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Jack Russell or no Jack Russell?

(15 Posts)
brianbennettfan Wed 30-Oct-13 19:00:37

Hi all,

I have often thought that I would like to have a Jack Russell Terrier. There is a family living on a farm on the East side of the city where I live who have been breeding JRTs for 25 years and at the moment they have a beautiful litter of rough-coated JRTs and I have arranged for myself and DP to go and have a look at them tomorrow.

I have been doing my research about the breed (my only experience as a dog owner is that I had a border collie from the age of 8 weeks until she died a couple of months before her 16th birthday) and I have to say that I have read an awful lot of negative stuff about JRTs, e.g. they are hard/impossible to train and would probably kill my cat (!) in the fullness of time. I can't bear the thought of taking on a JRT puppy and then regretting it.

Does anyone have any advice for me?



lazydog Thu 31-Oct-13 04:00:31

They are impossible to train reliably, in my experience (we have one and my parents have 2 at the moment and have had 2 previously when I was living at home.) I think, basically, they're smart enough that you can train them to obey lots of different commands...and do it flawlessly...but only when there isn't a more exciting alternative to doing as they're told.

95% of the time my JRT will do as he's told, but if he doesn't want to, I may as well be a mute!

I'd say my parents' JRTs are similar, apart from the percentage of the time that they listen is considerably less, but then they spent less time on their training.

Our other dog (border collie x chow) is really eager to please, as was the labrador we owned before these two, but the JRT, while very friendly, affectionate and nothing at all like the stereotypical "snappy terrier", really doesn't much care what anyone thinks of him..he's very much his own dog! grin

I think you'd likely be fine regarding the cat, though, if you get a young puppy... The older cat will likely put the dog in his/her place while its still tiny and then they'll tolerate each other as the puppy grows up. It's JRTs that are unused to cats that you need to worry about. My MIL had a JRT x Chihuahua and that one would have killed a cat if it ever caught one, but she had never lived with a cat and just saw them as intruders into her garden.

We have 2 cats and one kitten. Our JRT and the 4 month old kitten play fight very energetically, but they both back off as soon as they hear a squeak/yelp of pain from the other one.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Thu 31-Oct-13 04:19:14

If you also have a farm which they can roam around on and a rat problem, get a JR

If not, dont get a JR.

lazydog Thu 31-Oct-13 15:41:39

Did you go and see them? smile

ButThereAgain Thu 31-Oct-13 15:51:38

They are fantastic dogs and I think they can respond to training very well indeed, because they are clever and because their very high prey instinct can be focused on toys to constitute the reward in training. They are constantly looking intelligently for the pay-off in every situation: so long as you structure situations so that they get a reward by doing something you want, all is well; but in the absence of that they will find a pay-off you would rather they hadn't discovered -- chasing postman, killing small animals etc.

Fine with children who are old and experienced enough to treat them with respect and firm kindness. Not so good with little children: they like their own space and aren't very tolerant of being manhandled or surprised by little people.

Need lots of exercise and a gentle, positive firmness. Not always great with other dogs.

If you are keen on training and walking, and have older children, they are brilliant.

ParkerTheThief Thu 31-Oct-13 16:15:27

Lovely dogs, but hard work.

We refer to ours as the very last terrier we'll ever own because all the other types of dogs we've owned have been easier.

Saying that he has a great personality and has learnt to live alongside cats and another dog despite having a rotten start to life.

Our boy needs lots of regular exercise.
I think if you get a young dog you want have a problem with cats. We have in the past introduced a nine year old JRT to cohabiting with a cat. It was a long and difficult process only helped by the fact the cat was 100% dog confident (and big here than the terrier)

I wouldn't have a JrT if I lived in a town. We're in the middle of nowhere with lots of places we can take him where he can run free. He's also a fab ratter which is a bonus.

brianbennettfan Thu 31-Oct-13 21:48:54

Thanks to everyone for the replies. We did go and see them today and have earmarked a lovely boy who seemed to be the most friendly and approachable of the whole litter. The breeder is happy to wait for DP and I to do some more talking and thinking and weighing up of the situation. I discussed my misgivings with the breeder quite openly and she knows that I am not thinking about getting a JRT on a whim. I am a fit and active retired person, so have loads of time and we live close to acres and acres of woodland.

My children are grown up and live away. I have two grandchildren (6 and 2) who live away and they hardly ever visit because their Dad is horribly allergic to cats, so I tend to visit their house to see them. Besides which they are good children who would be very kind and careful around any dog. I don't think it would be hard to get everyone who might have contact with the dog singing from the same hymn sheet as far as consistency of attitude towards the dog and training is concerned.

