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Do Jack Russells Shed? (Why They Shed and How To Control It)

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Jack Russells shed heavily. They have short or medium double coats. Hairs fall out when they have finished their growth cycles. Double coats are thicker, which makes shedding abundant.

Jack Russell terriers shed because of their genetics. They shed to keep their coat healthy. The coat has a protective role and changes depending on environmental factors.

Jack Russells’ shedding varies according to seasonal changes. They shed a lot, regardless of their coat type. 

Shedding creates discomfort and can pose threats to owners’ health. Controlling Jack Russells’ shedding provides a clean and healthy environment. 

It also reduces the amount of grooming needed.

This article discusses in detail why Jack Russells shed and what you can do to reduce shedding.

Why Do Jack Russell Terriers Shed?

Jack Russell Terriers shed to keep their coat and skin healthy. When a hair reaches its full length, the body gets rid of it and produces a new one. 

Jack Russells are double-coated. They have a first short coat layer that has the role of an insulator. The second layer is longer and has a protective role.

Jack Russells shed for many reasons:

  • Health issues
  • Parasites
  • Stress
  • Exposure to artificial light
  • Poor nutrition
Why Do Jack Russell Terriers Shed

Shedding for Protection

Their coat mainly serves a protective role. It is a barrier between the dog’s skin and the external environment. Jack Russells constantly need to change this protection layer to keep it healthy.

The role of a Jack Russell’s coat is to:

  • Regulate temperature
  • Protect the dog’s skin from UV rays
  • Aid with sensory perception
  • Prevent skin injury

This protective mechanism prevents dogs from becoming bald. Hairless Jack Russells are not protected from temperature variations or UV rays. 

Hair Growth Phases & Shedding

Dog hair grows in cycles or phases. 

Hair growth cycles have evolved as an adaptation mechanism. This helps dogs adapt to weather conditions. These weather conditions include temperature and amount of sunlight.

The three dog hair growth phases are:[1]

  • Active growth phase or anagen phase
  • Transition phase or catagen phase
  • Resting phase or telogen phase

Jack Russells’ coats have a mosaic pattern. This is because their hair follicles are at different phases of growth all the time.

Hair Growth Phases & Shedding

Factors Leading To Abnormal Jack Russell Shedding

While Jack Russells shed a lot on a regular basis, they can show signs of abnormal shedding. If your Jack Russell starts shedding abnormally, take it to the vet.

The factors that lead to abnormal Jack Russell shedding are:

  1. Poor nutrition
  2. Increased stress levels
  3. Exposure to artificial light
  4. Certain health issues
  5. Parasites 

1. Poor Nutrition

Nutrient deficiencies can disrupt hair growth cycles in Jack Russell Terriers. A lack of protein and essential fatty acids can lead to hairless patches on a dog’s coat.

Copper and zinc deficiency cause Jack Russells to lose more hair than normal.[2]

2. Increased Stress Levels

Jack Russells Increased Stress Levels

Jack Russells exposed to prolonged stress levels shed more. Stress determines hair follicles to enter the rest phase. This happens all at once. The resting phase is the period preliminary to Jack Russells’ shedding.

Stress disturbs Jack Russells’ hair growth cycle. This leads to increased hair loss.

3. Exposure To Artificial Light

Jack Russells that spend most of their time indoors are more prone to shedding. Long exposure to artificial light disturbs the photoperiod that animals usually experience outdoors. 

In their natural environment, light exposure is high during summer and low in winter. As a result, Jack Russells produce more hair in the summer. This leads to more shedding.

4. Health Issues

Jack Russells Health Issues

Endocrine disorders such as hypothyroidism can cause excessive shedding in Jack Russells. The same effect is seen in some congenital problems, such as follicular dysplasia.

Other health issues that cause excessive shedding in Jack Russells:

  • Allergies
  • Bacterial or fungal infections
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Cancer
  • Immune disorders[4]

5. Parasites

Parasite infestation can cause Jack Russells to shed excessively. This sometimes happens because of allergies. The most common parasites that cause shedding are fleas[5] and ringworms.[6]

Do Seasons Influence Jack Russells’ Shedding?

Yes, seasons influence Jack Russells’ shedding. They shed more during spring and autumn. This happens because of genetics. It is also due to changes in temperature and the amount of light exposure.

Jack Russell Terriers shed differently in cold or warm climates. 

In a cold climate, Jack Russells don’t shed as much. In warm climates, Jack Russells shed more. This is due to prolonged exposure to natural light.

This table illustrates how seasons influence hair growth and shedding in Jack Russells.

SeasonHair 
Spring Excessive shedding
Summer Extensive hair growth
AutumnExcessive shedding
Winter 50% of hair follicles are in the resting phase

The yearly shedding cycle of Jack Russells is as follows:

  • In summer, Jack Russells produce new hair to prepare for winter. 
  • In autumn, Jack Russells lose their old hair.
  • In winter, half of the hair follicles are resting to reduce shedding and keep warm.
  • In spring, Jack Russells lose all the excess hair that kept them warm during winter.
Do Seasons Influence Jack Russells’ Shedding

Does Jack Russell Coat Types Influence Shedding?

