Are Jack Russell’s Affectionate Dogs? [Here is Why]


If you’re considering adopting a Jack Russell, you have likely done some homework on the internet.

When doing so, you get a blend of stories of Jack Russell’s being high energy and not the most cuddle friendly dogs.

This typically leads to a common question from current and potential Jack Russell owners.

Are Jack Russell’s affectionate dogs?

I’ve had plenty of time to build a bond with my female Jack Russell, and here is what I can tell you about this topic.

So, are Jack Russell’s affectionate dogs? Yes, Jack Russell’s are affectionate dogs. Jack Russell’s strive to impress and please their owners. Jack Russell’s will grow strong bonds with their owners. Jack Russell’s may show affection by diligently following their owners, cuddling, and even by being protective.

Jack Russell’s have more ways of showing affection than I can likely even put into one post.

Luckily, throughout the rest of this post, my plan is to try and mention all the ways I’ve noticed my Jack Russell showing affection towards myself and family members.

Additionally, in case you are in a bit of a hurry, I’ve provided easy to navigate links directly below.

They will allow you to skip to any specific section of this post that you desire to learn more about.

Here are the details I plan on covering in this post:


As you can see by our post outline directly above, affection from your Jack Russell can fall into several different categories.

The biggest key is realizing that affection comes with time and is equally your responsibility to build with your Jack Russell.

The rest of this post is designed to cover this and more in detail.

If you have just a few short minutes to spare, I recommend skimming the rest of this post to get the full details.

Here’s what you need to know.


Are Jack Russell’s Affectionate and How to Recognize It

Jack Russell’s are one the cutest dog breeds you can choose to adopt.

No doubt about it.

I have a quick video here that I made on this topic and to help demonstrate how affectionate a Jack Russell Terrier can be.

News flash. Feel free to watch the video but I highly recommend returning to read the rest of this post after the video (I’m much better at blogging than I am creating videos 🙁

They are also dogs that strive to garnish love from their owners, and they certainly will love their owners in return.

However, many individuals who are on the fence about adopting a Jack Russell, have a common misbelief that they aren’t the most cuddly or affectionate type of dog you choose to adopt.

I disagree and believe my female Jack Russell is just as affectionate as any other dog I’ve ever owned.

This includes the yellow-lab that I currently own and previous dog breeds as well.

The trick is training affection and loving behavior into your Jack Russell in the early years.

Yes, the Jack Russell is a higher energy dog.

Yes, the Jack Russell can have a mind of its own and is often too smart for their own good.

However, my Jack Russell expresses affection towards me daily.

It can come in many forms, just like any other dog breed.

Let me give you a few quick examples of what I’m referring to.

Below are just a few examples of how my female Jack Russell shows affection towards my family and me:

  • She follows me almost everywhere I go (Yes, literally)
  • She wants to be in my lap or on top of me while relaxing
  • She licks and provides kisses like any other dog.
  • She greets me when I return home
  • She shows enthusiasm towards me non-stop
  • She is very protective of my young son

If your Jack Russell is showing this kind of affection towards you, I will venture to say you are doing an excellent job all around.

In case this hasn’t been quite the early relationship status with your JR, here are a few recommendations to help strengthen the bond with your new pup.


How to Increase and Strengthen Your Bond with Your Jack Russell

Luna Taking A Nice Nap

As mentioned previously, depending on how you raise and train your Jack Russell, the affection should be easy to recognize.

However, I’m aware of based on forums and other communities that this may not be the case for everyone.

If you experience more of a lone-wolf or non-affectionate Jack Russell, maybe you need to switch up your routine some and mix things up.

Try interacting with your Jack Russell more often.

Work on training and commands.

Remember, Jack Russell’s love to please their owners and love to be mentally or physically stimulated.

You can also try taking your JR for long walks or even runs.

Play tug with your JR and have a calm demeanor with your dog if that’s the behavior you want in return.

Purchase a cheap rope for tug of war or even some tennis balls to throw around the yard or dog park.

