Russell Terrier Breed Guide

Russell Terriers have a weatherproof coat that is smooth, broken, or rough. All three coat types have an undercoat. Smooth-coated dogs have a short, dense, and coarse outer coat, while broken-coated dogs have a coat that falls between smooth and rough, usually with facial furnishings. Rough-coated dogs have dense and harsh hair that is not wooly, silky, curly, or thin. White is always the predominant color, and all Russell Terriers must be 51% or more white. Black and/or tan markings are usually present, and ticking is allowed. These dogs have small, V-shaped ears and black noses. Their eyes are dark and almond shaped. Russell Terriers measure 10 to 12 inches tall at the shoulder.

Full of life and overflowing with confidence, the Russell Terrier is always fun to be around.

Confident and intelligent, the Russell Terrier lives life to the fullest and views each day as a great adventure. These energetic dogs are well suited to active families who enjoy outdoor activities, such as camping and hiking. They are faithful, devoted, and loving, and they prefer time with their human family members to time alone. Russell Terriers are low maintenance when it comes to grooming, requiring only brushing and the occasional bath.

Russell Terriers are sometimes called Shorty Jacks, because they are longer than they are tall.

Full of life and overflowing with confidence, the Russell Terrier is always fun to be around. These little dogs are playful, intelligent, and energetic, and they thrive in homes with active families. They are great with children, provided they are raised together, and make loving and devoted family pets. This is not an aggressive or timid breed.

A bold and fearless breed, Russell Terriers love exploring outdoors and need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to remain content and happy. Anyone with an overly busy schedule, especially those who think it is acceptable to leave a dog cooped up inside all day or alone in the yard for hours without company, should reconsider purchasing or adopting one of these dogs.

Russell Terriers need regular exercise in the form of long walks or vigorous play sessions. They need to be confined to a securely fenced yard or held on a tight leash when outdoors to keep them from wandering off in search of adventure. These dogs tend to get themselves in trouble when left unsupervised, trapping themselves in deep holes or becoming stuck under foundations. They love to dig, but they don't usually know when to stop.

Russell Terriers are a generally healthy dog breed, but that does not guarantee that any individual dog will be free of illness or genetic disease. The first step in obtaining a healthy puppy is to purchase or adopt only from a reputable source.

Certain eye conditions are more common in Russell Terriers than in some other dog breed, including lens luxation, glaucoma, cataracts, and progressive retinal atrophy. Patellar luxation, ataxia, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease are also seen in the breed. Additionally, Russell Terriers are known to be affected by congenital deafness.

With routine veterinary care, timely canine vaccinations, a healthy diet, and daily exercise, Russell Terriers can live a full and active life of 12 to 14 years.

Russell Terriers are highly energetic, very curious, and tend to find trouble everywhere they go. For this reason, they require lifelong training. To be fully effective, training should be firm but kind. These dogs don't respond well to harsh criticisms or punishment. Positive reinforcement is helpful. Training sessions should be kept short and fun to hold the breed's attention; Russell Terriers bore easily.

Although generally friendly and outgoing, Russell Terriers still benefit from socialization. Puppy kindergarten classes, for example, will build their confidence and boost their tolerance for other animals. Later in life, these dogs benefit from walks around town and trips to the dog park. Overly timid, suspicious, or aggressive dogs should work with a professional, as this is not normal for the breed and indicates a problem of some sort.

Most negative behaviors in Russell Terriers stem from the breed's high energy levels or strong urge to dig. Providing a positive outlet for excess energy, such as through structured play and dog sports, will help minimize barking, digging, and other problems.

An easy-to-groom breed, the smooth-coated Russell Terrier needs only weekly brushing to remove loose hair before it end up collecting on furniture and clothing. Rough-coated dogs require the same frequency of brushing, along with occasional hand stripping. If shedding remains a problem, brushing every few days should take care of the problem. These truly are no-fuss dogs.

Unless the Russell Terrier rolls around in something harmful, stinky, or sticky, there won't be a need for many baths. However, this breed loves to dig and may end up dirty or muddy more days than not. Dirty dogs can benefit from a quick shampoo with a pH-balanced canine shampoo and a thorough rinsing. It's important to use a gentle product to avoid triggering skin irritation or dryness.

The nails should be clipped a few times each month to prevent clicking during walking, and the teeth need daily brushing to keep gum disease and tooth decay at bay. Weekly ear examinations to check for wax accumulation and signs of infection are also important. The outer ears can be cleaned with an otic-cleanser and cotton balls.

Russell Terriers were developed in Australia, but the breed actually originated in England. It shares many characteristics with the Parson Russell Terrier and was derived from Reverend Parson's strains. However, the two breeds are maintained as separate in the United States and Europe and have different body structures and heights.

Russell Terriers and Parson Russell Terriers are collectively and commonly referred to as Jack Russells. This has caused a great deal of confusion over the years. Jack Russell is not an official name for either breed.

When developed, the breed's small size was perfect for carrying in terrier bags on horseback. Today, these dogs are mostly kept as companion animals by families. They are popular choices for children.

The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Russell Terrier in 2012.