Jack Rat Terrier: Jack Russell and Rat Terrier Mix Breed Overview

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As someone who currently raises a Jack Russell Terrier, I can say from experience that this is a loyal, energetic and one of kind dog breed to own.

Rat Terriers have also been a popular dog breed that you can opt to adopt. And while Jack Russells and Rat Terriers look similar, they are different breeds.

Putting the two together to create the mixed breed of the Jack Rat Terrier is one way to adopt a dog that can present the best of both worlds.

A Jack Rat Terrier is a mixed breed dog that combines the characteristics of a Jack Russell Terrier and a Rat Terrier. They are small, energetic, and intelligent dogs known for their loyalty, adaptability, and affectionate nature, making them excellent companions and diligent workers.

This dog is going to present any potential owners with a lot of challenges but also be an extremely rewarding dog breed to own, raise and bring to the family.

Jack Rat Terrier puppy
Photo courtesy of @_loveatfirstsightpetcenter_ on Instagram

In this overview of the Jack Rat, we are going to cover the history of the dog breed and touch on all the specifics you should understand in case you intend to adopt this dog breed soon.

Let’s dive into those details now. I’ve added pictures of Jack Rat Terriers throughout the post, so you can see the diversity in how they look.

  1. History of the Jack Rat Terrier
  2. Size and Appearance
  3. Behavior and Temperament
  4. Training
  5. Socializing
  6. Family Pet
  7. Exercise Needs
  8. Grooming Needs
  9. Cost to Adopt

History of the Jack Russell Terrier and Rat Terrier Mix

Before we can truly appreciate the Jack Rat Terrier mix, it’s important to delve into the origins of both parent breeds.

Origins of the Jack Russell Terrier

Born in England in the mid-19th century, the Jack Russell Terrier was specifically bred for fox hunting.

The man behind the breed, Reverend John Russell, aimed to create a dog that could chase foxes out of their dens without causing them harm.

Origins of the Rat Terrier

On the other side of the Atlantic, the Rat Terrier was being forged.

With a lineage that includes Smooth Fox Terriers, Manchester Terriers, and Old English White Terriers, this American breed came into existence in the early 20th century.

Its primary role was in hunting and farm work, specifically in catching rats and other vermin.

The Emergence of the Jack Rat Terrier Mix

The Jack Rat Terrier mix emerged as breeders began to experiment with crossing different types of terriers.

Jack Russell Terrier and Rat Terrier Mix
Photo courtesy of @azb_nyc on Instagram

The goal was to combine the best traits of the Jack Russell and Rat Terrier.

The result is a dog with the high energy and tenacity of a Jack Russell and the adaptability and affection of a Rat Terrier.

This makes them excellent companions and diligent workers.

Size and Appearance of the Jack Rat Terrier

Standing between 9-17 inches tall and weighing anywhere from 10-25 pounds, the Jack Rat Terrier is a small, sturdy, and muscular breed.

They display a beautiful blend of the compact robustness of the Jack Russell and the sleek athleticism of the Rat Terrier.

Jack Rat Terrier
Photo courtesy of @jack_packx4 on Instagram

Coat and Colors

When it comes to their coats, this crossbreed can be as diverse as its lineage.

The coat can be short and smooth like a Rat Terrier’s or dense and rough as seen in some Jack Russells.

In terms of color, these dogs can sport a variety of shades including white, black, brown, cream, and combinations thereof.

Behavior and Temperament

Jack Rat Terriers inherit the spirited and lively nature of their Jack Russell parent and the intelligence and affectionate qualities of their Rat Terrier lineage.

They are known for their courage, energy, and love for their human family.

Jack Rat Terrier
Photo courtesy of @garnetthegemdog on Instagram

The temperament of the Jack Rat Terrier mix is one of the most appealing aspects of this breed.

These dogs inherit a blend of traits from Jack Russell and Rat Terrier’s parents, resulting in a unique personality that’s both delightful and challenging.

Firstly, their Jack Russell parentage lends them a fierce loyalty to their owners and an extremely high amount of energy.

Jack Rat Terriers are known for their vivacity and love for play.

They’re always up for an adventure and are happiest when they’re actively engaged with their families.

Their zest for life is infectious, and their eagerness to explore makes them great companions for those who love outdoor activities.

Much like the Jack Russell, the Rat Terrier also inherited an affectionate and loyal demeanor and personality.

They form strong bonds with their families and thrive on the love and attention they receive.

They are known to be highly affectionate and often develop a particularly close bond with one member of the family, although they will share their love with everyone.

