10 Dog Breeds Similar to the Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier

Small dogs make popular companions. After all, they are more convenient to own than their larger counterparts, thus making them better-suited for a wide range of interested individuals. Jack Russell Terriers are an excellent option for people seeking a small companion dog. However, they should know there are other choices out there.

What Are 10 Dog Breeds Similar to the Jack Russell Terrier?

Here are 10 dog breeds similar to the Jack Russell Terrier drawn from Good Housekeeping’s list of small companion dogs:


1. Basenji

The Basenji is one of the more unusual dog breeds in existence. That makes sense because it is one of 16 basal dog breeds, which are more genetically divergent than most dog breeds. It isn’t hard to see why the Basenji is more genetically divergent than most of its counterparts. One, these dogs came into existence in Central Africa. As a result, they had minimal contact with the Eurasian dogs that are ancestral to most dog breeds.

The MET makes it clear that Central Africa was connected to the Mediterranean and beyond. Still, it seems safe to say that the relevant trade routes wouldn’t have seen the movement of large numbers of dogs. Two, introducing these dogs to the United Kingdom and other western countries wasn’t as easy as just moving them. We know this because there were several failures before the first success in the 1930s.

In any case, the Basenji tends to be friendly towards its family members but more reserved towards other people. They stand out because of their strange behaviors. One example would be their lack of barking. Another example would be their penchant for standing up on their hind legs. Unfortunately, the Basenji also has some issues that are more common than most people would like. For instance, these dogs have a high prey drive, thus making them prone to chasing smaller animals. Furthermore, these dogs have low trainability. The Basenji isn’t stupid. Instead, it is just so independent that it won’t do anything unless it wants to.

2. Boston Terrier

Bull and Terrier is a term referring to mixed-breed dogs descended from bulldogs and terriers. They were popular in the early 19th century when they saw widespread use for bloodsports. Boston Terriers descend from these dogs. Specifically, the Boston Terrier Club of America says either all or almost all of these dogs descend from a specific Bull and Terrier named Hooper’s Judge.

Breeding for companionship means Boston Terriers are nothing like what one would expect based on this heritage. Generally speaking, these dogs are easygoing people-pleasers with a gentle disposition. Better still, they are on the quiet side of things, so much so that they won’t bark unless someone or something gives them a very good reason to do so. Boston Terriers aren’t total pacifists though. They are protective of their family members. Moreover, poor training and socialization can see them becoming territorial.


3. Chihuahua

Chihuahuas are very well-known. Thanks to celebrities and other factors, they are iconic purse dogs. For that matter, Chihuahuas are a good choice for first-time dog owners. They have relatively simple needs, thus making them easy to care for. On top of that, Chihuahuas get along well with humans, which is a huge advantage for people who aren’t 100 percent sure what they are supposed to do.

With that said, interested individuals still need to provide their Chihuahuas with the proper training and socialization. The Spruce Pets and other resources can provide them with suggestions on how to get started. Untrained and unsocialized small dogs aren’t as problematic as their bigger counterparts. They are too small to do the same kind of damage as the latter. Even so, untrained and unsocialized small dogs can be huge nuisances, which should be clear to anyone who has ever met a yappy dog.


4. Dachshund

A dog’s appearance doesn’t necessarily say much about its character. For proof, look no further than the Dachshund. People often consider these dogs ridiculous-looking, as shown by the nicknames of sausage dogs and wiener dogs. However, Hill’s Pet Nutritionsays the Dachshund is famously courageous.

That makes more sense when one learns more about the original role of the Dachshund. In short, these dogs are hunting dogs. On their own, Dachshunds took on badgers in their burrows. A fair number of these dogs’ physical characteristics make them better suited for such tasks. They are small enough to enter burrows. Their front paws are broader than their back paws for superior burrowing capabilities. Loose skin enables movement through tunnels with minimal risk of tearing and other wounds. Even the ears are down rather than up to prevent dirt and other unwanted things from getting into the ear canals. What is particularly remarkable is that Dachshunds also excel in above-ground fights. Reputedly, a pack of these dogs can take on boars.

Luckily, just because a dog is fierce towards its prey, that doesn’t mean it will treat its family members the same way. If anything, hunting dogs tend to like their humans. Dachshunds are no exception to this rule, though they tend to be much less enthusiastic around strange humans and strange animals. Some of these dogs are outright hostile under such circumstances. Be warned that Dachshunds need plenty of stimulation. Without that, they will find amusement on their own, which can be quite destructive to their surroundings.

Miniature Poodle

5. Miniature Poodle

Poodles are everywhere. That is because they are both highly trainable and extremely likable. Either one of those two things would have made them popular. The two together make Poodles one of the most popular dogs in existence.

