Do Jack Russell Terrier’s Hunt? : What Makes Them Great At It is reader-supported. If you buy a product through a link on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

Jack Russell’s are a unique dog breed that you may be considering adopting for the purposes of hunting or removing varmints from your property.

It usually begs the question as to what exactly you can expect from a Jack Russell when it comes to hunting.

Do Jack Russell Terriers hunt?

I have owned a Jack Russell for several years now, and here is what I can tell you on this topic.

Jack Russell’s were initially bred to hunt fox and instinctively have a strong prey drive. Jack Russell’s are a working dog breed that wants to be given tasks such as hunting. Although Jack Russell’s have transitioned into a family dog in recent years, they are still completely capable of hunting.

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I know that my answer provided above may leave you wondering if a Jack Russell is more of a family dog or if they can truly make a strong candidate as your next hunting dog.

That is what I want to spend the rest of my time in this post discussing.

I will break down what I know about Jack Russell’s and hunting and explain my recommendations for you if you are considering adopting a Jack Russell for hunting purposes.

Do Jack Russell Terriers Hunt?

Alright, so here is the deal with Jack Russell’s hunting and what intel I have gathered during my first few years of owning my Jack Russell Terrier.

They are certainly capable of hunting and would likely make fantastic hunting dogs, but I do not hunt with my Jack Russell.

Clearly, you can take my advice on this topic at what it is worth, but just because I do not hunt with my Jack Russell does not mean that I do not know that she would make a great hunting dog.

I am just more of an angler than a hunter.

I believe a Jack Russell would do great as a bird hunter, or even as a farmhand chasing other pests of the property because of the characteristics and behaviors I have seen her display throughout my first few years of raising her and further research I have done on the topic.

Let me explain and see if I can get you on the same page.

Characteristics of A Jack Russell Terrier That Makes Them Excellent Hunting Dogs

For any dog breed, including a Jack Russell, to make an excellent hunting companion or a good hunter in general, they will need to possess specific characteristics and abilities.

With Jack Russell’s, they certainly possess what they need to get the job done.

Here is what I mean.

Ability to Learn and Desire to Work

For a dog to become a good hunter, they need the ability to listen, learn, and the desire to work.

Jack Russell’s have been known for these characteristics since their existence back when they were initially bred for hunting specific purposes.

Jack Russell’s are extremely intelligent and want to have the chance to work with you to learn more, and please you as the owners.

Sure, it does mean that you would need to take the time to teach them the basic commands and actions necessary to hunt, but if you are willing to put in the time to do so, they will be willing to be receptive and learn with you.

Strong Prey Drive

Jack Russell’s are a dog that has one of the strongest preys drives out of any dog breed.

If they catch a smell of any other pests or animals in the yard, they are naturally programmed to hunt them down and either chase them out of the property or dispose of them.

I have watched this time and time again with my Jack Russell with various animals such as squirrels, rabbits, and even possums.

She is fearless, and the backyard is her kingdom, and she uses her home field advantage to her benefit every time.

Teaching a dog to hunt that already has this willpower, and prey drive will make the task that much easier if you ask me.


When it comes to a Jack Russell, being filled with energy and looking for activities to release this energy is nothing you will have to worry about.

These dogs can keep pace with the best of them, and a day out hunting or working on the property is not something that they will not have any issues with, and they will keep up.

I discuss just how physically active and strong a Jack Russell can be in my post about taking your Jack Russell running with you that you can see here.

Although Jack Russell’s may have the energy and desire to hunt and work hard for you, they still need training and discipline beginning in puppyhood for me to have any belief that they would make an excellent hunting companion.

I want to touch on those details next.

Discipline Will Be Key for A Jack Russell to Hunt with Precision

Jack Russell’s, like many dog breeds certainly have the capabilities to do incredible things if you spend time with them and work with them so that they understand your desires and the task at hand.

This is especially important with Jack Russell Terriers and if you have the desire to use them in a hunting capacity.

Especially due to how high energy they can be.

These dogs need a way to release their energy and get exercise otherwise, they will have a tough time learning or providing any focus.

A Jack Russell who mopes around the house all day is going to be tough to train.

They will be too excited just to get time with you performing activities.

I highly recommend you begin disciplining and training your Jack Russell at an extremely young age.

The same goes for socializing your Jack Russell around other animals and people.

Remember, they have a strong prey drive and can certainly hunt, but you do not want to be in a situation where they do not know how to use that energy and natural tendencies in the wrong fashion.

For the best results, work with your Jack Russell as a puppy and start with the basics such as sit, stay, lay down etc.

Once your Jack Russell begins learning these basic commands, you can begin moving into the commands that pertain more to hunting.

The more you work with a Jack Russell, the better and trust me, they learn extremely quickly if you put in the effort with them.

A Jack Russell Is A Dog Born to Hunt and Work

As stated at the beginning of this post, a Jack Russell Terrier is a dog born to hunt and has the prey drive to get the job done.

Whether this is for game and recreational waterfowl hunting or simply keeping other animals off the property, I have no doubts that they would be great at it.

However, never forget the points previously mentioned about discipline, exercise, and training.

Without these components, you will likely just end up with a terrier that pent up energy, and is tough to teach much of anything.

Luna and I certainly wish you the best of luck if you do decide to adopt a Jack Russell, and we wish you luck with your hunting adventures.

Do You Hunt with Your Jack Russell Terrier?

Luna and I would love to hear from you.

Have you raised a Jack Russell Terrier to be your hunting partner?

How did it turn out and what other recommendations can you provide the Terrier Owner Community?

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 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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