I checked your archive, and didn't see anything tagged, have you done a breed analysis of Jack Russell Terriers? It's not a breed I've specifically chosen to adopt so far, but my sister has a JRT mix, I now have a JRT mix, and I'm looking at a second one who's 9 and in the shelter. So far ours are AMAZING dogs behavior and personality- wise, so what are the health concerns? Question tax- I came because I work with dogs and other animals and love to get more info, stayed for the fantasy biology.
I am fond of the irrepressible Jack Russel Terrier. They are certainly a handful and a half, but one of my favorites, even if they do have the unfortunate tendency to all get the same name, mostly being called Jack, Jackie or (for extra originality) Russel.
These posts are about the breed from a veterinary viewpoint as
seen in clinical practice, i.e. the problems we are faced with. It’s not
the be-all and end-all of the breed and is not to make a judgement
about whether the breed is right for you. If you are asking for an
opinion about these animals in a veterinary setting, that is what you
will get. It’s not going to be all sunshine and cupcakes, and is not
intended as a personal insult against your favorite breed. This is
general advice for what is common, often with a scientific consensus but
sometimes based on personal experiences, and is not a guarantee of what
your dog is going to encounter in their life.
These little dogs are full of energy and fairly stubborn which is why they seem to ignore the facts that they’re getting old and seem to average fairly long lives. Because of their relatively long lives they do commonly get the diseases we associate with old age, notably in my experience Cushing’s syndrome and Diabetes. They also very commonly live long enough to get mammary tumors if not desexed.
Active as they are, I commonly see them for Medial Patella Lxation to some degree. It’s a common sight to see this breed running around and having a great time, but running with one hind leg up in the air. Sometimes owners mistake this as ‘doing it for attention’ because the dog ‘doesn’t seem painful’ because the kneecap can pop back into place.
Avascular necrosis of the femoral head will often pop up from time to time, though it’s a relatively rare problem overall. These dogs have a subtle lameness initially, which may be overlooked because these dogs often don’t appear to be painful to their owners.
Angular Limb Deformity, usually mild but it can be severe, is relatively common in these dogs resulting in a bowed appearance of the front legs. Not many of these dogs get surgery and many of them end up with wrist and elbow arthritis.
Lens luxation occurs when the lens of the eye falls out of place, either forward or backwards. Despite having it drilled into me that it would be common in this breed during university days, I haven’t yet seen it in clinical practice. I don’t know why this is/ Maybe I’m just lucky, because the local ophthalmologists do see these cases on a regular basis, but I suppose they would.
Behavior is probably the biggest problem I see with these dogs, and the primary reason so many of them end up in shelters. They’re smart and tenacious. If an owner is not prepared for that you can get dogs that are anxious, destructive, escapees, barkers or even aggressive. This isn’t inherently the fault of the dog. but does result in there being an abundance of this breed available for adoption.
Overall I’m very fond of these dogs, though it’s worth noting they often hide their clinical signs. I have one patient who looked perfectly normal, bright and energetic, from a distance. She was white as a sheet and desperately needed a blood transfusion due to immune mediated haemolytic anaemia. They just seem too stubborn to look ‘sick’ most of the time.