Advice please on jack russell terrier cross breeds

(40 Posts)
heresHalloweenagain18 Mon 21-Jan-19 21:50:52

Hi there

Myself and my family are looking to rehome a rescue dog after losing our dog recently. He was getting old and we prepared for the fact he didnt have long to go (myself and hubby) and we had said a while back about wanting to get a jack russell in the future.

We as a family agreed on rescuing a small breed of dog and are considering a jack russell or jack russell terrier cross.

I have looked up the breed previously and recently have been looking up again and researching for a couple of weeks the breed as i have heard over the years they can be yappy/snappy.

Have looked through the archives on threads on mumsnet too and its a very mixed bag of opinions on the breed.

Something that does jump out at me is the reference to them being a typical terrier and orginally bred as hunter so will chase smaller animals such as cats, rodents, birds and its depending on there prey drive if they will chase and kill.

I have also seen reference in regards to people not advising to get them if we have children as unpredictable. I dont have children and cant see it being in our future as we have had nearly 5 years of infertility since i misscarried my only pregnancy and failed ivf. Hubby has said no more.

We dont have children visiting often my toddler neice has been round a couple of times which was more due to the holiday season.

We do have 3 cats, two are very much house cats and have made one room their den where the new dog would not have access to.

The other older cat is mostly in and in another room but will hang out in other areas of the house and goes out briefly.

I am concerned about them with the cats based on what i have read though am keeping an open mind as dont want to generalise the breed.

I seems that it does really depend on the dog themselves how well they respond to training. I understand from what i have read they can be hard to train (though not through lack of intelligants as very clever, it repeatedly comes up) and take a lot of perserverance, patience and hard work.

I also get the impression even then it may not be something that can be trained out of them so to speak as it really is inbuilt in some of them (again depends on prey drive)

The dog would never be completly alone in the house, there are 4 adults in the house myself included and for varying reasons 3 are at home in the day. We tend to go out one or two at a time.

I have downloaded a book onto my kindle and looking at other titles as trying to cover the breed as a whole and subjects like there history, training ect .

I want to ask if anyone has any personal experience of owning a JRT/JRT cross ? Positive stories would be nice to read but overall looking for honest advice about them .

Thanks smile xx

OP’s posts: |
Floralnomad Mon 21-Jan-19 22:00:22

I have a patterdale x JRT , he’s great with all humans and particularly loves the elderly for some reason but he is a born hunter and despite our best efforts he will chase anything birds / rabbits / foxes and his ambition is to catch a cat . My sister has 2 jrt x border terriers and they are the same . Personally I wouldn’t trust a rescue terrier of that type with a cat .

heresHalloweenagain18 Mon 21-Jan-19 22:13:27

Hi Floral

Thankyou for your reply. Meant to say in the op post i was also thinking to install a baby gate so that if the dog does chase the cat/s they can retreat upstairs away from doggy only so far he can go if you see what i mean.

It seems it isnt the temprament that determines their urge to chase then they could be lovely with people and even kids but still have a high prey drive? And Cats could be in danger?

Its odd as i knew someone who had a border terrier lovely little boy and the owners said he wouldnt take any notice of a cat in the home but one in the garden would go mad. He was a very laid back dog with humans

As a side note bless your boy favouring the elderly xxx

OP’s posts: |
Knittedgnome Mon 21-Jan-19 22:15:26

My Mum has a Patterjack. Lovely dog. Not great with toddlers though.

Japanesejazz Mon 21-Jan-19 22:15:38

Good on you for really looking into the breed you are interested in. Jack Russell terriers Hunt, a lot! Great characters but often found stuck down rabbit or badger holes. On the plus side if you get one crossed with a shitzh zu that’s known as a jack shit!
They are clever but wilful too, lovely dogs, but I would never have another one.

Japanesejazz Mon 21-Jan-19 22:18:59

Oh and mine definitely knew her place with my cats, and loved them to bits. Hated all other cats though

bloopertrooper Mon 21-Jan-19 22:23:01

I used to work on a farm where they had six cats and two Jack Russells; they left the cats entirely alone and spent their time rodent-catching round the barns.

Perhaps it depends on the individual animal, but you already have the cats so you need to put their welfare first. It would be a bit unkind to cause them a lot of upset and stress if it could be avoided.


CollyWombles Mon 21-Jan-19 22:26:47

I grew up with Jack Russell's, nearly everyone in my family has one and I have a 14 year old rescue jack Russell Cross. It's been my experience that a jack will usually only accept a cat if they have grown up together from kitten/puppy. Jack Russell's were bred for rabbiting and the instinct to kill small run away things is pretty strong in them. With three cats, I wouldn't personally risk it. No matter how you safeguard the cats if a jack that hates cats (which the majority do) gets a hold of one, it's a gonner sadly.

My rescue is a nightmare in all honesty. Love him to bits but he barks at thin air, doesn't like the kids much, hates babies even more and is generally a grumpy old man. He adores me, but only me. Its quite common for Jack's to have 'one owner' as such and ignore everyone else.

