Do Jack Russell Terrier’s Get Cold [Yes+What To Do]


Several reasons may have landed you on this post trying to determine if your Jack Russell will get cold and just how cold of weather a Jack Russell Terrier can handle.

One reason that jumps out to me right away is that you are potentially attempting to keep your Jack Russell outside.

Regardless of what your reason may be, I want to touch on the basics first, and then I will cover this topic in-depth and cover many scenarios about a Jack Russell getting cold and what you can do to help them in these situations.

I have been raising a Jack Russell Terrier for the past 2-3 years and want to cover the most common question first.

Do Jack Russell Terrier’s Get Cold?

Yes, Jack Russell Terriers get cold. A Jack Russell will get cold in temperatures under 50 degrees F. The coat length of a Jack Russell will impact how quickly they get cold or uncomfortable. It is best to ensure your Jack Russell remains comfortable and not too cold during harsh weather elements.

The rest of this post will break down what you can do if you want to keep your Jack Russell outside more often and what you need to always be aware of when it comes to temperatures and your Jack Russell getting too cold.

Here is how I want to break this down today:



Do Jack Russell Terriers Get Cold?

Like most dogs, a Jack Russell can undoubtedly get cold and does get cold when the temperatures begin to fall.

Especially depending on their coat type and length.

A smooth-haired Jack Russell will get colder faster than a broken coat or long-haired Jack Russell because of how quickly the cold elements can hit their skin and how fast they will lose body heat.

I know from experience with my smooth-coated/haired female Jack Russell.

She gets cold or shivers if the temperature is under about 45-50 degrees F, even if it is still pleasant weather.

That does not mean that you have reached too cold of temperatures for them to be outside; it just means that they may not be as comfortable as they are when it is warmer.

So, in a nutshell, a Jack Russell Terrier is going to get cold, and depending on their coat, some will get colder faster than others.

However, again, to re-emphasize, this does not necessarily mean that they cannot be outside.

I want to move into those details next and break down a few options you have and help you to understand how your Jack Russell is likely going to deal with the cold weather and the elements as winter is approaching.


Jack Russell Terrier’s Dealing with Cold Weather and Being Outdoors

When I talk about a Jack Russell Terrier dealing with the cold weather and being outdoors when it is cold, I am talking from a combination of experience with my own Jack Russell Terrier in addition to research and a general consensus from other Jack Russell Terrier owners.

Image Credit- Shutterstock

I live in Illinois, so we have hot summers and cold, harsh winters year after year.

The winters in my area include strong winter storms that can produce snow, ice, sleet and moderate winds.

In addition to temperatures that often drop below 0 degrees F if you include the wind chill.

I have been raising my female Jack Russell Terrier now for roughly 3 years, so I have had an excellent chance to witness and see how she handles the elements which includes all of the weather occurrences I just mentioned.

Here are the 5 scenarios I could envision a Jack Russell Terrier being outside in the cold weather and a potential reason that you may be asking this question to begin with.

This will help us better understand what weather a Jack Russell Terrier can handle, how cold it can get it and the duration of time they may need to spend in the cold weather elements.


Scenario 1-Jack Russell Terrier Going Outside to Potty in Cold Weather- Estimated Duration 5-20 Min

In this scenario, you do not have much to worry about.

While your Jack Russell may get cold and uncomfortable for a moment, going outside to use the restroom and walking through some snow is not going to hurt them for this duration of time.

The only time I would get concerned about this is if you possibly have an elderly Jack Russell or a Jack Russell who just cannot handle the elements at all.

Outside of that, going outside to go potty for a Jack Russell is not going to be an issue and nothing I would fret over.


Scenario 2-Jack Russell Terrier Going Outside to Play and Burn Energy in Cold Weather- Estimate Duration- 20 Min-1 Hour

In scenario 2, it is going to depend a lot on the outside temperature and your specific Jack Russell Terrier.

If it is below 32 degrees outside or the wind is blowing, I would not let them outside to play for a long duration of time without giving them the opportunity to come back inside.

My Jack Russell, when I allow her outside to run around with our yellow lab, she will let us know when she has had enough of the weather and cold temperatures outside by coming up to the door.

I have even seen her shiver in this instance before, so it is a good idea to make sure you either use a coat, sweater, or something to keep them warm or make sure you do not leave them and forget that they are outside playing.

Again, this is much more of a common-sense scenario and you can use your best judgement when allowing them outside in the cold weather but overall, it is not a big deal if you give them the opportunity to come back inside when they get too cold.


Scenario 3-Jack Russell Terrier Going for A Walk in Cold Weather- Estimate Duration- 15 Min-1 Hour

This is going to be much like scenario 2 and only really needs some common sense.

