The master of mischief and mayhem, there's never a dull moment when a Jack's around.


In the early 1800s the Parson John Russell developed what he considered to be the best fox hunting terrier. He based his new breed on a dog named Trump. And he succeeded. For more than a century the Jack Russell Terrier ruled as the best working terrier around.

But in the late 1900s, controversy over whether owners wanted their dogs to be AKC registered reached a head. The breed split, with some joining AKC. Others stayed with the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America. The AKC eventually changed the breed's name to Parson Russell Terrier, and they allowed the short-legged Jacks, sometimes called Puddins, to become a separate AKC breed, the Russell Terrier.

No matter the name or the registry, Jacks are imaginative and innovative. These traits lead to great trick dogs, but without lots of entertainment, they can also lead to great demolition dogs. Give your Jack lots of mental stimulation, including lots of toys. And then add more.


Some Jacks can develop knee problems. If you see your dog skipping for a step or two, he may have a condition your veterinarian needs to check. He may also eventually develop arthritic changes in his knees. To combat this, add a glucosamine-chondroitin supplement to his diet as soon as he shows any signs of hopping or lameness.

Coat care for the smooth coat is simple: brush it once a week to remove dead hair. Care of the broken or wire coat can be more complicated. Ideally, longer wire coats should be plucked or stripped, which means pulling out the dead hairs with your fingers. The coat should be harsh, so don't use a creme rinse when bathing. For both coat types, you can use either a good all-purpose shampoo or a whitening shampoo. If your dog has itchy skin, choose an oatmeal or avocado oil shampoo.

Most Jacks have healthy ears, but check them weekly. If they are dirty, apply an ear cleanser. Such cleansers change the pH of the ear canal to make it less hospitable to fungus and yeast, and also have a bacteria-killing and ear drying effect. Any time you must apply ear medication, use the ear cleanser first to remove thick secretions that would block the medication from reaching the surface of the canal. But never put any cleanser or medication in a severely infected or painful ear because of the possibility of a ruptured ear drum.

Brush the teeth daily.

Clip the nails every two weeks or so using a medium-duty dog nail clipper.

Jacks are perpetual puppies, so it's hard to accept they may be developing arthritic changes with age. Besides any intervention recommended by your veterinarian, a soft cushion to lie on and glucosamine chondroitin supplements added to the diet can help soothe aching joints, and keep him on his toes.