequently with a vet-approved toothpaste for good general health and fresh breath.
Check the ears weekly for dirt, redness or odour that may indicate infection. If the ears look dirty, clean them with a cotton swab moistened with a mild, pH-balanced ear cleaner recommended by your veterinarian.
Begin maintenance at an early age so that the Jack Russell Terrier learns to accept it willingly.
All in all, if you want a dog that can learn tricks, run on an agility course, play fetch until you tire of it, and is a delightful companion when not getting into mischief, then the Jack Russell Terrier may be the dog for you.
If you can’t deal with a dog that chews, digs and barks, runs through the house several times a day, chases cats and other small animals with glee, then it’s not the dog for you.
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