Jack Russell Lab Mix (History, Temperament, Health and Diet)

Crossbreeds are becoming more and more popular. Not only for their appearance and temperament, but because they get the best of two different dogs, and they also tend to have fewer health problems! But what can you expect when cross-breeding a Jack Russel Terrier with a Labrador Retriever (the Jack Russell Lab Mix)?

jack russell terrier lab mix

A Jack Russell Terrier Lab mix (the Jackador) is a small to medium dog that stands 16-20 inches high and weighs between 25 and 50 lbs. Its friendly and intelligent nature makes it a great companion or outdoor dog for singles, couples, or families. If you lead an active lifestyle, the Jackador’s energy levels will benefit from lots of activity and exercise.

But before you get one, it’s pretty important to make sure that the Jack Russell Terrier mix is the right dog for you. We can tell you all about it in this article. Everything, from general information to history, to exercise needs and diet, to health issues, and more.

So let’s get right into it!

General Information About The Jackador

Let’s start with what this unique and beautiful crossbreed is like. 

As we mentioned, the Jack Russell Terrier mix is a crossbreed between the Jack Russell Terrier, and the Labrador Retriever. Therefore, it inherits traits, both physical and behavioral, from both parent dogs.

Due to the difference in size between both breeds, as a general rule, the mother is the Labrador, and the father is the Jack Russell. However, it could also happen the other way around. 

Because the Jackador is a hybrid breed or designer dog, it isn’t officially recognized as a dog breed by the American Kennel Club, the AKC. The Jackador isn’t recognized by the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC) either.

The Labrador has been a member of the AKC since 1903 as a sporting dog. The ACHC recognizes 27 different types of Labrador crossbreeds but not the Jackador.

The Jack Russell has been a member of the AKC since 1997 as a terrier dog

Both Jack Russells and Labradors were originally bred as working hunting dogs.

  • The Jack Russell Terriers hunted foxes and other smaller animals.
  • Labradors were used to track and then retrieve animals, mainly water ones such as ducks.

So Jackadors, as a cross of both parent breeds, have inherited the working hunting dog instincts and traits

And just as both parent breeds, Jackadors are highly social and loving, very intelligent and loyal, and full of energy. Plus, they are super cute! 

But to get a proper overview, here are some of the main traits of the Jackador crossbreed:

  • Height: 16 to 20 inches
  • Weight: between 25 and 50 lbs
  • Purpose/original breeding traits: hunting dog and companion
  • Size: small to medium 
  • Colors: brown, black, and cream
  • Lifespan: between 10 and 14 years
  • Temperament: friendly and intelligent.

History of the Jack Russell Terrier Mixed Breed

The history of a dog breed can do a lot to determine both physical traits and general temperament, as most dogs were originally bred for a specific purpose. That means specific traits were developed and favored over time until they became the norm.

As a crossbreed, the Jackador has inherited traits from both Jack Russell and the Labrador. In order to get the full picture, we need to dive into the history of both parent breeds. 

History of the Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier breed was named after John Russell. He is the person that originally bred these dogs, back in the early 1800s.

The purpose of the breed was to drive away foxes and to hunt different types of small mammals. They were bred to be independent and intelligent, capable of solving problems by themselves.

This is why Jack Russells, as a general rule, are courageous, active, and independent. They’re highly intelligent and they have no problem, solving problems by themselves whatsoever.  

However, throughout history, there have been many variations of the Russell Terrier. So much so that in England the breed has been divided into two:

  1. The Parson Russell Terrier, which has longer legs
  2. The normal Jack Russell Terrier, with shorter legs.

History of the Labrador Retriever

Labradors were originally bred in Newfoundland and in Canada. Later on, they spread to other parts of the world.

They were originally bred as working hunting dogs, and their main job was to retrieve prey.

Mainly, they were used in water environments, thanks to their excellent swimming abilities. They would retrieve fish or ducks and haul fishermen’s boats

Nowadays, Labrador Retrievers are the most popular breed of dog in the United States. They are also one of the most popular breeds overall worldwide.

They aren’t used for hunting anymore. But they are still classed as working dogs. Today they are used as guide dogs, service dogs, therapy dogs, and similar.

They are incredibly intelligent and high-energy. They are also one of the best breeds for families, as they are playful, gentle, loyal, and very sociable. 

As for the exact origin of the Jackador crossbreed, it’s pretty hard to pinpoint where it first appeared and why. Crossbreeds just kinda happen naturally sometimes. Then people catch on and start breeding them on purpose. They’ve now become quite popular, and the crossbreed is highly sought after. 

What does a Jackador look like?

The appearance of the Jackador can vary from litter to litter. They are generally a small to medium breed but this could be anything between a big Jack Russell, or a small Labrador. Basically, they can inherit any of the traits from both parent breeds, and can end up looking more like one, the other, or a perfect in-between.

So in general, the Jack Russell Terrier mix will weigh between 25 and 50 lbs. They will have a height of between 16 to 20 inches tall. Also, male Jackadors will be slightly bigger than their female counterparts.

