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Are Jack Russell Terriers Hypoallergenic? Vet-Approved Facts & Tips

Ed Malaker

By Ed Malaker

Jack Russell terrier dog standing with one leg up

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Alice Athow-Frost

Veterinarian, BVM BVS MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Jack Russell Terriers are charming, energetic, and intelligent dogs with a distinctive appearance that makes them popular as pets. The Jack Russell comes with three coat types; short, rough or broken, but unfortunately, none of them are hypoallergenic.

Unfortunately, no dog breeds are truly hypoallergenic (though some are more allergy friendly than others). That said, keep reading as we look into the source of dog allergens and provide tips and tricks that you can use to minimize issues with the Jack Russell Terrier.

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What Is a Hypoallergenic Dog?

A hypoallergenic dog is less likely to trigger allergies in individuals prone to pet-related allergies, but whether a dog is more or less allergenic is not determined by their breed.  Instead, hypoallergenic dogs produce fewer allergens and are better tolerated by allergy sufferers, but this doesn’t correlate with specific breeds.

The primary source of allergens is not the dog’s fur, but rather the proteins in their skin cells attached to the hairs as they fall out (dander), along with urine and saliva, all of which can become airborne and trigger allergic reactions in sensitive people.

Wire Haired Jack Russell Terrier dog playing with its toy
Image Credit: evrymmnt, Shutterstock

Allergens Produced by the Jack Russell Terrier

Shed Fur

Jack Russell Terriers are moderate shedders. While they may not shed excessively, they do shed their fur regularly, which can release allergens into the environment.

Saliva

Jack Russell Terriers love to lick their owners, and the saliva contains allergenic proteins that will spread to the skin and clothing. Fortunately, the Jack Russell Terrier is not a heavy drooler.

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The 6 Ways to Minimize Allergy Issues With Jack Russell Terriers

1. Regular Grooming

Regularly grooming and brushing your Jack Russell Terrier can help reduce shedding and loose fur in the home.  However, it won’t reduce the saliva and dander will still be shed into the air.

groomer stripping the hair of jack russell terrier dog
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

2. Frequent Cleaning

Regular house cleaning, which can include vacuuming and wiping down surfaces, can help reduce the buildup of allergenic proteins.


3. Air Purifiers

Investing in a high-quality air purifier with a HEPA filter can help remove allergens from the air, although the jury is still out on whether or not this helps those with pet allergies, as dander isn’t always air-borne so must simultaneously be removed from carpets by vacuuming and cleaning.


4. A Dog-Free Zone

Create an area in your home where your dog isn’t allowed to go, in order to help give an allergy sufferer a place to find relief if they experience a flare-up.

door entrance with cute jack russell dog inside
Image Credit: eva_blanco, Shutterstock

5. Medication and Allergy Shots

Talk to your doctor about allergy medications and shots, which can help mitigate allergic reactions.


6. Consult an Allergist

Before contemplating getting a new dog, consulting with an allergist is a good idea. They can perform allergy tests to determine if you are actually allergic to dogs and provide guidance on managing allergies while owning one.  If you have more than a very mild allergy, it might be safer not to own a dog at all, as you need to think about both your own and the dog’s quality of life.

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Tips for Keeping Your Jack Russell Terrier Healthy and Safe

  • Neutering a small breed like a Jack Russell Terrier is advised at approximately 6-9 months of age to avoid unwanted pregnancies and health issues.
  • Schedule regular checkups with your veterinarian to monitor your Jack Russell Terrier’s health and address issues early.
  • Ensure that your dog is current on vaccinations and preventative care, including flea-and-tick control, heartworm prevention, and regular deworming.
  • Avoid overfeeding your Jack Russell Terrier to prevent obesity, which can lead to various health issues.
  • Ensure that your pet gets plenty of exercise through daily walks, playtime, and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy.
  • Jack Russell Terriers are natural diggers and jumpers, so ensure that your yard has a secure fence to prevent them from escaping and getting into potentially dangerous situations.
  • Provide appropriate chew toys to satisfy your dog’s natural urge to chew. This will help prevent them from chewing on items that could be harmful, like electrical cords or small objects.
  • Know the location of the nearest emergency veterinary clinic and have a pet first-aid kit on hand for minor injuries.
combing jack russell terrier dog
Image Credit: dezy, Shutterstock

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are There Specific Recommendations for People With Severe Dog Allergies Who Want to Own a Dog?

If you have severe dog allergies, it’s important to consult with an allergist and consider that owning a dog may not be sustainable for you.  Spending time with dogs in the home is a good measure of how allergic you are, but this needs to be carried out under the advice of a doctor, in case the allergic reaction is severe.  For mild allergies, maintaining a strict cleaning routine, using air purifiers, and discussing allergy medication options may help to minimize allergic reactions, but they may not be enough. It may be that owning a dog isn’t possible for you, and that another type of pet is a better option.

Are There Any Measures for Introducing a Jack Russell Terrier Into a Household With Allergy Sufferers?

Introducing a Jack Russell Terrier into a household with allergy sufferers should involve careful planning, including allergy testing, allergy management strategies, and gradual exposure to the dog. Consulting with an allergist, taking recommended precautions, and keeping an area of your home dog-free can help make the transition smoother.

Is It Possible for People With Mild Allergies to Build Up Tolerance to Their Jack Russell Terrier Over Time?

Some individuals with mild allergies may develop some tolerance to their dog over time, but it can vary from person to person. Building tolerance often depends on the severity of the allergy and the specific allergens involved. Certain types of immunotherapy may help the sufferer, but this needs careful consideration and consultation with an allergy specialist.

woman brushing jack russell terrier dog
Image Credit: Lazy_Bear, Shutterstock

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Summary

Unfortunately, the Jack Russell Terrier is not considered a hypoallergenic dog, and nor are any other breeds of dog. If you are an allergy sufferer, you will likely experience symptoms when they are nearby, as they shed dander into the environment, and they enjoy licking their owners. You can help reduce allergic reactions by vacuuming to remove any loose fur and using a HEPA air filter to help remove the dander from the air. Creating a dog-free zone in your home can help you have a safe place to go when your allergies are especially bad.

 

Featured Image Credit: David Herraez Calzada, Shutterstock

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