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Mini Jack Russell (Breed Overview): Appearance & Needs

Mini Jack Russell Terriers are the miniature version of the Jack Russell terrier. They are small cheerful dogs that enjoy the company of humans. While Jack Russells measure 13 to 15 inches in height, the Mini Jack Russell is between 10 and 12 inches tall.

Mini Jack Russells are, as the same suggests, small dogs. They are the miniature version of a regular Jack Russell terrier.

Their small frame makes them agile, and while they are obedient, they are also easily distracted. 

If they are not trained and socialized in puppyhood, they can become aggressive.

This article explores the main aspects that revolve around Mini Jack Russells:

  • Origin
  • Appearance
  • Temperament
  • Health Issues

And more.

Mini Jack Russell Characteristics Overview

Mini Jack Russells look like standard-sized Jack Russell terriers but smaller. Standard Jack Russells are 13 to 15 inches tall, while Mini Jack Russells are 10 to 12 inches tall.

These dogs are fun to be around because they are highly energetic. They are affectionate and form strong bonds with their family members. 

They can engage in problematic behavior if they are not socialized and trained in their puppyhood.

This table illustrates the main characteristics of Mini Jack Russell terriers.



10 – 12 inches


9 – 15 pounds


12 – 14 years

Dog Breed Group

Mixed breed

Coat Type


Coat length


Coat color

White, black, tan, brown, red, yellow, chestnut










3 stars

Grooming Difficulty

2 stars


Apartment living

3 stars

Good for beginners

3 stars

Can be alone

3 stars

Cold weather tolerance

3 stars

Hot weather tolerance

3 stars

Friendliness & Temper


5 stars


5 stars


3 stars


4 stars

Friendly to Strangers

4 stars


5 stars

Trainability & Needs

Easy to train

3 stars


4 stars

Hunting Instinct

5 stars


5 stars

Energy Level

5 stars

3 Reasons To Get a Mini Jack Russell

Mini Jack Russells are social dogs. They behave well around strangers and get along well with other dogs. Because of the traits enhanced by their hunting instinct, Miniature Jack Russells make great watchdogs.

1. Mini Jack Russells Are Great Around Strangers

Mini Jack Russells Are Great Around Strangers

Mini Jack Russells are highly affectionate with their families. This has led to the misconception that they are not well-behaved around strangers.

Mini Jacks’ anxiety regarding human interaction is not present in their genes. They are relaxed around strangers with one exception: intruders.

2. Mini Jack Russells Behave Well Around Other Dogs

Jack Russells are used to hunting in packs. They have been doing it for over 20 decades and have passed on this trait to Mini Jack Russells. 

Miniature Jack Russells love playdates and are a great addition to families that already have dogs. They interact well with other dogs and perform well in team activities.

3. Mini Jack Russells Make Great Watchdogs

Mini Jack Russells have a highly developed protective instinct. They are quick to identify danger and signal it by barking. 

Their smell is also well-developed as a result of having the hunting gene. 

If you want a small guard dog, this is a great option.

3 Reasons Not To Get a Miniature Jack Russell Terrier

Miniature Jack Russell Terriers need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. They are not great around children because they are energetic and reactive to sudden sounds and movements.

1. Miniature Jack Russell Terriers Require a Lot of Mental Stimulation

Miniature Jack Russell Terriers Require a Lot of Mental Stimulation

Miniature Jack Russells are intelligent, a trait that makes them curious. They also have a lot of energy. 

When they get bored, Mini Jack Russells engage in various destructive behavior issues, such as biting and scratching objects in the vicinity.

2. Miniature Jack Russells Need a Lot of Exercise

Mini Jack Russells are active and energetic and need between 60 to 90 minutes of physical exercise per day. 

If you have a sedentary lifestyle, don’t think your Miniature Jack Russell will become a couch potato. They will release their energy in other ways, through aggression, depression, barking, and biting.

3. Miniature Jack Russell Terriers Can Become Problematic Around Young Children

Mini Jack Russells are energetic and active. They can be unpredictable as they react to stimuli, such as sudden noises or movements. 

