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How To Breed Jack Russell Terriers

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Published on
Sunday 22 March 2020
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
How To Breed Jack Russell Terriers – History, Health Issues & Best Jack Russell Terrier Breeding Practices
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The feisty but adoring Jack Russell Terrier is loved by many. If you’re wondering how to breed Jack Russell Terriers, we will be explaining all the breed-specific elements you need to consider. From their health issues to their temperament, you will be able to confidently form a business around this breed.

Furthermore, you need to understand all the elements about breeding Jack Russell Terriers from pricing to clientele. It may be daunting to initially start off a business and worry about financial aspects as well as the care of all your furry friends, but we have the advice to get you to where you want to be.

Background of Jack Russell Terrier Breeding

To fully understand a dog breed, you need to be aware of their past and how they were selectively bred to their modern-day version. History can tell us why certain traits are more prominent and where they came from, so we can train and treat our Jack Russell Terriers in the most appropriate manner.


In 1795, a hunting enthusiast reverend name John “Jack” Russell bred the ideal ratting dog known as the Jack Russell Terrier. At the time though this name was not recognized, instead they were a form of Fox Terrier, which was not a breed at this pointer but a fox hunting dog. It reached the point where Russel realized that his dog breed needed to be a different color in order to see it stand out against the prey it was chasing. He bought a white and tan terrier in 1819 to add to the breed named Trump and gain a much whiter dominant coat.

Trump’s descendants helped to create the predominant of a base white coat on modern-day Jack Russell Terriers, they also contributed towards their temperament. This breed was very prey driven, hence why they were used regularly to drive foxes out of their burrows for the hunt. However, they were also controlled enough to avoid maiming the fox or even drawing blood. As many summarise today, Jack Russell Terriers are a lot of “hot air”.


Moving forward to more modern history, Jack Russels were only registered in the UK Kennel Club in 2016 and (combined with the Parson Russell) the AKC in 2001. Although the breed has been named the Parson Russell Terrier as a combined overview with the Parson Terrier. This is one of the more modern registered breeds and therefore it is still quite recent to see them in dog shows and to have a breed standard. It is important to know that the Jack Russell Club of America opposed the formal and individual registration of this breed by the AKC. As they wished to keep the breed registered as a working dog and not a show breed. Therefore, it’s AKC registration is not formally paired with the Parson Terrier page but is regularly associated with it, as can be seen in this article.


The current AKC rank for the Parson Russell Terrier (statistics are combined with the Jack Russell Terrier and Parson Terrier) is 82nd out of 193 dog breeds. This shows that the Jack Russell Terrier is in the more popular half of the registered American dog breeds. However, they are not in the top quarter so are not the most popular breed. From 1989 to 2020, Jack Russell Terriers have been in media. They usually play the role of the little but feisty sidekick whether in daytime TV shows or cartoons. The celebrity chef Rick Stein had a famous Jack Russell named Chalky who appeared on many of his shows with him. This lovable character even ended up having an influence on Stein’s merchandise.

jack russell terriers as hunting dogs
Jack Russell Terriers as hunting dogs

Even in the past few years, the Jack Russell Terrier has still flooded our screen in programs and films. “Midsommer Murders”, a popular British Detective has had three differing Jack Russell Terriers alongside their newest police chief, John Barnaby. This reoccurring pup star compliments the gentle but witty comedy of the program.

Furthermore, in the 2016 hit “The Secret Life of Pets”, this wonderful animated film depicts the Jack Russell Terrier Max and his adventure with his new brother Duke. The second film of the franchise came out in 2019. This fun family film delighted children and displayed the image of Jack Russell Terriers, which is most commonly seen in media as strong-headed and cheeky. Although, for the first time, the Jack Russell Terrier was a film’s lead in this franchise.



The Jack Russell Terrier is a small breed that can come in both block and spotted coloring patterns. It is important to note that they are not formally recognized by the AKC but often those concerned about aesthetics hold them to the standard of the Parson Russell Terrier. They can have either folded or pointed ears, but the AKC defines the breed standard to have folded ears.

