It’s always fun to learn something new and exciting about our beautiful four legged companions.
Even better if you came by because you hope your next best friend will be a Jack Russell. Here are 10 super fun facts (and important tips) about JRTs that you should know.
1. … are a working breed
Bred primarily for fox hunting since the first half of the 19th century, they are today still recognized as a working breed – a classification upheld by many dog clubs and kennel clubs around the world. This classification means that they are not legible as contestants in dog shows because there are no rigorous morphological standards that must be upheld for the dog to be considered a pedigree breed. This categorization is maintained primarily through the strives of various Jack Russell kennel clubs around the world whose members are concerned with maintaining Jack Russell’s as a working dog and don’t want to allow breeders to put the emphasis on their looks instead of their other useful traits and characteristics.
2. … are very intelligent
They are very smart and have a strong drive to explore the world around them. Although that means that they can excel at various training exercises it also means that they have to be intellectually and physically stimulated all day long. They aren’t dogs that will sit quietly in the corner and ponder the finer intricacies of squirrel chasing – they are dogs that will tirelessly seek out, find the squirrel and give it a run for it’s acorns. If left to their own machinations, especially indoors, they are known to wreak havoc when bored. For that reason they must be well trained from an early age and you must keep them interested and entertained at all times. A testament of their intelligence is how Jack Russell terriers are the preferred canine actors in movies and on TV – learning tricks and complex routines is easy and fun for them.
3. … are very active
As hunting dogs they are bred to be curious, fast, agile and have lots of stamina. They are without a doubt dogs that are made for the great outdoors and all the adventures that it brings them. They can run around, sniff and play for hours on end and expect from you to join in the fun.
4. … can jump 5 feet in the air
Despite their small size they are a very strong and agile breed made for long chases after prey over various rough terrain. It’s best to put up a high fence around your yard to ensure that they don’t wander off or start chasing some animal up and down the road where they could hurt themselves.
5. … love to dig
It shouldn’t be a surprise that dogs made for hunting foxes love to dig. Their small stature is perfect for following the prey in their underground homes and chasing them out. Unfortunately that means that your dog is capable of digging up your back yard at a moments notice. It’s therefore suggested that you put the fence around your yard securely a few feet bellow the ground.
6. … excel at endurance and agility competitions
Their physical and psychological traits make them perfect contestants in endurance, agility, flyball and earthdog trials.
7. … have a big personality
A lot of people say that when you get a Jack Russell you get a 150 pound dog personality in a 15 pound dog body. They love to assert themselves on others and aren’t afraid of anything or anyone. They are regular divas and love to have everybody’s attention all for themselves. As all divas do, they often get upset if something isn’t going according to their plan – just be patient and let them know that they can’t always have everything the way that they want it and everything will be all right. Just remember that you are partners and you need to work together as such.
You should also note that they are fearless and you should definitely watch out that they don’t get in trouble with other, often larger dogs. All these character traits can be influenced and changed through regular training and socialization from an early age.
8. … need regular grooming
One thing that you should absolutely know about Jack Russell terriers before you become a proud owner of one yourself is that they shed a lot, and I mean A LOT. Don’t worry that is normal – they need to shed in order to maintain a healthy coat. Be prepared to groom and brush them regularly – although how often and what manner of tools would be best for the job depends on the type of fur your Jack Russel has. You can learn more about grooming your Jack Russell here.
9. … don’t need much bathing
In theory, there is no need not to bath them frequently as bathing removes natural oils from the skin and dries it and that could make them shed even more. But we all know that Jack Russells attract mud., so sometimes baths are inevitable. Always use hair and skin products designed specifically for dogs – our furry friends have different pH of a skin than us and therefore need a different kind of products to keep them beautiful, healthy and happy. If you aren’t sure which products are the best for your buddy it’s always best to ask your veterinarian for advice. And when those muddy days line up, most of the dirt can be washed just with plain lukewarm water.
10. … excel when properly trained
Always use positive reinforcement. Highly intelligent animals such as Jack Russell’s often don’t handle negative reinforcement well. That goes double for JRTs – their strong willed and sometimes stubborn, even defiant nature is often a heavy burden for inexperienced dog owners. Positive reinforcement will yield much better results and be much more pleasant and satisfactory for all involved then negative reinforcement. It’s important to start training your Jack Russell terrier when he/she is still a puppy. Training and hard work are the key for a happy life with your lovely pet. And believe me it’s worth it. My life wouldn’t be complete without my JRT Kala. All the fun, joy and happiness that we bring each other is definitely worth the effort.
I hope that you learned something today that will help you better understand and appreciate your four-legged companions even more.
If you know any more fun facts, or have some fun anecdotes and stories about your JRT please share them with us in the comments bellow. We always welcome new insights about our bellowed Jack Russell’s.