Jack Russell Terrier Grooming: What’s Involved, How Often & More

By John Martin - May 4, 2022

Jack Russell getting nails trimmed

Jack Russells are extremely hyper dogs that love the outdoors. They lead an active life and are a joy to have around.

Every pet owner knows that grooming their beloved pet is part of owning them. A healthy grooming routine ensures that they are comfortable and free from health problems.

Jack Russells are relatively low maintenance when it comes to grooming. However, you need to be diligent in their care and routine.

Why Do You Need to Groom Your Dog?

Grooming is an important part of your dog’s care. It is not just about hygiene. Besides improving their appearance and increasing their comfort level, grooming your dog also comes with many health benefits.

A basic part of grooming, such as brushing their coat, keeps them from looking scruffy, untangles loose hairs, and prevents matting.

It also airs out their coat, allowing their skin to breathe, and reduces the amount of grease.

Since Jack Russells have short hair, grooming them helps lower the intensity of shedding. It will also help them develop a water-repelling coat.

Grooming also allows you to inspect them, giving you an opportunity to ensure that they have no visible health concerns. Therefore, you cannot neglect or skip out on their grooming just because you are not feeling up for it.

What Is Involved in Grooming Your Jack Russell?

Grooming Jack Russells involves several things. However, the level of maintenance varies depending on their coat type. Not all Jack Russell grooming routines are similar.

Jack Russells have three defining coat types—smooth, broken, and rough coats.

A Jack Russell with a smooth coat will have no traces of hair around their face, body, and legs. Their coat has a sleek appearance and grows in one direction. This type is the easiest to maintain and care for.

A rough coat Jack Russell is a direct contrast to a smooth coat. They are covered in long fur that grows in multiple directions. It has a rough feel to it and can grow one or two inches in length. It is great in protecting them from the elements.

Meanwhile, a Jack Russell with a broken coat is a combination of both smooth and rough coats. They have patches of fur along with patches of smooth hair. Their coat is unique, and it sets them apart from each other.

Depending on the coat type, grooming will involve fur care such as brushing, stripping, and bathing, along with trimming nails and cleaning the ears and teeth.

How Often Should You Groom Your Jack Russell?

Contrary to popular belief, Jack Russells do shed. Sometimes, they shed in excess. One of the reasons for this might be irritated skin. You can dry up and irritate their skin if you go overboard with baths.

Jack Russell should not be bathed often. Restrict their baths to when they get filthy and stinky, and every two months or so.

While you should pump the brakes on bathing, you should not neglect to brush their beautiful coat regularly. Seasonal changes affect how much they shed. So if it is a molting season, such as in spring and autumn, run the brush through their coat daily. Keep the minimum amount of brushing to once or twice a week.

Additionally, they need their nails trimmed frequently, provided they are not wearing them out during their outdoor excursions. Assess their nail situation every four to six weeks and get trimming.

Lastly, dental hygiene is also part of grooming. Ideally, you should brush their teeth once a day. However, this might be taxing for some people. In that case, you should clean your dog’s teeth at least once or twice per week. This will provide major benefits to the little furball’s overall health.

How to Groom Your Jack Russell

Now that you are aware of the significance of grooming your dog, how should you proceed with it?


Despite being short-haired dogs, Jack Russells require thorough brushing on an almost regular basis. No matter their coat type, they shed. Maintaining a steady brushing routine ensures that they shed less and their hair does not matt. It causes less build-up of bacteria and ventilates their fur, reducing the likelihood of a stinky dog.

It also gets rid of dirt and any sneaky parasites or pests that are hitching a ride in your dog’s coat. Additionally, brushing acts as a massage for their skin. It improves blood circulation and allows redistribution of oil across their coat.


Jack Russells with rough or broken coats need more maintenance. Besides regular brushing, they require stripping twice a year. This refers to the process of pulling out longer hairs with a stripping comb.

Stripping gets rid of dead skin, reduces shedding, and allows for the growth of better-looking fur.

However, this requires patience and proper technique. If you are unsure how to hand strip your dog, consult a professional or get a groomer to do it for you.


A little snip here and there is also part of grooming your Jack Russell. You will require a pair of scissors to snip away at the long hairs on their face, toes, feet, and tail to neaten them up.

