J is for JACK RUSSELL TERRIER | #AtoZChallenge

57 Comments#AtoZChallenge 2016, Blogfests, Dogs, Writing/Blogging
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Welcome everyone, to the #AtoZChallenge Blogging Extravaganza, where hundreds of bloggers publish 26 posts in 30 days, one for each letter of the alphabet, covering a myriad of topics! “Dog Breeds & Anecdotes” is my theme. Click HERE to see all posts and HERE to view the participants. Please support our efforts by visiting, sharing and commenting. We have all worked long and hard on this project. Have fun and thanks for reading!
#AtoZChallenge Day 10: J is for JACK RUSSELL TERRIER, The Doglady's Den
Day 10, April 12


Jack Russells are an energetic breed that rely on a high level of exercise and stimulation, and are relatively free from serious health complaints. Originating from dogs bred and used by Reverend John Russell in the early 19th century, from whom the breed takes its name, the Jack Russell has similar origins to the modern Fox terrier. It has gone through several changes over the years, corresponding to different use and breed standards set by kennel clubs. Recognition by kennel clubs for the Jack Russell breed has been opposed by the breed’s parent societies – which resulted in the breeding and recognition of the Parson Russell terrier. They are sturdy, tough, and tenacious, measuring between 10–15 inches (25–38 cm) at the withers, and weigh 14–18 pounds (6.4–8.2 kg). Predominantly white in coloration (more than 51%) with black and/or tan markings, they exhibit either a smooth, rough or a combination coat, known as a broken coat. Jack Russells have appeared many times in film, television and print. – WIKIPEDIA

This is another of my favourite breeds. Such smart and lively little dogs with big personalities! It’s been my pleasure to have known several. Saba was the queen of them all, with me for almost 18 years:

#AtoZChallenge 2016: J is for Jack Russell TerrierExcerpt from Chapter Eight of my W.I.P. “Adventures in Dog Sitting”:
Saba, a feisty Jack Russell Terrier, came into my life when she was only seven months old. The assignment: to walk her while her mom was away for the day. At the appointed hour, I pulled up to a modern stone mansion with a beautiful courtyard. This was a local version of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”! The housekeeper invited me in while she fetched the dog, so, I had time to enjoy the view. Fabulous marble flooring and paintings on the wall. Still, it all seemed a bit cold and austere. Saba was obviously a high strung little girl; panting and trembling on the end of her leash. Bending down to reassure her, I noticed her face was divided right down the middle, with brown on one side and white on the other. The eye patch gave her even more character! We started out, but after a few minutes, Saba did a quick “about face” and tried to run home. “Come on Saba. Don’t you want to go for a walk?” She turned back to me and we managed a few more metres. This scene was repeated over and over, but finally, she did her business, much to my relief! Time to head home and she tried to run all the way. No wonder her leg muscles were the size of Arnold Schwartzenegger’s! The next few walks were more of the same, but eventually, Saba greeted me with enthusiasm and went willingly. Continue reading ►

Other favourite Jacks:

Left: Putter and Maggie / Middle: Butler and Sophie with Saba / Right: Ruby
Left: Putter and Maggie / Middle: Butler and Sophie with Saba / Right: Ruby


Have you known any Jack Russell Terriers?

Do you prefer dogs who are smart and independent
(ie. challenging) or those more willing to please?

Looking forward to your comments!


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Debbie D.
Canine Innkeeper in suburban Toronto, Canada, known as "The Doglady". Writer/website owner, photographer, animal lover, music fanatic, inveterate traveller. History, literature and cinema buff. Eternal "hippie/rockchick". Binational, German/Canadian and multilingual. Looking for the next adventure!
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57 thoughts on “J is for JACK RUSSELL TERRIER | #AtoZChallenge

  1. I liked your blog so much . Two thumbs-up for sharing such wonderful stories of Jack Russell Terriers. I also have JRT & he is just adorable. Whenever, I come after my office work he jumps up to me and we enjoy each other company. A sight of him relax me from my stress & other office or personal.

    Thank you for sharing the article with us. 🙂

  2. This dog and a pit bull are the only dogs I would never own. The Jack because the 3 that I’ve been around are waaaay to rowdy for me. They are a constant ball of energy! The pit bull because for me, they’re iffy. I like a dog that I can easily handle in any situation. The Jack wouldn’t be bad but the pit. I’ve seen them come unhinged and there’s no way I could *easily* handle that.

