The Border Jack is a medium-sized crossbreed with cute looks, boundless energy, and the quick wit and charm of its parent breeds, the Border Collie and Jack Russell Terrier. No one quite knows when or where the breed was first developed, but like most designer dog breeds, its popularity has soared over the past couple of decades. To find out more, read on for 10 things you didn’t know about the Border Jack.
1. They’re a mix of Border Collie and Jack Russell Terrier
The Border Jack is a designer crossbreed that combines the best qualities of its two parent breeds, the Border Collie and the Jack Russell Terrier. As the AKC writes, the Border Collie is often called the world’s greatest herder, a description few people who’ve witnessed them at work would have cause to disagree with. Extremely bright (when people rank the cleverest dog breeds, the Border is usually right at the top) and extremely energetic, Borders make great family pets for people with the energy and the time to keep them occupied and happy. The Jack Russell Terrier, meanwhile, is a small terrier has its origins in fox hunting in England. The breed was developed by a parson and hunting enthusiast named Reverend John Russell; it was Trump, his small white and tan terrier female, that provided the foundation stock for the breed. Bred with the stamina and courage to chase out foxes that had gone to ground during hunts, the Jack Russell eventually abandoned its working roots in the 20th century to emerge as a much-beloved family companion.
2. No two litters are the same
Like any crossbreed, designer or otherwise, the Border Jack’s appearance can vary hugely, depending on which parent breed it most takes after. Although no two litters are the same, most Border Jacks will have the narrow body, the small head, and the floppy ears of the Jack Russell. Their dark eyes can be either oval or almond-shaped and invariably have a keen, alert expression. Their muzzles tend to be strong, and as a general rule, most grow to a medium height of between 16 and 22 inches and a weight of between 22 and 32 pounds.
3. They need a moderate amount of grooming
Most Border Jacks are moderate to heavy shedders and will require a good amount of grooming to remove loose hair before it finds its way onto the furniture. As a guideline, they should be brushed around 2 to 3 times per week. Bathing isn’t necessary unless they’re particularly dirty. Ears should be checked and cleaned weekly to reduce wax build-up and infections. Nails should be clipped if they don’t wear down naturally and teeth should be cleaned a few times a week to reduce the possibility of periodontal disease. As both the Border Collie and Jack Russell are prone to eye problems, routine eye examinations will be needed.
4. They have huge amounts of energy
Both the Border Collie and Jack Russell are known for their high energy levels, and their offspring is no different. The Border Jack hates sitting still, much preferring to run, jump, and play for hours at an end. If you’re going for a jog, a hike, or a swim, they’ll happily tag along. They don’t, however, need a huge family home to run around in: providing their exercise needs are met and they have plenty of opportunities to run around outdoors, they’ll be as happy in an apartment as anywhere else. As they have a working heritage, they like to be kept busy and respond well to having a job to do, whether that’s fetching slippers or collecting the newspaper. As wagwalking.com notes, interactive games that keep their minds stimulated are recommended to prevent them from becoming bored and destructive.
5. They’re expensive
Purebred Border Collies are expensive: depending on their bloodlines and appearance, it’s not unusual for breeders to charge up to $4500 for a puppy. Purebred Jack Russell Terriers are cheaper, but can still cost anywhere between $700 to $1400. Like most crossbreeds, the Border Jack is cheaper than its pedigree parents, although in this case, you can still expect to part with a hefty sum. Depending on its personality and physical attributes, a Border Jack will usually command a price tag of between $300 – $1100.
6. They’re great farm dogs
As Doggie Designer notes, the Border Jack combines the natural herding abilities of the Border Collie with the energy of the Jack Russell. The end result is a very capable livestock herding dog that would be an asset to any farm.
7. Their health should be monitored
Like other crossbreeds, Border Jacks may inherit the same genetic conditions that afflict their parent breeds. Crossbreeds do tend to be healthier and more robust than pedigrees, but there’s no guarantee. The only way of knowing what kind of problems a Border Jack may experience is to look at the common heath conditions of both parent breeds, and then keep a careful watch for any signs of the same. On the Border Collie side, this includes patent ductus arteriosus, lens luxation, progressive retinal atrophy, heart disease, seizures, collie eye anomaly, and hypothyroidism. Jack Russell Terriers, meanwhile, are prone to hypothyroidism, dental issues, patella luxation, lens luxation, eye and ear conditions, and seizures.
8. They need early socialization
Border Jacks make great family pets, and will usually get along well with both older and younger children. However, as they can be extremely excitable and energetic, any interactions with small children should be closely monitored to prevent accidents. Although they bond easily and quickly with their family, they do less well with strangers. To stop them from becoming cautious and wary of every new face they meet, plenty of early socialization and training will be needed.
9. They don’t get on well with other animals
The Border Jack has inherited a strong prey-drive from the Jack Russell and equally strong herding instincts from the Border Collie. While these traits may make it a great farm dog, they do nothing for its popularity with other household pets. Unless they’ve been raised from puppyhood with other animals and have undergone plenty of socialization, they do best as the only pet in the house.
10. They’re highly trainable
Like both the Border Collie and Jack Russell Terrier, the Border Jack is a highly intelligent dog who loves learning. They take well to all forms of training, from obedience to agility, and will easily master new tricks with just a few repetitions. As they’ve inherited the Jack Russell’s strong will, plenty of patience and consistency will be needed. Positive reinforcement and a pocket full of treats will also go a long way to taming their stubbornness.