Where Are Jack Russell Terriers From? Explained

Where Are Jack Russell Terriers From? Explained

History matters a lot when we need to find something in-depth. In that case, most JRT owners and dog lovers are curious about where Jack Russells Terriers come from.

If you are a proud owner of that loyal, energetic, and inquisitive four-legged friend, you may have wondered how he became so energetic, playful, and brave.

Many dog owners have come to me asking whether there is any way they could stop their JRT from being a little naughty and energetic. Knowing the history of Jack Russell Terriers would help you find answers to these questions.

So, where are Jack Russell Terriers from? And Where do Jack Russells originate from? The beginnings of the Jack Russell Terrier breed dates back hundreds of years in England. And all JRTs have a proud story to share with their forefathers.

Before reading the proud history of Jack Russell Terriers, if you are new to this dog breed and just exploring what they are like, let me give you a brief description of these furry friends. You will then realize that present-day Jack Russells have inherited most of their extraordinary qualities from their forefathers.

Jack Russell Terrier is a lively, independent, and athletic dog. Despite their extremely energetic, playful nature, JRTs are small in size. Since they are athletic in nature, it is important to know that they should have a way to burn their energy.

Therefore, if you are to have a Jack Russell as a companion, it is best that you take him for daily walks. JRTs have extraordinary hunting skills too.

They will make an excellent companion if you are someone who loves outdoor activities such as hiking and mountain climbing. So if you are a sports enthusiast, be assured that your JRT friend would excel in those activities too. 

In this article, I’m going to educate you on the history of Jack Russell Terriers, which will help you to understand their nature better.

I will also discuss the purposes they were bred for and Jack Russell’s characteristics in detail. Therefore, keep on reading to get to know your JRT better!

Who bred the first Jack Russell Terrier? 

As I mentioned before, Jack Russells share a proud ancestral history. JRTs are originally from Britain, and their origins date back to the early 1800s. Reverend John Russell of England (1795 – 1883) is the one who introduced these amazing furry friends to the world.

Rev Russell was a clergyman who, apart from his church duties, was passionate about fox hunting and the breeding of fox hunting dogs. He was known to have a vibrant, energetic personality which is similarly shared by Jack Russells Today.

Rev. Russell decided to breed terriers to work with foxes in Devonshire, which is known to be the beginnings of Jack Russell Terriers.

Early Jack Russells were great fox hunters; their physical features made it easier for them to do their job. In the early days, JRT owners would go hunting with these intelligent, loyal animals, and Jack Russells would chase the fox.

It is important to know that Rev John Russell firmly intended the JRTs to be working dogs. Although, with time, some of their features have slightly changed, excellent hunting abilities are still preserved in the modern-day Jack Russells thanks to the efforts of JRT lovers over the centuries.

As time passed by, Jack Russells increasingly became popular among sportsmen across the country, and they were often used for hunting activities. 

Jack Russell’s history in the United States

The 1930s marked an important event in Jack Russell’s history – they were brought to the United States for the first time. 

Jack Russells had a rough start in America as when they were introduced to the country, the American Kennel Club (AKC) first refused to accept them.

The opinion of JRTs lovers in this regard was divided. Some fans believed that gaining the recognition of AKC would have a negative effect on Jack Russells, while others favored recognition.

These divided opinions resulted in the birth of two national organizations for the breed. Namely, the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America, which considers JRTs as purely hunting dogs, and the Jack Russell Terrier Association of America.

Later on, in the year 2000, the Jack Russell Terrier Association was granted recognition by the AKC.

This is a brief description of the history of Jack Russell Terriers. I hope you now have a clear understanding of the origins of the breed. Let’s then move on to the special characteristics of Jack Russels.

Special characteristics Jack Russell Terriers bring from their origin

Jack Russells, as I mentioned, are small-sized dogs. Despite their size, JRTs are always known to be loyal, intelligent companions.

You may now be well aware that Jack Russells were once hunting dogs. Therefore, their energetic, lively nature is something they inherited centuries ago.

Due to their energetic nature, Jack Russells need exercise often. If you are someone who takes regular walks, make sure to take your furry companion with you, as daily walks are extremely important for their well-being.

Apart from that, Jack Russells need a spacious place if they are to thrive. If you could arrange your backyard with some chewable toys to play with, it would be best for your dog.

