10 Reasons to be Thankful for Your JRT

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Like any Jack Russell owner needs a reason to be thankful for their best bud!

But seriously….

Canadian Thanksgiving is the second Monday in October. Americans celebrate it on the fourth Thursday of November. But either way, the holiday is all about giving thanks for the awesome parts of life…like our dogs!

As JRT admirers, we have a lot to be thankful for every day.

What, you might be wondering.

Here are just a few.

1) They’re Supercharged

To say that the Jack Russell Terror…er…Terrier is a bundle of energy would be understating things. A lot. And that level of energy can be aggravating. But, let’s be honest. It’s also one of the reasons we love them so.

It’s hard to be bored with a Jack Russell in the house. And it’s impossible to be lazy.

And who can resist our jumping, digging, running, frapping Jacks?

Jumping Jacks

Anyone who loves a Jack Russell knows that these dogs can get serious air. How serious? A Jack Russell Terrier can jump up to five times its own height. That means if you have a 12-inch-high Shorty Jack, you’re going to need a fence at least five feet high. And if you have a bigger Jack? Well, you’re going to need a seriously high fence. Check it out.

Jack Russell Terriers’ natural jumping ability makes them a natural for sports like disc dog. So why not grab Frisbee and give it a try?

Climbing Jacks

Jumping isn’t the Jack Russell’s only superpower. A lot of them can climb, as well.

What, you thought only cats climb trees? Toby the Jack Russell would like you to consider other possibilities.

Digging Jacks

Maybe you’ve considered changing your JRT’s name to Digger. We wouldn’t blame you!

Just don’t blame your dog. Digging is a natural behavior for all dogs. Some dogs may dig more than others out of boredom — a very real problem for the clever JRT — as well as anxiety.

But Jack Russells may dig more than most because it’s one of the behaviors that they were bred for. Specifically, people have bred Jack Russells to chase down their prey and tunnel into the ground after them.

But digging can be destructive and annoying to us humans. So what can you do?


Many people suggest setting aside an area of your yard where it’s OK for your dog to dig. You can bury toys and treats to make digging there more interesting. If you’re really feeling ambitious, you can make your dog their very own dig pit.

Also, as with many Jack Russell problem behaviors, more exercise is often part of the answer.

2) They’re Good For Our Health

Science has shown, over and over that pet ownership is very good for your health.


Well, in one recent study, dog owners proved to be better at handling stress than people who don’t have dogs. Dog owners also had lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

On top of that, a study published in Nature found that dog owners are less likely to die from heart disease than other study participants.

Is this because dog owners get more exercise from all the walkies, ball-throwing, and stick-chasing? In part, sure. But having a dog often makes a person more social, and that’s good for us in a variety of ways.

What do we mean?

Well, a number of studies have shown that dog ownership lowers the chance of both isolation and depression. People who have dogs not only have a greater chance to socialize while they’re out walking with their pets, but they’re also more likely to make friends.

And we all could use more friends.

3) They’re Fearless Protectors

Many have called the Jack Russell Terrier “a 150-pound dog in the body of a 15-pound dog.”

It’s true!

Jack Russells are indomitable. You can see it in the way they tend to make friends with dogs who are a lot bigger than they are. And with other large animals, as well!

In fact, for a large number of big cat reserves, a Jack Russell is the buddy-of-choice for lonely, orphaned lions and cheetahs.

It’s no surprise to anyone who loves a Jack Russell, that these little powerhouses are always punching above their weight.

It’s this combination of fearlessness and the Jack Russell’s…er…vocal nature that makes them top-notch watchdogs. Among other occupations.

4) You’ll Never Be Bored

Jack Russells are scamps. There’s no two ways about it. They’ve got the enough of the dickens in them to enjoy a bit of trouble, and they’re clever enough and sneaky enough to figure out exactly the right kind of trouble to get into.

But this isn’t a bad thing. Not at all! In fact, it means that you will never be bored. In addition to physical exercise, our Jacks give our brains a workout, trying to stay one step ahead of them!

Physical health, mental health, and no opportunity for boredom? What could be better than that?

5) Dogs Make Us Smarter

Having a dog doesn’t just make us healthier and happier. It also makes us smarter.


Good question!

In addition to having to think three steps ahead of a clever and determined Jack, having a dog means we’re constantly learning a new language. It’s true.

Dogs are always trying to communicate with us, whether we pick up on it or not. Dogs communicate with each other through a sophisticated system of body language, vocalizations, and scent. They spend an awful lot of time analyzing us for similiar signals. And, whether we know it or not, they’re always trying to tell us something.

So pay attention to your dog’s body language. Look at posture, ear position, and check out what they’re doing with their tail. You can probably already identify different kinds of barks, whether it’s the playtime yip-yip-yip, or the decidedly more businesslike Burglar Bark.

