How Long Do Jack Russells Live?

jack russell life span

If you have considered adopting a dog in the past but did not want to commit to the life expectancy of a more typical dog breed, a Jack Russell may be the option for you.  As long as you can provide it with adequate food, water, and shelter, a Jack Russell is likely to outlive other dog breeds.

But, you might be wondering how long Jack Russells live. Well, it is longer than most dogs.

Join me as I take a look at a Jack Russell’s life span and how to take proper care of your pup so that he can live a long and happy life.

How long do Jack Russells live?

A Jack Russell’s life span can realistically be 13-16 years and some having the potential to live as long as 17. Depending on the specific characteristics of an individual dog, it is theoretically possible for them to live up to 17 years of age. This is rare, however, and not very common.

How to take proper care of a Jack Russell

Dog health is very important to anyone who owns a dog. You look for ways to ensure your dog has the best quality of life, but how important do you think proper care of your dog actually is? This article will explain why caring for your Jack Russell’s grooming and health needs are critically important.

1. Grooming and keeping the coat healthy

Maintaining a healthy, shiny coat is one of the best ways to keep your dog healthy. Dogs with good coats are healthier than dogs with poor coats, so do not neglect to groom your dog.

If you make a consistent habit of grooming your dog, it will be easier to keep his coat healthy and shiny. The most important aspect of grooming is regularly brushing and combing the coat. This helps remove loose hair and will promote a good diet for your Jack Russell.

2. Dog Food

Jack Russells are very small dogs that require a high-protein diet in order to keep them in peak health. Depending on your Jack Russell’s breed, it may need a diet that contains 25% to 40% protein.

3. Water

Jack Russells do best when they have access to clean water all of the time, but especially during warm weather. Not letting your dog drink enough water can lead to dehydration and lead to death in a very short time frame.

Be sure that you check on your dog regularly and make sure it drinks enough water daily. If you see that he is not drinking the minimum amount of water, give him some food and keep making sure he drinks plenty of water throughout the day until you see improvement.

4. Exercise

Jack Russells are very energetic, but they do not require a lot of exercise. They typically need around 30 minutes or less of daily exercise. A Jack Russell should have no trouble getting the amount of exercise it needs in your yard by running around and through the grass and going on walks with you.

5. Health Problems

Jack Russells are very healthy dogs that require very little care or medications. However, you should still familiarize yourself with the common diseases and conditions that your dog may contract in your area. Some diseases and conditions your Jack Russell may contract are:

  • Heart disease and high blood pressure
  • Osteochondritis
  • Cataracts
  • Calcified laryngeal papilloma
  • Blindness, ear infections, fractures, parasites, and more

6. Special Attention

Jack Russells do not require that you pay a lot of attention to them. However, Jack Russells are very active dogs and they will need some exercise in the form of walks and running around.

You may need to give him enough exercise during his daily routine since Jack Russells are very small dogs. If he is not getting enough exercise, he will be more likely to become an inactive dog that does not get enough stuff done during the day.

The life expectancy of a Jack Russell depends on its overall health, quality of care, and the individual characteristics of the dog itself. If you take care of your Jack Russell properly, he should live for 16 years or longer with very few problems.

Jack Russell old age problems

As with any other dog breed, Jack Russells can suffer from certain old age problems. The following list will help you understand these problems, and hopefully, you would be able to take appropriate action when you identify one of these issues.

1.) Deafness

I’m listing this first as this was the first sign I noticed as my Jack Russell, Charlie, got older. Jack Russells can go completely deaf or only partially.

2.) Blindness

Jack Russells are prone to eye problems, and they can also go blind when they get old.

3.) Dental Issues

We all try to take good care of their teeth, but Jack Russells will eventually experience dental issues like gum diseases and decayed teeth when they get old.

4.) Weight Problems

A Jack Russell will get less active as he gets older, and this can lead him to gain weight if his diet is not adjusted properly.

