Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Jackabee
Ginny / Flickr.com

Crossing the happy and sociable Beagle with the lively and courageous Jack Russell Terrier has resulted in a little hybrid with plenty to offer. The gentle nature and playful demeanour of the Jackabee make them a good addition to households with children – though owners must be able to fulfil their high exercise requirements.

Small but robustly built, the Jackabee is a sturdy dog with endearing floppy ears and soulful brown eyes. They should be lean and well-muscled – a real athlete of a dog. They have a glossy, short coat that is composed of a mixture of white, brown or black fur.

About & History

One of the newer hybrids around, the Jackabee is a cross between the Jack Russell Terrier and the Beagle and is thought to have originated within the United States. Despite their American heritage, both parent breeds are British, meaning this designer dog may well qualify for dual citizenship! Having only been developed within the last couple of decades, little is written on the history of the Jackabee but there is plenty to say about both the Jack Russell Terrier and the Beagle.

The Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier, or the Jack Russell for short, is a feisty little dog with a larger than life personality. It was traditionally bred to find rabbits and foxes within their dens when out on a hunt and was also used as a very successful ratter.

It was the Fox Terrier that gave rise to the Jack Russell and the breed began to officially develop in the mid 1800s. Surprisingly, though the Jack Russell is incredibly popular as a pet within Great Britain, it was not until 2016 that the Kennel Club officially recognised them within their Terrier group. A multi-purpose dog, as well as being kept as a companion animal, many Jack Russells will also compete successfully in activities, such as agility and canine dancing.

The Beagle

The Beagle has been present within Great Britain since at least the 1400s, though it was not until several hundred years later that the Beagle we know today was standardised. Foxhounds and other smaller scent hounds were bred together in an attempt to create a dog that could hunt low to the ground and had a superior sense of smell.

Most would hunt in large packs and even today’s Beagle is happiest when in the company of other dogs. As is true of many other pedigree breeds at the time, the Beagle came precariously close to extinction after the First World War but, thankfully, some dedicated Beagle fanciers of the time ensured the breed lived on.


Jackabee Large Photo
Ginny / Flickr.com

While it is difficult to make any sweeping statement about the appearance of the Jackabee, with there being a good deal of variability within the population still, there are certain traits that a large number of the cross-breed share. Generally, many will have the skull and face of the Beagle with the body of a Jack Russell. They are small dogs that weigh from 7kg to 13.5kg and measure between 25cm and 40cm, with most reaching heights of around 38cm or so.

Dogs have a wedge-shaped face with a brow that furrows and brown eyes that are widely set apart. Their ears are relatively large and tend to flop down and forwards. The have a dark, leathery nose that never seems to stop sniffing and is always trembling and twitching! Their body is compact and sturdy with short but densely-boned limbs. They have a tail that is medium in length and straight.

The fur of the Jackabee is short to medium in length and always straight. Most dogs are either bi-coloured or tri-coloured and fur is either brown, white or black. Large splotches and spots are frequent markings and speckling is also seen. Their fur is known to shed a lot and they are by no means a hypoallergenic breed.

Character & Temperament

Hold on to your hats, Jackabee owners! These energetic dogs are active and fast-paced, putting even the sportiest owners to the test. They have a good nature and a kind soul, forming close bonds with their family and gleefully playing with the children for hours on end. Very loving, once they have burnt of all of their energy for the day, they will snuggle up closely to their master and relax for the evening.

Sometimes wary of new people and shy when in new situations, this is a breed that really benefits from thorough socialisation. Owners should commit to exposing them to all sorts of circumstances and conditions from a young age, particularly when they are less than 12 weeks old and still developing their social skills.

A dog that can be prone to excessive barking and that can be perceived as ‘naughty’ if not raised with consistent rules, the Jackabee requires firm training and a no-nonsense attitude. Those individuals that are spoiled and mollycoddled may be at risk for developing ‘small dog syndrome’ and have the potential to be aggressive and snappy with those outside of the family.


Quick to learn and always happy to participate in any training session going, the Jackabee has the potential to perform to a high standard. They sometimes struggle to stay focused and can get distracted by scents and smells when outdoors, so do best when training sessions are kept short and sweet.

A sensitive soul, punishing the Jackabee if they fail to perform a task will likely result in them resenting their time spent training. Instead, owners should praise any good work that they do, encouraging similar behaviou going forward.


Responsible breeders must make themselves aware of the potential health issues that exist within the Jackabee breed and should endeavour to only breed from those dogs that are proven to be healthy.

Patellar Luxation

An orthopaedic disorder common in small pedigree breeds, Patellar Luxation is graded from one to four, with one being the least severe. Those with a low-grade luxation may lead normal lives with little intervention.

However, orthopaedic surgery may be required for those dogs with severe deformities who struggle with their mobility. As well as surgery, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and medication are often advised.

Legg Calve-Perthes Disease

In this orthopaedic disorder, there is a disruption in the blood supply to the head of the femur and the bone begins to die off. Affected dogs will initially present with a mild lameness that worsens with time and can progress to a non-weight bearing lameness. The local muscles may also atrophy, resulting in a ‘flat’ rump.

This condition is inevitably painful and dogs may be more subdued than usual with a reluctance to exercise. X-rays can diagnose the issue most of the time and a surgery called a Femoral Head Osteotomy (FHO), whereby the diseased bone is removed, is often the best way forward.


Witnessing a dog having a seizure (also known as a ‘fit’) can be incredibly distressful for an owner. Luckily, a diagnosis of epilepsy is not the end of the world and the majority of dogs can be very well-managed with medication.

Of course, it is essential to ensure that the seizure has been caused by epilepsy in the first place as there are many other reasons that a dog may have a fit. As epilepsy is a ‘diagnosis of exclusion’ vets will have to run several tests to confirm what is going on.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Given the fact that both parent breeds were bred to work, it is little wonder that the Jackabee has quite high exercise requirements. A good hour or two of walking, running and scenting will be required each day. On top of this, the Jackabee appreciates the opportunity to roam around within a fenced garden, though does have a tendency to dig so should not be set free around the prize rose bushes!


The short fur of the Jackabee is not prone to tangling and should be brushed once a week to spread the natural oils and remove any dirt. As they shed quite profusely in the summer months, owners may wish to give them a quick brush down outside each morning to minimise fur loss within the home.

The small jaw of the Jackabee predisposes them to periodontal disease in later life, which is why a good tooth brushing routine should be established from a young age. Owners should aim to brush their teeth every one to two days when possible.

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