Its exciting times, getting a new dog and even more so when it’s your first one, the joy that a dog brings is endless. They are there to greet you at the door and to pick you up when you’re low. A dog does wonders for people’s moods and gets you out of the house for exercise and fresh air. Whatever dog you choose, you must remember they all need exercise and training, some more than others. All dogs need playtime and good quality dog food; if you can master that, then you are certainly off to a good start. Let’s find out if Jack Russells are suitable for first-time owners. Plus other things that you should be aware of becoming a new dog owner.

Yes, Jack Russell Terriers will make an ideal dog for first-time dog owners. With proper training, a JRT would be the perfect match. Like any new dog, you will need to check that your living arrangements are appropriate and consider other animals that you currently have at home.

Like any dog, the dog must suit the owner. I had a JRT for my first dog, and they suited me well. I had a little garden, no kids and loved the outdoors. Let’s go through and find out if a Jack Russell will suit you and some advice from a JRT owner.

Recommended Read: Are Jack Russell Terriers Good With Kids?

How much time can you dedicate to a JRT?

Jack Russell Terriers have high energy, and they love to play, and they love the outdoors. If you are the type of person who loves to get out and about, you will suit a Jack Russell. JRT’S loves the outdoors and need at least an hour a day of exercise. However, if you can do more, they will also love this. Unlike a Dachshund exercise routine, it’s limited up to a year old; they need minimum exercise, roughly 5 minutes walk only for every month old. This is to protect there backs and legs. A Jack Russell Terrier, after their jabs, are ready to go on adventures for as long as you can.


Jack Russell Terriers are brilliant and intelligent dogs. They are devoted to their owners and await commands as they love to please. Your training will need to be firm but fair at the start, and a Jack Russell Terrier will pick up on your every command making training them easy.

Love and Devotion

If you dont mind having a little shadow walking behind you at home, heading from room to room with you, then these dogs will suit you down to the ground. My little ones used to follow me everywhere, and they even use to stare at me, waiting for my next move, waiting for me to pick up a toy, or offer them a little treat. A JRT doesn’t like to miss anything out, especially when their companion is concerned.

Character and Personality

They are a big bundle of characters; watching a JRT can keep you entertained for hours.

  • Energetic
  • Lively
  • Vocal
  • Stubborn
  • Intelligent
  • Fearless
  • Athletic
  • Loyal

They love to be nosey; below, you will find my two Jack Russells looking out of the window watching people and dogs go by.

Two Jack Russell Terriers sitting on the window seal watching out of the window
Jack Russell Terriers love to be nosey.

One person dog

Jack Russells do like to be the centre of attention with their owners. However, as long as there is plenty of you to go around, having another dog or other family members won’t be a problem.

Other animals

Jack Russell Terriers used to be bred for fox hunting, so they have quite the high prey drive. If you have cats already, you will need to get a Jack Russell Terrier Puppy rather than an older JRT, unless the dog is used to cats already. Training an adult Jack Russell Terrier to live with cats will be a nightmare for you and the cat. Any small rodents you must keep separate from a JRT as they will chase and play with them.

Living arrangements (Need Space)

Jack Russell’s love to run about, so they are best suited to a house with a garden. However, they can adapt to apartment living as long as you dedicate supervised toilet breaks frequently and a few extra walks here and there. If you have a garden, make sure you do the walk-around check as JRT’s love to dig and are often are good escape artists.

Feeding (Good Food)

As I am fully aware, Jack Russell Terriers can suffer from pancreatitis, and they are prone to this, so never feed your JRT table scraps or anything high in fat like salmon skin. Keep them on excellent quality food throughout there life, and they will live to a very long age. Their general health is perfect, and they are considered healthy dogs. Thanks to the original breeder, Reverend John Russell, for developing the dogs with no exaggerated features that can cause health issues, like other dog breeds. For instance, the pug is bred on purpose with a pushed-in face, and the result of this is breathing difficulties, especially in later life. Jack Russells have no health problems due to there looks. My Jack Russell lived to 16 years old, he did have pancreatitis, but with the diet change that the vets recommended, he continued to live for a long time. Read here, my story.

How long does a JRT live for?

Jack Russells have a good healthy life gene with no serious health problems, and if fed well and exercised, they can live up to a healthy age of sixteen.

  • Considered Elderly 13 to 16 years old

Do they shed a lot? (Average)

Jack Russells do shed their fur; however, it’s easily managed with daily brushing and hoovering. The shedding isn’t that much, but they tend to shed more at certain season times.

Leaving a JRT at home

Jack Russell Terriers can be at home alone with no problems. I have a helpful guide of things you can do to ease the alone time of your JRT when off to work or just out of the house shopping or for entertainment purposes.

Grooming requirements (Minimum)

The good thing about JRT’s is that you dont need to take them to the groomers regularly. You can brush them at home, leaving you more time for playtime. They do shed, but I find they don’t smell as much as some dogs do that need their hair cutting regularly. You can take them to the groomer for hand stripping if you get wired hair JRTs. You would do this only twice a year. However, you can do this a home also.

Wired Hair Jack Russell Terrier sitting on white background
Wirehaired Jack Russell Terrier
Smooth haired Jack Russell Terrier sitting on white background
Smooth haired Jack Russell Terrier

Recommended Reading:


I hope I have given you a good insight into life with a Jack Russell Terrier. If you think the breed is the right choice for you and welcome one into your home, you won’t be disappointed. You will have many happy memories together with your JRT.

Happy first-time JRT parenting

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