    1. Jacks are hyper, no question, but they’re smart and fun and happy if they get enough exercise and mental stimulation. Sadly, Pitbulls have been outlawed here, so I haven’t met too many. (It’s usually the owners who are bad, not the dogs!) The ones I did see were lovely and docile, though. One used to come to our playgroup all the time. She was a sweet little brindle named Sydney. 🙂 That said, there were many instances of Pitbull attacks in the news, which is what led to the banning. It’s that criminal element who breeds and trains the dogs to fight. Horrible! 🙁

  3. Somebody once told me that you don’t need to invest thousands for an elaborate home security system…just get a Jack Russell. The shrill and relentless yapping is an alarm on its own.

    1. Hahaha! I’ve always said that about alarm systems since there are usually dogs in residence. 🙂 True story: A pushy real estate salesman knocked at the door and would not leave. Annoyed, I opened the door further and let him experience the ferocious barking of Maggie, a broken-coated Jack Russell. Startled, he jumped back and scurried back down the steps, never to be seen again. 😀

  4. Little dogs can be so sensitive. Sometimes they know their small size. My chihuahua’s mother was half Jack Russell. He has the spotted skin and athletic body. What is most pronounced is his gungho personality. I have owned many dogs. But not worked with as many as you. However, he is the most opinionated of all the dogs I’ve owned.

  5. They are really high-energy dogs. I. know an older guy who adopted one, and the dog ran him ragged. Cute dog, to be sure, and a great companion for a younger person, but if all people know about them is Eddie on “Frasier,” they have another think coming…

    1. This is similar to the situation with Dalmatians. Best to do research before getting a dog. Eddie was an idealized Jack Russell; incredibly cute, though! 🙂

  6. True Story: I had a Jack Russell Terrier for less than a full day… The dog was a stray, who wandered up to our house. He jumped the gate, came into the back yard, made a good presentation, and got a nice meal in the deal. Later that same afternoon, he had a growling session at the wife and me. I calmly said, “If you cannot show any better manners than that, you can leave the way you came in.”

    The dog turned a walked away, jumped the gate to his freedom, and calmly walked away. We never saw him again. Come to think of it, I never even knew his name.

  7. A family member has a Jack Russell. Though the friendly dog has all kinds of health issues, I think it might be from his being ghastly obese and of course, that isn’t his fault.

    1. It’s so sad when people let their dogs’ weight get out of hand! 🙁 So much worse than when we humans do it to ourselves. Jack Russells don’t usually have many health issues.

  8. I just don’t understand why they would not call you about Saba since it was not months but many years that you took care of her. They should be more considerate. I know of a Jack Russell named Gismo which is a perfect name. He is sweet and is at least 13 if not more. He does have cancer now but he is still eating and pooping and having fun so he has a great quality of life.

    1. It was 18 years and I was definitely offended, Birgit, but, that’s life. Sigh…..Gismo is a great name for a Jack Russell! Sad about the cancer, but yes, as long as the dog is still happy, that’s the main thing.

  9. Ah, Jack Russell…
    I’d been hinting to Russ for about a month that I’d like to hear his dad singing. I knew that he’d been a well-known singer, but I had no idea what his name was (This was early on in our friendship and I was still in Italy, while Russ was in Queens). Finally, I asked him point-blank what his father’s name was. He waited a few seconds, and then typed out “Jack Russell”. I tried so hard (I even sat on my hands, until it became uncomfortable) not to say the first thing that came to my mind, but in the end, I just had to ask. I tried to be diplomatic, but somehow, I’m pretty sure I failed dismally. “Your grandmother liked small dogs, did she?” The good sport that he was, he typed back, “Terriers, actually.”
    I know, this was completely off-track, but every time I hear the words “Jack Russell” that is the first thing that comes to mind.
    I’ve seen the terriers in action, and I like their vivaciousness and tenacity. Their activity would be a bit much for me, but If I got to know them well, I’d probably like them–at someone else’s house. I just have a character contrast with most smaller breeds. They make me nervous.
    By the way, I went and read the rest of Saba’s story. She must have bee your first over-nighter? Oh, by the way, ne of our favorite writers, Dame Agatha Christie, also had a thing for Jack Russell terriers.