One of the nice things about Poodles is that they come in several sizes. Most kennel clubs recognize three sizes – the Standard Poodle, the Miniature Poodle, and the Toy Poodle. Some resources such as Dog Breed Info mention a fourth – the Medium Poodle. The sizes mean interested individuals can get the one best suited for their circumstances without worrying that their dog is undersized because of some kind of horrible health issue.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

6. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

There are two kinds of Corgis. One is the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, while the other is the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. Supposedly, the former trace their roots to the Flemish, while the latter trace their roots to the Norse. Regardless, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are the better-known of the two dog breeds. In considerable part, this is because of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, who has owned many of these dogs throughout her lifetime. Moreover, she is the one who popularized the Dorgi, which is a mixed-breed dog descending from the Corgi and the Dachshund.

Originally, Pembroke Welsh Corgis were cattle herding dogs. Many of their potential issues reflect this heritage. First, they sometimes nip at ankles, which is one of the ways they convince cattle to move. Second, they enjoy chasing things, which reflects hunting instincts rather than herding instincts in some of these dogs. Third, they are sometimes hard to train because they are so stubborn and independent-minded. As always, training and socialization can minimize the risk of these issues showing up, thus making for a loyal, affectionate, and adorable-looking companion. That will remain true so long as these dogs also get all of the activity they crave.


7. Pug

Pugs are one of the most controversial dog breeds. On the one hand, they are cute. On the other hand, they are one of the best examples of how breeding for cuteness can cause suffering for pet animals. Indeed, the situation is so bad the British Veterinary Association asked British dog enthusiasts to avoid Pugs and other flat-faced dog breeds back in 2016, according to The Guardian.

The source of concern is no mystery. In short, flat-faced dog breeds shouldn’t be that flat-faced. Sadly, they are that flat-faced, thus making for serious health issues. For instance, a Pug’s soft palate is too long because of the shortening of its snout. Thanks to that, it needs extra effort to breathe because some of that flesh is blocking its airway. Likewise, a Pug’s pop-eyed expression can become literal. As in, its eyeballs can come out of its eye sockets. Even when its eyeballs stay inside its eye sockets, they are still prone to problems because they receive inadequate protection from its eyelids.

Despite these health issues, Pugs continue to sell because they are cute and charming. If people want one of these dogs but are concerned about these dogs’ well-being, they should look into mixed-breed dogs that are less problem-prone than their purebred counterparts. There are ongoing projects to make the Pug healthier. One excellent example would be retro Pugs, which are part Pug and part Jack Russell Terrier.

Rat Terrier

8. Rat Terrier

The name Rat Terrier is somewhat confusing. Many terriers have seen use in pest control, so one can make a good argument that many terriers are rat terriers. Here, Rat Terrier refers to a specific terrier recognized by the AKC. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it started as a rat terrier. Even now, the Rat Terrier often doubles as pet and pest control.

Ultimately, Rat Terriers are reliable farm dogs with a specific niche. As a result, they aren’t a good choice for apartment living. Partly, that is because Rat Terriers are prone to shrill-sounding yips, and partly, that is because Rat Terriers need space to run around in. Their owners should keep a watchful eye on these dogs while they are getting their exercise because they are good at escaping. Rat Terriers are every bit as fast as what people would expect from something meant to take out rats. Inconveniently, they are also good at both digging and jumping, meaning standard fences might not be enough to keep them in. Other potential issues range from their high prey drive to their suspicion of strangers.

Shiba Inu

9. Shiba Inu

Chances are good that people who spend too much time on the Internet can recognize Shiba Inu. After all, one of these dogs is the source of the doge meme, which in turn, inspired the creation of Dogecoin. It is common for people to mistake the Shiba Inu for one of the other Japanese spitzes. However, it stands out by being smaller than other Japanese dog breeds, thus explaining its inclusion on this list.

Moving on, the Shiba Inu has several unusual characteristics. One example would be its high-pitched scream. Amusingly, Shiba Inu scream for much the same reasons as humans. Sometimes, it is an expression of their dislike or displeasure. Other times, Shiba Inu scream to show their excitement. As a result, context is very important when interpreting such vocalizations. Another example would be these dogs’ fastidiousness. They like to clean themselves, so that reduces the grooming burden for their owners. Furthermore, they are surprisingly easy to housetrain because of this.


10. Whippet

Whippets look like smaller Greyhounds. That makes sense because they descend from smaller Greyhounds, thus making them cousins to the modern dog breed. Role-wise, Whippets are versatile enough to act as everything from coursers to companions. Supposedly, they can even make watchdogs in a pinch because they will bark when they sense intruders. However, Whippets cannot make guard dogs because they just don’t have much aggression in them.

By default, Whippets are nice, quiet dogs that sometimes veer right into outright shyness. They are physically impressive in some respects, which is why they have such a strong association with coursing. Despite that, Whippets aren’t particularly demanding when it comes to exercise needs because they are fine with a bit of lounging around. Please note these dogs form strong bonds with their human family members. That is good in many respects. The issue is that these dogs are also prone to separation anxiety when they spent too much time away from their owners.

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