Ideal for families, the Jack Highland Terrier, which is a hybrid of the Jack Russell Terrier and West Highland White Terrier (Westie) is the perfect blend of intelligence, loyalty, gentleness and friendliness. The Jack Highland Terrier has the characteristics of both parent breeds, which makes these dogs a great family pet and companion.
So, if you’re contemplating bringing home a Jack Highland Terrier but not sure if they are suitable for your home, then read all the information about this breed to make your decision easier.
Jack Highland Terrier Features at a Glance
- Ancestry: Hybrid of Jack Russell and West Highland White Terrier (Westie)
- Height: 10 to 14 inches
- Weight: 13 to 21 lb
- Lifespan: 11 to 13 years
- Appearance: Sturdy, compact and athletic with a muscular build, large eyes, V-shaped ears and scissor bite
- Temperament: Energetic, playful, attentive, alert, inquisitive, playful, social, loyal and loving
- Suitable For: Couples, small families with kids, elders, people living in apartments or small homes
Since the Jack Highland Terrier is a fairly new hybrid, not much is known about its history. Understanding the lineage and history of the parent breeds can give an insight into the Jack Highland Terrier, its characteristics, temperament, etc.
The origin of the Jack Russell Terrier can be traced back to the 1800s to the United Kingdom, where they were bred to track and hunt foxes along with foxhounds. Because of their smaller size, Jack Russell Terriers could get into tight spaces more efficiently.
The West Highland White Terrier, popularly known as Westie was developed in Scotland. In 1906, the breed was recognized by the England Kennel Club and came to the US in 1908, when it was known as the Roseneath Terrier.
In 1909 the breed was recognized by the AKC and the name was changed to West Highland White Terrier. Westies were also bred as hunting dogs to hunt small game such as rabbits, rats, badgers and foxes.
Related: Westie Mixes You Will Love
Jack Highland Terriers are sturdy, compact and athletic-built dogs. The breed has a short, stocky and muscular build and grows to around 10 to 14 inches in height and weighs around 13 to 21 lb.
The breed has short or long coats depending on the parent breed, although most Jack Highland Terriers have medium to long-haired coats. The texture of the coat is dense and straight and requires regular maintenance.
Jack Highland Terriers come in varying coat colors such as white with black markings, white or white with tan-colored markings. They also come in tricolor i.e., tan, white and black.
The breed has large, dark and intelligent eyes, wide-set ears that are V-shaped and either stand erect or fold/curl over and the teeth appear larger than the head and meet in a scissor bite.
The Jack Highland Terrier has compact, round and thickly padded paws and strong hindquarters, which contribute to the breed’s springy, jumping gait. The dog has a tail that is slightly curled or carried high on the back.
Jack Highland Terriers are affectionate, friendly, cheerful, gentle, independent, alert, courageous, loyal and energetic, all the characteristics that make them excellent family pets. These intelligent dogs can be easily trained and their cheerful and happy demeanor can keep the children entertained while cheering you up when you’re sad.
While the breed is quite friendly with kids and even strangers, however, their strong prey drive, inherited from their parent breeds can make the Jack Highland Terrier unfriendly to cats and other small pets like guinea pigs, hamsters, etc. Early training and socialization can help to modify and prevent this behavior.
Jack Highland Terriers are inquisitive and alert dogs, having a sharp sense of smell and love exploring interesting scents in and around your home. They have high energy levels, which makes it important that they get plenty of exercise to burn off this energy. Otherwise, they will get bored very easily and indulge in destructive behaviors.
These dogs are highly energetic all through the day right until bedtime and they love to run around and play. They don’t like being left alone and if left for long periods of time, they can get up to mischief.
The Jack Highland Terrier breed is prone to health conditions including:
- Craniomandibular osteopathy (lion jaw)
- Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (dry eye)
- Pulmonic stenosis
- Lens luxation
- Globoid cell leukodystrophy
- Shaker dog syndrome
- Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
- Persistent pupillary membranes (PPM)
- Cerebellar abiotrophy (Ataxia)
- Myasthenia gravis
- Chronic hepatitis
- Pyruvate Kinase (PK) Deficiency
- Epidermodysplasia Mellitus
- Follicular dysplasia
- Selective IG A deficiency
- Bleeding disorders
- Addison’s disease
- Retinal dysplasia
- Malassezia dermatitis/otitis
Grooming and Maintenance
Your Jack Highland Terrier may or may not have hypoallergenic traits depending on the parent breed he takes after because the Jack Russell is not hypoallergenic, while Westies are. Also, in terms of shedding, it will depend on the parent breed because Jack Russells shed a lot, all the time, while Westies shed minimally.
The length of the Jack Highland Terrier’s coat also depends on the parent breed; however, if he does have a long coat, then you may need to brush your pet 2-3 times a week to keep him well groomed.
The Jack Highland Terrier requires an occasional bath, whenever it is needed; however, you may have to wipe his coat between the baths to keep him clean and tidy.
Your Jack Highland Terrier requires regular ear check-ups and cleaning, which can help to prevent any ear infections. Likewise, regular dental check-ups and cleaning the teeth can prevent dental problems. Keep your pet’s eyes and the area around his eyes clean and checked by a vet periodically to prevent any problems.
Exercise and Activity Requirements
As mentioned earlier, Jack Highland Terriers are highly energetic and active dogs. They need 60 to 80 minutes or active exercise to expend their energy in the form of long walks, hikes, playing fetch, running around in your yard or the park. They also do well at agility and obedience training.
This intelligent pooch requires physical and mental stimulation to keep him satisfied and happy otherwise, he’s bound to get into a lot of mischief. So, make sure that you have plenty of toys in your home to keep your little furry friend engaged and happy.
Jack Highland Terriers are avid diggers and chewers, which can make him an escape artist and so, it is better to put him on a leash when he’s outdoors. The curious pooch will happily investigate and follow unusual scents around when you take him walking.
The small size of the Jack Highland Terrier makes them excellent for apartments, condos and small homes, as long as he has sufficient exercise opportunities.
In conclusion, Jack Highland Terriers are cute, loving dogs that quickly integrate into the family and love spending time with their humans. Their active, cheerful and amiable nature is guaranteed to keep you entertained for hours.
However, being highly energetic and always on the lookout for things to do, these pooches need a lot of running around, playing and exercise all through the day.
So, if you’re an active family and can keep up with this little pooch’s energy, then the Jack Highland Terrier is the perfect pet for you.