After the combination of the Parson Terrier and the regular Jack Russell Terrier by the AKC, the breed standards are in-depth and clearly explained to avoid further confusion. Unusually, there is a category for the breed’s tail. This is not regularly used when highlighting the breed standard on their AKC breed-specific page, but the requirements of docking are mentioned, hence its category separation. Here we have summarized the basics of the breed standard:

  • General appearance: Alert, weatherproof coat, medium in size
  • Head: Intelligent expression with preferable dark eyes. The ears should be folded and in a “V” shape and the fold should be level with the top of the skull
  • Neck, body, topline: The neck should be muscular with a slight arch and a straight topline. Their body should be square and balanced. The chest should be of moderate depth and the ribs should be oval-shaped
  • Coat: Smooth or broken, the coat should be natural and not excessively groomed
  • Forequarters: Long and sloping shoulders with strong, straight legs
  • Hindquarters: Strong and muscular with good angulation
  • Tail: Docked so the tip is level to the skull


Described by the AKC as alert, inquisitive and lively, this little breed adores people and play. They love to get involved and are an incredibly loyal breed. The Jack Russell Terrier is very affectionate and is a great dog for an individual who wants a pet with a close bond. However, their reliability on humans and in particular, their owners, can lead to separation anxiety. This anxiety can be managed with exercise as they are a high energy breed and require a lot of mental and physical stimulation. Your Jack Russell Terrier will require long walks or multiple walks a day. One walk can be applied if a lot of play is supplied alongside this.

When walking Jack Russell Terriers, you have to be aware that they have high prey instincts, and in a dog park one rabbit can cause your Jack Russell Terrier to run off. This is why you need to begin training them at a young age, in order to especially reinforce the command “come”. Because of this reason, depending on where you live, you may want to consider walking them on an extendable leash.

jack russell terriers are barkers
Jack Russell Terriers are recreational barkers.

Jack Russell Terrier vs Russell Terrier vs Parson Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier is often confused with the Russell Terrier and Parson Terrier. The differences are not always obvious nor explained well. We have composed an easily comparable table so you can finally tell the difference between these three breeds.

Jack Russell Terrier (JRT)Russel Terrier (RT)Parson Terrier (PT)
SizeA small sized dog
10 – 12 inches
Smaller than the JRT
8 – 10 inches
Taller than the JRT
12 – 15 inches
Body ShapeRectangularRectangularSquare
AKC recognizedCombined with PT to create the Parson Russell TerrierYesCombined with the JRT to create the Parson Russell Terrier

Health Concerns when Breeding Jack Russell Terriers

Jack Russell Terriers are generally very healthy and can live 13-16 years with proper care. Find out what issues you need to be aware of with your new family member through reading our list of their common health problems.

Lens Luxation

Lens luxation is where the lens in your Jack Russell Terrier’s eye detaches and can lead to partial or complete blindness. This occurs either due to zonule degeneration, the weakening, and eradication of fibers holding the lens in place, known as primary lens luxation. Secondary lens luxation occurs due to previous damage from other eye diseases. Some symptoms of lens luxation include:

  • The eye may look different: Some pupil is missing, the eye may turn white, the lens moves position
  • Pain and inflammation
  • A cloudy eye
  • Squinting or watering of the eye
  • tearing of the eye

Treatment of this condition will first require a vet to give your Jack Russell Terrier an ocular exam to identify whether lens luxation is present and whether is it based in the posterior and anterior of the eye. Both forms of luxation should initially be considered an emergency and it can lead to blindness within a matter of days. Therefore, surgery is almost always considered. However, some forms are mild and can be monitored, but let your vet consult and make that decision.


Glaucoma is where fluid cannot drain properly from the eye due to pressure on the eyeball itself. This condition requires treatment or will end in eventual blindness due to the pressure on the optic nerve. 40% of glaucomas will result in blindness, which is why treatment is so important.

Some of the symptoms of Glaucoma in Jack Russell Terriers include:

  • Cloudy eye
  • Excess blinking
  • Bloodshot eye
  • Receding eyeball
  • Dilated pupil
  • Light doesn’t affect the eye
  • Vision loss

Medication will be given to treat the pressure in your dog’s eye, once the pressure is lessened it can help to maintain some vision. However, there are other treatments that can be used such as the fluid being drained or cyclocryotherapy, which uses cold to destroy the cells that continue to create liquid pressing on the eye. However, the eye may be removed in some cases if the severity is high.


