Are Jack Russell Terriers Good Dogs for Seniors? [Pros and Cons]


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Jack Russell Terriers are a dog breed that can be a perfect fit for an individual or a family or can be a bit more than expected.

The Jack Russell has a lot of love and affection to offer.

Jack Russells don’t come without some high-energy behaviors and troublesome habits that need to be trained out of them as quickly as possible.

For seniors, a Jack Russell will either make for a perfect companion or could be a bad idea, depending on your preferences and what you currently understand about this dog breed.

To completely understand what I mean, I think we should start with breaking down the Jack Russell Terriers’ temperament, behavior, and overall attitude and then dive into the specifics.

The Temperament of a Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russells can undoubtedly be a handful for any dog owner regardless of age.

Jack Russells are highly energetic, clingy, and loyal dog breeds.

Jack Russells do not like fighting for attention and prefer to be your center of focus.

You can count on your Jack Russell following you everywhere.

Senior couple with Jack Russell Terrier. Jack Russells can undoubtedly be a handful for any dog owner regardless of age.

Jack Russells are incredibly affectionate and can make excellent dogs with proper training and discipline.

For seniors, the same applies.

Let’s dive into some of those details now.

Why A Jack Russell Terrier Could Be Troublesome for Seniors

Before we dive into the positives and why a Jack Russell can make an excellent dog for a senior, I wanted to start with some of the issues seniors may run into with this dog breed.

The Time and Effort Involved

A Jack Russell may not be the best dog for seniors because of the time, patience, and effort it requires to train this dog.

In the beginning, this is a dog that needs to burn energy and may display some behaviors that are not desirable.

Jack Russells are also stubborn dogs, so it takes time to establish boundaries and make it apparent who’s in charge of this dog breed.

For seniors looking for an easy dog to train or a dog that will be ready to relax right out of the gates, a Jack Russell Terrier will not be the best choice.

The Additional Expenses Jack Russells Will Cause

Dogs are expensive. This statement is not exclusive to Jack Russell Terriers. For seniors on a fixed income, you may not want to spend the money involved to adopt and raise a JRT.

The money will start to add up from monthly bills for dog food and vet visits and even to get microchipped, neutered, or spayed.

The potential for health concerns later in a Jack Russells life span can prove costly as well.

Be sure that before you adopt, you analyze the budget and ensure the additional expenses that will come with owning a JRT are within your comfort limits.

The Need for Yard Space or Exercise

We will talk later about how the need for exercise for a Jack Russell can also be beneficial for the senior demographic.

However, this can be a downfall as well.

Many seniors live in retirement communities or have housing that does not easily allow a Jack Russell to burn off energy and run around in a contained yard.

This is a must if you don’t plan to provide the exercise for your JRT.

Be sure that you have plenty of space if you plan to adopt this dog.

Jack Russell Terrier with ball in grass. Be sure that you have plenty of space if you plan to adopt a Jack Russell Terrier.

Jumping and Certain Behaviors Can Be Tough to Break

The last negative I want to discuss and the reason why Jack Russell may not be the best dog for seniors is due to a Jack Russell being a jumpy type of dog.

Jumping is a challenging behavior to train out of a Jack Russell.

To this day, my Jack Russell Terrier still jumps. She jumps on me; she jumps on other members of the family and jumps on the company that we have over to the house when she’s excited.

Jumping is part of this dog’s personality, and they are good at it.

Jack Russell Terrier on hind legs. Jumping is a challenging behavior to train out of a Jack Russell.

If you prefer a more reserved or laid-back dog that doesn’t get quickly excited, I likely wouldn’t recommend adopting a Jack Russell Terrier.

Now that we have discussed the negatives and reasons why Jack Russell Terriers may not be the best fit for seniors let’s flip the script and discuss why JRTs can make great dogs for the senior demographic.

Why Jack Russells Could Be a Great Dog Breed for Seniors

Jack Russells Can Keep You Fit and Active

We previously discussed how much exercise a Jack Russell Terrier needs, which is undoubtedly true.

For seniors looking for a companion that can help keep them fit and active, a Jack Russell Terrier can be a great addition to the family.

Jack Russells can keep up with any activity you are willing to provide.

Man playing with Jack Russell on the beach. Jack Russells can keep up with any activity you are willing to provide.

The only difference now is you will have a loyal companion to tag along with you on your morning walks or afternoon runs.

In fact, they will demand it and expect it.

A True Best Friend and Sense of Purpose Is What You Will Get

No dog breed can be as loyal as a Jack Russell Terrier. That is my opinion after owning my JRT for the past 3 years, and it would be tough to convince me otherwise.

This dog will be next to you during everything you do. No question about it.

If you are looking for that bond, friendship, and affection, a Jack Russell can be perhaps the best potential dog breed you can choose.

Jack Russell Terrier with senior woman. If you are looking for that bond, friendship, and affection, a Jack Russell can be perhaps the best potential dog breed you can choose.

Jack Russells Can Reduce Stress and Improve Your Social Life

Jack Russells seem to be conversation starters. I haven’t quite figured out why they raise so many questions from others in the community or friends stopping by, but they certainly do.

Perhaps it’s from the number of times Jack Russells have been featured on movies or tv shows.

Most of the time, it’s conversations with individuals about how much energy this dog has and how unique a Jack Russell Terrier truly is.

Whatever the reason is, they certainly have a way of attracting individuals and sparking a conversation.

Because of this, Jack Russells can 100% improve your social life.

The next time you take your JRT on a walk, I bet you will be surprised at who stops to pet, admire, or talk about your dog with you.

It’s a unique gift this dog breed has and a benefit of adopting a Jack Russell Terrier.

Seniors with Jack Russell Terrier. Jack Russells seem to be conversation starters.

Jack Russells Require Patience but Make Great Dogs, The Choice Is Yours

Based on our discussion, hopefully it is apparent, that a Jack Russell Terrier can be an excellent dog for seniors.

I also hope it’s transparent and evident that you do have things to consider before jumping into the adoption. Depending on what you truly want, a Jack Russell Terrier may be the best dog you can choose to adopt.

Ultimately, that choice is yours, and we wish you the best of luck with your decision and adoption of your JRT if that’s the path you decide to take.

Josh Martin- Founder and Creator of Terrier Owner

Josh Martin is the proud owner of a female Jack Russell Terrier Named Luna. Josh founded TerrierOwner.com to share the stories of owning a Terrier and to help all terrier owners with the struggles, excitement and common questions that come with being a new terrier parent.

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