Are Jack Russells Good Family Pets?

By John Martin - May 2, 2022

Jack Russell with family

When you look at a small, cute, and affectionate Jack Russell, you might think, why would anyone even think twice before adopting this adorable dog? No one can deny that the pup is loyal, energetic, and extremely friendly.

But are Jack Russells good family pets? The breed has a reputation for being difficult and wild. So, before adopting a Jack Russell, let’s dive deep into the characteristics of this breed and answer all your questions about Jack Russells.

Common Characteristics & Features of Jack Russell

Before anything else, you need to understand the personality traits of a Jack Russell Terrier or JRT. This way, you’ll easily understand what to expect from this breed.

Below we have rounded the main characteristics and features of Jack Russells. Have a look —

Hunting Instincts: Good or Bad?

This can be a little hard to believe due to their small size, but the Jack Russells were actually bred for hunting foxes. During the 1800s, Reverend John Russell bred Terriers that could assist in fox hunting.

Because of its hunting origin, a Jack Russell is fearless and highly energetic. The dog won’t hide in corners in case it senses any kind of danger around you and your family.

While the enthusiastic and protective nature is commendable and appealing for a family pet, the hunting instincts can have some drawbacks too. You have to exercise the dog for 30 to 45 minutes per day.

Also, its fearless nature might invite many unwanted troubles for your family members. So you need to keep these downsides in mind while making your decision.

Activity & Liveliness: Perfect for Big Families

If you have a large family with kids and elderly members, Jack Russell can be an ideal family pet. This cheeky, active, and energetic dog loves to roam around and get introduced to new members instead of resting in a corner.

In fact, you’ll be astonished by its ability to move, hop, and jump from place to place. What makes them truly impressive is that they remain energetic and super active even when they grow old!

Although many dog parents find it difficult to train a Jack Russell pup, there’s no denying that the process is super fun, especially for kids. The pup will love typical cat puzzles, shaking, fetching, and roll-over games. It can also give you a nice little high five!

Keep in mind that Jack Russells are fantastic diggers, and you have to arrange secure fencing to keep them from escaping. You can visit your local vet to get more information about the temperament of this breed.

Appearance Features of Jack Russell

As we have mentioned before, Jack Russells are relatively small dogs with athletic nature. Jack Russells features a pure white color coat with black or tan patches. The texture of the coat can be rough, broken, or smooth.

As the coat is thick, strong, and waterproof, there will be minimal shedding. The height of a full-grown Jack Russell can be anywhere between 10 and 15 inches.

Both male and female Jack Russells weigh around 13 to 17 pounds only. Hence, it’s easy to pick up the dog and play with it. Altogether, the bodily features of this breed are pretty impressive, and this lovely dog will surely increase the charms of your house.

Suitability: Is It Adaptive & Friendly?

Suitability is the main reason why Jack Russells are considered good family pets. Their adventurous nature suits well with kids of 4 or more years. Instead of spending its day on your sofa, it will walk around your house.

Jack Russells have a good adaptive nature. They will easily get along with the environment and family members.

Another impressive fact is that the dog doesn’t get bored easily. So, it’s better if you have enough members in your family to accompany the dog for a big chunk of the day. Lack of exercise and companionship might lead the dog to boredom.

In that case, the dog will dig, bark, or make a mess in some corner. Hence, it’s essential to have a backyard so that the Jack Russell can play, hunt, and exercise. The dog is extremely friendly and it will incredible loyalty towards your family.

However, the dog takes other family pets like cats, dogs, and hamsters as its prey. It will be difficult for you to train it to get along with your other pets.

It’s best if you keep a Jack Russell as your only family pet.

Why Jack Russells Are Considered Good Family Dogs

If you ask a Jack Russell owner whether the breed is a good family pet or not, most of them will answer positively. But it requires love, companionship, and proper training to be the perfect pet that you want.

Here are a few reasons why Jack Russells are considered excellent family pets –

Easy to Take Care of

Jack Russells are self-sufficient. Hence, it’s easy to raise them with minimum attendance. But, they require exercise and playtime to maintain their temperament.

Preparing a balanced diet is just enough to fulfill its nutritional needs. So, you don’t have to stress about its health and fitness at all.

Minimal Health Issues

Unlike many other small dog breeds, Jack Russells remain healthy throughout their life, even when they grow old. Very few hereditary disorders are associated with the breed.

And that’s a huge bonus that makes them good family dogs. Due to their hunting origins, the dogs are exceptionally tough.

Most of their injuries are only caused by their small adventures. However, the dog is good at taking care of itself. This way, you don’t have to stress about maintaining its health all the time. Plus, you can save some treatment costs.

Active and Energetic

Kids often prefer an energetic and enthusiastic pet. And Jack Russells are more athletic and adventurous than any other small dog breed. Therefore, it will be an excellent family pet if you have several kids at home.

