Home Dog BreedsJack Russell Terrier Black Jack Russell Terrier: Everything You Need to Know 

Black Jack Russell Terrier: Everything You Need to Know 

by Joel
black jack russell terrier

There’s a certain charm that gets attributed to small dogs with big personalities; indeed, they have a way of stealing our hearts with their boundless energy and spirited demeanor. Standing among the most revered of such breeds is the Black Jack Russell Terrier, a lively, tenacious, and intelligent family companion. With its striking black coat and fascinating lineage, this breed has piqued the interest of dog enthusiasts worldwide.

In this article, we take you on a thrilling journey into the life of a Black Jack Russell Terrier. We will uncover its antiquity, unique characteristics, and why this black-coated bundle of energy makes for such an interesting, beloved pet.

What is a black Jack Russell Terrier?

A Black Jack Russell Terrier is a unique variant of the Jack Russell Terrier dog breed. Known for their active, fearless, and inquisitive nature, this breed is characterized by a predominantly black coat that sets them apart from the more common colorations of the Jack Russell Terrier breed.

Differences from Other Jack Russell Terriers

Generally, Jack Russell Terriers are predominantly white with patches of black, brown, or tan. The black Jack Russell Terriers, however, have a coat that is primarily black. This is the only significant difference between them and the more traditional Jack Russell Terriers.

Jack Russell Terriers, irrespective of their color, are agile, intelligent, and love to hunt. They are fearless, assertive and reputed for their energetic nature.

Is Black Jack Russell rare?

Black Jack Russell Terriers are rarer than their white counterparts. This is due to the breeding preference towards the traditional “white with patches” look that Jack Russell Terriers are recognized for. As such, puppies born with predominantly black coats are not as common, making them a rarer sight.

Should You Consider Getting a Black Jack Russell Terrier?

The decision to get a Black Jack Russell Terrier should not be based on the rarity or color of the breed but rather on whether the breed’s characteristics match your lifestyle and environment. Here are few reasons why you might consider getting one:

  • Active companionship: If you lead an active lifestyle, a Jack Russell Terrier would be an excellent match as they are energetic and fond of physical activities.
  • Intelligence and trainability: Jack Russell Terriers are sharp-minded and quick learners. They respond well to commands, making them relatively easier to train.
  • Unique look: With a Black Jack Russell Terrier, you get all the charm and energy of a regular Jack Russell Terrier but with a unique and striking aesthetic due to their uncommon coat color.
  • Good watchdogs: Jack Russell Terriers, regardless of their coat color, are vigilant animals. They are known to be good watchdogs, often barking to alert their owners of anything unusual.

Appearance and Physical Characteristics

Coat Color and Type:

  • The most prominent feature of a Black Jack Russell is its solid black coat. This coat color is typically sleek, glossy, and uniformly black across the entire body.
  • The coat can be short or broken, with “broken” referring to a slightly longer and rougher coat texture compared to the smooth or short-haired variety.
  • Occasionally, you may find a Black Jack Russell with a small white spot on the chest, but this is relatively uncommon.

Size and Proportions:

  • Black Jack Russell Terriers are a small breed with a well-balanced, compact body.
  • They typically stand between 10 to 14 inches (25 to 30 cm) at the shoulder and weigh anywhere from 9 to 15 pounds (4 to 7 kg).
  • Their bodies are slightly longer than they are tall, giving them a rectangular appearance.

Head and Face:

  • The head of a Black Jack is proportional to its body, not too large or too small.
  • They have a flat skull with a well-defined stop (the point where the forehead meets the muzzle).
  • The muzzle is typically straight and tapers slightly towards the nose.
  • Their almond-shaped eyes are dark and expressive, usually matching the black coat.


  • The tail of a Black Jack Russell is traditionally docked, meaning it is surgically shortened when the dog is a puppy. However, in many countries, tail docking is now prohibited, so you may find Black Jacks with natural, undocked tails.

Legs and Feet:

  • They have straight, well-muscled legs with small, round feet.
  • Their paws are typically black, matching the coat color.