So there are some positives in my situation, although I can't see myself getting a farm any time soon, alas.

Kaffiene Thu 31-Oct-13 22:03:11

Yay! They are fantastic dogs as long as you know they are a big dog in a small dogs body! They are not lap dogs.
Mine is 8 now and I am often complemented on how well behaved he is. But it took a lot of hard work to get him there. I wanted a dog a could take anywhere and trust to behave. He walks at heel on and off the lead, reliable recall. He is good with other dogs, people and animals. He needs to "meet" new furries to see what they are and then will leave them. he has lived with numerous cats but have a chase if he sees one out and about. I dont think it would be fair to have rabbits or rats as pets though! He wont not take food from anyone until given the command - essential in my mind for dogs around children. Not snappy or jumpy.
So yeah I would say go for it, you can get a lovely dog of you know what you are getting into!

Threadwm2007 Fri 01-Nov-13 09:16:06

Fit and active retired person with acres of nearby woodland sounds brilliant for a JRT! If you do get him, I wish you much joy with him!

I have a seven-year-old parson russell terrier. Unfortunately he was one of the slightly more wary dogs in the litter and I don't really trust him to be friendly with people he doesn't know (he will growl if people try to stroke him). But other than that (and being snappy with other dogs) he is the most lovely, funny, characterful creature and very receptive to training. And of course plenty of JRTs are fine with people they don't know.

Re cats, we had a JRT and a cat when I was growing up and it worked out ok. I know I couldn't keep a cat with my current dog, but that is possibly because a cat wasn't already in residence when we got him. But he has learnt to relax around various hamsters and guinea pigs we've owned (though he would have killed them in an instant if the opportunity arose!).

bubalou Tue 05-Nov-13 22:52:24

I have 2 jr's - one 9 year old long haired parsons terrier who's epileptic, nervous, stubborn, weird but ridiculously intelligent. I also have 6 year old cross with god knows what who is pure white with little brown spots on her ears and is just beautiful but due to whiteness is unfortunately deaf and completely nutty and impossible to train. She knows a few signs but confused it was hard work. She also now has non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Nothing to do with the breed but just bad luck I think. hmm

So all of the above - I am quite strict, husband is not. You can absolutely train a jr, I have two friends who have greatly behaved ones. But you have to do it all properly and follow through. Puppy classes, obedience and proper training!

They are the loveliest dogs and they don't have a great name, most people think they are yappy but my 2 really are lovely - albeit hard work!

Toomuch2young Tue 05-Nov-13 23:05:25

I have an amazing JRT rescue dog. She needs lots of stimulation though, 2 good walks a day with lots of chasing the ball. She is great with people, snappy with unknown dogs, which although has improved with lots of training.
Great at agility, horrific over bonfire night and fireworks!
Good with kids and cats. Near impossible to train to walk nicely on a collar and lead without strangling herself.
Best off lead in the middle of nowhere running around with my other dog.
Affectionate, very licky if you let her, not cuddly though. Super intelligent. Great recall. Knows lots of tricks. Food and ball obsessed.
As many positives as negatives and I love her millions.
Would I get another, probably not! My other dog is far far easier. In your situation a JRT sounds like a good fit. They are fab dogs. Just lots more work than lots of other breeds!!
Enjoy they each are one of a kind, and will certainly bring you fun and exercise and a super cute face!!

caketinrosie Sat 07-Dec-13 20:16:35

I have two jrt's I love them dearly. They are quite possibly the hairiest animals in the planet. If you have lots of carpet avoid like the plague. If you enjoy a good Hoover get one. I love mine dearly they are known in my house as mums hairy babies. fgrin

Dirtybadger Wed 11-Dec-13 02:10:38

Before or after you get one, read "terrier centric training" I think that's what its called. There are one or two bite of above which are a tiny bit outdated but its an otherwise good terrier specifc book. All dogs learn by the same mechanism but it talks a lot about natural drive thus motivators and esp. The effects of a low arousal threshold. I think it will be very relevant to a jrt from a farm (assuming from recent working parentage)

sykadelic15 Wed 11-Dec-13 02:48:27

We have Jack Russell Pomeranians (Jackaranians) and they're awesome smile One in particular is very smart, knows lots of tricks. The other is a little bipolar but you know she tries smile

crikeybill Tue 17-Dec-13 19:08:00

I see from somewhere else you got him and I presume gave up as you don't appear to have him anymore ?
How sad.

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