All about your Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terriers are clever, bold and energetic little dogs, making them a popular companion. Find out more about this playful, charismatic breed, from their temperament and how they should be groomed, to their health and exercise needs.

    Breed information & advice

    The Jack Russell is a loyal and high-spirited dog from the terrier breed group. They're adventurous and known as a bit of an escape artist, so make sure your garden is well-fenced to keep them out of mischief. Here's more you should know:

    • Bred for hunting, this dog has a lot of energy and will keep you entertained with their playful antics
    • Brush their coat once a week to remove debris and loose or dead hair
    • The typical weight of a fully grown Jack Russell is between 6kg and 8kg for both males and females
    • On average, a healthy Jack Russell will live between 13 and 15 years

    Typical size of a Jack Russell Terrier: Small: 25cm-38cm

        Recommended exercise & nutrition

        Jack Russells are a naturally active breed, so your dog will need a lot of exercise to keep them entertained. It’s important to exercise them for up to an hour each day and to set aside time to play games in the garden such as frisbee, fetch or even blanket hurdles. Your dog’s thirst for freedom needs to be taken into account, so be sure to have a secure outdoor space to prevent any breakouts.

        Keep your dog in shape by feeding them two high-quality meals each day. Exact quantities will vary depending on your dog’s age, size and how active they are, and be sure to read the packet.

          Up to one hour of exercise per day

          As they're such an active dog, it’s important to exercise your Jack Russell daily through walking and playing, so they can burn off all their excess energy.

              Common health problems & illnesses

              Jack Russell Terriers are generally healthy dogs, but they’ll need regular check-ups and vaccinations to stay in good shape. There are some conditions that this breed may be more prone to, and it’s worth being aware of the main symptoms or signs, so you know what to watch out for.

                A common injury affecting this breed is a dislocated kneecap, also known as a luxating patella. This is a condition that they’ll have been born with, and signs to look out for include occasional skipping or hind-leg lameness. Simple surgery is usually the best way to treat this condition, but your vet can advise on the best course of action.

                  There are two types of Cushing’s disease – the most common type is caused when too much of a hormone which controls the amount of cortisol in the body is produced in the adrenal glands. Cortisol is a hormone which regulates many things within the body. Too much of it can cause different signs but usually starts with bacterial infections. You may notice your dog is drinking and urinating more than usual, there is hair loss on the head and legs, with increased panting and general weakness. The second rarer type is when a small benign tumour occurs either in the pituitary gland in the brain, or near the adrenal glands. Usually this condition can be treated with lifelong daily medication, however if it’s caused by a tumour then surgery is required. So speak with your vet if you notice anything unusual.

                    Jack Russells can be affected by epilepsy and experience seizures due to uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain. Fits can vary from muscle spasms to hallucinations but with the right medication from your vet, epilepsy can be controlled and affected dogs can live a normal life.

                      PLL is an inherited disease, common in Jack Russells, that causes tiny fibres that hold the lens suspended within the eye to degrade and break. When this happens, the lens can drop out of place. If the lens falls forward, it can block normal circulation in the eye and cause secondary glaucoma. Ideally, you should examine your dog’s eyes on a regular basis and speak to your vet if you have any concerns.

                        Legg-Perthes is a painful condition that causes the hip joint to crumble and collapse. It can be treated with an operation to remove the diseased hip joint. With successful treatment, the outlook for a dog with Legg-Perthes is good.

                          Dog name popularity

                          If you’re struggling to think of a name for your Jack Russell, take a look at the most popular ones at Tesco Bank Pet Insurance for inspiration.

                            1 Poppy
                            2 Bella
                            3 Alfie
                            4 Jack
                            5 Daisy

                            Average treatment costs

                            Wondering whether pet insurance for your Jack Russell is worth it? We’ve put together the top five conditions claimed for by Tesco Bank Pet Insurance customers in 2021. To give you an idea of how much vet bills can vary, we’ve shown both the average cost and the top 10% most expensive costs for each condition.

                              Top five conditions and average costs

                              Top five conditions and average costs


                              Average cost

                              10% most expensive




                                    Cruciate rupture












                                                            Tesco Bank Pet Insurance claims data from paid treatments including excesses from 01/01/21 to 31/12/21.

                                                            Considering Jack Russell insurance?

                                                            We know your dog is an important member of the family, so give them the protection they deserve with Tesco Bank Pet Insurance.

                                                            Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Ltd.

                                                            Grooming advice

                                                            Jack Russell Terriers can have two different types of coat – smooth or broken. Broken coats are rough and slightly longer. You can keep your dog’s coat looking its best by brushing them at least once a week to remove any loose or dead hair, and they will need bathing every so often depending on their activities. Keep their nails in shape with regular trimming.

                                                            You’ll also need to look after your Jack Russell’s dental hygiene. Brushing their teeth daily if possible is important, as it reduces tartar build-up and helps to prevent gum disease.

                                                            Start doing this when they're a puppy to get them used to it and praise them for good behaviour, so they see this as a positive part of their routine.

                                                              Fun & interesting facts

                                                              • Jack Russells were originally bred as hunting dogs, and their desire to catch ‘prey’ is still in their nature.
                                                              • Their lively and energetic behaviour means this breed is capable of jumping over five feet in the air.
                                                              • Bothy the Jack Russell was the first dog to travel to both the North and South Pole with owners and British explorers Ranulph and Ginny Fiennes.
                                                              • Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall has two Jack Russell Terriers called Beth and Bluebell.
                                                              • A campaign was launched to get Uggie, the Jack Russell Terrier who featured in the film ‘The Artist’, an Oscar for his performance.

                                                              Important information

                                                              The content on this page aims to offer an informative introduction to pet breeds, but does not constitute expert veterinary advice. If your dog or cat falls ill or has an injury, contact your vet immediately. Tesco Bank Pet Insurance has a partnership with vetfone™ which means that as a customer, you can benefit from their advice as part of your policy.

                                                              Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Ltd. The vetfone™ service is provided by VetsDirect Ltd.

                                                              All facts and figures were correct at date of publication and were compiled using a range of sources.

                                                                Vetfone™ is a 24/7 unlimited, free telephone or video call service that provides expert advice from vets or vet nurses qualified with the RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons). If your pet has a medical emergency, or you need advice on health, grooming, feeding or behaviour Vetfone™ is there to help.

                                                                As a Tesco Bank Pet Insurance customer, you can access friendly, expert advice from qualified Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons as a standard benefit with your policy, and the service is provided at no additional cost. A quick telephone call or video call could answer any questions you have about your pet, give you peace of mind and could even save you a trip to the vet.

                                                                Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Ltd. The vetfone™ service is provided by VetsDirect Ltd.

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