In terms of intelligence, Jack Rat Terriers are quick learners.

They’re receptive to training and can pick up new commands with relative ease.

This intelligence, coupled with their energy, requires mental stimulation to keep them from becoming bored and potentially destructive.

Jack Rat Terrier
Photo courtesy of @rubythejackrat on Instagram

One thing to keep in mind is that the Jack Rat is going to be a dog breed with an extreme level of energy that absolutely needs to be accounted for.

Let’s dive into those details next.

Energy Levels

As descendants of working breeds, Jack Rat Terriers have high energy levels.

They require plenty of physical and mental stimulation to prevent them from resorting to destructive behaviors out of boredom.

If you don’t have a schedule that can allow you to provide plenty of exercise or the ability for this dog to burn off excess energy, it likely is not the dog for you.

This is something I’ve experienced as well with my Jack Russell.

She demands the ability to run outside or partake in exercise for a minimum of 30-60 minutes per day.

Now let’s touch on some of the things you can expect when you begin the training process with a Jack Rat Terrier.

Training a Jack Russell Terrier and Rat Terrier Mix

Like both parent breeds, the Jack Rat Terrier is intelligent and learns quickly. However, they may also inherit the stubborn streak found in Jack Russells.

Consistent, positive reinforcement methods work best with this breed.

Jack Rat Terrier
Photo courtesy of @courtneygonza143 on Instagram

Start training early and keep sessions short to hold their interest.

Vary activities to keep them engaged and always end on a positive note.

Socialization should also start at a young age to ensure a well-rounded dog.

Socializing a Jack Rat Terrier

Jack Rat Terriers, like most dogs, benefit from early socialization.

Introducing them to various environments, people, and other animals at a young age will help them grow into confident, well-adjusted adults.

Jack Russell Rat Terrier Mix Breed
Photo courtesy of @jules051218 on Instagram

Expose your pup to different scenarios gradually and in a controlled manner.

Reward good behavior and maintain a calm and positive demeanor as dogs often mirror their owner’s emotions.

Jack Russell Terrier and Rat Terrier Mix as Family Pets

With their friendly and affectionate nature, Jack Rat Terriers can make great family pets.

They usually get along well with children and other animals, particularly if socialized early.

Jack Rat Terrier
Photo courtesy of @yana_romanenko_v on Instagram

Their high energy levels mean they need a family that can match their zest for life.

They might not be the best choice for families with very young children or older people who prefer a more sedate lifestyle.

Exercise Needs of the Jack Rat

These dogs need plenty of exercise to keep them happy and healthy. Ideally, they should have at least an hour of physical activity each day.

Jack Rat Terrier
Photo courtesy of @bellabird22 on Instagram

I learned this very early into my ownership of my Jack Russell and still must plan for this 4 years later.

It’s an absolute must with any terrier dog breed or any mix breed of the Jack Russell Terrier.

Jack Rat Terriers enjoy a variety of activities including walks, runs, games of fetch, agility training, and even swimming.

Mental stimulation is also crucial so consider puzzle toys and regular training sessions.

Grooming Needs of the Jack Russell Terrier and Rat Terrier Mix

The Jack Rat’s grooming needs are generally low.

Weekly brushing should keep their coat looking its best. During shedding season, more frequent brushing may be needed.

Jack Rat Terrier
Photo courtesy of @juliefakler on Instagram

Regular ear checks and teeth cleaning are important for their overall health.

Their nails should also be trimmed regularly to prevent overgrowth and splitting.

Cost to Adopt a Jack Russell Terrier and Rat Terrier Mix

Adoption fees can vary widely based on location and organization, but you can generally expect to pay between $200 and $500 to adopt a Jack Rat Terrier.

Besides the initial adoption fee, there are other costs to consider including food, grooming, routine vet care, and potential health issues.

Training may also be a consideration if you’re not planning on doing it yourself.

The Takeaway

The Jack Russell Terrier and Rat Terrier mix is a lively, loving, and intelligent breed that could make a wonderful addition to many families.

Similar to other Jack Russell mixes such as the Jack-a-Ranian, the Jack Rat Terrier breed is recognized by both the American Canine Hybrid Club and the International Designer Canine Registry.

Jack Rat Terrier
Photo courtesy of @melissavaughnadk on Instagram

They require plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, and a consistent, positive approach to training.

With the right care, these energetic little dogs can bring a whole lot of joy and companionship to your home.

Luna and I wish you the best of luck if you do plan to adopt a Jack Rat Terrier in the immediate future.

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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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