Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
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One of the more popular hybrids, Jack-A-Ranians are thought to be an American invention. They incorporate the feisty Jack Russell Terrier and the confident Pomeranian, ensuring one self-assured designer dog. These dogs know their own mind and won’t hesitate to challenge the people in their life, sometimes having their own masters question who really is the top dog!

A small crossbreed, the Jack-A-Ranian has the face of a ‘cool dude’ with its calm, dark eyes and pointed muzzle. Many will have the large, erect ears of their Pomeranian parent, though this is not guaranteed. Their fur tends to be short but some will have that thicker Spitz coat. Fawn is the most common colour and white patches are frequently seen.

About & History

Also known as the Jack-Pom or Pom-A-Jack, the Jack-A-Ranian was first bred towards the end of the 20th century in the United States, where a great number of the designer dog breeds started their journey. They were bred as family pets, with small, fluffy dogs being in high demand around the world.

The Pomeranian

Pomeranians are small, sassy and loud! Though petite, they are a Spitz breed just like the Siberian Husky and Akita Inu. As with other Spitzes, they have a foxy face with erect, triangular ears and a plush coat. The breed first originated in central Europe but it was initially much taller.

Through the years, preference was given to the smaller dogs and, breeders would use these dogs to reproduce, ensuring the Pomeranian became the diminutive dog it is today. A poised breed, they have always been a favourite of royals and the upper classes and featured frequently in portraits and other artwork throughout the centuries.

The Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terriers are a British breed that were well-known for their hunting skills, making excellent ratters in places, such as mills and factories. As well as this, they would pursue larger prey on the hunt, including foxes and rabbits, which they would confidently flush out of their dens.

They descend from the Fox Terrier who is much taller with a longer face. While the Jack Russell has been a popular pet in the UK for a long time now, it was only during the last few years that they were recognised by the United Kingdom’s Kennel Club. This is mainly as they have a strong following of people who have traditionally preferred to breed them independently of a governing body.


The Jack-A-Ranian is a nice mix of both parent breeds. Their face is not as foxy as that of their Pomeranian parent and has a more ‘blocky’ look to it. Their forehead is wide and flat and they have almond-shaped, dark eyes. Many will inherit large and erect, triangular ears but others will have attractive semi-erect ears which flop forwards endearingly. They have a wide neck, solid body and slim legs. Their tail is not overly long and may or may not curl towards their back.

Weighing from about 4kg to 6kg, the Jack-A-Ranian is a tiny dog with a chunky body. They grow from about 18cm to 28cm and are typically somewhat taller than the Pomeranian. The coat of the Jack-A-Ranian won’t be as dense as the Pomeranian but should be slightly longer and thicker than that of their Terrier ancestor. Their straight fur may be a number of colours, including brown, tan, red, white and cream.

Character & Temperament

The Jack-A-Ranian is a little bundle of confident energy who loves to trot around the house, searching for something to do. They will happily keep you company all day long and will always be interested in whatever it is you are doing – eager to be a big part of your life. While they are active little dogs, they love to cuddle up on your lap at the end of the day once they are getting tired.

Naturally protective, the Jack-A-Ranian will keenly guard you, your family and your property. Though not large enough to be menacing, they will bark loudly at anyone who enters the home, until they have been reassured they are welcome inside. This crossbreed shows great loyalty to its family and will put them above others.

Some owners will experience behavioural issues, such as incessant barking, chewing and prolonged toilet training. Many of these issues will be due to a lack of exercise and mental stimulation, so can be prevented with good foresight.


The Jack-A-Ranian is a lively dog with plenty of intelligence, but one which does require an experienced trainer. They can be cheeky and are not naturally biddable. They absolutely have a mind of their own and can take a lot of convincing to follow commands willingly. Trainers will soon find that consistency and high value treats are their new best friends.

Some Jack-A-Ranians can resource guard and nipping and yapping may become problematic, particularly for families with younger children. Early, focused training can help to keep these potential issues at bay. Owners should be mindful to treat these animals as the dogs that they are, rather than ‘babying’ them by carrying them places or allowing them to jump up on people and furniture whenever they please.


A small but hardy dog, the Jack-A-Ranian typically enjoys good health and should live well into its teens. Be mindful of the following health issues:

Luxating Patella

It tends to be the toy-sized dogs that are afflicted with kneecaps that pop in and out of place. For many, they cope well with this condition and will not need any serious intervention. Others will have their mobility affected and can suffer chronic pain so will benefit from a surgery to fix the kneecap(s) into place.

Tracheal Collapse

A windpipe that narrows with age can cause a persistent cough, breathlessness and a reduced ability to exercise. Many owners will initially confuse this condition with kennel cough as dogs can exhibit the same harsh cough.

We can help affected dogs by ensuring they are not over-weight and exercising them with a body harness rather than a neck collar. Many will benefit from medicines, such as steroids and cough suppressants.

Periodontal Disease

Those with small jaws and crowded teeth are more prone to dental issues. This is especially true if there are persistent deciduous teeth which did not fall out when they should have. Jack-A-Ranians can start to develop calculus and gingivitis as early as in their first year of life.

Owners can reduce dental disease by feeding hard biscuits, brushing teeth and using products, such as enzymatic powders. Many dogs will require a dental cleaning or two over their lifetime to remove build-up and minimise gingivitis.

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic skin disease can be one of the most infuriating conditions to treat as many dogs remain symptomatic regardless of what is done for them. Flare ups are usually settled with medications such as antibiotics and corticosteroids. For some, allergy testing can shed light on what they are reacting to and make their condition easier to manage.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Some may mistakenly believe that the petite Jack-A-Ranian is a lap dog with low exercise requirements but this is not the case at all. These dogs should be brought out on a couple of 45-minute walks each day and enjoy being taken to new place, including dog parks, hill treks and beaches.

While the Jack-A-Ranian can potentially live in a flat, owners must be committed to providing the exercise they need each day or they will become quickly bored. Within the home, their minds can be kept occupied with food puzzles and scenting games.


The grooming requirements of the Jack-A-Ranian are not particularly high and they should be brushed a couple of times a week. They do tend to shed and this can be profuse in the summer months. Their coat does not need regular bathing and owners will find they only need to provide the odd bath, for example, after an encounter with the dreaded fox poo!

One aspect of the Jack-A-Ranian’s grooming routine, which should not be neglected, is tooth brushing. Introduce tooth brushing from around six or seven months once your Jack-A-Ranian has all of their adult teeth. To make things more enjoyable, use a flavoured doggy tooth paste and a small, soft brush. Some find finger brushes best to reach the back teeth.

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