Are Jack Russell’s Aggressive? [The Truth and Tips]


Before deciding which dog, breed is best for your family, it’s essential to understand how specific dog breeds behave and what you can expect.

Especially if you have other pets in the household or even children to worry about.

I was in the exact same situation when I was in the adoption phase with my Jack Russell.

The specific question that I wanted additional information on this topic was simple.

Are Jack Russell’s aggressive?

After owning a Jack Russell now for over a year and being extremely thorough in the initial phases, here is what I can tell you on this topic.

No, Jack Russell’s are not aggressive. Jack Russell’s are much like other dog breeds. Boredom, lack of exercise or socializing with other dogs of the same sex can cause a Jack Russell to be aggressive. With proper exercise, training, and discipline, A Jack Russell is not aggressive and would be considered a loving and affectionate family pet.

Yes, I know my friends.

Jack Russell’s have a reputation that they can be more aggressive than other dogs in certain situations.

However, I can tell you with certainty that in most situations, this aggressive behavior is likely the failure of the owner, not affectively setting boundaries and establishing rules with their new Jack Russell.

That’s why this post needs to be more in-depth and explain the question in much more depth to give a full understanding.

To give you an idea of what I intend on covering in today’s post, I’ve created a table of contents and easy to navigate links directly below that will allow you to skip to any specific section of this post that you desire to learn more about.

Here is what I plan to cover in this brief post detailing aggression with Jack Russell’s:

Like I mentioned previously if you need to skip around in this post to save time or you need limited information, feel free to use the links directly above to do so.

Otherwise, give me about 3-4 minutes, and I’ll explain everything you know about aggressive behaviors with Jack Russell’s and how you can build a loving, aggression free bond with your Jack Russell.

Here’s the critical information to understand.

Are Jack Russell’s Aggressive Recap and Overview

Okay, let’s start diving into Jack Russell’s and aggression.

I’ve owned one now for quite some time and can tell you that I fully believe that aggressive behaviors with Jack Russell’s fall back on the owner of the dog.

I also have a 100-pound yellow lab, a 4-year-old son that runs around like a mad man and frequent visitors at my home.

Even friends and visitors that bring their own pets from time to time due to having a secure and decent size backyard for the dogs to interact.

I never have had one issue with aggression from my Jack Russell.

Not even in the slightest.

Of course, in the young years with your Jack Russell, they will be the chewy, barking, and more playful dog.

This is far from aggression, and with proper training, the aggressiveness can be curbed quickly.

My Jack Russell does not bite, engage in aggressive behaviors with my larger dog, or have any issues when it comes to aggression.

I don’t have some special breed or unique Jack Russell either.

Just a full-bred female Jack Russell I adopted from a local breeder in Illinois.

I spend time training her, reinforcing positive behaviors, and give her time to exercise.

I also make sure that when I notice behavior, I don’t desire with my Jack Russell that I do my best to swap that behavior with something more positive.

I believe this is key not just with Jack Russell’s, but with all dog breeds.

They can’t realize that they are doing something wrong if you don’t inform them or replace it with positive behavior and behaviors/activities that can keep them occupied.

Overall, I don’t believe Jack Russell’s are aggressive and would not be considered anymore aggressive than any other dog breed with proper love and discipline.

Now that we understand what we are working with, let’s discuss curbing aggressive behavior or troubleshooting existing aggressive behavior.

Discussing Techniques and Ways to Curb Aggression

Now, let’s assume that you have noticed a tad of aggression or have concerns about aggression potentially showing its face soon.

What can you do now to work on this?

I’m glad you asked because that’s what I want to cover next.

First and foremost, it’s important from the day you arrive home with your new Jack Russell and begins providing care, that you show love, affection and treat your Jack Russell as a part of the family.

This means that you need to understand and be ready for this responsibility.

Jack Russell’s tend to get bored, especially in the younger years, and most undesirable traits are going to show their face when boredom or neglect takes place.

Do your best to interact with your Jack Russell, train them and show them, love.

You can also monitor, train, and correct behaviors starting at very young ages when they are interacting with friends and company at your home and with other pets and your children in the home.

If they are nippy and doing the typical puppy type play nipping, simply begin placing chew toys that are safe around the home for your Jack Russell and praise them for chewing these items or releasing energy in positive ways.

Trust me, you don’t have to be a master dog trainer in order to raise a non-aggressive, loyal, and affectionate Jack Russell.

I’m by no means an expert in the dog training arena, but I do know a thing or two about Jack Russell’s, and this has not been a difficult task for my family or me.

Allowing your Jack Russell to use their minds to learn and please you while burning off some of that hyper energy, in the beginning, is the best way to have a calm Jack Russell that never displays aggression.

Plain and simple, and like I said before, I believe this to be true of any dog.

Even experts will explain that most behavioral problems with Jack Russell’s or any dog breed are stemmed from lack of companionship, no discipline, and owners who provide no exercise and mental stimulation.

They simply get bored when this happens and are smart enough to continually attempt to push the limits, they will find new ways to get in trouble.

Are Jack Russell’s Dangerous?

This is hard to answer, and I think it depends entirely on the specific dog.

No, I don’t believe Jack Russell’s are dangerous or aggressive with proper training and discipline.

However, I do think that a Jack Russell that’s been neglected, has no discipline or love in their life could be equally as dangerous as any other dog breed in the exact same situation.

To make this easier to understand, I don’t think Jack Russell’s are a dangerous dog breed.

I think that not raising a dog accordingly can make any dog aggressive or dangerous regardless of the breed or situation.