But did you know that there are different kinds of tail-wagging? Dogs also use their facial muscles, ears, and posture to try to tell us different things.

And if we pay enough attention, it will not just bring us closer to our dogs, but it will make us smarter, as well.

6) There’s Nothing Like a Jack Russell Smile

True story. Have you ever seen it?

There’s no thing on earth quite as adorable as a Jack Russell smile. And they really are smiling, too! Science says so!

Animals do, indeed have emotional lives. And a dog’s smile, although not the same social gesture as a primate’s smile, does convey happiness nonetheless. In fact, dogs are always trying to find ways to show us they love us. A smile is just one.

And you have to admit, it’s one of the cutest things you ever will see.

7) They give you an excuse to learn a few new recipes

A Jack Russell Terrier is a high-energy dog. That means that, for many of us who love them, we’d better be quick with the treats.

But not all treats are created equal. Have you seen how many dog foods and treats have been recalled this year alone due to various contamination issues? And then there are the artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives that a lot of us want to avoid.

If you love a dog, you’ve probably wondered about making your own dog food and dog treats. Whether you’re thinking about feeding your dog a raw diet, designer dog food, or simply adding fruits or veg to your dog’s current diet, there’s a lot you can do right from your own kitchen.

The first step is to think about nutrition. A Jack Russell Terrier puppy, for example, needs 800 to 900 calories per day. An adult will need between 450 and 650 calories. It’s important to balance macros, too. Jacks need a diet comprising between 18 and 22 percent protein, and between 5 and 8 percent fat.

Now comes the fun part: recipes! Are you looking for warm-weather treats to cool your pup down? Or perhaps wintry recipes to help them stay warm? Or maybe you just want something healthy to help them to replace some of that energy.

However you slice it, if you have a dog, you’ll always have an excuse to try out new recipes. And that’s something we can all be thankful for!

8) They Can Introduce You to New Sports

New friends, new recipes…our dogs give even the oldest amongst us an excuse to try out new tricks. And that includes sports!

If you have a Jack, then you’re probably not going to be logging a lot of couch time. It’s for the best. Really!

What might you be doing instead?


How about Canicross? What’s that? Canicross is a fancy name for “cross-country running with your dog.” It’s also a competitive sport with a huge international following. But, whether you do it formally, or informally, it’s a great way to get both exercise and together-time in with your dog.

Earth Dog

Earth Dog is a sport that lets a Jack do what a Jack does best: track prey and chase it to ground.

Only unlike hunting, Earth Dog takes place in a controlled environment, where both your dog and the prey are protected from harm.

Check out this Jack in action.

What other new sports might you enjoy with your Jack? Well, there’s Disc Dog, hiking, Canine Freestyle, swimming…and so many more. You’re bound to find a few new favorites–or at least have a lot of fun looking!

9) They’re always up for an adventure

The Jack Russell is the ultimate adventure dog. Several of them have even become famous international explorers, like Bothie, the first dog to set paw at both the North and South poles.

Polar exploration is a little outside of most people’s reach. But there are still plenty of adventures you and your Jack can get up to.

Like what? You might ask. Well….


A lot of Jacks love to camp. Heck, a lot of other dogs like to camp, too. Why? Well, it’s a great way to get out of doors, see new sights, and smell new smells. It’s also a fun way to get some exercise and to bond with your humans.

How do you get started?

Well, first, look for a dog-friendly campground near you. Alternately, you could try the quickly growing trend of dog camps.

What are those?

These are like summer camps for kids, complete with cabins, cookouts, and scheduled activities. Some dog camps are just for dogs. Others cater to dogs and their owners. And our favorite involves lots of fun group activities for everyone!


Hiking is a natural for the athletic, energetic Jack Russell Terrier. And if you’re new to hiking, exploring dog-friendly trails with your best canine bud can be a fun introduction.

So grab your map, read up on local wildlife both large and small that you may encounter, and hit the trail!

10) You’ll have friends all around the world

Did you know that there are Jack Russell fanciers, breed clubs and events all over the world? It’s true. If you want to be part of the world Jack Russell community, it’s not hard!

So, how do you get involved?

First, look for your local Jack Russell Terrier breed club. If there isn’t one in your area, then you might check out your local Kennel Club branch.

A lot of organizations host local events and meetings. These are a great way to meet other Jack Russell Terrier fanciers. And if you want to become involved on a deeper level, then consider volunteering and making your own contribution to the world JRT community.

So Much to be Grateful For!

Our dogs bring us so much: companionship, increased mental, physical, and emotional health; the chance to try out new sports, recipes and activities — and so much more.

In this season of gratitude, let’s not forget our pups!

What are you most grateful for, when it comes to your best canine friend? We’d love to hear about it!

Featured Image: CC BY-SA 4.0 by LaVioletta Jack via Wikimedia Commons

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