Jack Russell Terriers: Modern Day Napoleons

Friendly, outgoing, energetic, lively, independent, clever, small dog with a particularly big dog attitude are words used when describing Jack Russell Terriers.

By | Posted: November 7, 2014, 3 p.m. PST

I graciously add "can be a bit bossy” for these wonderful little terrors, oops I mean terriers. 

If Louie De Palma (Danny Devito’s character on Taxi) were a dog, he would be a Jack Russell.  Not because he is short, but he is described as a "despotic dispatcher.”  Jack Russells want to organize, reorganize, taking charge and controlling everything and anything that comes into their path.  

Jack Russell Terrier 

A new client with a Jack Russell contacted me about dog walking.  She was new to the area, explaining her dog had been with a Jack Russell only  walking group.  I joked that her dog walker probably had to ride in the back seat bound and gagged while the Jack Russells drove the car. She laughed saying "you know Jacks.”

From my professional experience, Jack Russells want to supervise the walk, their owner, the house chef and cake maker (since according to Jacks, every home needs a cake maker and chef), in what order the dogs get in and out of the car, meal time and treat time. Most live into their teens because they regulate their departure to heaven. 

When I run into a Jack Russell on the trail, I often hear their owner say "Oscar be nice” or "behave yourself Frank” as I pass by with my six large dogs.   


I walked a Jack Russell for 10 years.  His name was Spud.  This little dog dragged his mother all over the neighborhood.  After all he was taking her for a walk, needing to get back to the house before chaos erupted.  When I picked him up for his outing, he’d hop into the car and dogs coiled from one Spud glare.  No barking, growling just a controlling glare like a dictator addressing his army.  I was waiting for the dogs to salute, yelling "long live the king!” Immediately he started working the car, rearranging dogs, barking and growling for them to move. Any newbies he towered over, forcing them to roll over until they cried uncle, satisfied they respected him.  If he was already in the car, the dog getting in hesitated as Spud stood at the door nonchalantly looking around but giving off the vibe ‘you better do it correctly.’  If we went to the beach, Spud spent the entire hour trying to dominate the waves.  The one thing he could not control in life and it pissed him off.  He raced back and forth, barking and growling at them.  The waves would not listen and he was beside himself with frustration but never giving up.  When the walk was over, I dragged him back to the car, still barking as if he was hollering "I will be back to get you guys.”  

Jack Russell Terrier 

About ten years ago, leash laws were coming into debate as a park police stopped to lecture me, but even the officer’s authority was no match for our little dictator, the Jack Russell.  I had seven dogs and we had finished our walk as the patrol car pulled up.  The officer sauntered over to my car leaving his driver’s door open.  With his back to his car, he began his dissertation on leash laws.  I nodded as I loaded the dogs up, pretending to listen attentively but thinking he needed some real crime in his life.  

As I turned to face the officer, I noticed Gracie, a precarious Jack Russell, hop into his front seat.  Gracie began rummaging through his car.  I thought "oh dear God I hope he does not turn around.”  Panicked by the possibilities, I found myself engaging Barney Fife, asking questions "does it count if the leash is attached to the dog but not my hand?” Suddenly, I noticed Gracie’s head submerged into a brown paper bag, his lunch.  As I am acknowledging the officer’s great insight about the importance of leash laws and off leash dogs being a detriment to society (maybe a picnic and definitely his lunch but not sure about society), Gracie shredded the brown bag. I talked louder, trying to keep him from hearing the destruction.  She finished off his bologna sandwich, jumped out of his car and into mine without missing a beat.  He took a breath after his 10 minute "run-on” sentence and inquired where Gracie had come from.  I played dumb, replying I had no idea and planned on denying that I knew her if he noticed the remnants of his sandwich.  Thanking him for his time, I drove away like a bat out of hell, hoping to escape before he realized his sandwich was gone and I would be subjected to a hungry and angry officer.

Jack Russells make wonderful pets but you should accept that you will never have control of your life again.  And always keep a sense of humor if you do own one as they are terrific companions but in their mind you are not equals.  


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Give us your opinion Give us your opinion on Jack Russell Terriers: Modern Day Napoleons

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Autum - 297511   Caldwell, ID

8/4/2015 5:55:21 AM

Cute story, and very cute photos!

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Jill-Marie   Yorba Linda, California

11/12/2014 9:29:28 PM

I just want to know when you came to my house and met my little general!

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Eileen - 249708   Port Perry, ON

11/9/2014 4:05:48 AM

This is a great article and describe my daughter Jack Russell to a t!

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Jeanine   Mill Valley, California

11/8/2014 2:13:36 PM

That is a funny story! Lisa really knows the personailites of the different breeds. So funny

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