Why Does My Jack Russell Lick Me So Much [9 Reasons]

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Jack Russell Terriers love to show affection to their owners and families and have many unique ways of doing so.

However, sometimes it may seem as if they have a bit of an obsession. When they lick you too often, you may be curious as to why and if it’s normal for your Jack Russell Terrier to lick you so often.

I had the same questions when I was raising my current female Jack Russell Terrier “Luna.”

Why Does My Jack Russell Lick Me So Much?

Jack Russell Terriers will lick you because they want attention and want to show affection towards you. It is also possible that your Jack Russell Terrier licks you due to sweat and the taste it produces for them. A Jack Russell Terrier licking you often is not a cause of concern and is considered normal.

Listen, all dogs are different in how they behave and their personalities towards their families and owners.

I understand where you are coming from with a question such as this. I will admit firsthand that my Jack Russell Terrier can get a bit carried away with her licking.

It can become concerning and even annoying.

The rest of this brief discussion will break down all of the potential reasons why your Jack Russell Terrier is licking you so often or more than you prefer.

I will also detail what you can do to prevent licking behaviors with your Jack Russell Terrier.

Understanding The Reasons Why A Jack Russell Terrier Will Lick You So Much

Jack Russell’s certainly have one of the more energetic personalities and have unique ways of showing love towards their owners.

Licking, in most circumstances, is not something you need to be concerned with and typically is a sign of love and a way a Jack Russell will seek attention from you.

However, suppose you feel your Jack Russell Terrier has been licking more than usual, or it’s an annoyance.

In that case, you may be curious as to some of the reasons that cause a Jack Russell Terrier to lick you and lick you often.

I’ve put together a quick list of the top reasons a Jack Russell Terrier or a dog, in general, will lick you. After that brief discussion, we can discuss what you can do to reduce your JR licking you so often.


1.) Boredom

Jack Russell Terriers are 100% one of the highest energy dogs you can choose to adopt.

They love zoomies (running around at lightning speed), and they love plenty of exercise and attention.

When they do not have these taking place, they can grow bored relatively quickly.

With nothing better to do, it is 100% possible that your Jack Russell Terrier is just trying to find a way to stay busy, and licking you is the activity they have chosen for the day.

Dogs may also lick their paws when they are bored.

2.) Your Jack Russell May Need Anxiety Soothing or Calming to Take Place

Sometimes, even our fearless Jack Russell Terriers can become anxious or have something bothering them.

For my Jack Russell Terrier, this typically is either fireworks or car rides.

She simply does not like it.

Suppose your Jack Russell finds themselves in one of these situations.

In that case, they may be licking you simply to calm themselves down and distract their mind.

Nothing to worry about in this situation except maybe try and avoid stressful situations for your Jack Russell in the future.

3.) To Show Love and Affection

Jack Russell Terriers are 100% one of the most affectionate dogs you will ever adopt.

Once they latch onto an owner, they will do anything for attention and love.

Licking is one of those things you will catch your Jack Russell Terrier often doing and something you should embrace and understand.

Not something that you should be put off by.

4.) Your Jack Russell Is Accustom to Licking You

Old habits die hard.

That is the saying at least, and with JRT’s, if they are used to licking you and if you reward it with petting, attention, and love, you can count on them coming back and doing it some more.

Jack Russell’s are brilliant, so if they get what they want in exchange for licking and showing love, they will continue doing it until you give them a reason not to.

5.) You Taste Good to Your Jack Russell

This reason for constant or persistent licking should not come as much of a surprise for most.

Nonetheless, it should be mentioned that if you have leftover dinner or something tasty for your Jack Russell on your fingers, they are going to lick you.

Not many dogs wouldn’t lick you in that situation.

The same can be said about a sweaty taste.

If you just finished a workout or finished some yard work and haven’t cleaned up yet after a hot day, it is entirely normal for your Jack Russell Terrier to lick you.

6.) Jealousy

This is one of the reasons I have experienced firsthand because I own two dogs.

I have another dog, Graham, and my Jack Russell Terrier, and Graham compete over my attention any chance they get.

This leads to each dog basically going into a licking contest to try and win my affection and attention for the moment.

Suppose your Jack Russell is doing this consistently and won’t stop licking you, and another pet is around.

It is 100% possible that it is due to jealousy and turning into a competition between the two dogs for your attention and love.

Jealousy with Jack Russell Terrier’s is 100% real and something to be ready for.

7.) Your Jack Russell Wants to Play

Another personality trait you can bank on with a Jack Russell Terrier is their constant need to play and their desire to be entertained and busy.

If you are neglecting this part of your ownership with your JRT, licking may be one of the ways there are attempting to signal to you that they want to play and for you to get up and get moving and throw the ball around with them.

8.) Hungry or Thirsty

My labrador does this more than my Jack Russell Terrier, but I can see this being true of either dog.

If your dog is hungry, needs to go outside and go potty, or is even thirsty for some water, it is possible that licking is being used to communicate with you or interrupt you.

Especially if you notice the licking not stopping until you do one of those three things mentioned above.

9.) No Reason at All

I think we can all admit that sometimes, our Jack Russells do things for no reason at all.

It is simply built into their DNA, and they love to follow you everywhere and show love however they possibly can.

That is why I had to include this reason on my list because I must be honest.

I don’t necessarily believe that my Jack Russell Terrier licks me every time because of one of the primary reasons listed above.

Sometimes, I think your Jack Russell Terrier will lick you purely because they choose to and want to.

Nothing more and nothing less.

How to Prevent or Decrease Licking with Your Jack Russell Terrier

In all honesty, licking is not something you will stop 100% with a Jack Russell Terrier.

Even if you fix or prevent a few of the reasons listed above, you will still have others that we have discussed on this list that will cause your Jack Russell Terrier to lick and lick often.

However, if licking persistently rr too much is bothering you, you can begin eliminating some of the reasons it may be happening, such as keeping your JRT more entertained.

You can also ensure you never reward this behavior with positive reinforcement such as affection and love back towards them.

Doing this will reduce the amount of licking because they will understand the ultimate reward of doing so is not as desirable.

However, be warned that I don’t believe you will ever 100% remove the licking behavior from a Jack Russell Terrier. It is better to be prepared and embrace than to fight it.

Licking Is A Sign of Affection or An Attention Craving Behavior, Don’t Worry About It

In nearly all cases, licking should not be something that concerns you or causes you to panic.

Especially with a Jack Russell Terrier who tends to do quirky things in general.

Licking is almost always a good thing and a sign your Jack Russell loves you and wants to show you how much they love you and your company.

If you feel that it could be something more serious, you should be looking to discuss those issues with a vet to be safe.

Nonetheless, licking is something you will encounter when you choose to adopt a Jack Russell Terrier.

Embrace it, and always be sure to provide love back to your Jack Russell Terrier!

Luna and I wish you the best of luck with your Jack Russell Terriers and the journey you have ahead of you.

Does Your Jack Russell Terrier Lick You Way too Often?

Does Your Jack Russell Terrier lick you way too often?

What do you believe are the reasons behind excessive licking with a Jack Russell Terrier? What further advice can you provide the readers if they prefer to stop these licking behaviors?

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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