i had a little female jrt for 19 years..........she was sweet and loving to folks, got along ok with my labs til she thought someone showed a sign of weakness....a yip, a yelp.......even whimpering in their sleep..........and she would attack......luckily, the labs had enough loose skin to avoid injury, and the never fought back, just looked dumbfounded.........
she was a mouser to the extreme, would spend HOURS looking at places in the baseboards where she heard mice (old farmhouse) and yap in a voice that could call dolphins in from the sea..............
she was smaller than the barn cats, so never bothered them...NO recall at all, very independent thinker.....
tough, tenacious, loving, snuggler...........i love the look and am a terrier person, but wasn't sure i would get another...........
THEN, fell into owning a toy fox terrier...an almost identical look to the non-football jrts , but with stick-up ears........i was besotted...
lower prey drive, must less independent, but not clingy, very in tune to their people..........then i got another, and the personality is the same...........
FOR ME, the toy fox terrier is a much better option, still has the terrier personality, is very portable, easy keeper, a tad less bulky /sturdy LOOKING but still a tough, hardy, game country dog........mine are great in the woods and pastures as well as walking on a leash............
check them out, you may be surprised!
My mother has a JRT for many years. It was the one dog that was universally loathed by the rest of the family. I remember how Ben would wait until my arms were full to leap up and bite me in the posterior. He also was adept at stealing food out the the hands of small children. Of course my mother loved him and spoiled him which was a large part of the problem. Anyway, when she was dying, my mother asked which of us daughters were taking Ben. There was dead silence. We ended up arranging for one of the nurses to take Ben. He lived until age 22! We paid for his vet bills, including cremation. I think my sister has is ashes somewhere. Better her than me!
I have owned 3 of my own over the past 25 years, as well as volunteered for a rescue in the past and fostered dogs. I have found the neutered males tend to be better family dogs and more friendly/less aggressive on average than the females.
It's very important that you either buy from a breeder that breeds for the temperament you want (the hunting bred ones tend to be a bit higher energy with a high prey drive that can drive you nuts if you just want a nice pet) or get an adult that you can bring home on trial. I have found ones bred for show/obedience or as pets can be quite sweet.
I have a fuzzy male that is like a little golden retriever (as much as a JRT could be). He is sweet and cuddly and just a love bug that likes people and gets along with other dogs. My Sow's Ear female that was bred as a hunting dog is very stand-offish, only wants affection on her own terms, and is a killing machine. She does not like other dogs except rare instances. My old female (RIP) was just a cool customer, not particularly friendly but never aggressive She was more human than dog.
Good luck finding your next dog. The only breeder I can recommend 100% is in California. We bought our wonderful male from them and if I ever buy another purebred puppy I will buy from them again. http://www.kimberlitejackrussellterriers.com/
When Eddie on Frazier became the cute animal star everyone knew what would happen, with sudden popularity leading to JRT's being owned by people who didn't have a clue what was involved with them. I read a couple of articles about the real dog that played Eddie, and he had been adopted from a shelter, or a rescue (don't exactly remember where), and had been adopted and returned multiple times. The reason his tongue alway hung out was because his teeth were worn away from chewing chain link fence. He never got along with other dogs, including his own son that eventually took over the role, and was the dog movie about the JRT (it was called My Dog ____, can't remember the rest of it). I think some JRT's would work, but you have to be prepared with options in case it doesn't. There is a JRT site that discusses all of the variables, of course individual dogs will always vary, but they also have some horror stories too. As long as you are prepared for a high energy dog, that may turn out to be hunting focused, then go for it. BUt you might just look into it, and go with another breed. I do realize how much animals from the same breed can differ from each other, but if the breed characteristics don't work with your expectations it could be a bad idea. Maybe if you get one from a giveaway, or rescue with a known background it would work better.
I have never had a jack russell, but have known 2 people who had to put theirs down for aggressive behavior (biting a baby, killing another animal).
I have, however, put up for the past 20 years with people asking if my smooth fox terriers were jack russells. I adore the breed. They have all of the fun and none of the meanness. PM me if you are interested in knowing more about my experience, including breeders in New England.
I would agree that a neutered male is most likely to have the better temperament, but as always each dog is an individual. Also some sighthounds think JRT's are bait!
That said, I love mine more than life itself, but he is an only dog!
Always remember that "perfection" is the mortal enemy of "excellence."
It is just too bad that this lively, fun little breed has been so badly bred and attained such a bad reputation. There is just no comparison with what so many of you think of the breed and what the breed really should be.
Granted, you have to like the terrier qualities, or go get a Shitzu or a Pug.
We had two greyhounds plus my JR, and they got on fine, the JR even won the races because he could deek under the picnic table.
A PSA would be to check out the breeder, the parents, and the dog itself.
Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique
I have one that I absolutely adore. She's on the couch next to me right now and she sleeps in bed with us at night. She has never met anyone that she doesn't like - human or canine. Yes, high energy. And kind of embarrassing at the vet when she acts like crazy dog (not bad, just energetic, like the cartoon like running in place on the slick floor), but she's not like that at home very often. We are home much of the day and she gets lots of walks and weekly doggy daycare play days. I would never have gotten a JRT when I was working out of the house and it would have been home alone for long periods of time.
We lucked out as mine was a bit of a rescue -- young woman got her then realized how unsuited a JRT was to a small apartment with a bunch of inactive (what's the PC term for fat and lazy?) people and rehomed her. She had fleas and mites and no manners, but we got her sorted out and now she is the BEST DOG EVER.
What surprised me was how cuddly she is. Loves to be held or just to "be" with you. I'd been around JRTs at horse shows and my parents had one (after I was out of the house) and I just thought they were such crazy dogs and all energy. But they do wear out, and that works great when you take advantage of it.
Not for everyone, but definitely working well in our household. I just love this little dog!