Follow the tips and tricks in this post, and I don’t think aggression, or a dangerous Jack Russell is ever anything you will have to worry about.

Why Has My Jack Russell Become Aggressive?

If you have already owned a Jack Russell for a while now, but you are noticing your Jack Russell is becoming more aggressive, it could be several things and will reflect a lot of previous advice.

Reflect on what you have been doing as the owner.

Are you still providing your Jack Russell a release to burn off energy?

Are you still interacting and implementing routine and discipline for your JR?

Neglect, boredom, and lack of discipline could be primary causes for your Jack Russell becoming more unsettle or aggressive.

It could also be other factors such as introducing another Jack Russell into your dog’s life.

Sometimes, a Jack Russell can become very protective of their families, and if they have adapted to being the alpha and the only dog, it’s possible that adding a new dog to the mix is not the best idea.

However, I do still believe that with proper training, discipline, and supervision that this would not be an issue for your Jack Russell.

Don’t let your JR be the barking king on the block and run the house.

Set the rules and establish discipline.

These are quick ways to begin curbing negative, aggressive behaviors and getting your Jack Russell back on track (we will discuss the importance of exercise and mental stimulation for your Jack Russell shortly)

How Do I Stop My Jack Russell from Being Aggressive?

To stop your Jack Russel from being aggressive, you simply need to work with them and try harder at discipline and training.

In a humane way, of course.

I’m not a believer in scolding and don’t believe dogs even recognize what is taking place when this happens.

They do, however, need to understand what’s right and wrong, and that’s easy to train into a dog with treats, love, and rewarding affection towards your Jack Russell when they act accordingly.

Spend more time with them, work with them, and begin rewarding behavior.

Also, try to pinpoint was is agitating your dog in the first place.

  • Is it another animal in the home?
  • Is it a riled-up toddler?

Work on piecing the puzzle together.

If it’s a riled-up toddler like it would be in my house if I was having this issue, I’d simply make sure I was around, and my dog felt my presence when interacting with the toddler.

I’d reward good, loving behavior and teach my toddler to interact with my Jack Russel in a more relaxed, calm demeanor.

Regardless of the situation, I believe wholeheartedly that it’s reversible and something you can work on.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that with Jack Russell’s, it can all begin with energy release and the ability to move around and get some exercise.

Let’s stress the importance of exercise before sending you on your way.

Exercise is Critical

I can’t stress this enough, and if you become a follower of this blog, you will see it come up all the time.

I apologize in advance for being repetitive, but it’s necessary to pound this point and stress it heavily.

Jack Russell’s are a dog that 100% builds energy and needs the ability to burn off that steam.

Jack Russell’s were originally bred to hunt fox, work for their owners, and seek praise and approval.

They are used to being extremely active and need the ability to act how they are designed to act.

I don’t necessarily care how you provide the exercise, training, or stimulation.

You absolutely need to provide it if you don’t want to deal with negative or non-favorable behaviors.

You could walk your JR every day or even take your Jack Russell or take your Jack Russell for a run.

You could engage in teaching your Jack Russell other tricks such as sitting, shaking, or laying down.

Mental stimulation is just as effective.

Regardless of the situation, ensure you provide some form of activity for your Jack Russell on a frequent basis if you want to see how fantastic, loving, and great these dogs can be as a family pet.

Plain and simple.

Allow Your Jack Russell to Please You and Learn

This tip ties back into the idea that you can train your dog to provide mental stimulation.

Engage in training and allow your Jack Russell to learn as much as possible.

Trust me, your JR will soak up the information quickly and shock you with how smart they really are.

It’s impressive and serves as a great way to allow your dog to burn off some additional energy, which also makes your Jack Russell behave in a more desired manner.

Understanding Jack Russell’s With Other Dogs

When it comes to aggression with Jack Russell’s, this is an important topic to discuss briefly.

Jack Russell’s have been known to be a tad more aggressive towards other Jack Russell’s of the opposite sex.

I only have one Jack Russell, so I don’t have a ton of personal experience on this topic, but I suppose it’s something not to take lightly.

This also doesn’t seem like a reason never to adopt a second JR of the same sex.

It’s simply a fair warning that the aggression between opposite sex Jack Russell’s is documented, so if you do decide to go this route, ensure you are ready to implement the love, training, and discipline for both of your Jack Russell’s and you will be just fine.

Will Jack Russell’s Be Aggressive Toward Children?

I don’t see aggression from Jack Russell’s towards children as an issue to be worried about in any fashion.

Especially when you take the time to train and discipline your JR.

My Jack Russell has never acted aggressively towards my 4-year-old, and they interact with each other every single day.

Not only that, but they have a lot of love for each other.

My JR even acts like she is protecting my son and tends to gravitate near him.

If you get a JR and have young children, just be sure you teach your JR AND your children how to appropriately handle and interact with one another, and a JR can be just as great of a dog breed as any other dog you could possibly choose.

Final Thoughts

It’s my honest opinion that Jack Russell’s are not an aggressive dog and that they have a negative stigma from the past about them when it comes to aggressive behavior.

I believe that they need a loving home, sometime afforded to them and discipline, and they make for a fantastic family pet and are just as good if not better than any other dog breed you could choose to adopt.

Nonetheless, Luna and I wish you the best of luck with your new journey and your Jack Russell.

Share Your Thoughts

I always enjoy it when the readers chime in and offer up their opinions and advice to help everyone in the community become more effective Terrier Owners.

Do you have any advice about Jack Russell’s aggression and how to effectively train your Jack Russell to never display aggression?

Be sure to share those thoughts, concerns, and stories by dropping a comment below.

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

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 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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