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Are Jack Russell Terriers Good Apartment Dogs? Breed Facts & Considerations

Kathryn Copeland

By Kathryn Copeland

jack russell terrier dog inside the apartment

When you want to add a dog to your family but live in an apartment, you know that you must be careful in your choice of pets. After all, it’s difficult to imagine a Great Dane in a 600-square-foot condo!

The Jack Russell Terrier (JRT) seems like the perfect candidate—they are certainly compact enough. If you’re wondering whether Jack Russell Terriers make good apartment dogs, the answer is yes and no. It depends on the dog and your neighbors. Jack Russells are small dogs but are also known for barking and being tremendously high-energy.

Let’s get more into the details, including why a JRT is not necessarily the best choice as an apartment dog and how you can still make it happen.

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A Bit About the Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier is a fantastic breed! Many owners will only own JRTs, and it’s because they are loving and smart and make truly excellent family dogs.

Energy

One of the most well-known traits of the Jack Russell is their energy! Even though they are small dogs, they require owners who are active and enjoy spending time in the great outdoors.

The JRT was bred in the mid-1800s by Reverend John “The Sporting Parson” Russell for fox hunting, and they were fast enough to keep up with the hunting hounds. But being terriers and low to the ground, they also excelled at exterminating vermin.

What this tells us is that these dogs have energy to spare and need owners who can keep up with them.

Trainability

Jack Russells are quite famous for being able to learn tricks and being incredibly intelligent. Therefore, they can be quite easy to train. However, many JRTs will get bored easily during training, so the sessions should be kept interesting, and you must be patient yet firm.

Terriers are also known to be stubborn, and the Russell is no different. A potential owner should be aware that while the JRT can be trained, the process will require a significant amount of positive reinforcement.

Jack Russell Terrier dog training
Photo Credit: Wasitt Hemwarapornchai, Shutterstock

Temperament

Their temperament is one of the best things about this breed! This dog is super friendly, affectionate, and overall great fun!

Being a terrier, they have a high prey drive, so if other small pets are in the home already, the JRT must be socialized with them at the youngest age possible.

Russells get along well with other dogs, and everyone they meet is a potential friend. They are playful with kids and will protect their loved ones.

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Can Jack Russells Live in Apartments?

Several factors can make or break this scenario. JRTs are small enough for apartment living, but they can be little tornadoes of energy. The smaller the apartment, the less space your Jack Russell will have to expend some of that energy. A living situation with a backyard would be best for this breed

Things will be more challenging if you have a puppy. Puppies must be taken outside for frequent bathroom breaks (every 1 or 2 hours), which can be difficult to do in an apartment. It’s much easier to scoop up your puppy and dash them into the backyard while you’re housetraining them.

JRTs are also known to bark a fair amount, which might not go over too well with your neighbors. However, if you live in an apartment with thick walls, the barking might not be as much of an issue.

close up of wire-haired jack russell terrier puppy
Image Credit: evrymmnt, Shutterstock

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How to Live With a Jack Russell in an Apartment

Living with a Jack Russell in an apartment or condo is not impossible. But there are a few steps that you’ll need to take to ensure that this will be a successful living arrangement.

Physical Exercise

A tired JRT is a calm and happy JRT. Since you can’t whisk your dog outside for a quick romp in the backyard, you’ll need to ensure that they are walked multiple times per day and regularly given the opportunity to run.

This breed was not bred to be an indoor dog, but rather for hunting and working on farms as ratters. So, you’ll want to engage your JRT in any activities that will engage them physically.

If you’re an outdoorsy kind of person, the Jack Russell might be a great fit. You can take them on long walks, bike rides, and hikes. They also excel at dock diving.

Mental Exercise

Jack Russells are highly intelligent dogs and will need mental exercise in addition to physical exercise. This is especially important if you need to leave your dog alone for a few hours.

Being left alone can cause the dog to bark excessively, and they are also likely to destroy your belongings out of frustration and boredom. Your Jack Russell will need toys, chews, and puzzle games. You can purchase these things, but you can also try making a few yourself.

Just keep in mind that if you’re not home most of the time, keeping a dog in an apartment might not be a great idea.

Crate Training

You might want to consider crate training your Jack Russell when you need to leave for a few hours. If done properly, a crate becomes a safe and comfortable space for your dog. It will help prevent your JRT from tearing the place apart, which is doubly important if your pup suffers from separation anxiety.

Make the crate soft and cozy, and put their favorite chews and toys inside. You should also ensure that no small animals can be seen from the crate, which will only make your dog upset because they have a high prey drive.

jack russell terrier inside a travel carrier box crate
Image Credit: Reshetnikov_art, Shutterstock

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Other Dog Breeds Good for Apartments

Quite a few dog breeds can make excellent apartment dogs. They still require physical and mental exercise, of course, but they tend to be quiet and only mildly energetic.

  • Bichon FriseThese dogs are easy to train, don’t bark too often, and are about medium energy.
  • Boston Terrier: These charming little dogs have medium energy but aren’t barkers and are easy to train.
  • Bulldog: Bulldogs aren’t that barky and are calm dogs but can be a bit stubborn, making them challenging to train.
  • Chihuahua: This breed is about medium in everything—barking, energy, and training. But their tiny size makes them an ideal apartment dog.
  • French Bulldog: This breed is the new favorite breed in the States, and it’s probably because they are cute and make a great apartment dog—they are low barking and low energy.
  • HavaneseHavanese aren’t known to be barkers, are quite trainable, and have about a medium level of energy.
  • King Charles Cavalier Spaniel: Cavs are easy to train and have medium energy and barking. However, they are prone to separation anxiety.
  • Maltese: The Maltese are easy to train, have low energy, and are not known to be barkers.
  • Pekingese: This breed isn’t that noisy and has low energy, but they can be challenging to train.
  • Pug: Pugs are low-key and aren’t overly barky but can be challenging to train compared to some other breeds.
  • Shih Tzu: These dogs can get a bit barky and can be somewhat of a challenge to train, but they are fairly low energy.

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Conclusion

Jack Russell Terriers are not really the best dogs for apartments, but with a great deal of dedication and effort, it is still doable. However, you should invest in obedience lessons (which are recommended regardless of where you live).

But if you meet their exercise needs and keep them entertained and happy, owning a Jack Russell will probably be the most fun and rewarding experience that you’ll ever have!


Featured Image Credit: evrymmnt, Shutterstock

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