Are Jack Russell Terriers Smart

Are Jack Russell Terriers Smart? Things To Know

About 200 years ago, the Jack Russell terrier originated in England. It is a lively, intelligent, and independent dog. Jack Russell terriers are a handful to train.

However, they are charming and loving. Considering intelligence in dogs involves specific criteria. Two of these criteria are trainability and dog personality.

The question is: are Jack Russell terriers smart?

Of course, Jack Russell terriers are not stupid dogs. Some are just smarter than others. Some of the most intelligent dogs include the Jack Russell terrier. If you need a dog to only sit peacefully at home, Jack Russell is not for you. For Jack Russells, learning never ends, even as adults. No matter the age, they thrive on learning new tricks. They are highly intelligent. Also, they keep increasing their mental and physical capabilities.

Terrier Breeds 

The name “terrier” is from the Latin word, ‘terra’. Terra means earth. Funnily, some people often joke that ‘terrier’ originates from the word ‘terror’.

Terrier dogs primarily dig and hunt. They specialize in hunting foxes, rats, badgers, moles, and other prey.

There are diverse shapes and sizes of the terrier breed. One thing they, however, have in common is that they are mischievous and feisty.

They are as well vibrant, smart, and trainable. Owners also have to be patient and full of humor to get the best out of terriers.

A few of the terrier breeds are Airdale terrier, Border terrier, and Bull terrier. Others are the Fox terrier and the Jack Russell Terrier. The list of terriers is quite long.

The Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell terriers earned their name from the Reverend John Russell. This man raised and used these terrier breeds during the 19th century.

Reverend Russell was an enthusiastic hunter born in 1795. Jack Russell terriers have similar origins with the present-day Fox terriers.

Over the years, the Jack Russell terrier has undergone some changes.

Also, this dog type appeared in some television programs, films, and print media.

Jack Russell terriers are small dog breeds. They originate from England and specialize in hunting foxes. This breed of dog is usually white-bodied. Its coat may be rough, smooth, or broken-coated. It also comes in different colors.

Sometimes, people confuse Jack Russell terriers with other terrier breeds. The Parson Russell terrier and Russell are different types of dogs.

The Russell terrier has shorter legs and looks stockier. The ‘Jack Russell’ is commonly mistaken for other small tan and white terriers.

Jack Russell is a broad type. Its size ranges between 25cm to 38cm. The Parson Russell, on the other hand, has a size range between 20cm to 30cm. These two breeds have different physical builds.

Jack Russell has an energetic personality. It relies on a high level of stimulation and exercise. Also, they are not readily susceptible to serious health issues. So, they enjoy relatively good health conditions.


Based on their work nature, Jack Russell terriers still appear as they were in years past. They are resilient, sturdy, and persistent.

Also, they measure between 25cm to 38cm at the withers. Their weight ranges from 6 to 8kg.

Jack Russell’s body length is proportionate to its height. Also, the dog usually portrays a compact and balanced physical look.

The dog’s coat is white. The white color on its body is typically more than 51%. Its coat shows markings of black, tan, or brown.

The body coloration is called a broken coat. It is because Jack Russell terriers’ coats are rough, smooth, or a combination of both.

Sometimes, its skin can have a pattern of small brown or black sports. These spots are known as ‘ticking’. However, the ticking does not appear on its outer coat. This dog breed has dense, double coats. Its coat is neither wooly nor silky.

Jack Russell terriers have moderate heads. Their heads narrow down to the eyes and are a bit flattened between the ears.

It has a black nose with powerful jaws. Besides, it has well-boned jaws with straight and scissor bite teeth. It has almond-shaped eyes, which are dark-colored.

The ears are small and V-shaped. The tip of the V does not extend past the corner of its eyes when it is alert. It has highly-set tails.

At all times, Jack Russell terriers appear alert and balanced. It is because it is a working terrier.

Its chest size isn’t too large. The chest should be such that it allows the dog to venture into burrows.

The primary prey of Jack Russell is the red fox. So, the dog must be adequately small to pursue its prey.


The Jack Russell is an energetic and happy canine. It has an innate desire to work. Once, it is saddled with a task, or given companionship; it remains cheerful.

The dog is a natural digger. It enjoys digging up your yard to divest it of rodents. Another instinct they have is hunting.

Jack Russell needs to training. It’s is due to their excellent energy level and desire for hunting. Also, the dog breed is strong-willed.

Jack Russell breeds can be vocal since they are baying terriers. They usually remain alert are an excellent keep as watchdogs.

