Do Jack Russell Terriers Howl? [And What You Can Do About It]


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If you are thinking about adopting a Jack Russell Terrier you may be wondering if they howl.

Everyone knows that hound dogs are howlers, but what about terriers?

First off, all dogs are direct descendants of the gray wolf which is well known for howling at the moon. So, all dog breeds have the ability to howl.

Some breeds howl a lot and others just occasionally, but all dogs howl.

Jack Russell Terriers do not howl very often.

Of course, all dogs are individuals regardless of their breed. Some Jack Russells howl more than others, but most do not howl very often or at all.

If you have a Jack Russell that howls or just want to learn more, read on.

Here is what I plan to cover in this brief post about Jack Russells Howling:

Why Do Jack Russell Terriers Howl?

There are several reasons why your Jack Russell Terrier might be howling, but they all come down to communication. If a dog is howling, it is trying to communicate something either to you, another dog, or a perceived threat.

Reason #1: Howling For Attention

Jack Russell Terriers are social animals that need a certain amount of attention to be happy. Dogs are instinctively pack animals and naturally want to be around their humans and other dogs.

If they don’t have the chance to interact with others and get out their energy, they may howl to express their anxiety.

Jack Russells are also quick learners. Typically, owners will pay attention to their dog when it howls. Jack Russells will quickly make the connection and learn that howling is a good way to get attention.

What to do about it

If you want to stop your Jack Russell from howling, the solution is simple but not easy. If your dog is howling simply for attention, you should ignore them until they quiet down.

It’s easier said than done, but if you are able to ignore the howling they will learn that howling is not the best way to get attention.

Of course, you shouldn’t overlook the underlying issue that your Jack Russell needs more attention. If your dog is craving more attention, you should find some ways to help them get out their energy.

Reason #2: Howling Because They Are Lonely

I know this sounds the same as reason #1, but it’s actually a slightly different reason.

Jack Russells may howl when they are left alone for a long period of time. In the wild, wolves will howl to communicate over long distances.

If their owner has been gone for a long time, a dog may howl as an attempt to communicate with their human and tell them to come home.

This is especially true when they are puppies. Jack Russell puppies can only be left alone at home for a few hours at a time.

What to do about it

Obviously, you have a life and have to leave the house. As your Jack Russell gets older they will naturally become more accepting of longer absences.

However, you should never leave your dog alone for more than 24 hours at the absolute maximum. If you’ll be gone for an extended period of time, you may want to consider a pet-sitter, doggy daycare, or overnight boarding.

Reason #3: Copying Other Howling

Like I mentioned before, Jack Russell Terriers are descended from gray wolves who howl to communicate.

If your Jack Russell hears another dog howling, their natural instinct might kick in and they’ll want to howl back.

It might not even be another dog howling that sets them off. It could be a siren of a distant fire truck that gets them going.

What to do about it

This kind of howling is not actually bad as it doesn’t signify any kind of underlying issue. It’s just a dog being a dog.

However, your Jack Russell’s howling may be annoying your neighbors late at night and you want him to quiet down.

In that case, you can train your Jack Russell to ignore the sounds that cause him to howl. The most common way to train a dog to ignore things that you don’t want him paying attention to is to teach him the command to “leave it.”

Reason #4: Howling To Warn Intruders Encroaching On Their Territory

That’s just a fancy way of saying howling when someone comes to the door. Jack Russells are territorial, so they will instinctively react when someone new shows up at their house – like most dogs do.

They may bark or howl to warn off intruders. This is completely normal behavior for all dogs.

While they may act tough, Jack Russell Terriers are typically friendly dogs and will not follow through on their threat to attack your house guest.

However, if you find that your Jack Russell is overly aggressive, you may want to speak to your vet about getting professional training.

What to do about it

While many owners are happy that their Jack Russell acts as an alarm bell to warn them when someone is approaching the house, there may be some situations where you don’t want them to be so noisy.

As with our previous reason, if that is the case you can train them to “leave it.”

Reason #5: Howling For Food Or Water

Similar to other reasons on the list, when a Jack Russell Terrier howls for food or water they are trying to communicate directly with their owner.

If your Jack Russell is howling by their food bowls, it is a good indication that they are hungry or thirsty.

What to do about it

It is important to learn how to properly feed your Jack Russell Terrier, so that they aren’t hungry and are getting the proper nutrition.

Additionally, you should always make sure that their water bowl is full and available to them.

Reason #6: Howling In Pain

Perhaps the saddest reason your Jack Russell may howl is because they are in pain. While humans may cry or yell out, dogs may whimper or howl when they are hurt.

Dogs are generally pretty good at hiding their pain. It’s probably a left-over instinct of not wanting to look weak or injured.

So, if your Jack Russell is howling in pain you know it’s serious.

What to do about it

If your Jack Russell is howling due to an injury or other source of pain, this is not the time to dissuade them from howling.

You should contact your vet as soon as possible to have them checked out.

Do Jack Russell Terriers Howl Wrap Up

While all canines, including domestic dogs have the ability to howl, Jack Russell Terriers are not known for howling.

That doesn’t mean that your Jack Russell will never howl, however. Above, we laid out the reasons why your Jack Russell Terrier might howl.

It is very important to understand why your dog is howling to know how to respond properly.

Kevin William

Kevin William grew up with a female West Highland White Terrier named Murphy who was always by his side. Kevin currently lives in New York state with his family including a Labrabull (Labrador Retriever Pit Bull) named Lily.

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