If your Jack Russell Terrier appears to have a cloudy eye, the most common reason is cataracts. This is when the lens of your dog’s eye gradually deteriorates and vision worsens alongside this. It can lead to eventual blindness. The following list is the symptoms you have to be aware of:

  • Cloudy eyes
  • Stumbling or walking into furniture
  • Eyes watering or inflammation
  • Pawing at their eyes

If a cataract is mild or does not heavily affect your dog’s vision, a vet may tell you that they will treat the symptoms most predominantly. This could mean eye drops to reduce inflammation or pain killers to reduce pain. Only in severe cases will a vet suggest surgery, where the lens is removed and a clear lens is used to replace it. This restores your dog’s vision.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation is also known as knee dislocation, where the knee comes out of place and not in the knee joint. The leg will not immediately connect back into place. It requires the dog to lengthen their leg and relax the surrounding muscles, which may induce pain. Therefore, as dogs will avoid it, often vet intervention is needed. Your dog may have suffered patella luxation if they are:

  • Holding their hind-leg in the air
  • Limping or ‘skipping’
  • An initial whelp or signs of distress when the knee moves

Your vet will most likely conduct an x-ray for your Jack Russell Terrier to confirm it is a patella luxation. There are different grades for the severity of the dislocation. Grade 2 will require surgical intervention whereas grades 3 and 4 are always recommended to have full surgery. Grade one never requires surgical input.


Congenital Deafness

This is where your dog may lose their hearing from birth or later in life, but there is either a genetic influence or an influence whilst they are in the womb. It is often associated with the color pigment of your dog, as lighter skin colorations or pigments have a higher probability of having congenital deafness. Here are some ways you can tell your dog is struggling with their hearing:

  • Odd vocalizations
  • They do not react to loud noises such as yelling or doorbells
  • Confusion
  • Aggression or anxiety when being woken up
  • Excess sleeping

There is no treatment for congenital deafness, however, there are specific training classes you can take your dog to. That way, you can teach them commands by hand signals and better learn how to help them adjust to a life without hearing.

Myasthenia Gravis

With myasthenia gravis, your dog’s nervous system does not transport messages properly to the muscles and therefore your dog suffers from extreme fatigue. This disease can have a genetic component and has the possibility to be passed down from parent to puppy. A blood test can diagnose your pup. Here are the symptoms you need to be aware of:

  • Worsening physical weakness which is increased by exercise
  • Drooling
  • Breathing trouble
  • Cramping with movement
  • Eyes struggle to close even when they are asleep

Medicated treatments can be provided. Vets will give anti-acetylcholinesterase for the rest of your dog’s life. These inhibit a nervous system enzyme. However, this lifelong condition can result in a lot of concerning behavior that requires ongoing health treatment, such as their struggling ability to swallow.

Legg–Calvé–Perthes syndrome

The top of the femur bone begins to degenerate when your dog has Legg-Calvé–Perthes syndrome. This disease typically affects puppies aged five to eight months old. Although there is little known about the cause of this syndrome, it is believed that a lack of blood flow to the area may be an affecting factor. Symptoms include:

  • Increasing lameness
  • Thigh muscle deterioration
  • Limping or avoiding pressure on the leg
  • Pain in movement

Your vet will use an x-ray to diagnose the wasting in bone but will often be able to tell from observing the affected limb and your dog’s movement. Treatment is an ongoing process. Firstly your vet will prescribe you painkillers and possibly anti-inflammatories to help with your dog’s pain. physio and hydrotherapy can also aid your pet. Surgery is often recommended to help shape the femur and rid of any painful irregularities. Checks are required biweekly initially.

Von Willebrand disease

Von Willebrand is a type of clotting protein, this disease has an absence of this protein in the body and therefore clotting is more difficult. This blood disease is relatively rare but more common in Jack Russell Terriers than some other breeds. The symptoms are not seen in a lot of individuals unless they require surgery or have an injury. This is because the only available symptom of this blood disorder is poor clotting. It can be seen in females giving birth, young dogs getting neutered or spayed, or those that have recently hurt themselves.

As this disease can never be detected in some dogs, it is not much of a concern. Some may require a blood transfusion during surgeries, but if you make sure your dog stays as healthy as possible, you should not need to worry.

How to Breed Jack Russell Terriers

Here are some considerations you need to think about while planning to breed Jack Russell Terriers. Litter size and pricing are but a few.

Jack Russell Terriers have a strong prey drive.
Jack Russell Terriers have a strong prey drive.

Choosing the Bitch and Stud

Here on breeding business, we believe in the most ethical procedures taking place. There are multiple ways you can ensure this. Using stud services or purchasing a bitch with registration papers can ensure these individuals have been ethically bred. Furthermore, the papers will let you easily register all the puppies produced, which is financially beneficial as well as showing potential buyers you bred each puppy properly. Check both parents’ lineage and screen them for hereditary health problems as neither parent should pass on any diseases or syndrome to their pups.

Next, you should do a health check, looking from head to tail for any physical abnormalities or health concerns such as hair loss, dandruff or rotten teeth. Finally, you want to see if these dogs match the physical and behavioral characteristics you desire in a litter. This is especially important if you are attempting to follow breed standards.

