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Jack Russell Terrier German Shepherd Mix: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Parent breeds of the Jack Russell Terrier German Shepherd Mix - Featured Image

The Jack Russell Terrier German Shepherd mixed breed is a unique combination of the large, all-purpose German Shepherd and the tiny but tenacious Jack Russell Terrier. Though they may seem like opposite breeds, these two dogs have some similarities in intelligence and temperament that make a mix of the two into a desirable dog.

Thinking about bringing home a Jack Russell Terrier German Shepherd mix? Find out more about this breed to see if they’re the right choice for your home and lifestyle.

Breed Overview

Height: 15–22 inches
Weight: 25–65 pounds
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Colors: Black, black and tan, liver, blue, sable, bi-colored
Suitable for: Single owners and families, active owners, homeowners with yards
Temperament: Loyal, protective, intelligent, energetic

With a mix of a Jack Russell Terrier and a German Shepherd, the traits of the dog depend on which parent influences them. They can be small like the Jack or on the larger size, come in a range of colors, and can have the thick double coat of the German Shepherd or one of the Jack Russell’s smooth or wiry coats. Either way, both breeds are smart, trainable, loyal, and brave.

Jack Russell Terrier German Shepherd Mix Characteristics

Energy
Trainability
Health
Lifespan
Sociability

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Jack Russell Terrier German Shepherd Mix Puppies

Jack Russell Terrier German Shepherd mixes are not “designer breeds,” yet they do happen. It may be difficult to find breeders and available litters, however. Shelters and rescues may have Jack Russell Terrier German Shepherd mixes as well, so be sure to check around.

Puppy mills often have mixed breed dogs that are sold as “designer dogs” with high price tags. While you may get the mix you want, these puppies—and their parents—are raised in deplorable conditions and often struggle with health and behavioral problems. In addition, when you get a mixed puppy, it’s difficult to predict what look, size, and temperament that dog will have as an adult. You may want to consider adult mixes to get a better idea of what kind of dog you will have.

Parent breeds of the Jack Russell Terrier German Shepherd Mix
Photo Credit: Left – Larina Marina, Shutterstock | Right – Osetrik, Shutterstock

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Jack Russell Terrier German Shepherd Mix

The Jack Russell Terrier German Shepherd mix is a highly intelligent and hardworking dog. Jack Russells are infamous ratters that have been used in farms and industrial environments to hunt vermin, while the German Shepherd has been successful in everything from herding and livestock guardianship to service, police, and military work. A mix of these two breeds will likely be highly trainable and eager to work but may have a stubborn streak.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Both German Shepherds and Jack Russells are good choices for families. They get along well with children, but it’s important for children to be taught to interact with the dog appropriately. This is especially true if your mix is on the smaller side, as children can easily hurt a small dog by accident. It’s also important to ensure that all interactions are supervised until children are old enough to interact safely.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

German Shepherds and Jack Russells often get along well with other dogs, both in and out of the home. Early socialization is important for having a well-adjusted and friendly dog that’s happy to meet new dogs and people. Jack Russells were bred to hunt small game, so it’s not a good idea to have a mix in a home with small pets like birds, rodents, and reptiles without a barrier to protect them. Some Jack Russells have a high prey drive with cats as well.

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Things to Know When Owning a Jack Russell Terrier German Shepherd Mix:

Both German Shepherds and Jack Russell Terriers are excellent breeds, but it’s important for owners to know what they’re getting into. Often, these dogs have high energy demands and require active, engaged owners. Here’s everything you need to know about owning a Jack Russell Terrier German Shepherd mix.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

This mixed breed requires a high-quality diet with a lot of protein. It’s best to choose a diet that’s approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and meets the guidelines of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA). How much your dog will eat depends on their size, age, activity levels, and overall health. If you have any questions about your dog’s diet, be sure to speak with your vet.

