The Pros and Cons of Owning a Jack Russell

Raising a dog can be a challenging task, particularly if you’re blindsided by the dog’s behaviours and needs. Choosing a dog breed is one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make as a dog owner. This choice will determine a lot of the dog’s innate traits and tendencies, and it’s important to pick the right breed for your lifestyle. Incompatibility between dog and owner can be frustrating for both, and has a negative impact on the wellbeing of both the animal and human. 

One of the most popular dog breeds today is the Jack Russell terrier. They’re sought after for their energy and outgoing personality, as well as their cute appearance and affectionate nature. However, like all dog breeds, they’re not always for everyone. Before you bring home some Jack Russell puppies, we’re going to teach you some of the pros and cons of owning a Jack Russell. 

Pros and Cons of Owning a Jack Russell

1. Pro: They’re very smart

Jack Russell terriers were bred over 200 years ago to hunt foxes. Because they were expected to be independent and solve problems without their owner’s direction, intelligence was one of traits that was necessary for their success. This intelligence has carried over to modern Jack Russells, and most of them are easy to train if you begin their training at a young age. Jack Russells are a common sight at canine agility competitions and other forms of dog sports. 

2. Con: They’re sometimes too smart

A Jack Russell is smart enough to be trained, and oftentimes smart enough to be mischievous. They quickly learn to push the boundaries of their training and can take over a household if the owner does not enforce clear rules. It’s advisable for any Jack Russell owner to begin training early and be consistent in what they expect from their dog. The Jack Russell’s high intelligence also makes them adept at getting out from all sorts of enclosures, making them veritable escape artists. Reinforcing the “return” command will be vital in stopping a Jack Russell from running off. 

3. Pro: They’re loyal

Because they love to please their humans and thrive on attention, Jack Russells can quickly bond with their owners so long as they’re given proper training and socialisation. They can be their owner’s furry little shadow, following their owner around everywhere. No adventure is too big for this small dog so long as their favourite human is around. Not only do they display a high level of loyalty to their owners, they’re also sensitive to their owner’s moods and the emotions of others. A Jack Russell will be quick to try and make you laugh if you’re sad, or get you excited when you’re feeling down. 

4. Con: They can get too attached

Due to how much they value their owner’s attention, some Jack Russell terriers can be prone to separation anxiety. While this may be addressed by sufficient alone time training, it’s something to be aware of if you’re planning to get a Jack Russell puppy. There are also cases where a Jack Russell may become too possessive of their favourite human. This is usually displayed when a Jack Russell is overly protective of one family member, becoming vocal or moody once someone else has their attention. 

5. Pro: They’re small

While the ideal dog size is mostly down to personal preference and living situation, there are clear advantages of owning a small dog. Jack Russell terriers are a small breed, standing only ten to 15 inches tall and weighing between 14 to 18 pounds. They don’t take up too much space for their sleeping quarters or crate, and they’re adaptable enough to live in almost any kind of home. They’re also easy to bring around in a carrier or bag, and can be carried without an enclosure if necessary. This makes it easier to plan vet visits or vacations, as not much additional space is required to transport them. You can likely take your Jack Russell on that awesome road trip you’ve been planning. 

6. Con: They need a lot of exercise

This may actually be a pro for some people. Jack Russells have an enormous amount of energy for a small breed dog, easily keeping up with large breed herding and working dogs. Experts recommend that Jack Russell terriers get at the very least an hour of exercise per day, with some needing even more. For dog owners who love to jog or run with their pooch, this could be a benefit as they’ll always have a running partner at the ready. Those who are looking for more of a relaxed dog that will spend most of their time on the couch may be out of luck. An under-exercised Jack Russell may develop behavioural problems out of boredom. 

7. Pro: They’re healthy

Jack Russell terriers are a generally healthy breed, living up to 13 to 15 years of age. Most of the health issues you could encounter with a Jack Russell are common to almost all dog breeds, so they’re not especially prone to any serious condition. However, getting your Jack Russell from a reputable breeder will ensure that any puppies you get will have passed the health checks necessary for the breed. Doing so will give you peace of mind that your dog should end up healthy and well-behaved in the long run. 

8. Pro: They don’t eat too much

Many Jack Russells are food-oriented, making training easy once you’ve found their favourite treat. However, they don’t consume too much food overall, mainly due to their small size. This can be a big deal over the lifespan of a dog, as recurring food expenses are the biggest overall cost in owning a dog. Large breeds can eat up to 4 to 5 times as much as a Jack Russell. For dog owners on a budget, it’s an important thing to consider before buying their pooch. 

9. Pro: They’re easy to groom

Jack Russells have a coat of fur that doesn’t require too much maintenance. They have a double coat with a short topcoat that is never curly or wavy. Most Jack Russell terriers will only need weekly brushing to get rid of shed fur and dander. Doing this will ensure that baths will rarely be necessary. Many Jack Russell owners only bathe their dog when it’s absolutely necessary, such as if the dog has rolled around in dirt or mud outdoors. Grooming your dog on your own can also help save some money. 

As you can see now, there are more pros than cons when it comes to owning a Jack Russell, making it all the more clear why this breed has become a worldwide favourite. Even some of the cons may be pros if they fit your personality and lifestyle. Just make sure to get your Jack Russell puppies from an ethical breeder to prevent any health concerns. 

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