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Border Jack (Border Collie & Jack Russell Terrier Mix): Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

border jack breed in snow

Height: 15–22 inches
Weight: 22–32 pounds
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Colors: White and black, tricolored
Suitable for: Active dog owners, active families with older kids, obedience & agility dog trainers, farmers
Temperament: Bold, hyperactive, athletic, intelligent, independent, determined

Border Jacks are one of the most unique-looking designer dog breeds, often sporting the body of a Jack Russell Terrier with the coat and markings of a Border Collie. These are very energetic hybrids that need hours and hours of exercise daily, which is ideal for some dog owners and families. Border Jacks are known for being highly intelligent and effortlessly excel in obedience training, making them a true pet star amongst the rest.

If you have the time and patience, these hybrids will bond closely with you and remain loyal to their home. Let’s take a closer look at the powerhouse that is the Border Jack:

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Border Jack Puppies

border jack puppy
Image Credit: rodcoffee, Shutterstock


Since designer dog breeds are heavily marketed and both purebred parents can be costly, so be ready to find high prices for Border Jacks. When you’re looking for your pup, take your time to talk to more than one breeder. This will give you time and opportunities to ask questions to decide which is the best breeder in your area. Quality breeders will let you visit the facilities, will introduce you to the parents or siblings of the puppy, and might screen the puppy’s health.

Border Jacks might not be common to find in dog shelters but it doesn’t hurt to ask. You can visit a dog shelter nearby and you might find a mixed dog that resembles the Border Jack. By adopting, you’ll be saving lots of money and changing a dog’s life at the same time.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Border Jack

1. Border Jacks are Moderate Shedders

Border Jacks, though on the smaller side, are moderate to heavy shedders. This is something to keep in mind when looking for a potential hybrid or purebred. Border Jacks need to be brushed daily, which can help reduce the shedding a little.

2. Border Jacks are Star Athletes

Though it may not be that surprising, Border Jacks are star athletes that can outperform the average dog. This is the perfect hybrid if you’re looking for a dog with the intellect of the Border Collie in a smaller-sized dog.

3. Border Jacks are Great Farm Dogs

With the natural herding abilities of the Border Collie and the energy of the Jack Russell, Border Jacks are great farming and livestock herding dogs if trained properly. They can make great working dogs that will perform their jobs dutifully.

Parent Breeds of the Border Jack
Image Credit: Jumpstory

Temperament & Intelligence of the Border Jack 🧠

Border Jacks may be described as bold, energetic, and courageous, but it’s important to remember that hybrids can wildly vary in personality. While Border Collies and Jack Russells are similar in temperament, they do have some differences that may show up in your Border Jack puppy. To have some idea of what you may be dealing with, let’s take a closer look at both the Border Collie and the Jack Russell.

Border Collies are, by nature, herding dogs with Einstein-level intelligence. Often considered the smartest dog breed in the world, these working dogs require hours of exercise to keep them content. They outclass nearly every dog breed in obedience and intelligence, a popular breed of choice for sport and obedience dog trainers. These dogs need to stay busy or you’ll find your house in shreds, so they’re not the type of dog that can be left alone for long periods of time. While they’re polite and good-mannered, they’re often wary and even aloof with strangers.

Jack Russell Terriers are classic terrier dogs, prized for their bold attitudes towards the world. These small pocket terriers can be great family pets IF their needs are met, which means hours of playtime and various exercises on a daily basis. They’re incredibly smart dogs, but their stubbornness can make them difficult to train. Prone to some aggressive behaviors, JRTs need to be socialized early with animals and humans to prevent any accidents. As long as they’re taken for walks and given the attention they demand, these smart dogs will entertain you and your family as no other breed can.

Knowing the personality traits of both breeds, it’s safe to assume that your Border Jack will be hyperactive and highly intelligent. These pocket Collie hybrids need a lot of time on a daily basis, which is why they’re not suitable for most families or new dog owners. However, they can be extremely affectionate and will quickly grow attached to their favorite person. Border Jacks may seem like a lot of work, but they’ll protect your home and will stand their ground if need be.

border jack puppy
Image: PxHere

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

Yes and no. It depends on the family’s activity level and where they live. Border Jacks need lots of space to roam since they’re herding dogs that enjoy fieldwork. They need time and consistent exercise that can be hard for busy families to keep up with. However, for active families that spend a lot of time outdoors, Border Jacks couldn’t be a better option! For active families with younger children, we don’t recommend this hybrid since they can be a bit rough when playing.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

No. While they can get along with other animals, it’s not the most ideal situation for your Border Jack due to the strong herding and prey-drive instincts that may be inherited. Unfortunately, it will only be a matter of time before an incident occurs that can endanger other animals. Unless your Border Jack is raised with another animal, we do not recommend these hybrids for homes already established with other pets.

