The Personality of a Jack Russell [9 Common Personality Traits] 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.

When you are in the beginning stages of choosing your next dog to adopt, you are likely doing a substantial amount of research ahead of time and trying to get your plan to be as prepared as possible.

Part of doing this effectively means that you understand the potential dog you are planning to adopt from about every angle.

I was in the same situation about 18 months ago when I adopted my Jack Russell and wanted to know as much as possible.

Part of my curiosity and research revolved around ensuring that I understood the personality or a Jack Russell.

I found this to be imperative for several critical reasons, such as the fact that I already own a 6-year-old yellow lab, and I also have a young 4-year-old son.

I wanted to ensure that a Jack Russell’s personality would be a good fit for my other dog and my entire family.

Now that I’m 18 months into my journey, I want to share the information I know about a Jack Russell’s personality so that anyone else in the same situation I was in 18 months ago has the information they need to make an informed decision and can provide the best care possible to their new Jack Russell.

That is what this entire blog post is going to be dedicated to.

Breaking down and giving an in-depth analysis of the Jack Russell Terrier personality.

By the end of this post, you should not only understand some of the key personality traits that Jack Russell’s possess but also understand how this can be beneficial to you and your family as Jack Russell owners.

To streamline this post and to make it easy to navigate, I have created easy to navigate links directly below that will allow you to skip around in this post as you deem necessary.


Here is how I intend on laying out and breaking down the personality of a Jack Russell today:

Like I mentioned a second ago if you need to skip around or need information quickly, feel free to skip around in this post using the links directly above.

Otherwise, stick around for just a few minutes, and I will break down everything I believe you need to know about a Jack Russell’s personality and what you should expect after the adoption.

Here are the key personality traits and details you need to understand.

Breaking Down the Personality of a Jack Russell Terrier

A Jack Russell Terrier is a unique dog breed with a lot to give and offer to anyone potentially considering adopting soon.

They make for excellent pets, but I do 100% believe that it is vital that you understand what to expect and have a good grasp of a Jack Russell’s personality in advance.

A Jack Russell is a hunting dog by nature and has a strong desire to please their owners and will express the most happiness when they are presented with a job, tasks, or even daily exercise.

While the Jack Russell is certainly considered hyper, they are also completely capable of adapting to the movement and speed of the household and acting accordingly.

Instead of just blindly expecting you to follow this advice and information, I’ve decided to give more of an in-depth look at my Jack Russell’s top 9 personality traits that have shown to be the most prevalent and apparent traits that are easily recognizable.

Let’s start diving into those 9 personality traits now and allow me to provide a quick backstory on some of these traits and how my Jack Russell expresses her personality during my first 18 months of this journey.

9 Most Common Personality Traits Jack Russell’s Possess

Real quick, before diving in, I want to be clear about 1 thing.

Every Jack Russell is different, so it is entirely plausible that you experience some of these traits more dramatically than others will.

Jack Russell’s also have more personality traits than these 9 I am going to break down for you today.

I just have found that these are the most common traits that they display day after day.

Scared of Nothing


Jack Russell’s are fearless.

Well, my Jack Russell is 100% fearless.

When I first brought her home as a puppy at 8 weeks old; she was a bit more timid and didn’t go running full speed towards my larger 100lb yellow lab.

She also showed a bit of fear and pushback towards crate training in her younger days.

However, it was only a few short weeks before her true personality began to shine through.

She will run right up and play with my yellow lab, chase other animals in the yard, and investigate anything she does not think is quite right, or that may be out of the ordinary.

I can see why these dogs made such good hunting dogs and why they were bred to do so.

They would be excellent for it and certainly have the personality for it.

I have even had to find her before tunneling under our porch to hunt some rabbits.

These dogs simply do not have a fear of going after anything.

If you can find positive ways to control this personality trait, it is a lot of fun.

Clearly, do your best to keep an eye on your Jack Russell when in a backyard or out and about unsupervised because they will investigate and find anything they set out for.

Hyper and Full of Energy

This personality trait needs some explaining.

It is a trait that makes some potential dog owners shy away from adopting a Jack Russell, and I’d argue that this is a mistake and a personality trait that gives the Jack Russell a bad reputation at times.

Yes, Jack Russell’s are hyper dogs.

They are full of life, want to work, and need the ability to exercise and release some of their nervous energy throughout the day.

However, the energy is something you can control, and your Jack Russell will adapt to the speed and overall feel of the household.

For example, when I let my Jack Russell and yellow lab outside to potty or just to roam around for a bit, she will run and chase my other dog in a playful manner, and they could keep up this routine for hours.

On the flip side, when it is time to relax and start calming down when she comes back into the house, she is completely capable of doing so.

Jack Russell’s are capable of learning at fast speeds if you are willing to teach them.

So, while they are hyper and have a lot of energy, do not misunderstand this personality trait for something negative.

It is a positive in my book.

Stubborn at Times

Here is one of the personality traits that may be frustrating from time to time.