Again this is just in my experience and I am sure there are Jack's that are exceptions to the above.

user1466783975 Mon 21-Jan-19 22:26:51

My parson jack russel is 18months old and I've had her for six months ( rescue). My life is complete now! She can't go off the lead as just bolts home and she isn't the most cuddly of dogs,though will sit on my knee for hours and just lick!....but we have managed house training,put in a cat flap for her to go outside and she doesn't bark. Took her to puppy class and she loved the agility course. I never was expecting to have a dog and she was just sort of given to me by a farmer,but my whole life is about her . Go for it smile

1happyhippie Mon 21-Jan-19 22:26:56

We have a jack shit! She is wonderful!
She is full of fun, always racing around and is great with my children.
However, she is not good with birds, rabbits or cats!

KittyMcKitty Mon 21-Jan-19 22:27:46

I have a Border x Lakeland. She has a strong prey drive and will chase / catch mice, squirrels etc.

She is absolutely fine with our cat - actually she is both scared of her and in awe of her (cats having the special skill of going upstairs and sitting on tables). She’s fine (if annoying) with friends cats she’s familiar with but will chase any cat other then ours which she finds in the garden.

KittyMcKitty Mon 21-Jan-19 22:28:55

Forgot to say she’s mega friendly and very good with people and other dogs.

heresHalloweenagain18 Mon 21-Jan-19 22:32:35

Hi Knittedgnome

Is a patterjack a Patterdale terrier x jack russell? I have looked in patterdales aswell (as commanly confused with JRT) to see how similar there attributes are.

I looked into other possible crossbreeds that seem to commanly occur with jack russells. I think this could also be factor to consider. It seems any breed with Terrier in title will have that hunting instict.

I Did have a westie when I was younger such a beautiful boy soft as butter and never showed any hunting instincts with our 5(!) cats. He died at just 2 due to heart problems which i found later is a common complaint so never would get another for that reason.


OP’s posts: |
heresHalloweenagain18 Mon 21-Jan-19 22:37:59

Hi Japanesejazz

Jackshit that made me laugh grin

Was your dog a Jack x shitzh zu the one that got along with your cats?
If its ok to ask could you explain why you wouldent have another?

OP’s posts: |
fedupandlookingforchange Mon 21-Jan-19 22:42:41

I had a rescue jack Russell whippet as a teenager, she stayed at home with my parents when I went to uni. Her ratting, mousing skills are very much missed since she died aged 17. The rest of her hunting skills are not. If she was let off the lead on a walk it could be hours before she returned, we did live in an extremely rural location so no risk from traffic. She killed anything small and furry and needed a lot of exercise. Like a cat she’d wait for mice or voles to pop out of their holes in the garden for hours.
The cats had no trouble from her but they were tough cats. She couldn’t be trusted with children or other dogs as she got older but was fine with the Labrador.
She was a great dog but not an easy one. The desired to hunt is in built in them. Just got two labs now, one loves the cat and neither of them hunt!
Over the years we’ve found male cats and female dogs are ok together and female cat and male dogs but when we had female cat and female dogs it was a constant battle between them.

Japanesejazz Mon 21-Jan-19 23:01:42

I had a jack Russell, a friend of mine has a jack shit. I wouldn’t have another due to the going off and getting stuck down rabbit holes! Once she was gone for 3 days before we found her, massive worry.

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Mon 21-Jan-19 23:14:30

I've got a JRT x Dachshund. The first thing I will say is that in many cases it is completely impossible for me to tell what is nature and what is nurture; he had a bit of a rough start, passed around, no training until he was an adult etc. and has underlying anxiety issues as a result.

He does have a prey drive - but he has all of the instinct and none of the technique. He's never caught anything, and it's not for want of trying, particularly with squirrels. He also enjoys magpies, songbirds, rats, cats, pigeons... anything that can be chased will be chased. He could never live with a cat - he only has to catch their scent and he'll be scrabbling at the pavement. Not an issue for me, as I'm allergic to cats, but clearly an issue for you! OTOH he also spent months trying to chase the hamster, but finally stopped after 6 months of removing him from the room for a 2 minute time out immediately and with unfailing consistency, so some improvement is possible. I'd still never trust him with her. I'd also never trust him around livestock.

He's remarkably unbarky in the house - if he barks, there's almost always a reason. That reason might be that our upstairs neighbours are in the communal hallway, or the postman has arrived, but there's always a reason.

He has developed a list of things he dislikes outside of the house. Some have no discernible cause (e.g. two dog breeds, neither of which have ever hurt him) and others where a couple of minor incidents has led to him lunging and barking at that thing (e.g. we were passed too close a couple of times by cyclists on the pavement... now he sometimes lunges and barks at cyclists on the pavement, and we have to keep him away from bikes in the park). I'd not want to have to walk him and hold the hand of a small child at the same time as it is a two-handed job.

He loves to play with other dogs, and if he sees one he will want to approach it and have a sniff, if not a game of chase. Even when another dog started a scrap with him, it was all noise no biting. I'm not sure he could live with another dog, however. Luckily we've cracked recall and he will always come back for a treat when called (unless he's chasing a squirrel in which case you've got to wait until it has dived up a tree!)