Therefore, if you live in an apartment, you may have to think twice before bringing a Jack Russell home. JRTs are also known for their barks!.

While their barks are by no means irritating,  sometimes you may find it a bit too overwhelming if you are busy. Therefore, try as much as possible to keep your Jack Russell occupied so that his energy is burned.

As I mentioned before, JRTs would make great companions if you are a sports enthusiast. Be it climbing, camping, or hiking; your JRT will eagerly join you.

Moving on to the physical characteristics of Jack Russells, Jack Russells usually weigh between 13 to 17 pounds. The standard heights of JRTs slightly differ from the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America to AKC.

The Jack Russell Terrier club recognizes Jack Russells to be of 10 to 15 inches. However, according to the AKC, Jack Russells are to be of 12 to 14 inches.

When it comes to the coat, the coat of Jack Russells could be of two types:  smooth coat and broken coat. All Jack Russells tend to have a coat with a gritty texture present on both types.

The damaged coat is significantly longer, with a beard and a hint of brows, and a  rough coat, which is lengthier than a broken coat, is found on some Jack Russells.

If you are someone who doesn’t like to spend much time brushing your dog’s coat, Jack Russells bring good news for you!. Regardless of their coat type, Jack Russells never have curly or wavy coats. Therefore their coats are always easy to brush.

Jack Russells are of three colors. They could be white or brown as well as white and brown with tan patches. They generally live up to 13 to 15 years, and if they are well taken care of, they are unlikely to get sick often.

However, some health problems may occur as your furry friend passes his best days. One of the common illnesses in Jack Russells is deafness with age. However, studies have found that the white breed of Jack Russells is more prone to deafness than JRTs of other colors.

Secondly, another common health condition among smaller JRTs is patellar luxation. This condition is caused when the dog’s patella is not properly aligned. This condition results in somewhat an abnormal gait in the dogs.

Jack Russells can also be infected with an eye disease named lens luxation, where the lens of the dog’s eye becomes displaced. However, the good news is that you can treat this disease with surgery. Glaucoma, another eye disease, is also common in older JRTs.

This condition occurs when your JRT’s eye pressure is abnormally high, and the eye produces fluid abnormally. However, this is also curable with medication.

The smaller breeds of Jack Russells are also prone to another disease named Legg -Calve – Perthes disease, which is caused by a deformity of the hip joint’s ball.

Still, this is also perfectly curable after surgery. As final thoughts on these diseases, I would advise you not to think of these as barriers to bringing a faithful furry friend home.

Any dog could be sick at one point in their lives, and good care and concern would surely cure these diseases in your furry friend. 

So, as I mentioned before, Jack Russells are energetic dogs. Their skills in hunting would make them love to chase away things!. However, at the same time, JRTs are very affectionate and loyal.

It would take some time and patience to teach your dog some manners. Yet, JRTs are very intelligent animals, and they are great at learning tricks. Therefore, you can enjoy your time while teaching your dog some manners!.

Moreover, in nature, Jack Russells don’t like to be left alone. Therefore, it would be best to make them perform small tasks so that your furry friend won’t feel left alone or bored. 

Final thoughts about history and the origin of Jack Russell Terriers

I have given you a detailed history of Jack Russell Terriers in this article. Knowing the beginnings of the breed is important to identify the unique characteristics of your dog. As you now know, Jack Russells are hunting dogs. Therefore, it’s best you make sure to keep them occupied. 

I have then discussed some common features of Jack Russells. As I mentioned, Jack Russells come in three colors, namely white, brown and tan. Moreover, there are some health issues in Jack Russells that you should be concerned about. However, good care and love are all that they need. 

So, where are Jack Russells from? I’m sure you now know the proud history of your furry friend. Therefore, next time he becomes mischievous, make sure to tolerate your little friend as it is their nature to be playful and energetic.

Thank you for reading this post. Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner for more interesting posts about your favorite dog breed. Cheers from Shaggy and Lenny!


  • George Brown

    George B. is the founder of the JRO Organization. He believes in creating a better world for domestic animals. He believes domestic animals are more vulnerable than other animals, especially dogs, since they have been used to depending on their owners for generations. So, he started JRO to share his ideas and insights while helping vulnerable dogs worldwide. George runs multiple projects on street dogs in developing countries, especially Sri Lanka.

    [email protected]

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