Litter Size

The average litter size for a Jack Russell Terrier is 6 puppies. This small dog is known to vary with the number of puppies produced and many owners mention how they have had around 8 to 10 puppies in a litter.

Always note that the first litter of a dog is usually smaller than the following. Furthermore, be sure to look at the past litters of your bitch’s mother and grandmother as they can help you to roughly estimate the number of pups she will produce.

Birthing Issues

Also known as dystocia, birthing issues can affect any expecting dog. Jack Russell Terriers do not have any specific birthing issues, however, every bitch is vulnerable to complications. The cord of a puppy may become wrapped around their throat, restricting oxygen and even leading to a stillborn puppy. A puppy may also be lodged in an awkward position, preventing birth. The female will continue to push to fatigue, may have excess pain, and become very anxious. You should always have an emergency vet that you can contact if a situation arises that you need vet aid with as in this case.


The ideal clientele for purchasing Jack Russell Terriers are lovers of the breed, those interested in a small companion for travel, and those in need of a ratting dog. When creating a growing business, you need to be aware of what clientele you have to target. This gives you aid with how you should advertise and where.

Make a social media page on either Facebook or Instagram to advertise the sire, dam, and litters you have produced and are selling. In order to gain the attention of those interested in traveling with a small dog, related hashtags can be used to attract the right crowd. Furthermore, if you are interested in selling your pups to ratting clubs, consider advertising alongside pest control or in farming groups, a career that often has ratting problems.


When creating a business, you have to decide the right puppy selling price. On average, the selling price of a Jack Russell Terrier puppy is between $700 and $1,200. This depends on the reputation of the breeder and their ethics.

Puppies that are registered and have a reputable breeder as opposed to a backyard breeder can reach higher ends of the price scale. Furthermore, if breed standards are being followed, this can increase the price. But only slightly in this case, due to the mix of rules with Jack Russell Terrier registration and the AKC.

How To Breed Jack Russell Terriers
How To Breed Jack Russell Terriers

Breeding Jack Russell Terriers – FAQs

To make sure you have a baseline understanding and feel confident about breed Jack Russell Terriers, we have composed an FAQ to answer any remaining questions.

Do Jack Russell Terriers Have Little Dog Syndrome?

Little dog syndrome can be categorized as a dog small in stature overcompensating for their size by being extra loud or aggressive to others. Jack Russell Terriers are the poster child for this behavioral response. It is not actually a syndrome but rather a reaction to a social situation. This is often the response when a dog feels overwhelmed or nervous.

Their anxiety turns into acts of verbal and occasionally physical aggression. Rarely will little dog syndrome cause a dog to be physically aggressive. Most commonly, the extra vocalizations and the way they will often run to you first is a sign of dominance to try and protect themselves, not to be aggressive.

Are Jack Russell Terriers Only Loyal to One Person?


Jack Russell Terriers are extremely loyal to their families, not just one person. Like any dog, they can, of course, have preferences, but that does not mean they will.

Make sure to involve every member of the family in important areas of the dog’s life, such as walking, feeding, and training. If one member of a family does the majority of these tasks or gives more attention to the Jack Russell Terrier than others, then it is possible that they will form a stronger connection with them than other family members.

Do Jack Russell Terriers Need Long Walks?

Jack Russell Terriers have medium to high energy levels and do enjoy long walks. Your dog will often know their limits. With a puppy, starting on smaller walks and increasing the distance to a point where their energy is used up but they are not exhausted is ideal. With a rescue, try to mimic a similar technique unless their energy levels are already causing behavioral problems.

Do Jack Russell Terriers get Separation Anxiety?

Jack Russell Terriers do get separation anxiety due to their high dependence on people. They adore affection, attention, and most importantly their owners. Often, when their owner leaves they can feel strong separation anxiety. This can lead to multiple negative behaviors such as loud and constant vocalizations, urination, and destructive behavior. Luckily, there are methods you can employ to aid their separation anxiety so they feel better and their behavior is better.

Consider using essential oils to calm them before your absence. You can also play music to calm your dog, a study shows they prefer soft rock and reggae.

These feisty little characters are both brilliant family dogs and a great breeder to start breeding. Always research their behavioral and physical requirements before a purchase. Each dog breed has its own needs and types of suitable homes.

One comment on “How To Breed Jack Russell Terriers”

  1. Margaret Fraser

    We have three baby puppies ready to go to new homes very soon they will be vet checked sorry if not aloud, l have found my dog to help me with the my children who have disables and has also let me know of our friend who had a turn and not one was with her the dog stayed with her till l got there and wouldn’t move till she came too

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