Jack Russell Terrier

Lifestyle Needs

Jack Russell Terrier
Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier is a very popular small dog with pet owners and has only recently been recognised by the Kennel Club as a registered breed. The Jack Russell is typically intelligent and tenacious, playful and fun-loving. They are quick to learn, good escape artists, and love to dig in the garden. Their love of digging comes from their origins as ratters who will catch and kill their prey. They are wonderful little character dogs and full of joy, but can be a bit barky and assertive. They moult a lot so would not suit an owner who is house proud or who likes a quiet life. He needs an owner who will play with him and give him plenty of exercise every day.  Jack Russells are generally healthy and long lived, but are prone to obesity and owners should avoid over feeding.

Genetic Diversity
(Known as Coefficient of Inbreeding: 'COI'. It should be as low as possible.)

The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is - See 'A Beginners Guide to COI'

Gene Pool Size
(Known as Effective Population Size: 'EPS')


EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.

Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)

None known

BVA/KC Health Schemes: www.bva.co.uk/chs

  • Eye disease: Full ophthalmological  testing before breeding.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) (annual testing)

Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) : No EBVs are currently available for this breed

DNA Tests Available
DogWellNet and IPFD Harmonisation of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD)

  • Primary lens luxation (PLL)
  • Late Onset Ataxia (LOA)
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)

Availability of a DNA test does not mean that it is always necessary or even desirable for breeders to use this test.

Other Breed-Specific Health Screening Schemes

Patella luxation

BAER testing for congenital deafness

Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.

Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)

  • Bladder stones
  • Liver disease
  • Deafness
  • Patella luxation


Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.

Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions.

You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP):  www.puppycontract.org.uk

The breeder should also be familiar with the CFSG/DBRG Code of Practice for Dog Breeding

Or the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders Scheme Standard and Guidance:
Standard PDF | Guidance PDF

Breed Health Information