Jackshund

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
 
Photo of adult Jackshund
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The Jackshund was deliberately created by breeding the spirited Jack Russell Terrier with the dauntless Dachshund. This small hound with its sparkling brown eyes and affectionate personality makes a great addition to practically any household. Caution is advised, however, when in the presence of small animals, who may prove too much of a temptation to resist.

While the Jackshund has bundles of energy, often their conformation means that they are not cut out for excessive exercise and should do well with some short walks and play-time each day. Under-exercising them or neglecting to provide a stimulating and interesting environment could result in undesired behaviours, such as nuisance barking or furniture chewing.

About & History

While the official name for the Jack Russell Terrier cross Dachshund may be the Jackshund, we certainly prefer their unofficial name of Jackweenie! Both the Jack Russell Terrier and the Dachshund are incredibly popular and well-known small pet dogs, so it was pretty much inevitable that they would be crossed at some stage. 'Designer dogs' have been fashionable for several decades now and each year we seem to have more appearing. We don’t know in which country the Jackshund originated and they are now present in several countries internationally, including the USA, England and Germany. Most agree they’ve likely been around since the 1990s.

Though there is really quite limited information available on the Jackshund, we can look to their parents to make educated predictions on how they will look and act. The feisty Jack Russell was developed from Fox Terriers in the early 1800s in England. They were primarily used as hunting dogs, specialising in flushing rabbits out of their warrens. Nowadays, they are mostly used as companion animals though some continue to hunt and others are used to compete in sports such as Flyball and agility.

The Dachshund is an admittedly less sporty breed, though one with plenty of personality. These short-legged scent hounds originated in Germany about 100 years before the Jack Russell Terrier. They too would track and hunt animals, such as foxes. They are well-loved for their sweet nature and 'unusual' long-backed look and their small stature makes them a popular apartment pet.

Appearance

Though the split is rarely fifty-fifty, the Jackshund will display physical characteristics from both its parents, often resembling one closer than the other. Most dogs are relatively small, measuring anything from 20cm to 38cm, with the males tending to be taller than the females. Once matured, most will weigh between 7kg and 12kg. Their head is triangular in shape with quite a long muzzle, ending in a prominent black nose. Their eyes are a dark brown colour with a lively expression. Their ears are pendulous and often less triangular in shape than those of the Jack Russell. The body of the Jackshund is moderately long and sturdy, tapering noticeably at the waist. Their limbs, while longer than those of the Dachshund, are generally shorter than those of a comparably-sized hound.

With the wide variability of coat types already within the Dachshund breed, there are a large number of potential coat colours and textures. Jackshunds may have a straight, wiry or curly coat and they have the potential to possess either a single or a double coat. Fur colour may be white, cream, brown and black with dappling and spots frequent features.

Character & Temperament

As both parents have such characteristic and larger-than-life personalities, the Jackshund is sure to have plenty to say for itself. Whether they will act more like the outgoing and independent Dachshund or the brave and lively Jack Russell is anyone’s guess. Most possess a good mix of both personalities and turn out to be fun-loving and energetic dogs.

A loving pet that thrives when in the company of people, the Jackshund bonds closely with its family and loves to make friends with children of all ages. Full of beans, they will never turn down a game, whether it be with another dog or a person. Though they can get on well with other canines and some cats, it is essential that they are socialised as early as possible to ensure successful co-habiting. Their hunting instincts remain and they are not suited to living with small pets, such as rabbits or rodents, which would be seen as nothing more than a game or dinner.

Their suspicion of strangers and 'yappy' bark make Jackshunds fairly good watch dogs although their small size means they tend to be lacking in the guard dog stakes.

Trainability

While eager to please, inquisitive and always up for a new challenge, the Jackshund can be moderately stubborn. Despite this, most are quite easy to train and can be taught a wide range of commands. They make a good training partner for adolescent children with an interest in canine behaviour and have the potential to do very well indeed in a large number of both physical and mental canine activities.

Working on recall can be an issue and many will be impossible to call back once they have gotten the scent of something interesting nearby. For most, walking on a lead in public places will be a necessity.

Health

We can assume that the Jackshund is prone to many of the conditions its ancestors are, although hopefully to a lesser degree thanks to the outbreeding.

Patellar Luxation

The patellae, or kneecaps, of the Jackshund are prone to popping in and out of place – a condition known as patellar luxation. Some dogs are only mildly affected, perhaps hopping once or twice a week and not showing any sign of discomfort. For others, they may have a more severe defect which causes more significant signs, such as a persistent lameness or localised pain. If required, orthopaedic corrective surgery is an option.

IVDD

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) is a well-known risk associated with the Dachshund, and while crossing them with the Jack Russell Terrier should reduce the associated risk, it will not be completely eliminated. Diseased discs may result in spinal cord compression and symptoms ranging from minor discomfort to complete paralysis. With any spinal injury, immediate evaluation is required to determine the best treatment, whether it be surgery or not.

Ear Infections

While those pendulous ears are certainly darling, they are also a hotbed for infection and require routine cleaning to keep them healthy. An infected ear will not only cause the dog a degree of discomfort and irritation, it will also be red, foul-smelling and may contain flaky or dark brown discharge. A swab of the ear contents can diagnose the type of infection and local medication is often applied in the form of twice-daily ear drops.

Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease

A spontaneous degeneration of the top of the leg bone leads to a poorly functioning hip joint and localised osteoarthritis that worsens over time. While the reason this occurs is debated, most affected dogs have a reduced local blood supply. As well as a hind-limb lameness, owners may notice that their dog’s muscles begin to ‘sink’ or waste away. While physiotherapy and medical management can help, surgery is often required.

Exercise and Activity Levels

These short-legged canines do have high energy levels but cannot physically keep up with extreme exercise, such as long runs in the mountains. For most, a couple of 30-minute jaunts outside at a medium pace will be more than enough to keep them satisfied.

Importantly, Jackshunds should be provided with ample mental stimulation as this intelligent dog can become bored if under-stimulated. They enjoy 'scent and seek' games, as well as obedience training.

Good apartment dogs, the Jackshund does not need a huge amount of space. While a small garden would be appreciated, as long as they are walked a couple of times a day, it would not be essential.

Grooming

Of course, the grooming requirements of the Jackshund will largely depend on the coat type inherited. For the long-haired variety, daily brushing sessions are encouraged to prevent matting and remove debris, while short-haired dogs will only need a quick-brush down once a week or so.

Most importantly, the ears of the Jackshund require lots of attention as they are prone to ear infections, thanks to their shape. The canal tends to become moist and humid due to the lack of airflow and can harbour bacteria and fungi. Stay on top of things by cleaning the ears out with an appropriate cleaner once or twice a week.

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