They can be intolerable to other children in the home. Also, they tend to be aggressive towards other dogs.

Some owners do complain of their Jack Russell terriers running out of control. Well, this dog breed has some appealing features. These qualities include boldness, courage, and a fun-loving spirit. All these qualities can make it challenging to live with them.

Naturally, the Jack Russell is not a calm breed. They enjoy roaming their owners’ properties. As they move around, they seek vermin to kill.

They work without the interference of humans. To Jack Russell, sometimes, humans are nuisances that interfere in their activities.

Also, anything that interferes with their fun is an obstacle to them. Jack Russell terriers are overly curious and smart.

This trait makes training them in obedience tiring for owners. They also have sharp and curious minds. They never back down from anything.

Living With Jack Russell Terriers

Not everyone can own a Jack Russell terrier. It’s because it is quite difficult to rid them of their hunting nature.

Due to their instincts, they view other pets in the home as prey. It is possible to have them get along with other pets. However, there is a need for constant guidance to avoid issues.

Jack Russell needs constant and lots of exercises. Having a home that has a fenced yard is the best for them. Ag expanse of land allows them to explore and hunt.

They may also wander off at will. While wandering, they may get trapped in dens and underground conduits.

They thrive on space

Jack Russell terriers are typically hyperactive. They are fearless and fun lovers. They thrive on running around as well as engagement in games. They love constant activity. Confined spaces are not ideal for them.

So, people living in small houses with a small garden need to be mindful of this. Occasional long walks could be helpful in this case. On the whole, small spaces drive them nuts!

They enjoy hunting

The Jack Russell terriers are natural hunters. So, naturally, they sniff out items in their range. As a result, they follow scents.

So, it isn’t surprising they always something is on in the kitchen. Also, they safeguard your garden against vermin intrusion. They will chase cats and rats out of your home.

As a dog owner, bear this in mind while on walks with them. They may run off to chase squirrels, rabbits, and birds on sight. They would stop at nothing to catch the named creatures. They may even go down a rabbit hole!

They are athletes

Naturally, they can jump as high as six feet in the air! They are quite competitive and love tasks on agility.

Although not all of them like to play catch, many of them do. Some love to play goalie as well! Take note of this side of Jack Russell terriers.

They tend to run after toys and tennis balls. Also, their toys seem never to last a while. So, owners may need to buy their toys in bulk.

They are loving and loyal.

Jack Russell terriers are quite smart. They know when you are not feeling your best. At such times, they are the first to offer you comfort.

They also exhibit loyalty. They never wish to see you feeling upset or hurt. Whatever happens, they will remain by your side.

Their attention span is short.

One minute, your Jack Russell is after a cat. However, once it loses sight of its prey, it forgets about the exercise. As an owner, you may have to begin training as soon as possible.

Teaching them verbal commands may be tiring. Nonetheless, the use of signals usually works with them.

If done correctly, sign language could be incorporated. You can also introduce rewards to make the process easier.

Although training can be exhaustive, it pays off in the end. With patience and diligence, you will get the required results.

They are fussy

Jack Russell terriers usually have some preferences and tastes. They have their favorite toy, color, and material. Also, they have preferred smells, beds, and other items.

Sometimes, they compete with children over items like toys. To prevent this, just get your dog a whole box filled with toys.

Whenever you are trying out new things in the house, take note of this.

They believe they are human.

Jack Russells view themselves as little children when with owners. So, they expect you to relate with them as such.

They look out to get the same level of attention, love, and food too! Some Jack Russell terriers have favorite movies and television programs. So, watch out for this.

Having a routine for them is vital.

The Jack Russell terrier is a brilliant dog breed. They take note of things. Some are attentive enough to note the particular day. They also take note of the days some things occur.

An example is a day set aside for shopping. You find out that they are prepared to go shopping with you.

So, if you intend to change your routine, consider your Jack Russell.

They suffer from Small Dog Syndrome.

Jack Russell terriers are assertive. They want to prove that they are the boss. These dog breeds exhibit fearlessness, even when in the company of bigger animals.

They also portray this trait whenever strangers and other animals walk past their territories. Owners need to take note of this.

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Are you considering getting a Jack Russell Terrier? Then, you need to ensure you have adequate space.

The dog breed requires a vast area to run around. Remember that they are very active and dislike confinement.

Jack Russell terriers are highly intelligent breeds. Above all, they free your home of rodents. No matter the level of training, the hunting instincts still live in them.