A Jack Russell is known, and I can verify that they do tend to be stubborn and stuck in their own ways.

Can you handle their attitude?

The best advice I can give you to effectively handle this side of their personality is to always be training your Jack Russell.

As often as possible.

This makes them begin to understand what is allowed and what is not allowed in your household.

Not to mention they love to learn and absorb as much information as your willing to offer.

The more you can teach them, the more obedient and less stubborn they are ultimately going to be.

Extremely Smart

While we are on the topic of training a Jack Russell, I found it fitting to slide right into discussing a positive personality trait that a JR possesses that not all dogs are capable of matching at the same levels.

Jack Russell’s are brilliant dogs.


My Jack Russell could learn commands, walking on a leash properly, and picking up on subtle cues and routines in my household at extremely fast speeds.

They absorb information like a sponge.

The best thing you can do as the owner of a new Jack Russell in this situation is to ensure that you are using it to your advantage and using that intelligence towards constructive behaviors and training.

If you do not, they can just as easily use that intelligent mind towards negative behaviors.

Trust me, it is much better to use that intelligence positively.

Speak Their Mind

That is right, Jack Russell’s do have the tendency to let you know what is happening in the world and the tendency to let you know their likes and dislikes.

Do not panic.

Barking will be common in the early days, but this is also something you can work with your Jack Russell to improve.

Keep training your Jack Russell to not bark in situations where you desire them not too.

Remember that praising good behaviors is always better than scolding negative behavior.

Nonetheless, frequently barking in the early days and vocalizing their opinions is a personality trait you can expect from a Jack Russell.

Fit, and Ready for A Challenge

Jack Russell’s crave and need the ability to move around.

They need to have the ability to be challenged both mentally and physically.

If you are not familiar with how this dog is built, it is impressive.

While small and the fact that they do not grow much past 15 pounds, they are sure packed with muscle and can get up and move fast.

They love to exercise, and it is highly recommended for this dog breed.

I discuss this in one of my other blog posts that explains the options you have if you decide to adopt a Jack Russell and live in an apartment that you can see here.

While it is entirely possible to so, future or current Jack Russell owners need to realize that this dog needs an outlet to burn off steam and energy.

Ensure that you are providing some form of exercise or stimulation for your Jack Russell daily with activities such as the following:

Doing so will make them behave in a much calmer manner most of the day.

Without the exercise, they are going to become more stressed and show that bottled up energy in a much more negative way.

100% Trainable

This is one of my favorite personality traits you get to experience as a Jack Russell.

They are so smart and willing to learn that they make the process easy for you.

Use this to your advantage.

I highly encourage not only Jack Russell owners but all dog owners to utilize clicker training.

Especially if they are receptive to training and working like a Jack Russell will be.

Clicker training can be fantastic for your Jack Russell to learn basic commands such as the following:

  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Lay Down
  • Shake
  • Walking Properly

It is a great way to mentally stimulate your Jack Russell and put this incredible personality trait to work in a positive manner.

Overall, I think for anyone considering this dog breed or someone who recently adopted a Jack Russell, this will end up being one of your favorite and most brag-worthy personality traits that you encounter.

Excellent, Loving Family Pet

Here are the personality traits that trump them all.

Jack Russell’s makes for excellent family pets.

I have no reason to advertise differently, and yes, I was skeptical in the early days as well and worried about the energy and stubbornness you read about on other blogs.

Here is the deal.

The way your Jack Russell ultimately behaves falls back on you as the owner and what you allow them to do and how you train them.

All dogs are willing to work to please their owners if you are willing to provide them the opportunity.

Jack Russell’s are no different.

They are loyal dogs, and they love their owners.

They can also be great with your kids and your other family members.

Again, if you effectively work with them to behave in a calm manner and allow them to burn off some steam when time permits by actively participating in physical or mental activities with them, you will be in excellent shape.

Nonetheless, a personality trait that cannot go without mentioning for a Jack Russell is their ability to love, show affection, and make an excellent addition to any family.

Plain and simple.

Tips to Working with and Raising A Jack Russell Terrier

Before sending you on your way with a list of 9 personality traits to think about, I wanted to point out one last thing.

All personality traits mentioned in this post about Jack Russell’s are the majority of what you will experience if you ultimately decide to adopt.

It is up to you as the potential owner to mold your Jack Russell and make them a loving dog for the entire family.

All dogs need some love and safe home, but a Jack Russell surely can do more and wants to do more if you allow it.

Work with your Jack Russell even if it is for a few minutes a day to ensure their personality traits are used to a maximum benefit.

Final Thoughts

If you are currently on the fence about adopting a Jack Russell, I highly recommend it.

They are fantastic dogs with a lot of personality.

I would argue they are one of the best dogs you can choose to adopt.

Regardless of which dog you ultimately adopt, Luna and I wish you the best of luck with your upcoming journey.

Share Your Thoughts

Do you have any other further personality traits that you believe should be added to this post?

Do you have anything further to add for 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.

Thanks again, and we will see you 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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