5.) Arthritis

We all know that Jack Russells are very active dogs. Since they need exercise on a daily basis, and because they often run, jump, and do tricks, this can, unfortunately, lead to joint issues when they get old.

6.) Constant Shaking

Jack Russells can suffer from Wobbler Syndrome, constant shaking episodes, when they get old.

7.) Epilepsy

Our furry friends can suffer from epilepsy when they get old. This has happened to Charlie, my Jack Russell, but luckily we were able to treat it with medication.

How to take proper care of an older Jack Russell

It is important to extend life for your older pets especially your Jack Russell Terrier. I want to give you some tips on what you can do for your older Jack Russell that will keep them both happy and healthy.

1. Prevention is the best medicine

Prevention is always better than treatment. Before you know it your dog may suffer from disease or other health issues that will require more care and attention.

Through proper care, you will make sure that your Jack Russell has a long, happy, and healthy life. If you have a puppy or older dog, then be sure to spend time with your dog and take care of its health needs when necessary.

2. The first signs of problems

Be aware of your dog’s health and don’t ignore any symptoms. Your dog might not show all the symptoms at once, but if you watch for signs that something is wrong you will be able to take care of them before they become severe.

In this case, your dog could suffer from everything from obesity to a heart condition, but it could still live a long and healthy life if the issues are treated early.

3. Diet is key to good health

If you want your Jack Russell to be healthy and live a long time there is one thing that you must consider; diet. Be sure to feed your dog a diet that is high in protein and low in carbs.

If you don’t you may end up with a dog that is overweight and suffers from diabetes. Diabetes can cause blindness, but there are treatments to prevent or reverse the effects of the disease.

4. Aging gracefully

As a Jack Russell gets older, it will be more susceptible to ailments and conditions such as arthritis, thyroid problems, heart conditions, eye problems, and more.

When this happens the owner will need to adjust their routine with their Jack Russell. If the Jack Russell is ignored and not given the proper care it will be harder to recover.

5. Heart problems

The Jack Russell has a very strong heart that will overcome most issues, but small problems such as a heart murmur can present themselves to lead to fatal conditions if care is not taken.

It is important to take your dog to a veterinarian if there are any signs of heart problems to prevent further complications. Although your dog may live long enough without heart problems, they will be living a shorter life than normal because of it.

6. Infections

Infections are the main cause of death for older dogs. If your Jack Russell becomes infected with disease, then the vet may have to prescribe antibiotics to cure the problem.

Antibiotics can be very harmful to your dog’s body if they are abused and overused. Be sure to follow the instructions of how often you should give your dog antibiotics and what not to do while using them.

7. Eye problems

Another common issue that people don’t pay attention to in their dog is eye issues. Conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, and dry eye can lead to blindness if not taken care of quickly.

This is why it is so important to take regular trips to the vet so that they can check your dog’s eyes and make sure that there are no problems or signs of a potential problem developing.

When is a Jack Russell considered a senior dog?

A Jack Russell is considered a senior dog when he is over 10 years old. Although he might live up to 16 years of age, he will start to show signs of aging at 10 years, and at 12 to 13 years he will start to slow down and will not be as energetic as usual.

What is the longest a Jack Russell has lived?

The oldest Jack Russell to have ever lived was a dog called Charlie from Britain who died in 2019 at the age of 23. The current oldest living Jack Russell, Boycie, also hails from Britain and despite being deaf, he is happy at the age of 21 years.


As you can see, Jack Russell Terriers have a very long life span. Because of their longer life expectancy, it is even more important to take proper care of them in order to prevent different health problems and ailments.

If you follow the tips from this article, you will be able to enjoy your Jack Russell for a long time to come.


  • Jan Pretorius

    Meet Jan Pretorius, the passionate dog lover and proud owner of the popular canine haven, Born and raised in a small town known for its love of animals, Jan’s journey into the world of dogs began at a young age, fueled by an innate connection with our four-legged companions.