The dog will provide delightful company to your family members. It will play, jump, shake hands, and always keep you entertained. These enjoyment and fun interactions are another reason why Jack Russells are considered great family pets.

Loyal and Friendly

Once they get comfortable with a person, Jack Russells offer their highest loyalty and devotion. The dog doesn’t shy away to go any extent for its owner.

Also, its tiny stature and hunting instincts make it a great security dog. If the dog perceives a threat to its owner, it will do its best to protect them instead of cowering in a corner.

Hence, Jack Russell is undoubtedly a perfect companion for your kids.


Yes, you might have to invest a generous amount of money to get a high-quality pure breed Jack Terrier. But that’s it, there will be no more extra expenses throughout the lifetime of a Jack Russell.

As the dog has a very small size, it prefers smaller amounts of food. It takes any regular dog food twice a day. Plus, it suffers from very few health issues if you can ensure a balanced diet.

This way, you’ll be able to save a significant amount in the long run.

Long Life Span

In comparison to most smaller dog breeds, Jack Russells have a longer life span. Typically, a Jack Russell has a life span of 13 to 15 years.

This means you’ll get to spend as much time as you want with this lovely dog. What makes it better is that an older Jack Russell is less disease-prone and very much active. What else can you expect from a family pet?

Small Size

Because of its small shape, Jack Russell doesn’t take much space in your room. Also, the dog prefers to live inside the house instead of living outside in a separate dog house.

So, you don’t have to arrange any additional space for your Jack Russell. This way, both your money and effort are saved.

Low Maintenance

When it comes to maintaining its looks and grooming, Jack Russell requires less effort. The thick waterproof coat saves it from harsh environmental conditions like extra heat and cold.

It doesn’t have any special grooming needs. Typically, brushing the coat once a week is enough to keep the shedding level controlled.

Less maintenance means you have to go through less hassle. Plus, you get more time to interact with your delightful family pet.

Can Jack Russell Be Aggressive?

The honest answer is yes, Jack Russells can be aggressive towards other animals and new people. However, it’s the nature of the dog, and it doesn’t make Jack Russell a bad family pet.

With proper training, this aggressiveness can be fully controlled. That’s why it’s better to get a puppy instead of an adult. A newborn Jack Russell is like blank paper. It’s easy to shape its behavior towards other people and pets.

You should start training the puppy when it becomes 3 or 4 months old. And soon, you’ll be able to make it a gentle and well-behaved pet that everyone loves.

Is Jack Russell a Good Breed for Kids?

Yes, Jack Russell is a very loyal and affectionate breed that gets along exceptionally well with older children.

Just remember, it’s essential that your child is more than 3 years and understands how to properly interact with dogs. Untrained Jack Russells aren’t a good choice for houses with young children.

That’s because the dogs are rambunctious and might snap when handled roughly. You have to train your Jack Russell from its puppy stage to help it get along with your kids.

Besides, teach your kids how to touch and approach a dog. Keep them under strict supervision to avoid any unfortunate incidents like biting or ear pulling.

As Jack Russells are highly intelligent, they will quickly learn how to interact and respect your family members. Slowly, they will adapt to the situation of your home and get along with your kids.

Finally, we can say that Jack Russells are the perfect partners for your kids only if you can train them well.

Drawbacks of Having Jack Russell As Your Family Pet

Now that you know all the family-friendly characteristics of Jack Russell, it’s time to judge the drawbacks. Just like any other pet, this dog also has a few unwanted character traits that you might not want in your family pet.

The cons of having Jack Russell as a family pet include —


That’s probably the main complaint against the Jack Russells. Due to its predatory heritage, Jack Russell immediately recognizes other animals as its prey. The dog loves to display its power to cats, hamsters, and other pets.

What’s more alarming is that an untrained dog might show this aggressiveness to small children as well. So, you need to know how to train a Jack Russell properly before bringing it home.


For most people, active dogs are the best family pets. However, Jack Russell might come across as hyperactive. Sometimes you need to give them a large portion of your time and energy.

This energetic dog won’t stop playing even when you’re tired. If you have no one at home to take care of the dog, it’s not the right pet for you.


As you know, Jack Russell loves attention. When the dog gets bored, it can make noises to attract its owner. Also, the dog often barks loudly. This means you can’t keep a Jack Russell if you live in a small apartment.

Difficult to Train

Training a Jack Russell is not a big issue for experts. But in case you don’t have much previous experience, you’ll find it difficult to shape its nature and habits.

The dog is somewhat stubborn and likes to do things that please it. Hence, housetraining the breed might take longer than other dog breeds.

Wrapping Up

So, are Jack Russells good family pets? Now you know the answer. In case you’re still undecided whether to adopt a Jack Russell as your family pet or not, let us help you a bit.

We don’t recommend going for this breed without having any previous experience in dog training.

If you can adopt a pure breed Jack Russell in its puppy stage and train it properly, it can be the best family pet you’ll ever get!