He's completely obsessed with balls, and will chase balls to the point of exhaustion, and seemingly becomes blind to everything around him when he has a ball in his mouth. He will ignore other dogs, squirrels, sniffs, and becomes noticeably less obedient because no reward you could give him could possibly beat the ball he already has! He has walks that are either dedicated to playing chase, or dedicated to traditional walkies as he can't think about anything else if you have a ball in your pocket.

He's very much a one-person type of dog - he's either bonded with you or he hasn't, and those outside his inner circle are completely irrelevant unless they have food or a tennis ball. The inner circle consists of two people - funnily enough, the two people that walk him - plus one elderly lady, but that's purely cupboard love as she feeds him scraps constantly. If strangers try to attract his attention in the park, he will literally walk in the opposite direction. Even if someone tries to touch him, he'll tolerate it (no growling etc.), he just won't enjoy it. He's fine with kids in the same way he's fine with adults - he just won't engage. Unfortunately he's taken to not letting visitors into the house since we moved, but that's him and his anxiety rather than the breed.

How much exercise can you realistically give him? Mine needs two hours a day to be civilised; anything less and I invariably live to regret it (he's now 2.5 years old).

I love mine dearly but I wouldn't have another one - next time I'm having something easy!

Knittedgnome Mon 21-Jan-19 23:20:14

* Is a patterjack a Patterdale terrier x jack russell? I have looked in patterdales aswell (as commanly confused with JRT) to see how similar there attributes are.*

It is. She's a nightmare getting stuck down rabbit holes constantly but she's one of the funniest dogs I've ever know.

IthinkIsawahairbrushbackthere Mon 21-Jan-19 23:38:13

I've had Jack Russells since childhood and they are my favourite breed. My husband and I had two adult JR's and then rescued a semi feral kitten. She was so tiny and delicate in the early days we were very protective of her and the dogs respected that. There was never any issue between them.

We had a JR/Patterdale cross and she was a real handful. It was only really in her last year or so that she relaxed at all. She had the loveliest nature and was a true family dog - always ready to play, to go for a walk or be involved in whatever was going on. I have to agree that she seemed to have a great sense of humour. She made us laugh all the time - whether it was squaring up to the husky to put him in his place or hoarding all the toys. She was just the perfect dog to have with children.

Now we have a husky (a whole different animal!) and my senior JR. He is the worst tempered dog we have ever known. He hates strangers, isn't interested in other dogs, and has a fierce prey drive. He is also 100% devoted to me, lives within reach of my hand and is my soul mate. He came from a lovely breeder and has known nothing but love but is still nervous of people/situations and can not be trusted off lead.

All our dogs had the same upbringing and all of them have lived happily with our kids. Our first two were adults when our oldest was born and there was never any jealousy or stress.

I don't know why my JR is so anti social. I treated him in the same way I treated all my other dogs. But I think it is his character rather than his breed that means he is snappy. Having said that he is small and easily managed and I have never had a problem with him and any visiting children.

missbattenburg Tue 22-Jan-19 06:00:52

We have 2 x JRTs.

They would not tolerate children easily (would prefer to keep distance and ignore them) but I suspect that is because they have never been around children. Nurture rather than nature.

The bitch is especially Jack Russell and will chase anything small and furry. I suspect she would also kill it if she ever got the chance. We have had a cat in the same house for a short amount of time and she was clearly so overly stimulated she could not focus on anything else. She is not one to give up if injured so I suspect if she ever got close to a cat there would be considerable damage to both animals. In short, I would never trust her with a cat.

She is also know as Barky McBarkface - something that gets worse with age, not better.

For balance she is also nurturing, loyal, brave, adventurous, cuddley, loving, sweet, great with other dogs, wonderful if you are ill, and calm in the house.

Lucisky Tue 22-Jan-19 11:36:52

We had a wonderful parson jrt, I loved him to bits, but he would kill anything he considered vermin, and he would have killed a cat if he'd ever got hold of one. He couldn't be trusted around chickens either. He was an ace ratter though. Patterdale, and all terriers in fact, have some sort of prey drive. I have had sweet little Yorkies who liked nothing better than digging for rats and stalking birds. Please don't do this to your poor cats, they will never forgive you for bringing a terrier into the house.

catndogslife Tue 22-Jan-19 16:29:34

We have a patterjack. Your idea of the stair gate wouldn't work - he soon learnt to climb over ours.

Darnsquirrels Tue 22-Jan-19 16:43:51

@catndogslife yeah or just figure out how a actually open it. grin

Smart little cookies but the devil's spawn.

Darnsquirrels Tue 22-Jan-19 16:44:00


catndogslife Tue 22-Jan-19 17:26:24

OP a reputable rescue centre will test each dog to find out if they can live with cats.
As others have said if one has lived with a cat in the past it may be possible.
Ours has a strong prey drive and will chase squirrels, cats etc.
Our pure-bred JRT was totally ball-obsessed and preferred a ball to anything living.

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