They have an athletic build, with proportionate legs. Their ears will most often be floppy, but could also be partially erect, as it depends. 

As for the coating, both Labradors and Jack Russels have water-resistant coats. So Jackadors will also inherit this.

Jackadors are big fans of the water. They will enjoy swimming, plus excel at this skill. There will always be some Jackadors who might not like water. This will usually be down to them having had a bad experience with it at a young age. 

As for the color of the coating…

  • Labradors are either black, white, yellow or chocolate.
  • Jack Russell Terriers are brown and white.
  • The Jackador will be a mix of all of this, and will usually inherit the coloring of the Labrador parent. Most often, Jackadors are either black, cream, or brown. 

Temperament and Behavior of the Jackador

Every single dog has its own unique personality. Nobody can say otherwise. However, different breeds of dogs will have different temperaments and behavioral tendencies, due to the instincts and traits that have been bred in through their original purpose and design.

So it’s pretty important to be aware of a dog’s overall temperament before committing to a specific breed! 

When it comes to the Jackador, the temperament is a mixture of both Labrador and Jack Russell. It very much depends on the parents. So one of the first things you should do is ask about the parents of your prospective Jackador!

Overall, both Labradors and Jack Russell Terriers are working dogs. So the Jack Russell Terrier mix is incredibly active and inherently wants to be of use. They need a lot of mental and physical stimulation. They can get easily bored if they don’t get enough stimulation. This then leads to destructive or disruptive behavior

As a crossbreed between two hunting dogs, Jackadors will also have very strong hunting instincts. This means they could inherently chase cats and other small animals and will see them as prey. A Labrador is less likely to chase cats compared with a Jack Russell who has a higher prey drive.

Prey drive is something that can’t be eliminated, but the tendency can be reduced through training

With people, Jackadors are incredibly friendly and loyal. They love being around their family, and will not do very well when left alone for long periods of time. This is because they need to be with company, and not alone.

It’s recommended to have a second pet with a Jackador so that they can be friends and play together. 

Jackador dogs can be great with children, but they need to be trained from an early stage, so that they don’t end up playing too rough or chasing after the smaller children to “hunt them down”.  But they are very loving and affectionate and great for families. 

The only other thing to watch out for in Jackadors, apart from the hunting instinct, is the barking. These dogs make themselves heard and will be prone to barking. So training from an early stage will be needed to manage this.

Grooming Needs of a Jackador

Both Jack Russell Terriers and Labradors have quite short hair, which is water-resistant and easy to maintain. As such, Jackador dogs are pretty easy to maintain grooming-wise and should be fine with being brushed once a week, and bathed only when needed

However, both parent breeds are big shedders during molting season, so the Jackador will be the same. When it comes to shedding season, there will be hairs everywhere, and brushing will have to be increased to every two days, or sometimes even every day

Other than that, there are no significant grooming needs to be aware of. 

Exercise Needs of a Jackador

Both parent breeds are working dogs with a lot of energy…so yeah, the Jack Russell Terrier mix is equally as high-energy and active. They will need a lot of exercise. This means they will need at least two walks a day, and plenty of playtimes to get that energy out. Around 60 minutes a day or so should do the trick!

Luckily, their small to medium size allows them to fit into apartments, so you can keep a Jackador within a regular home.

However, it is preferable for them to have some sort of garden. There they can have plenty of space to burn through their energy. Otherwise, you will have to dedicate a lot more time and effort to exercising outside of the house. 

Jackador dogs also need plenty of mental stimulation. They’re natural problem solvers. Consider mental challenges like:

  1. Puzzle toys
  2. Training sessions that challenge their abilities and learning. 

If they do not get enough mental stimulation, the Jack Russell Terrier mixed dog will get bored. And when bored, they can develop destructive behavior such as chewing and scratching furniture within the house. They will also try to get your attention by misbehaving.

Are Jackadors Easy To Train?

The Jackador is easiest to train when they are puppies. That training needs to be rigorous and consistent to be effective. Although the Jackadors inherit their intelligence from both the Jack Russell and Labrador in their breeding, the terrier’s streak for independence means that you will need patience when training your dog.

Both dogs are intelligent. Training is a big part of caring for a dog. It is very important in order to establish appropriate behavioral patterns, basic commands, and to provide mental stimulation. But how easy is it to train a Jackador? 

Well, Labradors are one of the easiest dog breeds to train. They are incredibly intelligent and super eager to please and obey. They can be taught to do almost anything, which is why they are guide dogs. 

Jack Russell Terriers are equally intelligent. But they are quite independent and prefer to solve problems by themselves. This means that they can be a lot more stubborn and mischievous, and a more stern style of training is required. 

Jackador dogs are a mix of the two, and it mostly depends on which parent breed they take after. They will be very intelligent and energetic, and they will really enjoy training.

However, you will need to be very consistent and stern, and start the training process as early as possible, in order to ensure it is effective. 

Apart from basic commands and behavioral patterns, training for a Jackador should focus on reducing the hunting instinct, and limiting the barking.

A lot of socialization from a young age is necessary to ensure the Jackador is friendly and gentle enough towards strangers and children, and so that they don’t instantly run after every animal they see. 

