Jack Russell Terrier white, tan and black in colour standing on a log

Can Jack Russell’s Terriers Be Black?

So you have picked your dog breed; that’s the hard part done. Once you have the type of breed chosen and taken into all consideration, like living arrangements and family, it’s time to pick a colour. Some people aren’t fussy about the colour since most breeds often have many variations of colours. For instance, a Jack Russell Terrier can have many different patterns in different places and variations of colours, but can they be full black? Let’s find out.

Jack Russells are mainly white with added colours of tan or black or both. However, sometimes due to the interference of breeding, black Jack Russells can be achieved. However, these will not be classed as a full Jack Russell Terrier.

Breeders will mix them with another breed since the Jack Russell Terrier’s white is part of their unique breed description. The authentic original breeder of the Jack Russell Terriers called Reverend John Russell wanted white in their coat to identify them apart from prey whilst out hunting.

Recommended Read: Does A Jack Russell Shed A Lot?

Reverend John Russell

Back over 200 years ago, Reverend John Russell developed the Jack Russell Terrier as a type of working dog. His main aim was for a white-bodied dog so he could quickly tell them apart from prey. Having an all-black Jack Russell Terrier would go against what Reverend John Russell wanted to achieve.

Coat colours of a Jack Russell Terrier

  • White and Tan
  • White and Black
  • White, Tan and Black (Tricolour)

The coat is mainly white and commonly mixed with black or tan. Or all three colours called a tricolour (white, black and tan)

As you can see in every pure Jack Russell Terrier, there should always be the colour white in their coat.

How do you get a white coat on a dog?

Whitecoat or having part white coat is to do with the mother and father’s pigment genes. White is not a colour in dog genetics and having missing pigments means you have a part white dog plus other colours. If there is no pigment at all in the genes, it means the dog will be pure white.

JRT Breed genetics

Reverend John Russell wanted Jack Russells Terriers to have this missing gene on purpose to breed white dogs, or at least mainly white with patches of tan, black or all three.

To have an all-black Jack Russell Terrier wouldn’t be a pure breed; they do not exist unless of a sporadic dramatic mutation. They will only exist if they are bred with another dog breed that is black or mainly black, such as a Dachshund.


There is no such thing as a pure black breed of a Jack Russell Terrier, and it’s more than likely to have been mixed with another dog breed during the breeding process. Having an all back Jack Russell Terrier will go against the original creator’s ideal look for the breed.

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