Jack Russel

Jack Russell Terrier Health Problems

jack russell terrier health problems

Inherited Defects:

There are very few inherited Jack Russell Terrier health problems, as this type of dog is an unspoiled breed.

However, there are a few conditions that can be inherited. The following explores some of those particular disorders.

jack russell terrier health problems

Hereditary Cataracts:

Although canine cataracts has been found in a few Russells, very few registered terriers have shown any sign of this condition.

However, this should not cause owners to feel complacent about their terriers because this data does not provide a clear enough picture since, in most cases, it is only registered Jack Russells that have been brought forward for testing.

So it is a good idea to check your dog's eyes periodically, especially as they get older...registered or not.

dog ticsPrimary Lens Luxation:

I had never heard of this conditon before researching Jack Russell Terrier health problems, and this made me want to have my dog checked for this pretty often because it can be quite painful.

Lens Luxation is when the lens of the eye becomes displaced. Pain comes suddenly and intensely...and blindness rapidly ensues. Without surgery, and that right soon, the blindness will become permanent.

It is more common in smaller Jack Russell types but not so much among registered Russells.

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fact about jack russell terrier Patella Luxation:

What is this? It's dislocated kneecaps which causes a three-legged hop for a step or two.

It's common in many small dog breeds and the Jack Russell can be among those unlucky breeds.

In fact, my dog Jimbo, when he was younger did this little three-legged hop quite often and I always wondered why. Even had a few people ask me why he walked like that. I told them that I thought he was just trying to save time.

The longer legged Russells don't seem to suffer from this malady as much as the Shorties do, and this Jack Russell Terrier health problem can be corrected quite effectively with surgery.

jack russell terrier breedingCryptorchidism:

Another occasional inherited condition that is one of the Jack Russell Terrier health problems is Cryptorchidism, which is when a dog does not have two fully descended testicles.

In one case, the dog can be unilaterally(one present) or bilaterally(both retained)chryptorchid.

The unilaterally (or monorchid) is less fertile than a normal male. The bilaterally chryptorchid is sterile.

In a few strains this condition has been found. Parents and syblings of a dog with this kind of Jack Russell Terrier health problem should be handled very cautiously where breeding is concerned.

characteristics of jack russell terriers Legg-Calve Perthes:

This condition concerns the partial disintegration of the femoral head.

Symptoms include lameness of the hind legs, mostly in puppies or young adults.

It sometimes lessens with age as the femoral head will adjust itself.


This Jack Russell Terrier health problem is a muscle or limb disorder that can lead to an uncoordinated gait.

In a mild form the dog just moves awkwardly. In more severe cases, the dog will have a hard time maintaining balance. But in extreme cases a dog will not be able to walk or stand.

Myasthenia Gravis:

This malady affects the motor nerves and causes weakness in the hindquarters.

A dog with this condition can have difficulty in rising from a sitting position and will sway and stagger when walking. So this covers some of the inherited Jack Russell Terrier health problems.

It must be noted that dogs that are affected with these disorders should not be bred from.

jack russell terrier health problems

I've been lucky with my dog Jimbo.

Apart from some hot spots on his back during summer months, and swallowing some rather large pork rib bones (that he was quickly operated on to be removed), and an incurable sweet tooth, he has had no serious health problems.

And with attentive and reasonable care given to this unspoiled breed, Jack Russell Terrier health problems can be very rare, and your enjoyment of this unique animal unhindered. 

Browse our Articles on other potential Jack Russell Health Concerns

External Dog Parasite Care

Jack Russell Vaccination Schedule

Dog Dental Care

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We receive many requests, so if you need immediate help, we suggest using this online veterinary service that can answer your Jack Russell Health questions now.

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