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Jack Russell Pitbull Mix (Jack Pit): The Breed Specifics

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Jack Russell Pitbull mixes are the result of breeding Jack Russell Terriers with Pitbulls. They are energetic, affectionate, playful, and make great guard dogs. They are loyal and highly protective of their family.

The Jack Russell Terrier is an energetic dog. 

But what happens when mixed with a pit bull?

Are they aggressive? Playful? And are they good with kids?

In this article, we’ll discuss the origins of Jack Russell Pitbull mixes.  You’ll also learn about their temperament, and how to take care of them.

Jack Russell Pitbull Mix Characteristics Overview

Jack Russell Pitbull mixes inherit their traits from both parents. It is difficult to predict what traits Jack Russell Pitbull mixes inherit. Some traits reoccur across all offspring.

Appearance

Height

14 – 17 inches

Weight

30 – 48 pounds

Lifespan

12 – 15 years

Dog Breed Group

Mixed breed

Coat Type

Double

Coat length

Short

Coat color

White, black, tan, brown, grey, fawn, chestnut

Eyes

Dark

Nose

Black, red, blue, or pigmented

Ears

Stiff-floppy

Hypoallergenic

No

Shedding

2 stars

Grooming Difficulty

2 stars

Adaptability

Apartment living

3 stars

Good for beginners

2 stars

Can be alone

3 stars

Cold weather tolerance

3 stars

Hot weather tolerance

3 stars

Friendliness & Temper

Temperament

5 stars

Affectionate

5 stars

Kid-Friendly

4 stars

Dog-Friendly

4 stars

Friendly to Strangers

4 stars

Playfulness

5 stars

Trainability & Needs

Easy to train

5 stars

Intelligence

5 stars

Hunting Instinct

4 stars

Barking

4 stars

Energy Level

5 stars

Jack Russell and Pitbull Mix Origin

The origin of the Jack Russel and Pitbull mix is not well documented. There are various types of Jack Russell Pitbull mixes. Experts suspect that these mix-breeds have roots in the 1980s in the United States. 

Pitbull is a term used to describe dogs of different breeds descended from bulldogs and terriers. These breeds were originally developed for fighting. They are muscular, stocky, short-haired, and have wide jaws

It is believed that Pitbulls were first introduced in the United States in 1870.[1]

The term ‘pit bull’ refers to several breeds: 

  • American Staffordshire Terrier 
  • Bull Terrier
  • American Bulldog
  • American Pit Bull Terrier

Bully Jack Terriers are not the same as Jack Pits, even if they both are Jack Russell Pitbull mixed-breeds.

The types of Pitbull Jack Russell Terriers are listed below.

Mix-breedParents
Jack PitAmerican Pit Bull and Jack Russell Terrier
Bully Jack TerrierBull Terrier and Jack Russell Terrier
American Bull-JackAmerican Bulldog and Jack Russell Terrier
Staffy JackAmerican Staffordshire Terrier and Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terriers are British dogs. They were bred for hunting foxes and small prey for more than 200 years. The first documented pedigree of its descendants dates back to 1862. The breed’s history goes a few decades back.

Jack Russell Pitbull mixes are a combination of fighting and hunting dogs. 

It’s important to note that both breeds have terrier descendants. This causes the offspring to inherit specific genetic health issues.

Jack Russell and Pitbull Mix Origin
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Jack Russell Pitbull Mix Appearance 

Jack Russell Pitbull mixes have had firm jaws and stiff-floppy ears. They can have various colors, such as white, black, tan, brown, grey, fawn, chestnut, and others. Their eyes are dark but their nose color can differ between black, red, blue, or pigmented.

Jack Russell Pitbull mixes have short double-layered coats. They are muscular and measure between 14 and 17 inches. Weighing between 30 and 48 pounds, they often seem bulky and tough. They can have many colors, most commonly white, black, and tan.

It is difficult to make an accurate description of a Jack Russell Pitbull mix. Their appearance depends on the traits they inherit.

Pitbull and Jack Russell Mix Temperament

Pitbull and Jack Russell mix dogs typically inherit temperament traits from both of their parents. They can also take on the traits of a single parent.

Jack Russell Pitbull mixes are high-energy dogs. They inherit traits from their parents, including protective instincts, hunting, biting, and digging. 

Other specific traits include aggression, playfulness, and excessive barking.

