One of the most common breeds of choice for a companion today is the Jack Russell Terrier. Their recent rise in popularity may very well be attributed to their appearance more and more on television and in the movies. Canine celebrities such as Wishbone, Eddie on “Frasier”, and Uggy have made this once looked over by most breed one of the most popular choices for most families today.
But, how much do most people really know about JRT’s? Yes, they are cute, and yes they are feisty, but what else?
I am glad you asked, because we are going to look at eight things you probably didn’t know about JRT’s, and answer that question right now.
Do Poorly In Enclosed Spaces—because JRT’s are such an active breed, they prefer to have room to move around. Although having 6-8 hours a day outside, running and playing would be a dream to them, but is not always possible. But, if they do have to be indoors a lot, they still need room to “stretch their legs”. That is why when considering a JRT, keep in mind that they are not the best breed for those living in small dwellings—such as apartments.
Do NOT Get Along With Cats—in a previous post "Introducing a new pet into the household" we mentioned how to introduce a cat into the household with a JRT. Although it is widely known that JRT’s do NOT like cats, many have had success in integrating the two species. The one thing to keep in mind is that if you do not get the cat when it is a kitten and your JRT is still a puppy, to where they can grow up together, there will be an adjustment period for them. You need to go into the whole process knowing that time and patience in the situation are your best friends.
Thrive When Trained From An Early Age—puppies of any breed are more alert and sensitive to their surroundings. But, with JRT’s this applies even more so. JRT’s, at most any age, are hypersensitive to the environment around them, but never more so than when they are young. Also, when they are young, they are not so set in their stubborn ways that they are known to possess. So, any training you may intend to engage in with your JRT is best done when they are young. That is not to say they can’t be trained at a later age, it just may involve more time and more repetition to get the same desired effects. In an earlier post we offered some basic training tips that may come in helpful "Training your JRT".
No Better Breed To Play Catch With—because JRT’s are such little powerhouses of energy, they are always up for a game of fetch. They seem to thrive on movement—the more the better. They can go for hours, and are very happy to do such. But, keep in mind that most JRT’s are a little possessive as well. So, when you throw that ball for a game of fetch that it may end up turning into a chasing game instead.
Come In Two Coat Types—JRT’s commonly have two types of fur coats, either smooth or wiry. Depending on what type of coat that they have as to how you would care for and groom your JRT. Also keep in mind that JRT’s are notorious shedders, and the smooth coat JRT seems to be the worse of the too for upkeep related to that shedding. Be prepared to vacuum and brush your JRT often if it falls into the smooth coat category. We have an earlier post on how what each coat type needs as far as brushing and care "Dealing with a shedding JRT".
Great At Agility Competitions—their powerhouse of energy coupled with their eagerness to please makes JRT’s great contestants in agility competitions. They have a keen sense of balance and movement, and these are essential when running an agility course. They are very determined and one minded as well, and this keeps them on track for any hurdle or obstacle that may come their way.
One Type of JRT Is Actually Longer Than It Is Tall—this is a variation in the breed called a “shorty jack”. Their overall appearance brings to mind that of a dachshund in that they usually stand only 10-12 inches to their shoulders. They are short legged, and set close to the ground. This breed is turned in every other way like the other JRT breeds including in temperament and stamina.
They Think They Are Human—this is one of the traits that makes this breed so well loved. They take on the traits that they think they are human, and as such can do as humans do. You do need to remind them, at an early age, that they are in fact a canine. Better or worse, it is what it is. If they are not reminded of this particular fact, they will more than once express their “humanness”.
So, there you have it, eight things that most people do not know about JRT’s. When choosing a life-long companion for you and your family, it is wise to have all the facts. We hope that those presented above are found both useful and beneficial in what will come to be a very important and life altering decision—for you and your JRT both.