Overall Build:

  • Black Jacks are known for their athletic and agile build, which makes them excellent hunters and agile companions.
  • Their chest is deep and their back is strong and straight.
  • The breed’s physical appearance is designed for hunting small game and navigating various terrains.

What is the temperament of a black Jack Russell Terrier?

Black Jack Russell Terriers share the same temperament and personality traits as the standard Jack Russell Terrier, as the color of their coat does not impact these aspects of the breed.

Energetic and Active

The most identifiable characteristic of a Jack Russell Terrier is their high energy level. Whether black, white, or anything in between, these dogs need plenty of exercise and engagement to keep them satisfied.

Intelligent and Inquisitive

Jack Russell Terriers are smart dogs, quick learners and problem-solvers. This intelligence, coupled with their natural curiosity, means they tend to be adventurous and exploratory. They are often found searching for something to do or explore, which can lead them into trouble if not given appropriate outlets for their energy.

Stubborn but Trainable

Despite their intelligence, Jack Russells tend to be stubborn. While they are capable of learning a wide range of commands and tricks, successful training often involves a firm, consistent approach due to their independent nature.

Fearless and Assertive

Another prominent trait of Jack Russell Terriers is their boldness. They don’t shy away from challenges and often act as if they’re much larger than they really are. This assertive trait makes them excellent watchdogs, as they’re likely to alert you when there’s a change in their environment.

Affectionate and Social

While Jack Russell Terriers enjoy independence, they’re also known for being affectionate, friendly dogs. They form strong bonds with their human families and aren’t afraid to show their love.

Highly Adaptable

Jack Russell Terriers thrive in a variety of environments, responding well to changes in their surroundings. However, to live a content life, they need consistent exercise, mental stimulation, and plenty of social interaction.

Cost And Lifespan

The cost and lifespan of a Black Jack Russell Terrier, like any dog breed, can vary based on several factors. Here are details regarding both aspects:


  1. Purchase Price: The cost of acquiring a Black Jack Russell Terrier can vary significantly depending on factors such as breeder reputation, location, pedigree, and the specific bloodline of the dog. On average, you can expect to pay between $800 to $2,500 or even more for a well-bred Black Jack Russell puppy. Be cautious of unusually low prices, as they may indicate poor breeding practices or health issues.
  2. Initial Expenses: You’ll need to budget for initial expenses such as vaccinations, microchipping, spaying/neutering (if not done by the breeder), a collar, leash, crate, and basic supplies. These can cost several hundred dollars.
  3. Ongoing Costs: Owning a Black Jack Russell involves ongoing expenses, including high-quality dog food, grooming supplies, regular veterinary check-ups, medications, and preventive care. Annual costs can range from $1,000 to $2,500 or more, depending on your dog’s health and specific needs.
  4. Training and Socialization: Factor in costs for training classes and socialization experiences to ensure your Black Jack is well-behaved and well-adjusted.
  5. Pet Insurance: While not mandatory, pet insurance can help cover unexpected medical expenses.


The average lifespan of a Black Jack Russell Terrier typically falls within the range of 13 to 16 years. However, a well-cared-for Black Jack can sometimes live beyond these averages. Several factors can influence a dog’s lifespan:

  1. Genetics: The dog’s genetic background, health history, and breeding can play a significant role in determining their longevity. 
  2. Diet and Exercise: Providing a balanced diet, regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight can contribute to a longer, healthier life for your Black Jack.
  3. Healthcare: Routine veterinary care, vaccinations, preventive measures against parasites, and prompt treatment of any health issues are vital to ensuring your dog’s well-being and extending their lifespan.
  4. Environment: A safe and loving environment, along with proper socialization and mental stimulation, can have a positive impact on a dog’s overall quality of life.
  5. Genetic Health Issues: Like all breeds, Black Jack Russells can be prone to certain genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia and eye conditions.

