Written by Josephine Lategan
Did you know that the Jack Russell is our most-covered dog breed at dotsure.co.za? If you’re a Jack Russell fan, you won’t be surprised. If you’re wondering why they’re our policyholders’ most popular dog, we’ve done the homework.
Whip this one out at your next braai and amaze your friends with newfound knowledge (and a little trivia). In the next few minutes, you’ll discover why we celebrate Jack Russell dogs.
First, let’s make sure we’re thinking of the same little ball of canine energy and wit.
These dogs are terriers but very, very short terriers. In South Africa they tend to have short legs relative to their body length; in America the longer legged ones are popular. Being inherently confident and quite independent, they may not know they’re short (or care about it). Watch them around other aggressive dogs. They’ll take anything on, without fear or regret.
Males and females alike are around 20 – 30cm tall at the withers and will weigh 7 – 12kg when fully grown.
These special little creatures have 3 different types of coats, including a smooth coat, a broken coat, and a rough one which is coarse and has longer straight hair. Their instantly recognisable colours are white base, with black or tan markings. Partial gingers FTW (For The Win)! Some of them may be short but all the coats shed, so maybe don’t invest in a black upholstery couch. You may have seen a Jack Russell on the television show Frasier (remember Eddie?) and the children’s show Wishbone (look for Soccer). Speaking of kids, Jackies need to be carefully monitored around youngsters because they may not put up with having their ears tugged or their tails (which we do not dock – it is illegal) hung onto.
Ok, get the picture? Now we’re on the same page, let’s see why these doggos are so awesome!
They hardly snore or drool, make great watchdogs, need only moderate social attention so they can be left without a human chaperone for short periods once they’re accustomed to it, and will entertain themselves (just make sure the fence is secure).
Overall, Hill’s Pet points out that “the Jack Russell terrier is a happy, energetic dog with a strong desire to work” so frequent interactive exercise and games with puzzles and prizes (healthy treats) will really be appreciated.
They are also independent and will wander off on adventures by themselves. That’s why they need good fences to keep them in the yard, and, of course, prefer a larger garden so they can get all that energy out. These dogs love to accompany humans on hikes and are small enough to lift over the difficult bits with a harness that has a handle. They’ll probably find a way past it before you can reach for them, though!
That’s because Jackies are known to be agile and clever. They’ll benefit from healthy, consistent boundaries and positive reinforcement training, and “will pick up on tricks like that and you’ll be able to get a lot out of [them] in terms of tricks and training” says the Jappy Jack Russell website.
Being a baying terrier, “they love to talk to you and get your attention so that you can share [in] the fun”, the Happy Jack Russell site continues. “Remember that dogs bark in order to communicate with you, so take that seriously. This is the reason why you need to start teaching him to stop barking [unnecessarily] from the very first day”.
If you’re looking for a bright, bubbly dog who isn’t interested in lounging around on the couch all day and would rather be outside digging in the dirt, the Jack Russell is for you. They’ll express themselves with an occasional bark, or a rapid-fire monologue of them, to tell you about something they’ve sniffed, saw or plan to chase. If you’re looking for a fur-ball to sit on your lap and let you cuddle it for hours, you probably want a kitty cat or older pooch. Either way, consider adopting a pet companion to keep you company and add joy to your life!
Word of caution: The Jack Russell was originally bred for fox hunting and “training cannot eliminate the hunting instinct”, warns Hill’s Pet. You know they’re intrepid and intense little terriers, so we recommend you allow us to cover the vet bills which so often come as a surprise. Become part of the dotsure.co.za family by choosing between our wide range of pet insurance plans and rest assured that your pet (and pocket) will be covered in the event of an unforeseen accident or illness*. Quote and buy online in less than 5 minutes here!
*T&Cs apply and are obtainable by emailing email@example.com.
Meet some of our most loved exotic pets
Exclusive feature: Vet of the Month
Your cat, separation anxiety and the lifting of lockdown...
7 safe home workout exercises for you and your pooch...
How to adopt a pet at the ACCL
The 5 rarest and most expensive cat breeds in SA