The training should start as early as when they are a puppy, and socialization should be incorporated into the training from about 10 weeks of age

The Health of a Jackador

Different dog breeds have higher risks for different specific health problems and issues, so this is something to look into beforehand.

Crossbreeds, such as the Jack Russell Terrier mix, will inherit all of the health risks of both parent breeds. But the good news is that crossbreeds are a lot healthier overall, and the risk is significantly lower, as they do not tend to suffer from health issues as much. 

Nevertheless, you need to be aware of the main health problems of both the Labrador and the Jack Russell, so you know what to potentially look out for in your Jackador: 

The Health of a Labrador

  • Ear infections: this can be easily prevented by regularly cleaning out the ears, and it is common in dogs with floppy ears.
  • Heart diseases: the most common ones are chronic degenerative valve disease, cardiomyopathy, and heartworm disease.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy: This is something that affects the retina of the eye, causing it to deteriorate over time and ultimately causing blindness

The Health of a Jack Russell Terrier

jack russell terrier
  • Eye disorders: Jack Russell Terriers are usually prone to eye diseases such as glaucoma, lens luxation, and cataracts. 
  • Patellar luxation: this is pretty common amongst all small dogs. It occurs when the kneecap is not lined up properly, causing lameness. It will usually happen when they begin to get old. 
  • Legg-calve-Perthes disease: also common amongst small dogs, it is similar to hip dysplasia in that the ball of the hip joint is slightly deformed, causing arthritis and other problems. 

If you want to be able to know, in a more exact way, exactly which health risks are more significant in your Jackador, then the best way is to figure out the exact percentage of breeds in your puppy.

Knowing if it is more Labrador or more Jack Russell will help you understand the health a lot better. And for this, you can simply take a DNA test, there are plenty available in the market, and you could also ask your vet for one. 

Food and Diet of a Jackador

Figuring out the right diet for a crossbreed can be pretty challenging. This is especially true as Labradors and Jack Russell Terriers have very different diets, due to the difference in size. So you will instead have to figure out a unique diet plan that works for your Jackador, depending on which parent breed it takes after the most. 

It is worth noting that Jack Russell Terriers are prone to remaining athletic and fit all their life. But Labradors, on the other hand, can very easily become fat if given too much food! This is because Labs are missing the hormone that signals when their stomach is full. So make sure you give the right amount of food, and no more, and that it is high-quality and paired with plenty of exercise. 

The Verdict: Should You Get a Jack Russell Terrier Lab Mix?

If you’ve read all the way to here, then you must be seriously considering getting a Jackador dog. So here is the important question: should you?

It’s important to determine whether a dog is right for you or not before you commit and to consider whether your home and lifestyle are a good fit for the needs of the dog in question. 

Jackador dogs can be easily kept in a regular house or apartment, and they make excellent companions. However, if you don’t have a suitable garden, then you will have to invest a lot of time and effort into giving your dog enough exercise on a regular basis, as Jackador dogs are very active and high-energy.

They also need a lot of mental stimulation, and can’t be left alone for long periods of time. So consider your lifestyle, and whether it’s a good fit or not.

Are you able to take good care of the Jackador, so that all needs are covered? If yes, then you can absolutely get one! If not, then try looking into a different breed of dog. 

Where to Get a Jackador

Okay, so if the answer to the previous section was yes, then you’ll be wondering where to get your Jackador dog. To get a new Jackador puppy, you will have to find a reliable breeder, but these can be quite rare and can get pretty expensive as they are highly sought after

In all honesty, you will have a better chance of finding a Jackador if you look for one in shelters and adoption centers, where crossbreeds are a lot more popular. 

There are many online services that can help you look for a Jackador, and that will check different adoption centers and shelters automatically. Petfinder is one of the most popularly used and is very reliable. 

You can also check out this Labrador Russell Facebook page.

Frequently Asked Questions

How big will a Jackador get?

The size of your Jackador will depend on whether it takes more after the Labrador parent, or after the Jack Russell parent, so the growth can vary quite a lot. 

The average size of a Jackador dog is between 16 and 20 inches in height, and between 20 and 50 lbs in weight. However, there have been cases of a Jackador being slightly bigger, although not by a lot. 

Are Jackador dogs good?

The answer to this is pretty subjective, as it depends on what you consider a good dog to be like. Jackador dogs are friendly, intelligent, and very active. They are excellent companions and natural working dogs that can be easily trained. Plus, they are super cute and playful! 

Read More About Labradors

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Author - Melissa

Melissa is a dog mom to her Labrador Bella and German Shepherd Bear. Her dogs love swimming in Lake Michigan and nearby beaches. Bear is a big dog who loves to fetch. Melissa will sometimes throw a stick into the woods for Bear and he will come running back towards her with a huge fallen down tree branch! Bear also loves frisbee. Melissa is planning on taking both her dogs to agility camps to burn off some unrelenting energy! Even though they wrestle each other, both her dogs are extremely gentle and playful with her kids. Her four-year-old thinks both dogs are her personal pillows!

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