    1. Hi, Mary; Interesting that Russ’s father used “Jack Russell” as his stage name. I’d be thinking of dogs, too. 🙂 These terriers are live wires, alright! Saba started out as a walking client only, so she wasn’t my first overnighter. That honour went to a little Japanese Chin / Pug cross named “Guzmo”. I didn’t know Agatha Christie was a Jack Russell fan. Thanks for that tidbit.

  10. Isn’t a Jack Russell the same kind of dog on Frazier? I think I would like one of these little guys. They are cute and I like that you said they don’t have the usual health problems of other breeds. Saba sounded like good good. Pets become a big part of a family’s life and with their shorter life spans then that would be the most difficult part of having them around. Nice read!

    1. Yes, Eddie on Frasier was a Jack Russell, real name “Moose”. 🙂 Jacks are very smart, but that can be a challenge, sometimes as they can be stubborn. Given enough exercise and stimulation, they’re great dogs! The sad part about having a pet, in general, is their short live spans. Glad you enjoyed the story, Cathy.

  11. Another breed that I like. I’ve had friends in the past that have had Jack Russell’s. Some were well-mannered, but most were very energetic. You had to keep a close eye on them as it seemed they were always getting into something.

    1. The old adage holds true: “A tired dog is a good dog.” If dogs get enough exercise and stimulation, they usually won’t get into trouble. 🙂 Jacks are highly intelligent, which can be a bit challenging.

    1. This Jack Russell was a client for 18 years. I’ve not had one of my own, but they are one of my favourite breeds. Small dogs have longer life spans. I knew a Chihuahua who lived to be 21!

  12. These are energetic dogs. My parents had a neighbor with a Jack Russell. That dog could jump straight up in the air repeatedly (and did). He also managed to get out of the fence on a fairly regular basis. Super high energy dog. I think he might’ve been more than those poor people were expecting. It’s a good reason to know the personality of the breed BEFORE you commit.

    I’m sorry that Saba isn’t a part of your lives any longer (and that the owners didn’t call to update you on her). They should’ve realized you’ve loved her for a long time and would be interested in any/all news of her. Sigh.

    1. Yes, they sure are, although I never had one jump the fence, thank goodness. I agree that people should do research before getting a dog. That’s why so many of them end up in shelters. It was disappointing that after 18 years of loving care, Saba’s owner’s didn’t bother to let me know what was going on. 🙁

  13. I think Jack Russells are some of the cutest dogs out there. So adorable! I loved reading about Saba. I didn’t realize you’d written a dog sitting book. Have to check that out. 🙂

    1. Thanks. I’m glad you liked the story. The book is still a work in progress, though. I had put it aside for some time, but am inspired to go back to it now. 🙂

  14. Feisty is a good description of many Jack Russells. One, Bracken, was one of the first I wrote about in my series North Yorkshire Village Dogs several years ago – he was just the opposite.

    1. I’ve met both feisty and docile Jack Russells. Two of them pictured, Putter and Butler were sweet little boys, completely non-aggressive. The females were the ones to watch out for. 🙂

  15. Interesting dog breed. If I were to get a dog, I would like a smaller dog, something like this. Living in apartments, I don’t think it would be a good idea to have a large dog. I think I’d only get a large dog if I had a large yard.

    1. Big dogs are fine in apartments, as long as you can take them out for regular exercise. Some people with yards never walk their dogs and that’s so sad. Dogs love to explore and sniff. For them, it’s like reading a book.

  16. we had a jack russell cross for 14 years – he was the best little dog – full of life and personality (a bit hyper at times & a bit of a barker too). I still miss his little face and his desire to be with us all the time – great dogs!

  17. Gosh, I know I keep saying I’ve had, or I know someone with all the breeds you’re writing about but I come from a really doggy family plus I’m quite old and have had a fair few dogs. I had a Jack Russell (surprise, surprise) and he was a bundle of trouble. He was a very loyal little dog but an escape artist and a terrible barker. The council dog catcher/officer visited us at least ten times during the years we had him. His name was Odie. He was well known by the dog catcher. Probably the most stressful dog I ever had! I loved him though.