Young children are not used to acting calmly around dogs. Their sporadic behavior triggers unwanted behavior in Mini Jack Russells.

Miniature Jack Russell Origin

The miniature Jack Russell is a new breed that emerged in the 21st century. There isn’t much information about its origin as it is relatively new. People don’t know much about the crossbreeding process that resulted in the Mini Jack Russell. The only information about them is they are bred from Jack Russells and are smaller.

Jack Russell Terriers were first bred in England in the 18th century. The purpose of the breed was to hunt foxes. As time passed, hunters started using them for hunting small prey. 

There was one problem with Jack Russells: they were often confused with the prey because of their dark color. 

Breeders started a crossbreeding process that resulted in the Jack Russells we have today. The color of the modern Jack Russell is mostly white with dark markings.

The process repeated itself when people wanted a smaller version of the breed.

For other recognized mixed breeds, both parent breeds are known. For Mini Jack Russells, one of the parent breeds is still unknown. 

The AKC doesn’t recognize the Jack Russell terrier as a separate breed. They are listed as Parson Russell Terriers. 

The AKC does list the Miniature Jack Russell as Russell Terrier. The breed was recognized in 2005.

Miniature Jack Russell Origin

Mini Jack Russel Terrier Appearance

Mini Jack Russell Terriers have a similar appearance to standard-sized Jack Russell Terriers. The only difference is that they are smaller, considered a small breed. They have balanced bodies with smooth muscle transitions. This gives them the ability to cross narrow tunnels.

The Mini Jack Russell is white with black, brown, fawn, red, or yellow markings. The top of their tail is as high as the top of their ears.

When observed from above, a Mini Jack Russell’s body has the shape of a rectangle, starting from the front shoulders to the hips.

Jack Russell Terrier Mini Dog Size

The Mini Jack Russell Terrier measures 10 to 12 inches in height. Their weight varies from 9 to 15 pounds.

The weight and the body composition of Miniature Jack Russells are proportional to their size. They are proportionally longer than they are tall. 

The Mini Jack Russell is categorized as a small breed. Dogs that weigh less than 25 pounds are considered small. The breed is often referred to as Toy Jack Russell Terrier. 

While the breed weighs less than 15 pounds, it is not listed as a Toy breed by the American Kennel Club.[1]

Related: Short-Legged Jack Russell

Jack Russell Terrier Mini Dog Size

Mini Jack Russell Terrier Colors

Mini Jack Russell Terriers are primarily white with brown, tan, black, red, or yellow markings. 

The color standards[2] for mini Jack Russell Terriers are as follows:

  • The white coat covers at least 51% of the body.
  • The markings can vary from black, brown, and tan to red and yellow.
  • There is no requirement for the number of colored markings.
  • Ticking is accepted.

Related: Jack Russell Terrier Colors

Jack Russell Mini Dog Coat

The Jack Russell Mini dog’s coat can be of three types:

  • Smooth
  • Rough
  • Broken

Smooth-coated Miniature Jack Russells have smooth, short hair that grows in one direction. 

Rough-coated Mini Jack Russells have wiry coats and hair that measures between 1 and 2 inches in length. 

Broken-coated Mini Jack Russells have a combination of smooth and rough coats. They often have a large amount of smooth hair with wired-hair patches.

Miniature Jack Russells are double-coated. They display dense undercoats that have a protective role. These undercoats keep Mini Jack Russells warm during the winter.

The role of the outer coats of Miniature Jack Russells is to protect them from insects and environmental factors, such as UV rays. The undercoats and outer coats of Mini Jackies is  also waterproof.

Related: Jack Russell Coat Types

Jack Russell Mini Dog Coat

Jack Russell Miniature Dog Temperament

The Jack Russell Miniature dog is intelligent, agile, and lively. They have a strong personality and live life at high-intensity levels. These mini dogs are loving and affectionate and form strong bonds with their family members.