Exercise 🐕

While you may not know which parent your puppy will take after, you can expect that they will have high energy. Both German Shepherds and Jack Russells are energetic, hardworking dogs that need regular mental and physical stimulation. You will probably need to take your dog on brisk walks at least once a day, engage in long playtime, or run around at a park. When either of these breeds get bored, they’re likely to develop behavioral issues like excessive barking, destructive chewing, or aggression.

Training 🎾

It’s crucial that your Jack Russell German Shepherd mix has basic obedience training. These dogs are smart and eager to please, so they often take well to training. More advanced training, such as trick training or training for canine sports, is beneficial for Jack Russell German Shepherd mixes, as both breeds have historically had “jobs” to do. If you’re not experienced with high-touch breeds like these, professional training is recommended.

Grooming ✂️

The grooming demands of the Jack Russell German Shepherd mix largely depend on the coat they have. Double-coated breeds shed a lot and can get mats and knots if you don’t remove the loose, fluffy undercoat, so expect at least weekly brushing and a lot of seasonal shedding. You will also need to trim your dog’s nails every few weeks and brush their teeth regularly.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Jack Russells are generally healthy dogs, but German Shepherds are prone to a few health conditions. It’s important to be aware of what conditions are common in your dog to take preventative measures. German Shepherds are prone to degenerative myelopathy and hip and elbow dysplasia, several types of cancer, allergies, heart disease, and gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), otherwise known as bloat, a life-threatening stomach condition. Jack Russells are prone to eye conditions, joint conditions, dental disease, and skin conditions.

Minor Conditions
  • Allergies
  • Dental disease
Serious Conditions
  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Bloat
  • Eye conditions

Male vs Female

Owners often say that there are differences between male and female dogs of certain breeds, such as that males are easier to train or that females are more aloof. Dogs are individuals, however, and with a mix like the Jack Russell German Shepherd, the dog’s temperament depends more on the traits of the parents. Similarly, male dogs are typically larger, but the size difference between the German Shepherd and the Jack Russell could produce puppies of varying sizes.

If you choose to spay or neuter your dog, you can reduce the risk of a lot of hormonal behavioral issues like sex-based aggression, roaming, and marking. Spaying and neutering can also prevent many health conditions like reproductive cancers and infections.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Jack Russell Terrier German Shepherd Mix

1. They’re Both Hollywood Stars

The German Shepherd and the Jack Russell are beloved breeds that have made more than a few appearances in movies and television. Perhaps the most famous German Shepherd character is Rin Tin Tin, but Jack Russell Terriers have been featured as characters in Frasier, Wishbone, and My Dog Skip. In fact, a Jack Russell named Uggie was the first dog to place a paw print on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


2. They Both Come in a Range of Colors or Coat Types

There’s a lot of variety within the German Shepherd and Jack Russell breeds. German Shepherds have 11 recognized colors and different breed standards in the US and Europe. The Jack Russell comes in smooth, broken, and rough coat varieties with different color combinations. As a result, a mix of the two is a bit of a “mixed bag” in terms of what they will look like.


3. They’re Smart and Hardworking

The German Shepherd is one of the top three smartest dog breeds, and the Jack Russell is not too far behind. These dogs have been bred to work and held many roles over the years. Though modern dogs have a much cushier lifestyle than their predecessors, a mix of a German Shepherd and a Jack Russell is looking for an active, engaged life, not the lap of luxury.

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Final Thoughts

Jack Russell Terrier German Shepherd mixes have the best traits of the parent breeds, including loyalty, high energy, and high intelligence. With dogs that look so different, it’s difficult to tell what size, coat type, and colors you’ll get, but that’s half of the fun of owning one. If you want to bring one of these dogs home, make sure you’re prepared to commit to obedience training, tons of exercise, and a lot of mental stimulation to keep your dog from getting bored.

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Featured Image Credit: Left – Annabel_P, Pixabay | Right – Anna Dudkova, Unsplash

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