Dogs

5 Things to Know About Russell Terriers


Russell Terriers are super smart and highly trainable. Photo: Petful

1. Key Characteristics of Russell Terriers

  • AKC Group: Terrier
  • Height: 10–12 inches
  • Weight: 11–13 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12–15 years or longer

Formerly named the Jack Russell Terrier, this high-energy dog is smaller than the Parson Russell terrier.

A working breed with a strong hunting instinct, the Russell Terrier has a weatherproof coat that is predominantly white with patches or spots of black, tan or both.

2. Where Russell Terriers Came From

This breed originated in England in the mid-1800s as fox and vermin hunters. The size of the dog allowed it to be carried in terrier bags on horseback.

The dogs were developed in Australia as the Jack Russell terrier. The breed was renamed in the United States to Russell terrier. This is a separate breed from the Jack and Parson Russell terriers — they have a different body shape and height.

This new breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and was accepted into the Westminster Kennel Club dog show as a new breed in 2013.

russell terrier breed profile
Russell Terriers are known as fearless and loyal. Photo: GeorgeCinna

3. How Friendly Are Russell Terriers?

Russell Terriers are fearless, confident and loyal animals who are affectionate with their people. Their high intelligence makes them extremely trainable, and they need socialization and reinforced training to avoid becoming stubborn.

Russell Terriers are good with children but should not be left alone with small animals because of their strong hunting instincts.

These terrier breeds are extremely intelligent and so highly trainable that they often appear in movies and on television shows.

4. Is This the Right Dog for You?

Exercise Needs

HIGH: This very active breed needs regular activity, play and toys, and would be great for an active family that enjoys spending time outdoors. They will do well in apartments or city life with regular, daily exercise.

Grooming Needs

LOW: The weatherproof coat needs little grooming apart from a weekly brushing and bathing only when needed.

Be sure to brush your dog’s teeth regularly, as well as clip their nails.

Health Problems

LOW: Russell terriers are fairly healthy dogs with a small number of regular health problems:

Learn more about Russell Terriers in this video:

5. How to Adopt a Russell Terrier

If you consider getting a Russell Terrier, please turn first to adoption resources. Even purebred animals land in shelters sometimes.

Try the Petful adoptable pets search. You can also check with rescue groups and breeders. Ensure sure the breeder is reputable.

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