Black Jack Russell Terrier: Breed Profile, Characteristics, and Care

Black Jack Russell Terrier

Black Jack Russell Terrier

The Black Jack Russell Terrier is a unique variety of the popular Russell Terrier breed. With its jet-black coat and lively, tenacious personality, this pint-sized terrier makes a fun, energetic companion for active owners. Here’s an in-depth look at the origins, temperament, health, and care requirements of the Black Jack Russell Terrier.

Origin and History of the Black Jack Russell Terrier

To understand the background of the Black Jack Russell Terrier, we must first take a look at the history of the Russell Terrier breed.

Development of the Russell Terrier

The Russell Terrier breed traces its origins back to the 1800s in England. Parson John Russell desired to develop an energetic, fearless small terrier suited for fox hunting. Through careful breeding, the proper working terrier was established. The breed was brought to America in the early 20th century and became known as the Jack Russell Terrier.

Birth of the Black Jack Variety

While most early Russell Terriers were white or tan and white, solid black Russells also appeared in the litter. Breeders took an interest in establishing this dark-coated variety. Through selective breeding, the consistency of the black coat was locked in, and the Black Russell Terrier was born. This variety has gained popularity as an excellent companion and vermin-hunting dog.

Appearance and Temperament of Black Jack Russell Terriers

The Black Russell Terrier differs from the standard Russell mainly in its gleaming black coat. However, there are some other distinguishing traits.

Physical Characteristics

The Black Jack Russell is a small, sturdy terrier standing 10-12 inches tall and weighing 13-17 pounds. Its body is rectangular, with strong, straight legs suited for digging and running. The head is well-balanced with a moderately broad skull, definite stop, and v-shaped ears. The blackjack Russell terrier’s jet-black coat is dense, straight, and smooth. Coat colors other than black are a disqualification. Correct structure, balance, and movement are essential.

Personality Traits and Temperament

Lively, alert, and highly energetic, the Black Jack Russell needs lots of activity and interaction. He is fearless, assertive, and eager to take on any task. Affectionate and amusing, he excels as a family companion. However, his strong prey drive makes him best suited for homes with older children. Early extensive socialization is essential to minimize aggression toward other pets. He is clever and willful, so firm, consistent training is a must. When properly exercised and trained, the Black Jack makes a delightful, entertaining pet.

Black Jack Russell Terrier

Living with a Black Jack Russell Terrier

The Black Jack Russell Terrier is brimming with energy and personality. Success with this breed depends on proper care and management not like the Banana Pied Ball Python.

Exercise and Activity Needs

As a working terrier bred for endurance, the Black Jack needs vigorous daily activity. Long walks, jogging, agility training, and interactive play will help meet his exercise requirements. He excels at dog sports like flyball, barn hunting, and earth dog trials. Lack of activity leads to boredom and destructive behaviors like digging and chewing. His exercise needs to make him best suited for active, energetic owners.

Training and Socialization

Intelligence and willful nature mean early socialization and consistent training are essential for the Black Jack Russell. Reward-based methods work best, but a firm, confident approach is needed. Teaching a reliable recall is vital with this breed’s strong chase instinct. Proper introduction to a wide variety of people, pets, and situations helps minimize undesirable behaviors. Though independent thinkers, Black Jacks respond well to training from a respected leader.

Ideal Home Environment

The active, assertive Black Jack adapts well to many environments but does best with plenty of interaction and stimulation. A securely fenced yard provides room to run and play, but he should not live outdoors. He can thrive in urban settings if given adequate daily exercise. Rural areas allow him to help control varmints. Homes with children, other pets, and activities suit him well. His loud bark makes him an excellent alarm dog. Proper steps should be taken to direct his digging instinct to appropriate spots.

Black Jack Russell Terrier

Health and Care of Black Jack Russell Terriers

Though generally healthy, Black Jack Russell Terriers can be prone to certain conditions.

Common Health Issues

  • Deafness
  • Lens luxation
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
  • Patellar luxation
  • IVDD

Responsible breeding minimizes certain inherited disorders. Routine veterinary care, exercise, and proper diet are key to longevity. Life expectancy is 13-16 years.

Grooming, Nutrition, and Veterinary Needs

The smooth, short coat requires only occasional brushing to remove dead hair. Bathing should be done only when needed. Check and clean your ears regularly. Clip nails as needed. A high-quality diet appropriate for a small, active breed is vital. Routine veterinary exams and heartworm/flea prevention are recommended. Teeth brushing promotes oral health.

Black Jack Russell Terrier

Is the Black Jack Russell Terrier the Right Breed for You?

The energetic, mischievous Black Jack Russell Terrier can make a delightful pet but has some drawbacks to consider.

Pros of the Breed

  • Fun-loving, lively personality
  • Athletic, energetic
  • Intelligent, trainable
  • Excellent watchdog abilities
  • Adapts well to different environments
  • Affectionate, loyal to family

Cons to Consider

  • Requires vigorous daily exercise
  • Willful nature makes training challenging
  • Strong prey drive toward small pets
  • Prone to nuisance barking and digging
  • Can be destructive if bored
  • May be aggressive toward other dogs
  • High activity level required
Black Jack Russell Terrier

The Black Jack Russell Terrier is best suited for active owners able to provide proper training, socialization, activity, and stimulation. When his needs are met, the Black Jack is a delightful, entertaining little terrier brimming with vitality and character. Those willing to keep up with his energetic temperament will find a loyal, fun-loving companion.


The black Jack Russell terrier is a high-energy, daring little terrier that needs plenty of exercise and training. With his jet-black coat and lively spirit, he’s an appealing companion for active households. Early socialization helps minimize aggression issues. While independent, he responds well to confident leadership and consistent training. When properly managed, the Black Jack Russell Terrier makes a fun-loving, entertaining pet for those who can match his energetic personality.


Q: How big do black jack Russell terriers get?

A: Black Jack Russell terriers typically stand 10-12 inches tall and weigh 13-17 pounds. They are small, sturdy dogs with a rectangular body shape.

Q: Are black jack Russell terriers rare?

A: While not as common as the white or tan/white Jack Russell, black Jack Russell terriers are not considered rare. Selective breeding has established this unique black coat variety.

Q: Do black jack Russell terriers shed?

A: Yes, black jack Russell terriers do shed, though their short coats mean it is not excessive shedding. Regular brushing helps remove loose hair.

Q: What health problems do black jack Russell terriers have?

A: Some health issues seen include deafness, lens luxation, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, patellar luxation, and IVDD. Responsible breeding helps minimize certain inherited disorders.

Q: How long do black jack Russell terriers live?

A: The average lifespan for a Black Jack Russell terrier is 13-16 years with proper care, nutrition, exercise and routine veterinary care.

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