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German Shepherd Jack Russell Mix: Breed Overview

A German Shepherd Jack Russell mix is the result of crossbreeding a Jack Russell Terrier and a German Shepherd. This mixed breed is energetic and has an athletic appearance. They make great guard dogs and are affectionate towards their family members.

The German Shepherd is known for its loyalty and guarding insticts.

Combining said instincts with the natural hunting capabilities of a Jack Russell Terriers, you have yourself a loyal, energetic, protective, and territorial mix.

In this article, you will learn how these dogs behave and why, and three reasons why these dogs are good and bad.

German Shepherd Jack Russell Mix Characteristics Overview

German Shepherd Jack Russell mixes inherit traits from both parent breeds. They can have the appearance of one and the temperament of the other. They are playful, loyal, and protective. They are also intelligent and easy to train. 

The Shepherd Jack Russell mix is prone to aggression but forms strong bonds with their families.  

Jack Russells are hunting dogs, and German Shepherds are herding dogs. 

As a result, Jack Russell German Shepherds often inherit the following physical traits:

  • They are great runners.
  • They are great swimmers.
  • They have a well-developed sense of smell.
  • They are active and alert.
  • They are agile. 

The main characteristics of Jack Russell German Shepherd mix dogs are listed in the table below.



10 – 26 inches


14 – 90 pounds


12 – 15 years

Dog Breed Group

Mixed breed

Coat Type


Coat length

Short or medium

Coat color

Black, brown, tan, red, yellow, and white






Stiff-floppy / floppy




4 stars

Grooming Difficulty

2 stars


Apartment living

3 stars

Good for beginners

3 stars

Can be alone

4 stars

Cold weather tolerance

3 stars

Hot weather tolerance

3 stars

Friendliness & Temper


5 stars


5 stars


3 stars


3 stars

Friendly to Strangers

3 stars


5 stars

Trainability & Needs

Easy to train

4 stars


5 stars

Hunting Instinct

5 stars


5 stars

Energy Level

5 stars

3 Reasons To Get a German Shepherd Jack Russell Mix

German Shepherd Jack Russell mixes make great watchdogs. They are intelligent, easy to train, affectionate, and form strong bonds with their owners.

1. German Shepherd Jack Russell Mix Dogs Are Great Watchdogs

German Shepherd Jack Russell Mix Dogs Are Great Watchdogs
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Jack Russell German Shepherd mixes are quick to detect unfamiliar noises. They do so for two reasons: 

  1. They inherit a strong protective instinct from German Shepherds.
  2. They inherit a strong hunting instinct from Jack Russells.

German Shepherds have been used as herding dogs. They had to protect sheep from predators[1]. This enhanced their territorial behavior. 

German Shepherd Jack Russell mixes bark loudly. They inherit this trait from both parent breeds, making them great at signaling danger. 

2. German Shepherd Jack Russell Mix Dogs Are Easy To Train

Shepherd Jack Russells are intelligent and agile. 

German Shepherds are the 3rd most intelligent breed when it comes to obedience and working intelligence[2]. The Jack Russell Terrier ranked 46th. 

Even if they are not among the best-ranked breeds, they still have above-average intelligence.

As a result, Shepherd Jack Russells easily understand what humans want them to do. This makes them easy to train. 

While German shepherds are highly trainable, Jack Russells can become stubborn and are easily distracted. Still, the mixes are easy to train, especially if you are patient.

Related: Are Jack Russells Smart?

3. German Shepherd Jack Russell Mix Dogs Are Affectionate

Shepherd Jack Russells are velcro dogs. A velcro dog likes to spend their time as close to its owners as possible. 

They don’t experience separation anxiety when their owners are not around. Still, they are highly affectionate and loving towards their family members when they are together. 

3 Reasons Not To Get a German Shepherd Jack Russell Mix

German Shepherd Jack Russell hybrids shed a lot. They bark loudly and can become hyperactive if they don’t get enough physical exercise.

1. Moderate to Heavy Shedders

German Shepherd Jack Russell Mix Moderate to Heavy Shedders
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Both Jack Russells and German Shepherds are double-coated. As a result, a Shepherd Jack Russell has a dense undercoat, covered by a short or medium outer coat. Double-coated dogs shed a lot, especially if they don’t have long hair. 