The table below illustrates some of the traits that Jack Russell Pitbull mix dogs can inherit.

TraitsJack Russell TerriersPitbulls
AggressionYesYes
PlayfulnessYesYes
Protective InstinctYesYes 
Excessive BarkingYesNo
Hunting InstinctYesNo
Biting InstinctNoYes
Digging InstinctYesNo

Are Jack Russell Pitbull Mixes Aggressive?

Pitbull Jack Russell mix dogs have the potential to become aggressive. Both Jack Russells and Pitbulls are known to engage in aggressive behavior.

A study[2] conducted on aggression in 23 breeds placed Jack Russells in the 17th place.

Pitbulls are a controversial breed when it comes to aggression. They have a stigma of being aggressive. A study[3] from 2011 compared sheltered Pitbulls to other breeds. It concluded that Pitbulls are not more aggressive towards humans than other breeds.

A more recent study[4] on how dogs’ brains evolved during domestication states that dogs’ neurological structures differ among breeds. The differences depend on what each breed was used for. 

Pitbulls were bred for fighting and biting, which suggests a predisposition to aggression.

Both breeds (Jack Russells and Pit bulls) are prone to aggression. The chances of Pitbull Jack Russell mixes engaging in aggressive behavior are significant. 

But, this does not mean that your dog will pose a threat. 

Jack Russell Pit Bull mixes are loving dogs. They are happy when they receive affection. They are affectionate in return, similar to Pit Bulls.

Prevent aggression in dogs with:

  • Early socialization with other dogs and humans
  • Early training
  • Plenty of exercise
  • Spaying or neutering
  • Mental stimulation
  • Nutrient-dense diet

Related: Jack Russell Behavior Issues

Are Jack Russell Pitbull Mixes Aggressive
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Are Pit Bull Jack Russell Mixes Playful?

Pit Bull Jack Russell mix dogs are playful and fun. Both Pitbulls and Jack Russell Terriers love to play with their owners and other dogs.

Jack Russells Pit Bull mixes express their energy by playing, running, and engaging in mental activities.

Pitbulls have high energy levels suited for their playful nature. They are great around children because they like cuddling. They also respond well to physical interaction. 

If your mix-breed takes over this playful nature, you will have a lot of work to do to keep them happy.

Are Jack Russell Pit Bull Mixes Protective?

Jack Russell Pit Bull mixed-breeds are protective. They inherit this trait from both Pitbulls and Jack Russells. They are protective of their territory, as well as their family. 

Pitbulls develop strong bonds with all the members of the family. They are affectionate dogs and like to play with everybody. As a result, they are alert when it comes to strangers.

If their owners relax in the presence of other people, Pitbulls relax too. But if they feel their owners are uneasy, they become protective.

Jack Russells are territorial dogs. They bark at any possible danger and are suspicious of strangers. Control this behavior by socializing them from an early are. 

Are Jack Russell Pit Bull Mixes Protective
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Do Jack Russell Pitbull Mix Dogs Bark a Lot?

Jack Russell Pitbull Mix Dogs can bark excessively if they resemble Jack Russells.

Jack Russells love to bark. Their barks are noisier compared to other dogs of the same size. Jackies used barking as a signal for finding prey.

Sometimes they had to chase their prey underground, where they got stuck. If they weren’t found in time by their owners, they would die.

Loud barking was a survival mechanism for Jack Russells.

Pitbulls are not barkers. They bark when they fear danger, to protect you or themselves. If your Jack Pit resembles this breed most, you will have silent afternoons.

Related: Why Is My Jack Russell Barking?

Do Jack Russell Pitbull Mix Dogs Have a Hunting Instinct?

Jack Russell Pitbull Mix Dogs are likely to engage in hunting behavior. They can inherit the genes from Jack Russells.

People Bred Jack Russells for hunting for more than 200 years. Hunting every day transformed their behavior. This is why they have a highly evolved hunting instinct. 

Jack Russell Pitbull mix dogs can inherit this behavior from their parents. It is no surprise if they start chasing small animals around the yard. 

This behavior can also put them at risk. They sometimes run into the street without realizing the danger.

Do Pitbull Jack Russell Mixed-breeds Bite?

Pitbull Jack Russell mixes can become biters if the behavior is not stopped in infancy. The risk is not higher than that of other mixed breeds. 

