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The Jack Russell cross: everything you need to know

Brown and white Jack Russell advice
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From Jack-a-doodles to Jack-a-bees,  Jack Russell crossbreeds are becoming increasingly popular

By Ashley Murphy

A very short history

Originally introduced into the UK in the early 19th Century, Jack Russells were hardworking dogs renowned for their hunting abilities; today they’re still one of the UK's most popular breeds. Small but tough, tiny but feisty, Jack Russells are high energy pups with a happy-go-lucky personality.  As time has gone by, they've been mixed with other types, creating many different Jack Russell crossbreeds.

Personality

Generally speaking, Jack-Russell crossbreeds are full of energy, playful, and have a tendency to be a little bit stubborn! Despite their tiny stature, they're not really suited to apartments or smaller houses. Jack Russells were bred to hunt foxes, and so they need plenty of exercise and stimulation. Without it, they can get restless and even destructive. They’re also one of the more vocal breeds, so socialisation and training are really important when it comes to Jack Russell cross breed puppies. You don't want a naughty Jack Russell cross on your hands - these small dogs can turn into big problems! But with the right care and attention, most develop into loyal and happy companions. There also very brave and protective, making them excellent guard dogs.

Popular Jack Russell Crossbreeds

Jak-Rat Terrier

What do you get when you cross a Jack Russell with a jersey terrier? A Jak-rat terrier of course! Now, these little things are double the terrier, so you are going to have a real bundle of energy on your hands. They'll run off in all different directions during walkie time, so keep a close eye on them! If not,  they're bound to get into some kind of mischief. However, despite their hyperactive natures, Jak-Rat Terriers are easy to train, highly sociable, and ideal for first-time dog owners.  

Jackshund

A Jack Russell and dachshund mix, the Jackshund is a low maintenance dog perfect for older couples. Despite their laid-back natures, they’ll be great with the grandkids. But don't let them get too comfy, Jackshunds are prone to obesity. You'll need to watch their diet and take them for regular walks.

Jack-a-ranian

Another one of the more chilled out Jack Russell crossbreeds, the Jack-a-ranian is a product of the union between a Jack Russell and a Pomeranian. They’re easy enough to train, but they do shed a lot of hair - so be prepared for regular grooming or regular vacuuming sessions.

Jack Chi

Also known as the Jackhuahua, this is a cross between a Jack Russell and a chihuahua. Unsurprisingly, these little things are bursting with energy. They're extremely playful, sociable and likely to keep any owner on their toes. Unfortunately, they are prone to certain health issues, especially allergies.

Jack-a-bee

Mix a Jack Russell with a beagle and you'll end up with a jack-a-bee. This is a tough, sturdy little dog that is great around kids. Although they can make a good family pet, jack-a-bees can be a bit stubborn and headstrong - meaning they might not be the best choice for a first-time dog owner.

Jack-a-poo

You’ve probably already guessed this one, but just in case, the jack-a-poo is a Jack Russell/poodle mix. Also referred to as the Jackadoodle, the jack-a-poo is known for its strong character and loyal nature. They can be a bit noisy, and due to their independent natures, they can struggle to adapt to new environments as they get older. So if you're considering getting a jack-a-poo, try to adopt a puppy. They’re also one of the healthiest Jack Russell cross breeds; they have an average life expectancy 12-15 years.

Common health issues in Jack Russell mix breeds

Jack Russells are prone to certain health issues which may affect any crossbreeds. Take extra care of their eyes, as Jack Russels are susceptible to inherited eye disease. They also have a tendency to go deaf as they enter old age.

Legg Perthes is another common issue. The exact cause is still unknown, but over time the hip joint begins to deteriorate, leading to pain and eventually arthritis. It's especially prevalent in smaller breeds, so cross breeds like the jak chi and jack-a-rat are most at risk. There's also the possibility of dislocated kneecaps.

Additional information

The biggest concern with most Jack Russell crossbreeds is making sure they get enough exercise; even the more docile breeds will still need a regular runabout.

And don't let them get away with too much early on! These strong-willed little dogs will be much harder to retrain as they get older.

Depending on the mix, a Jack Russell crossbreed puppy will cost between £200-£400. They’re also fairly low maintenance so there won't be any huge food or grooming costs.

Although the Kennel Club classes the Jack Russel as an official breed, Jack Russell cross breeds still remain unrecognised. However, that doesn't stop these versatile crossbreeds from being excellent, life-long companions. All they need is the right training, plenty of exercise, and lots of love and affection.