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Things to Know When Owning a Border Jack:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Border Jacks need nutrient-packed dog food to support their everyday activity. It’s important to find a high-quality dry kibble designed for working dogs to ensure they’re getting enough vitamins and minerals into their diet. We recommend avoiding grain-free diets that have peas and legumes since Border Collies tend to have heart issues that can potentially worsen with these ingredients.

border jack on grass
Image Credit: Pixabay

Exercise 🐕

If you’re looking for a dog breed that does well with a few brisk walks, you’ll be in over your head with your Border Jack puppy. These dogs thrive on working and need a serious amount of daily exercise. You’ll have to spend a minimum of two to three hours a day making sure your Border Jack is tired and content. If they don’t expend their energy, the Border Jack will take it out on your home and belongings.

Border Jacks are athletic, so consider trying sports like Flyball and agility. They’re not only great ways to entertain your pooch, but they can quickly rise to the top in many competitions. Reach out to local competitive trainers to find out more about canine sports to find the best fit for your Border Jack.

Training 🦮

Training your Border Jack should be relatively easy since these dogs really enjoy learning. They do well with all sorts of training methods, but they mostly thrive from clicker training with tasty treats. In fact, these dogs are so highly trainable that you’ll be looking for new tricks to teach within a few weeks. However, since Jack Russells have some serious stubbornness, it’s important to remain patient and consistent with any training methods you choose.

If your Border Jack seems to be struggling with at-home training, we recommend finding a professional trainer who has worked with either Border Collies or Jack Russell Terriers. Alternatively, group puppy classes can also be beneficial for obedience and early socialization.

Grooming ✂️

Border Jacks usually have a unique mix of the Border Collie’s long, fluffy coat and the shorthaired coat of the JRT. They’ll need brushing on a daily basis to prevent matting and debris from getting stuck. They’re moderate to heavy shedders, so brushing and the occasional bath will help reduce some of the shedding.

Health and Conditions ❤️

With any mixed breed or designer dog, it’s hard to tell what conditions they’ll be predisposed to. There are many breed-specific conditions that dogs have, but not all hybrids inherit them. The best way to know what you might have to deal with later on with your Border Jack is to look at the common health conditions of both breeds:

Common Border Collie Health Issues
  • Seizures
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Lens Luxation
  • Collie Eye Anomaly
  • Patent Ductus Arteriosus
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Heart Disease
Common Jack Russell Terrier Health Issues
  • Lens Luxation
  • Patella Luxation
  • Eye and Ear Conditions (Deafness, cataracts, etc.)
  • Dental Issues (Tooth loss, gingivitis, etc.)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Seizures

From what we can see, Border Collies and Jack Russells share a few conditions, like lens luxation and seizures. Though most of these conditions aren’t fatal, some can be difficult and expensive to treat. Thankfully, both JRTs and Border Collies are generally healthy breeds and have good lifespans. Your Border Jack should have a relatively healthy, long life even with health issues being prevalent in both breeds.

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Male vs Female

Male and female Border Jacks are similar in size and demeanor, so this should be a personal decision. Some male Border Jacks like to mark their territory and will do it indoors if allowed, but this can be corrected. Aside from the marking, the choice of Border Jack should be a personal matter discussed with your family.

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Wrapping Up

If you’re looking for a powerhouse of a dog, the Border Jack is a great choice. These herding-based dogs are a lot of work and responsibility, so Border Jacks are not for everyone. If you have the time and space, these dogs will become closely bonded to you. Border Jacks are also unique looking, so you’ll have people doing a doubletake when out for a walk.

If you’re ready to take on a hyperactive hybrid, the Border Jack will not disappoint.

Featured Image Credit: Aitor Rodriguez Claro, Shutterstock

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