Care and Training

Caring for and training a Black Jack Russell Terrier requires attention, consistency, and patience. These dogs are known for their energetic and intelligent nature, which can make them both rewarding and challenging to care for. Here are guidelines for the care and training of a Black Jack Russell Terrier:


  • Black Jack Russells are highly energetic dogs and require plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy. Aim for at least 30-60 minutes of vigorous exercise daily, which can include runs, fetch, or agility training.
  • Mental stimulation is just as crucial as physical activity. Puzzle toys and interactive games can help keep their sharp minds engaged.


  • Early socialization is essential to prevent behavioral issues. Introduce your Black Jack to various people, animals, and environments when they are young to build their confidence and reduce potential aggression or fear.
  • Socializing also helps them get along with other dogs, as Black Jack Russells can sometimes be territorial.

Obedience Training:

  • Begin obedience training as soon as you bring your Black Jack Russell home. These dogs are known for their intelligence and ability to learn quickly, however, they can also display stubbornness at times.
  • Focus on basic commands such as sit, stay, come, and leash training. Positive reinforcement techniques, like treats and praise, work best.

Crate Training:

  • Crate training can be useful for housebreaking and providing your Black Jack with a safe space. Ensure the crate is appropriately sized, making it cozy and comfortable.
  • Avoid using the crate for punishment, as it should be a positive place for your dog.


  • Regular grooming is essential to keep their coat healthy. Brush your Black Jack’s coat weekly to remove loose hair and prevent matting.
  • Bathe them as needed, usually every 6-8 weeks or when they get dirty.
  • Check their ears regularly for signs of infection, and trim their nails as needed.


  • Feed your Black Jack Russell a balanced diet suitable for their age, size, and activity level. Consult your veterinarian for specific recommendations.
  • Divide their daily food intake into two or more meals to prevent overeating.

Health Care:

  • Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial to monitor your dog’s overall health and address any potential issues.
  • Ensure your Black Jack is up-to-date on vaccinations, flea and tick prevention, and heartworm medication.
  • Discuss dental care with your vet, as small dog breeds like Black Jack Russells are prone to dental problems.

Barking Control:

  • Black Jack Russells are known for their vocal nature. Training them to control their barking is essential, especially if you live in close quarters with neighbors.

Mental Stimulation:

  • These dogs thrive on mental challenges. Provide puzzle toys and training sessions to keep their minds engaged and prevent boredom.

Patience and Consistency:

  • Training a Black Jack Russell Terrier can be challenging due to their strong will. Be consistent and use positive reinforcement techniques.
  • Seek professional training assistance if you encounter specific behavioral issues that you cannot resolve on your own.

Common Health Issues

Despite their hardy and resilient nature, Black Jack Russell Terriers, like their counterparts, are susceptible to certain health conditions. Here are four common health issues that owners and prospective adopters should be aware of:

Ear Infections

Given their folded-over ears, Jack Russell Terriers are prone to ear infections. Moisture can easily get trapped inside a Jack Russell’s ear, creating the perfect environment for bacteria and yeast.

Eye Conditions

Several eye conditions can affect Jack Russell Terriers. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), an inherent disease that impacts the retina and results in vision loss, is one. Another is Primary Lens Luxation (PLL), which causes an abnormal positioning or dislocation of the lens in the eye, leading to glaucoma or blindness if not treated quickly. Ensure regular eye checks to aid in early detection and treatment.

Patellar Luxation

Jack Russell Terriers may be prone to Patellar Luxation, a condition where the dog’s kneecap dislocates or moves out of its normal location. Signs can include an abnormal gait, episodic lameness, and discomfort in certain knee positions. Weight management, regular exercise, and in severe cases, surgery can be used to manage this condition.


Hearing impairments can also be a common occurrence in Jack Russell Terriers. This condition can range from partial to total deafness, especially in dogs with a large amount of white in their coats. While deafness is not preventable when it’s a hereditary condition, a dog with hearing loss can still lead a full life with some modifications to their training and care.

Final Thoughts

Black Jack Russell Terriers are small dogs that have gained a lot of popularity over the past few years. Their black and tan coats help them stand out, but they also have a cheerful temperament that makes them fun to be around.

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