Jack Russell Terrier breed information

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Own a Jack Russell, or welcoming one into the family? Here's everything you need to know about your furry friend, from grooming and exercise to common health problems.

  • Size: Small
  • Life span: 13-15 years
  • Coat: There are smooth-coated and rough-coated versions, in colour combinations of white plus brown, black or tan. Both types shed hair and will benefit from a weekly brush
  • Exercise: At least an hour a day for adult dogs

Jack Russell personality

Jack Russell terriers (or JRTs) are clever, bold and energetic little dogs, making them a popular companion. They tend to be adventurous dogs and are known as expert escape artists, so make sure your garden is well-fenced to keep them out of mischief. Lively, curious and fearless, it's easy to see why the Jack Russell terrier was popular as a hunting companion in Victorian times, happily disappearing down rabbit holes to bring back game for their masters. The Jack Russell makes a loyal pet, but having boundless energy means they can often get into mischief if bored.

Jack Russell terriers are high-spirited dogs who love to play. They get bored easily like other types of terrier dogs, but they tend to invent their own games to keep them occupied. They are devoted to their owners and love children.

The Consider Uggie campaign was launched in 2011 to get Uggie, the JRT who featured in the film The Artist, an Oscar for his performance.

Jack Russell dog

Common health problems and illnesses

Cruciate ligament

The cruciate ligament can be found in a dog's knee and is important for keeping them stable when walking or placing weight on their legs. It's not completely clear why this ligament ruptures, but treatment such as surgical correction can help restore a dog to his happy self. Keep an eye out for any signs of lameness, such as limping, or any mobility problems in your pet.



Jack Russells can be prone to this condition. Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, caused by factors including obesity, high-fat diets and certain diseases. Pancreatitis is common after dogs have eaten inappropriate foods such as fat balls intended for wild birds, or fatty human foods such as bacon or fried bread. If you notice that your dog seems to have a painful abdomen – if they're sitting in a hunched up or praying position, are reluctant to go for a walk, vomiting, has diarrhoea or no appetite, then it's important to get them seen by a vet. The vet may prescribe medication, or suggest putting your dog on a low fat diet.

Check out our pet breed guide to learn more

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Time Limited pet insurance policies

  • Our Time Limited policies cover an illness or condition (and their related conditions) for a maximum of 12 months from the date of the first treatment up to the limit you choose 

  • No more claims will be paid once the 12 month limit has been reached 

  • This cover is most suited for short-term illnesses and injuries 

Lifetime pet insurance policies 

  • Our Lifetime policies provide cover for all illnesses or conditions that occur in the policy year, up to the policy limit you choose

  • The policy limit is then refreshed and applied again at renewal, so you know your furry family member is always covered

  • This covers illness and injuries needing cover for longer than 12 months

Don't forget: if your pet has any pre-existing medical conditions when you take out your policy, we won't cover these or any condition linked to them.