No, Jack Russell coat types do not influence shedding. Short, wired, and broken-coated Jack Russells shed the same amount. 

Jack Russell Terriers are double-coated. They have a shorter coat layer. This makes their coat thicker. Double-coated dogs shed more than single-coated ones.

Jack Russells can have three coat types: short, wired, and broken.

Coat TypeDescription
Smooth-coated Jack RussellsSmooth, short, growing in one direction.
Wired-coated Jack RussellsBetween 1 and 2 inches long, growing in multiple directions 
Broken-coated Jack RussellsA combination between short and wired

Wire-coated Jack Russells are inappropriately also called long-haired Jack Russells. They have longer hair than the short-coated type. For a dog breed to be considered long-haired, they need to have hair longer than 2 inches. 

Wire-coated Jack Russells actually have a short to medium hair length. Short-haired dogs shed more often because their hair reaches its maximum length faster. 

The same goes for medium-haired dogs. 

Does Jack Russell Coat Types Influence Shedding

How Can I Reduce Jack Russell Shedding?

You can reduce Jack Russell shedding through diet and grooming. Providing high-quality nutrients, as well as healthy fatty acids, can reduce shedding. Brushing your dog daily has the same effect.

Reduce Shedding Through Diet

Investing in high-quality food keeps your Jack Russell healthy. A healthy dog doesn’t shed more than necessary.

Diet-related shedding is associated with food allergies and sensitivities. Make sure to take your dog to the vet for a complete evaluation if they shed excessively. 

Additives in food or high amounts of certain types of foods create imbalances in a dog’s body. High amounts of carbohydrates can cause the malabsorption of nutrients. This can lead to nutrient deficiencies, as well as hormonal imbalances.

Avoid feeding supplements to your Jack Russell without the guidance of a vet. High amounts of certain minerals and vitamins can damage your dog’s hair. This can lead to excessive shedding.

Try adding healthy fatty acids into your Jack Russells diet. Olive oil and flaxseed oil are good sources of healthy fatty acids. 

Dehydration also increases shedding because it leads to dry skin. Make sure your Jack Russell has access to fresh clean water throughout the day to prevent it.

Reduce Shedding Through Grooming

Grooming is essential to control and reduce shedding. 

Daily brushing reduces the amount of hair falling on the floor and furniture. It also evenly spreads skin oils throughout the entire length of the hair. This keeps your dog’s coat and skin healthy. Healthy skin prevents excessive shedding.

By brushing your Jack Russell’s coat regularly, you will reduce the need for bathing. Frequently bathing your Jack Russell removes natural oils that keep the skin lubricated. Dry skin leads to more shedding. 

Jack Russell brushing tips:

  • Have a natural bristle brush that loosens dead hair and removes it easily.
  • Brush the dog’s hair in the opposite direction of growth to pull out the dead hair
  • Then brush the dog’s hair in the growth direction to remove it.
  • Brush your Jack Russell’s coat in circular directions if you are using a glove or a mitt.
  • Use a Furminator to target the undercoat of Jack Russells.

Reduce Shedding by Reducing Stress

Reduce Shedding by Reducing Stress

Reducing stress can significantly reduce the amount of shedding.

You can keep your Jack Russell stress-free to prevent excessive shedding in the following ways:

  • Keeping them physically active
  • Spending time with them
  • Socializing them with other dogs
  • Keeping a calm home environment
  • Having daily routines that make them feel safe

Are Jack Russells Hypoallergenic?

No, Jack Russells are not hypoallergenic. They have a shedding coat. This means they produce dandruff. Dandruff is a cause of dog-related allergy in humans.

Humans are allergic to dog dandruff and skin oil. They are not actually allergic to dog hair. Breeds that shed a lot produce more dandruff. 

There are no 100% hypoallergenic dogs. Dogs suited for allergic people have coats that don’t shed much. 

Related: Are Jack Russell Terriers Hypoallergenic?

Final Thoughts

Jack Russells shed a lot, contrary to popular belief. The idea that short-haired breeds shed less than long-haired breeds is inaccurate. Hairs fall out when they complete their growth cycle. As a result, short hairs fall out quicker. 

It’s not difficult to control Jack Russell shedding. Daily brushing and a proper diet can reduce shedding significantly. Investing in high-quality food and high-quality grooming tools will help you achieve this.

Keeping your Jack Russell healthy and spending more time together reduces their stress levels. This keeps shedding under control.

About Dennis Stapleton

Dennis Stapleton has a passion for animals, especially dogs, and their relatives. He’s intrigued by their social structure and loves to write and teach about the world's most popular pet animal.

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