    1. Odie sounds like a real pip! Cute, though. 😀 Jacks are great jumpers and I’m sure many of them have bounded over back gates. None of the ones I looked after were so inclined, thank goodness. P.S. Bet I’m older than you! 😉

  18. I have known several Jack Russells in my time and the one that always springs to mind is Jennings. He belonged to my best friend at primary school. They lived on a farm and Jennings used to go everywhere with her father. He was run over by a tractor at least once, but went on to a ripe old age. He was a sweetie.
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  19. Seems like my mother once told me that her father had a Jack Russell when she was a little girl. Now I can’t ask here and my memory might not be remembering right.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host

  20. Ahh, the bouncing clowns of the dog world. They always look like they’re on trampolines. I was stunned when I read that this breed was considered the third most aggressive breed. The fact that chihuahuas came in second did not surprise me at all. Dachshunds as the most aggressive? That surprised me, as well. I know small dogs tend to be overly protective due to their size, though. You can see it in their behavior–they act like doggy gangsters in invisible leather jackets strutting through the yard like they’re ready to take on a pack of Coyotes, then they see mom standing near and hide between her shoes. I think the confusing part is the size. These three breeds can be more aggressive than other breeds, but if you are bit by a chihuahua it most likely won’t even break the skin. If you are bit by a dog with a large mouth, you could lose a nose, or worse.

    1. Yes, little dogs have to be tough, because most everything and everyone is bigger than they are! 🙂 “doggy gangsters in invisible leather jackets strutting through the yard ” Love that line! 😀

  21. I never had a JR but know many. I find them far too high-strung and over-the-top energy. Then my brother’s 16-year-old Shepherd died and we all cried. He replaced her with a JR and we thought he was nuts. I haven’t met the JR yet but my love for my brother will make me love that dog as well.

    1. Jack Russells are a lot like Dalmatians; smart, independent and energetic. Probably why I love them so much. 🙂 That’s quite a change for your brother! I hope it works out well.

  22. Hi, Debbie the Doglady!

    The only Jack Russell Terrier (Parson Russell Terrier) that I knew about was Moose, the dog that played Eddie Crane on the TV series Frasier. I believe I read about your house guest Saba last year. The unique markings on his face made him look like he was headed out to a Kiss concert. 🙂 It’s such a pity that Saba had a nervous condition that only got worse with age. It is also a doggone shame that Saba’s owner cut off communication with you at the end of her life and didn’t think to contact you and give you closure after all your years of service. Perhaps it’s as you stated. Some people don’t know how to deal with loss and grief and feel uncomfortable discussing the death of their pet with others.

    Thank you very much for sharing your info and story about the Jack Russell Terrier, dear friend Debbie!

    1. Hi, Shady; I remember Moose, aka Eddie very well. What a cutie! 🙂 Actually, The Jack Russell and Parson Russell are two different breed classes, the Parson being taller of the two:
      Yes, I admit to being upset that after 18 years, Saba’s owners didn’t let me know what was going on with her. Very disappointing! She and Tasha (our Dalmatian) were like sisters and after Tasha died, I became even more attached to Saba. Thanks for coming by to comment here each day. Much appreciated! 🙂

  23. I adore the Jack Russells! I had a little guy stay here with me. He’s been staying here with me for several years now, the most recent visit a few weeks ago. The first time I met him, he was a corker. Within 10 minutes of being here he had chewed holes in every single dog bed I have (I have several)! He was the bounciest dog I ever met, bouncing from one couch to the other, up on the back of the couches and down again, boing boing boing!
    Now he’s 16 and he’s still spry — he walks all the time, with his little legs going pitter patter on the tile floor. He’s just an angel and I so enjoy having him stay with us! I know how much you must have loved all the Jacks that have stayed with you…
    Great breed, great post Debbie!

    Michele at Angels Bark

    1. Aren’t they something? 😀 I just love these smart, energetic little dogs with big personalities. Luckily, none of the ones I knew were ever destructive, just hyper. Hopefully, your little guy grew out of that phase! Saba and Tasha were like siblings and had a few arguments, as they were both alpha females. Saba actually bit Tasha on the ear once, (wasn’t serious) then the next thing you saw was them curled up together, taking a nap. ♥ Memories.

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