Don’t chase your dog and encourage wrestling on the floor if you prefer a calm, affectionate Jack Russell.

This is simply common sense and puppy training 101.

Nonetheless, if you believe your relationship is currently struggling, you need to make a change and find more time to devote to training, interacting, and bonding with Jack Russell.

Maintaining a relationship with a dog is much like maintaining a relationship with a spouse or any other human.

It takes work.

It doesn’t just happen and doesn’t happen overnight.

Trust me, they begin to grow on you quickly, and it won’t take long for cuddles and affection to be shown towards you from your new JR.


What to Do If Your Jack Russell’s Is Not Displaying Affection?

luna-jack-russell-terrier-josh
Luna and I

With all the advice and recommendations laid out for you so far into this post, many of you may be curious as to what you can do if nothing seems to be working.

The answer is a bit grayer on this subject because it’s hard to know what’s taken place over the course of you owning your Jack Russell.

If your Jack Russell seems disconnected and not affectionate, it’s possible you simply need to follow the directions we already discussed previously in this post.

Spend more time with them.

Interact and train them.

Perhaps when adopting your Jack Russell initially, be sure to ask questions about the parents of the dog when speaking with the breeder.

Find out if they are affectionate and what personality traits they are passing down to their puppies.

Nonetheless, I’m a firm believer that enough dedication and effort and a Jack Russell can turn a corner and be one of the most affectionate and loving dogs you can adopt.


Jack Russell’s Affection Levels with Other Pets

This is a bit different than the love you see a Jack Russell show to their owners.

Especially to the primary trainer and alpha in the house.

If you have other dogs, you will want to be diligent about your training and upbringing.

I was in this situation, as well.

I have a 100lb yellow lab that’s about as loving and soft as they come.

However, Jack Russell’s are known to be a bit aggressive with other dogs.

I believe this also to be a problem with training or perhaps adopting a Jack Russell that’s already set in their ways.

My big yellow lab and female Jack Russell get along great.

In fact, it’s humorous because they try and protect each other.

It’s natural for the Jack Russell to be the protector in the household, but my lab is so big that he will spoon or lay in front of my Jack Russell when she’s taking a light snooze.

I also took the time to program this into these two dogs.

I made them interact.

I made them lay be each other, and I make them share the same backyard with each other to play or just use the restroom.

They have learned to co-exist nicely and firmly believe you can have the same luck.

If you don’t adopt a JR that’s already aged and has an attitude already programmed, and as long as you enough space and don’t live in small square footage home like an apartment, I think you will be just fine.


Jack Russell’s Affection with Small Children

Again, this is something that’s worked out great for me.

My 3-year-old son is high energy, so it took some work to teach him to play gently and respect the new Jack Russell.

However, after a few brief conversations and some active monitoring, they now love each other in a dramatic fashion.

In fact, I specifically adopted my Jack Russell, specifically for my son.

He always wanted a puppy, and I took a chance going with the high energy natural born hunting dog.

My most significant piece of advice I can give you on this topic is to be sure that your kids at young ages understand that teasing and rough playing is not allowed with Jack Russell’s.

Jack Russell’s naturally wants to play in a feisty manner, so starting when the JR is a puppy and teaching them gentle techniques and constructive ways to play is your best bet.


Final Thoughts on Jack Russell’s Affection Levels

We opened this post with the goal to answer one specific question.

Are Jack Russell’s affectionate?

Yes, Jack Russell’s are affectionate dogs and loving towards their owners.

With proper training, proper handling and plenty of interaction, Jack Russell’s can arguably make for one of the best dogs you can adopt

Use the advice in this post to ensure you have the same great experience I’ve had so far into my journey.


Share Your Thoughts, Concerns, and Stories on This Topic

As always, I encourage you to chime in and share your thoughts on this subject.

Do you have a Jack Russell that’s being less than affectionate?

Do you agree with what I’ve pointed out for the readers today?

Be sure to drop a comment below.

As always, Luna and I appreciate you stopping by and reading.

We will catch 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 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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