Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Sensible advice for raising your Jack Russell Terrier puppy so he lives a long healthy life and seldom needs to visit the vet. Learn about the most common health problems and issues in Jack Russell Terriers, the best dog food diet for feeding Jack Russell Terrier puppies and adult dogs, the truth about vaccinations, spaying and neutering, and natural health care.


11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, my best-selling dog health book

Parson Jack Russell Terrier dog breed

Jack Russell Terrier Health Problems and Raising a Jack Russell Terrier Puppy to be Healthy

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2013

Quiz – How Long Will Your Dog Live?
How To Raise a Healthy Dog
Feeding the Best Dog Food
Feeding the 2nd Best Dog Food
Vaccinations: Needed or Not?
Are You Sure Your Vet Is Good?

The most common health problems in Jack Russell Terriers:

Eye diseases are the main concern in Jack Russells, especially lens luxation (which can lead to secondary glaucoma) and cataracts. Other eye diseases include eyelash abnormalities, persistent pupillary membranes, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).

Epilepsy and heart disease (cardiomyopathy, patent ductus arteriosus, sub-aortic stenosis) are becoming real concerns in the breed.

Orthopedic health problems in Jack Russells include luxating patella (loose knees), Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and occasionally Wobbler's syndrome. Unfortunately, most JRT breeders aren't testing their dogs for orthopedic diseases, so we have no idea how widespread these problems may be in the breed.

Some breeders are producing short-legged, long-backed Jack Russell Terriers. They look cute, but this type of build is actually a deformity called chondrodysplasia, and it makes these dogs more susceptible to intervertebral disk disease.

Some severe neurological/neuromuscular diseases occur in Jack Russells, specifically cerebellar ataxia, myasthenia gravis, and lysosomal storage disease. Another neurological syndrome called spinocerebellar ataxia can appear during adolescence, but is not as devastating as cerebellar ataxia. Mild abnormalities of the brain may also be responsible for the excessive shaking or tremors of the rear legs that sometimes occur in Jack Russells.

Allergies (which cause itchy skin and often leading to pyoderma) are very common in all terriers.

Inherited deafness can occur in Jack Russell Terrier puppies who are born with a lot of white on their head.

Blood-clotting diseases include von Willebrand's and factor X deficiency. Hormonal/endocrine system diseases include hypothyroidism and occasionally diabetes. Hernias, hydrocephalus, and pyloric stenosis are other health problems that have been reported in Jack Russells.


You probably want to know if you can prevent those health issues from happening to YOUR Jack Russell Terrier.

Yes, often you can.

  1. Some health problems are genetic, which means inherited from parents. Genetic health issues are common in Jack Russell Terriers today because of unwise breeding practices. My book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, shows you how to find a Jack Russell Terrier puppy who is genetically healthy.
  2. Other health problems are environmental, which means they're caused by the way you raise your dog. My best-selling dog health book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to prevent environmental health problems by raising your Jack Russell Terrier puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways.

Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Jack Russell Terrier puppy or adult dog:

Dog lifespan quiz How Long Will Your Dog Live? – Take This Quiz!
Based on your dog's breed and how you're raising him, this personalized quiz will help you understand how long your dog might live – and most importantly, how you can increase his life expectancy.


Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Jack Russell Terrier lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Parson Jack Russell Terrier
The best diet for feeding your Jack Russell Terrier is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, bison, venison, fish....This is not "people food" and I'll tell you why.


Natural dog foods for your Parson Jack Russell Terrier. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Parson Jack Russell Terrier
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.


Information on booster shots for your Parson Jack Russell Terrier. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Jack Russell Terrier puppy really need? Does your adult JRT need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed. Find out what some vets aren't telling you....


Information on choosing the best vet for your Parson Jack Russell Terrier. The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.


Information on spaying your Parson Jack Russell Terrier. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female Jack Russell Terrier.


Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.