If it is very cold out, I cannot imagine that you would want to be outside walking around too much, either.

However, if you do like to do long walks in the cold of winter or even a run and want your Jack Russell to tag along with you, make sure you either keep them warm or ensure that you are not going for too long of a walk for them to get too cold.


Scenario 4-Jack Russell Terrier Spending most of the Day Outside in Cold Weather- Estimated Duration- 2 Hours Plus

Once we reach scenario 4 is when you need to start being more careful.

If you have a short-haired/smooth coat Jack Russell and its winter temperatures outside, I will highly recommend something such as a doghouse or insulated area that they can go if they too get cold.

I would also recommend a dog coat or sweater, which I will cover in a moment.

Dogs that live outside and that are capable of living outside are used to the temperatures and from geographical regions of the world that makes them remain comfortable even when temperatures drop below freezing.

This is not the scenario for a Jack Russell, so it is important that you are providing ethical care for them and ensuring that they have the means to get warm if they get uncomfortable in the elements of cold weather.


Scenario 5-Jack Russell Terrier Living Outside in Cold Weather- Estimated Duration- 20+ Hours or All Day/Night

Scenario 5 is only going to be possible with a Jack Russell Terrier if you have a well built and well-insulated doghouse.

This means that the doghouse is elevated off the cold grounds, protected from wind, and well insulated.

It may even be large enough that allows for some form of electric heat to be present.

A Jack Russell Terrier is too small and does not have the coat to allow them to live outside.

Let me say that one more time.

A Jack Russell Terrier cannot live outside unless you live an area where the temperatures remain warm enough, and the weather is not a factor or you have an excellent dog house built for the weather and to keep your Jack Russell comfortable and healthy in cold weather.


How to Know If Your Jack Russell Terrier Is Too Cold

When a Jack Russell Terrier is too cold, they may show a few signs to inform you that they need to come inside.

One of these is simply returning to the entry door of the home which should be a clear indicator that they are cold and want to come back inside.

My Jack Russell Terrier will even shiver when she is too cold.

Another sign I have seen before as well is her sitting holding one paw up, which can indicate that they have cold paws or snow/ice trapped between a paw.

If they become somewhat lethargic and not moving around as much or hunched over, this can also indicate that a Jack Russell Terrier is too cold and needs to come inside.

To recap, these are the potential signs and what you should look for to know if your Jack Russell Terrier is too cold:

  • Shivering and Shaking
  • 1 Paw Up Indicating Cold Paws
  • Lethargic or Not Moving Much
  • Hunched Over or Curled Up As if They Are Trying to Trap Body Heat

Do Jack Russell Terrier’s Need Winter Coats?

Determining when a Jack Russell needs a winter coat is a case by case basis.

It depends on where you live and what activities you perform with your Jack Russell outside.

Think back to the scenarios that were presented earlier too you.

If they are any of the scenarios where your Jack Russell is outside in cold weather for extended periods of time, then a coat for your Jack Russell is likely a good idea.

I recommend using a coat such as the Kuoser Cozy Waterproof Coat (Link to Amazon).

I love that it is waterproof, and it is a coat designed specifically for small dogs.

Keep in mind, I am only suggesting a winter coat for your Jack Russell if it is a scenario where the duration is extended outside, they are elderly, or you live in very cold temperature areas.

Outside of those situations, I think not using a coat is perfectly fine.


Why Do Jack Russell Terriers Shiver?

Jack Russell’s will often shiver when they are too cold.

Jack Russell’s, being a small dog, get cold easier than other dogs and shiver to attempt to warm back up.

If your Jack Russell Terrier is shivering and outside, it would be best to bring them back inside or not leave them outside to the point of shivering in the future.


Make Sure to Keep Your Jack Russell Warm and Comfortable During Cold Weather

Yes, a Jack Russell Terrier is going to get cold, and they are likely going to display body language that informs you they are too cold.

Do your best to accommodate and keep them comfortable but also do not overly stress about it.

If your Jack Russell is getting too cold using the restroom, simply allow them back inside shortly after.

If, however, you are attempting to allow your Jack Russell to be outside longer in cold weather, use the recommendations we have discussed in this post to help your Jack Russell remain comfortable.

Luna and I wish you the best of luck with your Jack Russell’s and your approach for battling the cold weather and the journey you have ahead of you.


Share Your Thoughts and Experience with A Jack Russell Terrier Dealing with Cold Weather

How long do you allow your Jack Russell to be outside in cold weather or harsh weather elements?

How does your Jack Russell Terrier inform you they are too cold or want to come inside?

Be sure to share those thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.

As always, Luna and I appreciate you stopping by and reading today, and we will see you again next time.

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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