Jack Russells are not predisposed to biting even though there is a misconception that hunting dogs bite.

Old English Bulldogs, the ancestors of Pitbulls, were used in a sport called “bull baiting”. Pitbulls have been bred for the same type of fight. Over the years, fighting bulls was prohibited. People began using Pitbulls to fight rats instead.

Over the years, Pitbull breeders have discouraged the behavior of biting humans. While it is true that Pitbulls can bite and attack other dogs, biting humans almost never happens.

The controversy about Pitbills’ bites remains. Their bite is dangerous and potentially fatal. According to a study[5] conducted in 2020, 72% of dog bite fatalities in the United States were due to Pitbull bites. 

This does not mean that Pitbull bites are predominant. But, shows that their bite can lead to fatalities.

To prevent biting, discourage this behavior from an early age. 

Are Jack Russell Pitbull Mixed-breeds Diggers?

Jack Russell Pitbull mixes can become diggers. They get this instinct from Jack Russells.

As people used Jack Russell Terriers to hunt small animals, they learned how to dig. These prey animals often live below the ground. Jackies had to dig to reach them. 

This is why they love digging. They have inherited this behavior from their ancestors. 

Are Jack Russell Pitbull Mixed-breeds Diggers
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Jack Russell Pitbull Mix Health Problems

Jack Russell Pitbull mix dogs are healthy dogs. They don’t need extensive medical attention throughout their lifetime. They are predisposed to several health conditions. These include diseases caused by genetics and general conditions that affect dogs.

Pitbull Jack Russell mixes can be affected by a list of genetic health conditions. 

Some of these conditions require both parents to carry the genes. This means that both breeds need to be prone to a specific disease for the puppy to inherit it.[6]

At first glance, if dogs come from two different breeds, the chance of developing such a disease is rare. But as both Jack Russells and Pit Bulls are terriers, they have some of these genes in common. 

Read about genetic diseases specific to both jack Russells and Pitbulls below.

DiseaseDescription
Congenital DeafnessThis disease is specific to Jack Russells and Pit Bull Terriers. [7] Puppies with congenital deafness are born deaf. Congenital deafness in dogs is highly correlated to a lack of pigmentation.
Degenerative MyelopathyThe symptoms of Degenerative Myelopathy are common in middle-aged dogs. The disease affects the spinal cord and leads to progressive ataxia and weakness.
Lens LuxationThis disease is specific to terriers.[8] It consists of the dislocation of the lens because of weakness in the ligaments supporting it. Dogs can undergo surgery to fix it.
IchthyosisThis genetic disease does not allow the outer layer of the skin to develop properly. It is also called ‘Fish Scale Disease’. Ichthyosis [9] is not curable and affected dogs should not be allowed to breed.
Legg-Calve-Perthes DiseaseThis consists of the necrosis of the head of a dog’s femur. [10] The disease can alter your dog’s life because it leads to arthritis and causes a lot of pain.
Cerebral Ataxia [11]This disease presents symptoms at an early age when dogs are between 2 and 4 months old. It consists of loss of balance and lack of coordination. [12]

Non-genetic diseases also affect Jack russell Pitbull mixes. They are prone to such health issues due to breed characteristics and predispositions.

Diseases specific to Pitbulls:

  • Kneecap dislocation
  • Skin allergies 
  • Thyroid issues

Diseases specific to Jack Russells:

  • Cushing’s disease
  • Ear infections
  • Periodontal disease

Jack Russell Pitbull Mix Food Requirements

Jack Russell Pitbull mixes should eat between 922 and 1353 calories per day. This is if they engage in regular exercise. If your dog lacks the opportunity to exercise, it should eat between 674 and 989 calories per day.

These food recommendations are related to their weight. Pitbull Jack Russell mix dogs weigh between 30 and 48 pounds. As such, they should eat between 922 and 1353 calories per day. 

Pitbull Jack Russell mixes need a variety of nutrients to stay healthy. Provide high-quality food as they are prone to skin allergies.

Pitbull mixes are prone to allergies to certain types of proteins. This typically happens if you suddenly change the type of meat you provide. 

If you decide on homemade food, animal protein is recommended. Products such as beef, chicken, and eggs provide more nutrients than plant-based protein. You can also serve fruit and vegetables to fulfill your dog’s nutritional needs.

