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What to know if you’re buying a… Jack Russell Terrier

JacK Russell Terrier outside looking happy

There are many aspects that potential dog owners need to consider before acquiring a dog or puppy and each breed has their own unique personalities and health care needs.

Petplan takes a look at the origins, temperament and common health problems of the Jack Russell Terrier…

Name:

Jack Russell Terrier

Original use of breed:

Reverend John “Jack” Russell first bred the Jack Russell Terrier to hunt foxes in the 1800s and their origins can be traced back to the now extinct English White Terrier.

Lifespan:

The average Jack Russell Terrier lives between 13 -16 years. One of the oldest dogs in the UK was reportedly a Jack Russell called Meg who reached the ripe old age of 25 – that’s 113 in dog years!

Jack Russell Terrier personality:

Jack Russell Terriers are intelligent, loyal, affectionate and are never shy. However, they were bred to be hunting dogs and therefore have a lot of energy and a strong hunting instinct. They require lots of training and stimulation otherwise they bore easily and may dig, chew, bark, and become destructive around the house.

They can sometimes be aggressive towards other dogs, so socialisation with other dogs from an early age is important, plus they can be quite headstrong so obedience training is also a must. As they were bred to hunt, their natural instinct is to chase, so be mindful when around cats and other small animals.

How much exercise a Jack Russell Terrier needs:

The Jack Russell Terrier requires lots of exercise, needing frequent opportunities to burn energy and participate in exciting activities that challenge their minds. They typically need around 45 minutes a day of rigorous exercise, plus plenty of off the leash play. They also benefit from activities such as canine obstacle courses or a game of flyball.

Potential Jack Russell Terrier health problems:

The Jack Russell is generally a sturdy little dog, but can be susceptible to the following:

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease

Legg-Calve-Perthes is a disease of the hip joint whereby the head of the femur becomes deformed and the hip joint degenerates resulting in painful inflammation of the joint and bone. The cause of this is not completely understood, but it usually occurs from an early age and can be corrected through surgery.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar Luxation is also common in smaller breeds. Some puppies are born with it, but symptoms only manifest themselves later. It’s basically when the knee cap dislocates and moves out of its normal position causing the dog not being able to extend its leg normally (the dog becomes lame or ‘skips’ due to pain) and this can lead to arthritis. This too is commonly corrected via surgery.

Lens Luxation

This is a hereditary disease that causes the lens of the eye to dislocate. The most common symptoms include a sudden onset of eye pain, clouding and redness of the white of the eye. The dog may hold their eye shut and there may be watery discharge. Lens luxation is an emergency and the dog should be referred to an ophthalmologist immediately as, when the lens luxates, pressure builds up in the eye causing glaucoma and blindness, which is irreversible without urgent treatment.

As with all pets, it’s vital you have the right insurance to ensure your pet gets the best care possible. Visit Petplan’s dog insurance page to see which policy is right for your dog.

Have you got a Jack Russell Terrier? Have you got advice for anyone considering getting one? Let us know in the comments below….

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