German Shepherd Jack Russell mix dogs shed both their undercoats and outercoats. They grow from the same hair follicle. This means when the hair follicles end their cycle, all old hairs growing from them fall out.

Shepherd Jack Russells shed most during spring and autumn. This is when they need daily brushing if you want your home hair-free. weekly brushing is enough throughout the rest of the year.

Related: Do Jack Russells Shed?

2. They Are Hyperactive

German Shepherd Jack Russell mixes need a lot of physical exercises. If their needs are not met, they become hyperactive. 

Consider the following when Shepherd Jack Russells have a hard time settling down:

  • The dog can be understimulated.
  • The dog’s diet is poor in essential nutrients.
  • They are hyperactive because of their breed drive.

Don’t get a German Shepherd Jack Russell mix if you can’t provide enough physical exercise. They are not suited for busy or sedentary people.

3. German Shepherd Jack Russell Mix Dogs Bark a Lot

Shepherd Jack Russells bark a lot because of their breed drive. 

Jack Russell Terriers have learned to bark a lot and loudly as they use barking to signal dangers they perceive in their environment. 

German Shepherds bark to communicate with other animals and humans.

German Shepherd Jack Russell mixes are also loud. If you don’t like noise or live in a quiet neighborhood, this breed is not for you.

Related: Why Is My Jack Russell Barking?

German Shepherd Jack Russell Terrier Mix Origin

The exact origin of German Shepherd Jack Russell Terrier mix dogs is not documented. This crossbreed is most often the result of accidental mating. The year and place where this first happened are unknown.

German Shepherd Jack Russell mixes are not designer dogs. Designer dogs are the result of the intentional breeding of two different breeds, while this mix is often the result of accidents.

There are breeders who do this with Jack Russells and German Shepherd but it is not recommended. 

The difference in size between the breeds can lead to several health issues for the mother.

The breeders that do intentionally breed this mix use female German Shepherds and male Jack Russells. This is done for the safety of the dogs.

Jack Russell Terriers History

Jack Russell Terrier History

Jack Russells were initially bred in England in the 1800s. The purpose of the breed was to hunt foxes. 

They were crossbred until their fur was at least 51% white. This color was desired as hunters had to differentiate the dogs from their prey. 

Jack Russell Terriers are currently bred for companionship and vermin control. 

They have been recognized as a separate breed since 2016 by the British Kennel Club. The American Kennel Club doesn’t currently recognize the Jack Russell Terrier. The breed is included in the Parson Russell Terrier category. 

The Short-legged Jack Russell is included in the Russell Terrier category.

German Shepherd History

German Shepherd History

The German Shepherd originates from Germany. In the 1890s, the need for a sheep herd dog led breeders to crossbreed several traditional herding dogs from Germany. 

This crossbreeding process resulted in the German Shepherd. 

The German Shepherd was recognized as a separate breed by the American Kennel Club in 1908. It has since become one of the most popular dogs in the United States. 

In 2021, German Shepherds were the 4th most popular breed in America.[3]

Jack Russell Terrier Shepherd Mix Appearance

The Jack Russel Terrier Shepherd mix is muscular and athletic. They are usually black and brown or black and red. They can have markings and white patches, depending on the genes they inherit. These dogs have short or medium-length coats with thick undercoats.

Shepherd Jack Russell Size

The size of a Shepherd Jack Russell varies a lot depending on what parent breed they resemble the most. Jack Russells are between 10 and 15 inches tall and German Shepherds are between 22 and 26 inches tall. 

The outcome is a mix that ranges between 10 and 26 inches in height. They can weigh between 14 and 90 pounds. 

These measurements are general guidelines. As crossbreeds inherit traits from both parents, their weigh and height ranges are high.Considering the high difference in size, German Shepherd Jack Russell mixes fall somewhere in the middle.

Shepherd Jack Russell Size
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Shepherd Jack Russell Coat

German Shepherd Jack Russell mix dogs have short or medium hair length. They are double-coated, and their undercoats are dense and smooth. The outer coats of Shepherd Jack Russells are smooth or wired. 

Although German Shepherds can have long coats, there are zero chances for a German Shepherd Jack Russell mix to be long-coated. 

The gene for long hair in dogs is recessive, meaning both parents have to pass on the gene for the puppy to have long hair. Jack Russells do not have this gene.