If your Jack Russell Pitbull mix has a food allergy, remove the allergenic food from their diet. Also, choose hypoallergenic dog food to avoid other potential allergic reactions.

Few dog owners differentiate between food and skin allergies[14]. Take your dog to the vet if you notice scratching. Dogs can develop allergies to additives or allergenic components in dog food. 

Jack Russell Pitbull Mix Food Requirements

Grooming Your Pit Bull Jack Russell Mix

Pit Bull Jack Russell mixed-breeds need monthly grooming. They are prone to skin issues and require proper care, even if their coat does not smell bad. Tooth brushing or other alternatives are required because they often suffer from halitosis.

Here are some tips to keep your Pit Bull Jack Russell mix healthy:

  • Brush their coat every day.
  • Use hypoallergenic shampoo and conditioner.
  • Thoroughly dry your dog after a bath.
  • Trim their nails weekly.
  • Check their ears for parasites and allergies.

How Much Does a Jack Russell Pitbull Mix Cost?

A Jack Russell Pitbull mix puppy costs around $600-$750. The price differs according to their appearance and the quality of the parents. Bigger Jack Russell Pitbull mixes are pricier.

Do not compare the price of mixed breeds to that of pure breeds. The problem with mixed breeds is you cannot predict the appearance of the adult dog. 

This is why they cost less than Pitbulls or Jack Russell Terriers.

Related: Jack Russell Price

3 Reasons To Get a Jack Russell Pitbull Mix

Jack Russell Pitbull Mixes are great family dogs. They have a long lifespan and make great playmates.

1. Jack Russell Pitbull Mixes Are Great Family Dogs

Jack Russell Pitbull mix dogs make great family dogs. They are highly affectionate and loving. They like to spend time with you. Jack Russell Pit Bull mixes accept gestures of affection from all family members, including the children.

Similar to Pitbulls, this mix loves spending time with children. Pitbull Jack Russell mixes are highly protective of them. 

They take a while to develop trust, but when they do, they are gentle and loyal.

2. Jack Russell Pitbull Mixes Have a Long Lifespan

Jack Russell Pit Bull mixed breeds have a long lifespan compared to other breeds. Their average life expectancy is between 12 and 15 years.

Pit Bulls live between 12 and 14 years, while Jack Russells live for 13 to 16 years. Jack Russells are among the longest-living dogs in the United Kingdom[13]

The oldest Jack Russell diet at 20 years and 106 days. If your mixed-breed inherits these genes, you can get a long-lasting companionship.

Related: Jack Russell Terrier Lifespan: How Long Do Jack Russells Live

3. Jack Russell Pitbull Mixes Are Great Playmates

Jack Russell Pitbull mixes are intelligent and playful. They make great playmates, especially for children. You will not have to always look around to see if they understand what you want from them. They love playing and being a part of the pack.

3 Reasons Not To Get a Pit Bull Jack Russell Mix 

Jack Russell Pitbull Mixes don’t get along with small pets. They need training and are highly energetic.

1. Jack Russell Pitbull Mixes Do Not Get Along with Small Pets

Jack Russell Pitbull Mixes have a hunter instinct inherited from Jack Russells. This instinct doesn’t vanish, even if they are trained and socialized at an early age. You can get a Jack Russell Pitbull Mix if you have small pets but you have to be careful. 

2. Jack Russell Pitbull Mixes Need Training

Jack Russell Pit Bull mixes are predisposed to problematic behaviors. This is due to the hunting and aggressive instinct inherited from the two breeds. They require training at an early age. This prevents digging, biting, excessive barking, and other behavioral issues. 

If you are not patient and don’t have a lot of time on your hands, you shouldn’t get a Pitbull Jack Russell mix.

3. Jack Russell Pitbull Mixes Are Highly Energetic

If you have a busy schedule and don’t have a lot of time to spend with your dog, this breed is not for you. They need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. 

A 30-minute walk will not be enough for them to release their energy. This is why they will become frustrated. They will also engage in unwanted behavior patterns that can become problematic.

Final Thoughts

Jack Russell Pitbull mixes are affectionate and loyal. They do not require excessive grooming and are excellent family dogs. 

If you have the time and energy to share it with a dog companion, consider a Jack Russell Pitbull mix as a potential best friend. You will be able to enjoy your friendship for a long time because they have a long lifespan.

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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