Jack Russell Terrier Lifespan: How Long Do They Live?

Jack Russell Terrier Lifespan: How Long Do Jack Russell Terriers Live?

Jack Russell Terrier is one of the small terriers that originated from fox hunting in England in the 1800s. It was bred by Reverend John Russell from which its name originated.

Jack Russell Terrier is a small-sized dog breed with an average lifespan of 13 to 16 years, which is far greater than many other pets. In fact, most pets have an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years. The long life expectancy makes Jack Russell Terrier an excellent companion dog for families.

In this guide, we’ll go over some common health risks of the Jack Russell Terrier breed and how you can extend their life expectancy so that they can stay with you longer than their average lifespan.

How Long Do Jack Russell Terriers Live?

Jack Russell Terrier can generally live up to 13 to 16 years. Jack Russell Terrier’s life expectancy can be extended with proper care and love just like other breeds, which enables it to live longer than its average age. 

Some Jack Russell Terrier owners claim that their Jack Russell Terriers lived up to 21 years. It depends on the lineage and how strong the genetics they have.

However, there are also specific factors that, as a whole, increase the lifespan of Jack Russell Terriers. Those particular factors include the amount of exercise, diet plan, and health conditions.

It is true that with the right amount of love and care, your cute little four-legged vibrant friend can live up to many years providing years of loyal companionship and affection to you and your family. 

Common Health Problems of Jack Russell Terriers

Fortunately, there is good news for your Jack Russell Terrier, and they have a lesser tendency of inherited or genetic disorders. This is fantastic news for the people who are thinking of taking this breed at home.

But still, they are prone to many health concerns and problems which can be inherited from their gene pool.

Some of the common health problems of Jack Russell Terrier are as follows:

Lens Luxation

Lens luxation is an eye disorder in which the ligament of the lens gets weak or breaks, causing the lens to partially or completely dislocate from its actual position either the lens falls forward or backward into the eyes.

If the lens falls into the back of the eye, then it is known as posterior luxation. In posterior luxation, discomfort is rarely caused and treatment may not be required.

If the lens falls forward into the eye, then it is called anterior luxation. Anterior luxation blocks the drainage of fluids from an eye leading to glaucoma or increased intraocular pressure (IOP).

Lens luxation is the secondary condition to many other eye diseases such as uveitis, cancer of the eye, and glaucoma. In very rare circumstances, it can lead to trauma or overuse of medications such as atropine.


As the name says, it is a heart disorder in which the muscles of the heart become weak and thin. Due to this, the heart of your Jack Russell Terrier faces difficulty in contraction. The difficulty in contraction results in extra efforts by the heart, making it enlarged.

Some common symptoms of this disorder are:

  • A decrease in the tolerance level in the exercise
  • Shortness of breath
  • Labored breathing
  • Unusual heartbeat rhythm
  • Depression
  • Loss of weight
  • Loss of appetite
  • Soft cough
  • Enlarged abdomen

The sign of heart failure is also a symptom of cardiomyopathy.

Ear Infections & Deafness

It is really unfortunate that Jack Russell Terriers have a high susceptibility to canine ear infections. Canine ear infections are usually caused by bacteria. Ear infections can also be the result of yeast (fungal) infections. Due to the infection, the ear of your pup is inflamed.

While inflammation is basically of two types, the first type of inflammation is called otitis media. It is related to middle ear inflammation, and the second type of inflammation is called otitis interna, which refers to inner ear inflammation. 

A canine ear infection can be caused by a variety of different reason or prerequisite diseases that invokes them. If you encounter any sign of redness at the ear canal/inside, scratching its ears, consult your vet immediately.

Von Willebrand’s Disease

Von Willebrand’s disease is a blood disorder that is caused by unusual or abnormal platelet function. This bleeding disorder is running down from generation to generation among this breed.

The main symptoms of Von Willebrand’s disease are bleeding excessively, sudden nosebleeds, blood in the urine, and bleeding gums. 

If your dog shows any of these symptoms, consult your veterinarian immediately because there is no cure for it except the extensive care of your dog. 

Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease

It is a hip joint canine disease. Smaller dog breeds, including Jack Russell Terrier, are more prone to this disease. It is caused by the degeneration of the femur bone and also because of osteoarthritis.    

The main symptoms of this disease are pain or stiffness in the hip, thigh, knee, or groin, limited movement of the hip joint, and limping.

What Factors Affect the Lifespan of Jack Russell Terriers? 

It’s very unlikely we can exactly predict how long our dogs can live. Same as humans, the body of dogs is very complex and their life expectancy varies with many factors.

