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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > Jack Rat Terrier Dog Breed Info: Pictures, Guide, Care & More

Jack Rat Terrier Dog Breed Info: Pictures, Guide, Care & More


The Jack Rat Terrier is a mix of two terriers — the Jack Russell Terrier and the Rat Terrier. This combination yields an energetic, loyal, and stubborn dog that will try your patience if not given proper care and attention.

Breed Overview


13-18 inches


20-26 pounds


12-16 years


White, blue, red, brown

Suitable for:

Families with dog-owning experience, looking for an energetic pup


Energetic, yappy, loyal, stubborn

However, a well-trained Jack Rat Terrier will make an excellent companion for an active, outdoor-loving family. Keep reading to learn more about these dogs and if they’d make a good choice for your home.

Jack Rat Terrier Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.


Jack Rat Terrier Puppies

You may have trouble even finding a breeder with puppies available as the Jack Rat is not a very popular dog. These small to medium designer dogs can be quite expensive when purchased from a breeder.  One important thing to keep in mind is that many people buy a Jack Rat Terrier without educating themselves about the breed. This results in a higher-than-average number of Jack Rats being surrendered to a shelter. Therefore, you may be able to find one in a shelter, usually with vaccinations and spay/neuter surgery included.

Jack Rat Terriers have strong personalities. They’re not very easy to train due to their stubborn nature, and tend to bark a lot. Be ready to commit enough time for regular and firm training sessions. Experienced dog owners might be a better fit for Jack Rat Terriers to provide them with enough obedience training and mental stimulation.

Image Credit: Left – Public Domain Pictures | Right – annapowa, Shutterstock

Temperament & Intelligence of the Jack Rat Terrier

The Jack Rat Terrier is a very intelligent breed. However, their stubborn temperament can make training a little difficult. With the right family and plenty of patience, the Jack Rat can thrive. They’re loving with their families, although they’re known to be wary around strangers. They’re loyal and love to spend time with you, especially during outdoor adventures.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Yes, the Jack Rat Terrier can make a good family dog for active families with older, respectful children. Families with very small children might not be appropriate as the Jack Rat can be somewhat nippy and temperamental. However, they can make great companions for older children who know how to be careful around dogs.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

The Jack Rat Terrier does have a high prey drive, so you’ll need to be careful around smaller pets. That being said, many Jack Rat Terriers can get along just fine with other dogs and even cats provided they’re socialized with them early on.


Things to Know When Owning a Jack Rat Terrier

Jack Rat Terriers are energetic and temperamental dogs. They’re loving and loyal to their families but can be touchy about strangers. This is why it is so important to do your homework before adopting any dog. You want to make sure it will fit in with your family and that you’ll be able to care for it properly.

Understanding the nutrition, exercise, training, grooming, and health needs of a pet before bringing it home is the key to happiness for both you and your pet.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Because they are so active, you’ll want to make sure to provide your Jack Rat Terrier with a high-quality kibble containing a significant amount of protein. The exact amount of food your dog eats each day will depend on its age and activity level. You should confer with your veterinarian to determine the right food and portions needed for your dog.

Exercise 🐕

These dogs need plenty of exercise or they will drive you crazy! On average, you should expect to give your Jack Rat Terrier at least 2 hours of exercise every day. They love long walks, runs, games of fetch, hikes — really anything you can think of to do with them outside.

They’re exceedingly curious and will sniff everything they see. They can follow a scent for hours if not interrupted. They’re also very skilled jumpers. If you leave your dog alone in your yard, you’ll need to make sure that the fence is too high for them to jump, or they’ll escape.

Training 🎾

The Jack Rat Terrier is an intelligent breed. However, they’re also very stubborn. This can make training a chore, especially if you wait until your dog is older to work on training and manners. That being said, they’re eager to please by nature, so reward-based training can be very effective. They also have tons of energy which can be burned off through agility courses or other obedience training.

One important note about the Jack Rat is that they love to bark. They’ll bark at anything moving outside, noises, and even the television. This makes them a poor choice for apartment dwellers.

Grooming ✂️

Even though they have short hair, the Jack Rat Terrier does tend to be a heavy shedder, particularly in the warmer months. Frequent brushing can help curtail the shedding a bit.

You should also frequently check and clean their ears to make sure they are free of mites or other pests. They need regular teeth cleanings to prevent infections.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Overall, Jack Rat Terriers are pretty healthy dogs. There are just a few conditions they are prone to. When you’re researching breeders for your Jack Rat puppy, you should always make sure that the breeder screens the parents for genetic disorders.

Minor Conditions
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans
  • Osteosarcoma
Serious Conditions
  • Gastric Torsion

Male vs Female

There aren’t any noticeable differences between male and female Jack Rat Terriers. They tend to be the same size and their temperaments are similar. The most important consideration when you’re deciding whether or not a Jack Rat is right for your family is if your family has the time and energy to meet the dog’s needs.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Jack Rat Terrier

1. You can put this hybrid to work.

If bored, the Jack Rat Terrier will become destructive, nippy, and yappy — all characteristics no one wants in their dog. However, if trained, socialized, and engaged, you’ll have a wonderful dog. One task they are perfect for is controlling pests around your yard.

The Rat Terrier was bred specifically for this task and the Jack Rat also possesses the desire to root out and chase pests. Rats, rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, and more won’t want to spend time around your home if a Jack Rat Terrier is there.

2. No one really knows where the breed first appeared.

The origins of the Jack Rat Terrier are mysterious. No one can pinpoint exactly where they came from or where this mix was first bred. They’re also not very popular, so it can be difficult to find a breeder if you’re searching for a puppy.

3. They’re excellent jumpers.

Jack Rat Terriers tend to inherit the jumping ability of their Jack Russell parent. They can jump up to five times their own height! If you have a fenced yard, you’ll need to make sure that the fence is high enough to contain this bouncy dog.


Final Thoughts

The key to a good experience for both you and your dog is early training. The earlier you can train and socialize your dog, the better their behavior will be. If your family is active and has the patience to work with a Jack Rat Terrier, then you’ll be rewarded with a loving and loyal companion.

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Featured Image Credit: Left – Oldiefan, Pixabay | Right – 272447, Pixabay

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