This table illustrates the main temperament traits of the Jack Russell Miniature dog.

TraitsMiniature Jack Russell Terriers
Potential for Aggression4
High Energy Levels5
Protective Instinct4
Excessive Barking5
Hunting Instinct5
Biting Instinct3
Digging Instinct4

Does Mini Jack Russell Have a Hunting Instinct?

Jack Russell Terriers were initially bred for hunting. They have a highly developed instinctive intelligence. 

This means they have the ability to perform the tasks they have been bred for extremely well.

They passed on various qualities hunting dogs have to Miniature Jack Russell Terriers:

  • They are great runners.
  • They are great swimmers.
  • They understand easily what humans require of them.
  • They are eager to please their owner.
  • They like to retrieve.

There are downsides to Miniature Jack Russells inheriting a highly developed hunting instinct. They bark a lot and they bark loudly. This trait has been perfected during the last 200 years. 

When they found prey, Jack Russells had to bark a lot and loudly for their owners to hear them. This was a signaling method that turned into a survival mechanism. 

As they were bred for vermin control, they often had to follow their prey into underground tunnels. If their owners couldn’t find them, the dogs couldn’t get out. Therefore the loud barking. 

Another downside is that Jack Russell Mini dogs love digging. 

You can prevent these issues with training. Engaging your dog in intensive daily physical exercise will reduce destructive behavior.

Related: Jack Russell Behavior Issues

Does Mini Jack Russell Have a Hunting Instinct

Mini Jack Russell Health Problems

Mini Jack Russells are healthy dogs with a long lifespan. But, they are prone to various genetic diseases. Some of these diseases need one parent to pass on the gene, others need both. 

The latter ones are called recessive diseases.[3]

This table illustrates the diseases Minie Jack Russells are predisposed to.

Congenital Deafness [4]Recessive disease onset at birth. Often accompanied by a lack of pigmentation in the skin, coat, and eyes.
Patellar Luxation [5]Dislocation of the knees patella, which enables a dog to fully extend the knee joint. 
Lens LuxationDisplacement of the natural lens in a dog’s eye. Diminishes a dog’s ability to see. Treated with surgery.
Cataracts [6]Consists of the blurring of the natural lens in a dog’s eye. Leads to blindness but can be treated with surgery.
Myasthenic Syndrome [7]Consists of muscle weakness that can severely impair a dog’s life.
Von Willebrand Disease [8]Manifests by excessive bleeding. It is not curable and possesses problems during surgery.
Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease [9]Common recessive disease in small dogs. Consists of the deterioration of the femur’s head. Leads to impaired walking.
Periodontal DiseaseCan develop periodontal disease at an older age. 

The recommended health tests for Mini Jack Russell Terriers are:

  • BAER test – measures hearing loss
  • Ophthalmologist evaluation
  • Primary Lens Luxation DNA test
  • Patella evaluation

How Long Do Mini Jack Russells Live?

Mini Jack Russells live between 12 and 14 years. They inherit great genes from the Jack Russell terrier, who has the longest lifespan of all pet dogs. It can live between 13 and 16 years. 

How Long Do Mini Jack Russells Live

Do Mini Jack Russells Shed?

Yes, Mini Jack Russells shed, contrary to popular belief. They are double-coated and have short or medium hair. This results in moderate amounts of shedding. 

Mini Jack Russells shed more during the spring and autumn. This is when they need daily brushing. During the rest of the year, Mini Jack Russells need weekly brushing.

There is a misconception that Jack Russells and their mini breed are hypoallergenic. This is a myth busted by the fact that they are moderate shedders.

Related: Do Jack Russells Shed?


Mini Jack Russells are intelligent and agile. They like to please their owners and form strong bonds with them. They are affectionate but not great around young children. Mini Jack Russell Terriers are similar to Jack Russells but smaller.

This breed is suited for active people who don’t like to spend their time on the couch. They require a lot of physical activity and mental stimulation. Mini Jackies are cheerful companions that have a long lifespan. This makes them perfect for mini breed lovers.

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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