The spunky and spritely Jack Russell Terrier was originally bred in England about 300 years ago to hunt foxes. And these dogs can seriously hunt! The Jack Russell may be a small breed (between just ten and seventeen pounds), but they live and breathe like furry rocket-boosters, filled with energy and brimming with determination.
The Jack Russell Terrier (JRT) is widely recognizable, partly because they’ve appeared on screen in films like “The Thin Man,” a renowned comedy-mystery series from the ’30s and ’40s. Steve Martin famously held a JRT over his manhood in the robe scene of “The Jerk,” and the lovable Eddie (actually a Parson Russell Terrier) represented the breed for many years on “Frasier.”
Did the shows make the dogs famous? Or was the JRT so amazing, he was made for the screen?
Absolutely the latter.
Here are six facts that Jack Russell lovers know by heart.
1. The JRT May Be Too Smart for Its Own Good
You could probably teach a Jack Russell Terrier to file your taxes, but then you’d need to see a helpful wizard who could compel your Jack Russell Terrier to want to file your taxes. Because a Jack Russell Terrier knows she don’t work for free!
The JRT is probably even smarter than the foxes they were bred to hunt, and they’ll learn all sorts of tricks and feats, but getting them to oblige you in a performance is a trick you’ll have to learn to pull off!
2. Best Sidekick for Showing-Off
These high-adrenaline dogs are incredibly strong, fast, and seemingly powered by superhero energy. Combined with their intelligence, the JRT’s athleticism allows them to perform amazing physical feats with the proper coaching.
Such training can also help with another key characteristic of the breed (see #3!).
3. Boredom Drives a Jack Russell Terrier INSANE
While the JRT is a smaller breed, don’t confuse them with a laid-back snuggly lapdog who loves a good Netflix binge.
The Jack Russell’s boundless and frenetic energy demand an owner who can stay attentive, engaged, and active. Without plenty of room and time to run and burn off their excitement, a Jack Russell is likely to become anxious, depressed, or even destructive. These highly intelligent dogs also need a lot of mental stimulation so if you’d prefer not to leave your dog alone Rover.com has lots of amazing sitters who offer dog boarding across the country!
4. Fan of Humans, Wary of Canines
Jack Russells are typically warm and friendly with humans, including strangers, and especially loyal to their owners. But they’re a bit less welcoming with members of their own species.
Maybe this has to do with their slightly inflated egos or their prey-drive mentality, but a JRT will rarely back down, even when he’s clearly outmatched. You gotta admire their courage!
5. Who’s Down with OCD? The JRT!
The relentless persistence of a Jack Russell Terrier is charming, amusing, and borders on unbelievable. Introduce a toy or a game of fetch, and a Jack Russell will commit himself to the utmost performance of playfulness, fetchiness, or gumption.
Their devotion to the task at hand is not only endearing but inspiring. We could all use a bit more Jack-Russell spirit in our own lives!
6. Jack Russells Don’t Like to Share the Spotlight
Bear with me on this one: I have an uncommon name (Cecily), so I hardly ever encounter other Cecilys. I like it this way. When I do meet another Cecily, I feel suddenly, deeply competitive. (Exception made for SNL’s Cecily Strong.) The Jack Russell Terrier feels exactly this way about other Jack Russell Terriers.
It may not happen immediately, but eventually, if two Jack Russells are left alone together, expect a face-off of epic proportions. Maybe this isn’t the most charming trait, but you have to admire the self-love!