However, there are some factors proven to be affecting the life expectancy of dogs including Jack Russell Terries.

Those factors are as follows:

  • Gene pool
  • Family history
  • Size
  • Physical activities
  • Diet

Gene Pool

Fortunately, the gene pool of your Jack Russell Terrier is robust, breeders have protected the gene pool of this breed, and direct in-line breeding is prevented.

Because of this marvelous approach by the breeders, the gene pool is so strong that Jack Russell Terriers can live up to 13-16 years or more. Some of them can even live up to 21 years but it is very rare.

As we have discussed above, the Jack Russell Terrier breed is less prone to inherited disorders because of the strong gene pool. Therefore, it contributes to one of the factors that affect lifespan.

Family History

Another factor from which we can determine your pup’s lifespan is knowing their family history from the breeders. As breeders maintain a proper record of the family history from birth date to death date of the ancestors of the breed.

Family medical history also gives you an idea of the genetic disorders that your Jack Russell Terriers are likely to develop.

However, it is just a prediction, but it can give a good idea about your pup’s lifespan. Good breeders do not recessively breed Jack Russell Terrier. Therefore, they usually have a long lifespan, which we can quickly determine.


The size of the breed matters a lot. A rule of thumb is that small size dog breeds usually live longer than larger size dog breeds. This is because large-size dogs age quicker and tend to develop age-related diseases earlier than smaller-size dogs.

So, if you are planning to take a large-size four-leg friend at home, you should know that they live way shorter than the smaller breeds, which can live longer than large-sized breeds.

Jack Russell Terrier is a small-sized dog breed full of energy and charisma stuffed in them. They have an average lifespan of 13 to 16 years which is considerably longer than many large dog breeds such as German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever.

Physical Activities

Physical activities include vigorous exercises and proper training of your Jack Russell Terrier. Your Jacky needs a lot of activities to be engaged with, which makes it a lot happier and healthier the way it is living.

Plenty of physical activities also keep your dog away from getting obese and becoming bored and frustrated. If they are not getting enough exercise, they may release their energy in undesirable ways which could potentially hurt them.


Many scientific studies show that the type and quality of food you feed your dogs are directly related to their lifespan. If you are feeding your pup with a balanced and nutritional diet plan, then your little companion can live longer with you.

How to Extend the Life Expectancy of Jack Russell Terrier?

Now, let’s discuss how we can improve the lifespan of Jack Russell Terriers. As dog lovers, we all want our lovely companions to live longer. It is true that the life expectancy of dogs can be increased with immense care and love.

Here are some of the best ways to enhance the lifespan of your Jack Russell Terrier:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • High-quality diet plan
  • Keeping its mind young

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is essential, especially in small size dogs, as they can gain weight and become overweight and obese easily. A healthy adult Jack Russell Terrier should weigh around 13 to 17 pounds.

Obesity can dramatically reduce the life expectancy of your Jack Russell Terrier because it increases the risks of other health conditions such as diabetes, heart, and breathing problems.

Provide them with sufficient physical activities to keep their body fit and healthy. At least 15 minutes dog walk on a daily basis is recommended for small dog breeds like Jack Russell Terrier.

High-Quality Diet Plan

It is necessary for your Jacky that it eats high-quality food. You should avoid cheap dog food at all costs as it is very likely to be made of low-quality ingredients and provides insufficient nutrients to your dogs.

Home-made raw foods provide more benefits than industrially processed foods. Preparing a meal that meets your dog’s nutritional requirements by yourself can greatly improve their life expectancy.

As Jack Russell Terrier is very much prone to over-eating, make sure that they eat preferably two meals a day. An adult Jack Russell Terrier needs approximately 450 to 650 calories per day, depending on their activity level.

Keeping Its Mind Young

It is crucial that you don’t make your little Jacky realize that it is getting older day by day. You should motivate it similarly to be active and sound as it was before to keep its mind young. 

As they grow older, they will not have the same level of energy they had before. You should not push it to act the same, motivate it to do the things it loves to do before. Instead, try new things that best suit their age as it will make them happier and more energetic.

Final Thoughts 

Jack Russell Terrier is a cute little four-legged companion that you adore daily to have such a cuddling friend with you. If you are planning to add a Jack Russell Terrier puppy to your family, you should expect it to live with you for 13 to 16 years, provided that you give them enough love and care.

The most significant benefit or edge of this breed is that they have a relatively long lifespan in general than any other smaller breeds. They are also less prone to inherited disorders, making it an ideal companion dog for your household.

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