Make sure you use a pair of blunt clippers when trimming around the face. Thinning scissors are more suited for trimming the tail.

The frequency of trimming depends on how fast their hairs grow. Ideally, you should inspect your furball every eight to ten weeks for stray long hairs and give them a little trim.


Bathing is crucial in dog grooming. However, you should not give frequent baths to your Jack Russell as this will dry their skin and cause excessive shedding. The need for baths depends on how filthy they get—did they spend the day rolling around in wet mud? Or have they started to smell bad?

If they have not been up to any shenanigans, the recommended waiting period to bathe your Jack is once every four to six weeks or every two months. This will ensure that you are not stripping your dog of its natural oils.

Before you run them a bath, make sure you thoroughly brush and strip (if applicable) them. Most dogs enjoy a bathing session. However, some might show aversion to it. If your dog does not like baths, you will have to make it an enjoyable experience for them and get them comfortable with the process.

Prepare a bath as you would for a baby. Do not use overly hot water as this will dry out their skin. Make use of dog shampoo and avoid the use of any conditioner.

After a bath, make sure your Jack is completely dry before they run off into the outdoors. It will not only get them dirty again, but it might also cause an odor in their damp fur.

Bathing your dog is a great way to spend quality time with them. It can be an enjoyable process for both you and your dog once you get comfortable with it.

Ear Cleaning

Cleaning the ears of your Jack Russell is also a must in the grooming process. Ideally, cleaning out the ears is easier after a bath. Besides bath times, you should check and clean their ears on a weekly basis or every few weeks.

If you spot dirt or debris in their ears, get a cleaning solution and a cotton swab. You will find various types of cleaning solutions or ear cleaners available for dogs. Use this to gently wipe away the visible dirt. Be careful when using a cotton swab as it can get stuck inside their ear and result in an infection.

If you spot anything stuck inside the ear like ear mites, grab a pair of tweezers and carefully extricate it. Make sure your dog is in a calm state. You do not want to perform an ear cleaning when they are hyper. This would risk injury to their ears.

You can also use just a damp cloth to clean their ears. Make sure that you do not push anything inside the ear. If you spot something amiss, consult a professional.

Ear hygiene is also an important part of owning and caring for a dog. Make sure their ears remain healthy and clean.

Dental Care

Dental care must not be overlooked. Jack Russells are generally more prone to dental issues than other dog breeds. Improper care or neglect of their oral hygiene leads to a nasty road filled with oral diseases. It can even shorten their lifespan if left untreated.

Like us, they are prone to plaque buildup. Therefore, proper care must be taken to brush their teeth on a regular basis. However, this is easier said than done. It requires training and time. An effort has to be made on your end as well. Training a pup might be easier than an adult, but it can and must be done.

Buy a toothpaste designed for dogs along with the right toothbrush. These toothpastes are safe for them since they tend to swallow.

Follow a brushing routine as often as possible. If you cannot brush their teeth daily, make sure you follow through once or twice a week at least. This will majorly benefit their health and keep them from developing any serious dental issues.

Nail Trimmings

Do Jack Russells need their nails trimmed? Yes, they certainly do. However, you might not have to trim them quite frequently if their nails are getting naturally worn out through their walks and exercises.

Since they are hyper dogs who love jumping, long nails can be a danger to you. You need to ensure that you trim and file the nails before they get too long. In addition to safeguarding against scratches, you will also want to protect your floors and furniture from its assault.

Be consistent in your nail trimmings. Inspect their paws every four to six weeks before breaking out the nail clipper. Do this when your Jack is calm, and be careful not to clip the nails too short.

Also Read: How to Use Dog Nail Clippers

The Final Word

Compared to other breeds, Jack Russells have a fairly low-maintenance grooming routine. Their short stature makes them a delight to take care of.

Grooming can be an enjoyable process for both you and your Jack. If you follow proper grooming, your dog will be happy and healthy, and you will not have to run a lint roller over your furniture and clothes as often.

Make sure you consult a professional groomer once in a while to get your Jack Russell thoroughly assessed. This will benefit them and give you a short break from your grooming duties.