Jack Russell Terrier Care

Without a doubt, the Jack Russell Terrier (JRT) is one of the most popular dog breeds on the planet. These active, intelligent, small-sized dogs are playful, loyal, and athletic. Of course, they also possess the well-known Triple T--"typical terrier temperament"--and can be stubborn, willful, and downright ornery at times. Overall Jack Russell Terrier care will take a moderate amount of work, and will need to include some daily exercise, along with early training and socialization.

Below you'll find plenty of details on caring for a Jack Russell: puppy care and development, exercise needs, diet and nutrition, and other Jack Russell tips are all covered here. Get answers to your questions about raising a Jack Russell puppy in the following sections!

Jack Russell Terrier Exercise Needs

As these dogs are athletic (and though small, they're muscular), Jack Russell Terrier exercise requirements are moderately high. JRTs will need a variety of activities that condition them physically (walking, fetch), stimulate them mentally (canine sports), and stretch and tone that Jack Russell muscle (tug-of-war). They make great jogging companions as well.

Specifically how much exercise does a Jack Russell need each day? Adult JRTs will need about 45 minutes of dedicated exercise on a daily basis. You can start exercising your Jack Russell puppy when it's 2½-3 months old by taking it on short walks, then you can increase the walks' length as the pup grows.

Precautions with Jack Russell exercise:

  • Don't exercise puppies too hard before they're nine months old
  • A leash is an absolute must when exercising in public; leash training during puppyhood is recommended
  • Yards should be securely fenced when exercising in public

Exercising your JRT every day is a must. Without consistent activity, these scrappy, intelligent, energetic dogs will drive their owners nuts with their barking, digging, and chewing. Regular exercise will be great for both the dog's and your own peace of mind! A few Jack Russell exercise routine ideas:

  • Walking/Jogging: Two 20-minute walks (or 15-minute jogs) per day is a good target
  • Fetch/Frisbee: JRTs love chasing a ball, stick, or Frisbee
  • Hide-and-Seek: Great indoor activity; give the dog a treat when it finds you
  • Dog Park: If properly socialized, JRTs enjoy the company of other dogs; be sure to use a leash!
  • Tug-of-War: Good muscle-building exercise; use a rope or old towel
  • Canine Sports: JRTs can excel at agility or obedience trials and other events

When indoors, be sure to give your Jack Russell access to balls or toys that will allow the dog to burn excess energy. It's also good to have a regular exercise schedule for the dog, such as walks or jogs after breakfast and dinner and playtime in the afternoon.

Jack Russell Terrier Maintenance

These dogs will need moderate maintenance overall. Jack Russell Terrier shedding is fair to heavy, and drooling isn't an issue.

JRTs have two main coat types: smooth or broken. The smooth coats are pretty short, and the broken (or rough) ones are a bit longer. Does a Jack Russell Terrier shed much? It does--regularly, and all year long. Owners can brush their JRTs once or twice a week with a grooming glove (or in the case of broken coats, with a slicker brush) to keep the shedding to its minimum. Owners of rough-coated JRTs should also have coats hand-stripped several times per year to keep them in good shape. Hair cleanup--vacuuming the floors, and lint rollers on clothes and furniture--will be required pretty regularly.

A JRT almost never drools, though. If your Jack Russell Terrier is drooling excessively, it might be a sign of a medical issue, in which case a veterinarian's care is needed.

Jack Russell Terrier Diet

The Jack Russell Terrier diet will need to include animal proteins, carbs, vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids--nutrients every dog needs to maintain its health in the long term. This means the best Jack Russell Terrier food is premium dry kibble, as it contains balanced portions of the above-listed ingredients. If eating high-quality brands like Royal Canin, Jack Russell Terriers will simply live healthier--and they'll live longer as well.

But just how much should a Jack Russell eat? Adult JRTs, depending on their age, size, and activity levels, will only need about 1½ cups of premium dry food per day, divided into two meals. Jack Russell food portions for puppies are a bit smaller: again depending on age, about one cup per day, divided into three meals (not two) until the age of five months.

For more info on feeding these dogs from puppyhood through maturity, here's a Jack Russell puppy feeding guide:

Feeding Chart
Dog AgeDog WeightFood TypeAmountFrequency2 Months3 lbsDry (Puppy formula)0.15 cups3x/day3 Months5 lbsDry0.25 cups3x/day5 Months9 lbsDry0.33 cups3x/day8 Months12 lbsDry* (Puppy/Adult)0.6 cups2x/day10 Months+15 lbsDry (Adult formula)0.75 cups2x/day

*--Around this time, transition to adult food by mixing in adult formula with the puppy formula, in slowly increasing amounts with each meal, for one week.

Try if possible to stick to the above-listed Jack Russell dog food portions. If constantly overfed (and under-exercised), JRTs will quickly become overweight--and a fat Jack Russell Terrier will have numerous health problems and a shortened lifespan. You can help control your JRT's weight by having consistent feeding and exercise schedules, by not feeding the dog table scraps, and by not leaving food in the dog's bowl all the time.

If you're worried your Jack Russell Terrier is overweight, try this simple test: run a hand along the dog's side, and if you can't feel any ribs, it's diet time--which means less food and more exercise!

Living Environment

Jack Russell Terriers are definitely inside dogs. While your JRT will surely need some outdoor exercise each day, the dog will be much happier living indoors with its human family members, and will be sad, frustrated, and disobedient if forced to live out in the yard. And for the Jack Russell Terrier, apartment living is fine--just make sure the dog gets a chance to get out and stretch its legs at least once a day!

In regards to climate: for the Jack Russell, winter and summer are both okay. These dogs are pretty adaptable to most weather conditions, and should be comfortable in both hot and cold temps.

Jack Russell Terrier Grooming

Read the grooming requirements for Jack Russell Terriers including coat care and other maintenance.

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About this Article

Authored by:Dog-Learn
Updated:September 11, 2019