Related: Jack Russell Coat Types

Shepherd Jack Russell Color

The general color features of German Shepherd Jack Russells are not difficult to predict, but there is no way of being 100% accurate. The color of the parents indicate the color of their puppies. 

The essential aspect one needs to consider is that Jack Russells are not primarily white. 

The white parts of Jack Russell Terriers’ coats are patches caused by a lack of melanin. The primary color of a Jack Russell is usually a combination of black, brown, and tan. 

The majority of German Shepherds are black and brown, or black and red. 

By combining these two breeds, puppies are most likely to inherit the following colors:

  • Black
  • Brown
  • Red

German Shepherd Jack Russells can be bi or tri-colored if they inherit the gene that gives white patches from Jack Russells

On rare occasions, Shepherd Jack Russells are pure white. This happens only if the German Shepherd parent is pure white. 

Melanistic Mask

Shepherd Jack Russell mix dogs can have dark face masks called melanistic masks[4]. These masks require both parents to pass on the gene for this specific color pattern. 

Both Jack Russells and German Shepherds can carry the gene.

Related: Jack Russell Colors

Shepherd Jack Russell Mix Temperament

Shepherd Jack Russell mix dogs have great dog-human interaction skills. They are affectionate with their family members and love spending time with them. Shepherd Jack Russells don’t interact well with stranger dogs but can adjust.

A study[5] conducted in 2019 reported that dogs’ brain structures evolve differently between breeds. The results showed that the evolution depends on the purpose a dog breed has.

Dogs bred for various purposes pass on the traits necessary to perform their tasks well.

In other words, this mix has traits suited for hunting and herding, making them protective, territorial, and wary of strangers.

Shepherd Jack Russell Mix Temperament
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Traits Passed On by Jack Russell Terriers

Initially, Jack Russells were used for hunting foxes. In time, their purpose changed to vermin control.

This mixed breed inherits the following hunting temperament traits from Jack Russells:

  • They are obedient.
  • They quickly understand what humans want from them.
  • They are eager to please.
  • They are intelligent.

Traits Passed On by German Shepherds

German Shepherds are herding dogs. Herding dogs are not used as work tools, but rather as intermediaries. They are believed to possess a deeper understanding of the animals they herd[6]

This is why the relationship between humans and herding dogs is more like a collaboration.

This mixed breed inherits the following herding temperament traits from German Shepherds:

  • They are loyal.
  • They work well with humans.
  • They are protective.
  • They are smart.

Are German Shepherd Jack Russell Mix Dogs Aggressive?

German Shepherd Jack Russell mixes have a predisposition for aggressive behavior. 

Aggressive behavior in dogs has a genetic component. A study[7] conducted on 23 dog breeds places Jack Russells 17th in terms of aggression. The German Shepherd is the 4th most aggressive dog breed in this study. 

This means that Shepherd Jack Russells are most likely to display aggressive behavior.

The discussion around aggressive behavior leads to biting behavior. German Shepherds were responsible for 70% of the bites resulting in hospitalization between 1971 and 2018 in the United States[8]

German Shepherds are popular dogs, which influences the relevance of this analysis.

German Shepherds have a bite force of 238 pounds per square inch, and Jack Russell Terriers’ bite force is 225 pounds per square inch. 

This means Jack Russell German Shepherd mixes’ bite force is somewhere in between. 

Aggressive behavior can be prevented and controlled. You can achieve this by engaging your dog in regular physical exercise and feeding it a proper diet. Early socialization and training also help.

Related: Jack Russell Behavior Issues

German Shepherd and Jack Russell Mix Health Issues

German Shepherd and Jack Russell mixes are healthy mixes. Their average lifespan is between 12 to 16 years. Still, these dogs are prone to several health issues, especially as seniors.

The health issues German Shepherd Jack Russell mix dogs have a predisposition for are:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Ear infections
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Bloating 

Shepherd Jack Russells do not require intensive medical care throughout their lifetime. To keep them healthy, make sure they get enough exercise and mental stimulation. Good nutrition is also an essential factor to consider.

Related: How long Do Jack Russells Live?


German Shepherd Jack Russells are loyal and smart. They are loving companions and make great watchdogs. 

If they are trained and socialized in puppyhood, these dogs are less likely to display behavior issues. Still, they inherit the genes for aggression. Shepherd Jack Russells are great for active families because they require a lot of physical exercise.

Other Jack Russell Mix Breeds

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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