The Jack Russell Lab mix is not a new designer dog breed. This hybrid has been crossed, often accidentally, in farming, ranching and other working dog communities for generations. Labs and Terriers are mainstays of rural life and as such although they look very different, they have been coming together for a long time. Also known as a Jackador, the Jack Russell Lab mix is clever, tenacious, confident and incredibly loyal. They range hugely in height and weight as adults, but all have a short coat and outgoing demeanour. These dogs are energetic, headstrong and loving, but is the Jack Russell Labrador mix the right dog for you? Today we’ll check out what to expect from this curious cross.
What is a Jackador?
The Jack Russell Labrador mix is a cross between a purebred Jack Russell Terrier and a purebred Labrador Retriever. Because of the drastic size difference between the parent breeds, the mother is usually the Labrador, and the father is the Jack Russell. But as this is a hybrid breed, it is difficult to predict which physical and behavioral traits the offspring will inherit from their parents. However, both breeds were hunting dogs, so we know this mixed breed will inherit the hunting instinct.
History of the Jack Russell Labrador Mix
The Jack Russell Labrador mix is an unusual pairing of two vastly different breeds. Yet they have a rich history of being crossed by accident, due to how closely they have worked together on farms and ranches for generations. To understand this crossbreed better, we must look at the history of the Jack Russell Terrier and the Labrador Retriever.
This small breed gets its name from Parson John Russell, who bred these dogs during the 1800s as a baying terrier, meaning the dog would flush out the fox with its steady barking but never killed its prey. The Jack Russell worked alongside fox hounds covering extensive distances without slowing down, being independent thinkers brave enough to enter a fox den with an ability to dig.
The Labrador Retriever originated in Newfoundland, Canada. These hard-working dogs, renowned for their even temperaments and willingness to please, would retrieve fish and haul the fisherman’s boat from the water. As well as a hunting dog, the Labrador Retriever also excels as a guide dog, therapy dog, and service dog. For nearly 30 years, they have ranked as the most popular dog in the USA.
Jack Russell Labrador Mix Appearance
Like all mixed breeds, the physical traits of a Jack Russell Labrador mix will vary considerably. The Jackador is a small to medium-sized dog that is often a little bigger and heavier than the Jack Russell but smaller and lighter than the Labrador. Their ears are usually floppy but can be partially erect with their legs in proportion with their size giving them an athletic build. Both parent breeds have a water-resistant coat, so the Jackador will too.
How Big Are Jack Russell Lab mixes?
This cute cross combines a tiny dog with a large one. You’d think this would make their offspring somewhat of a medium sized dog, but this isn’t the case. These puppies range hugely in adult height. The Jack Russell Labrador mix stands 16 to 20 inches high and can weigh anything from 25 to 50 pounds.
Coat Colors and Patterns
The Jackador can come in many colors, but notably black, brown, and cream. The Labrador tends to dictate the coat color, but you can often have a white chest or partially white face from the Jack Russell breed.
Managing Grooming and Shedding
The Jack Russell and the Labrador have short, water-resistant coats that are easy to maintain, so the Jackador will require brushing once a week and a bath when needed.
Both parents are shedders, so during the molting season, your Jack Russell Labrador mix will be the same and require brushing more frequently. Your hybrid breed will also need their teeth brushed regularly, their ears cleaned, and their nails trimmed.
Jack Russell Labrador Mix Temperament
The Jack Russell and Labrador Retriever are working dogs bred for long hours in the field, so the Jackador will also be an active dog requiring plenty of mental and physical stimulation.
They need to be introduced to small animals early as this mixed breed, from its hunting heritage, may chase after them as prey, especially if they take more after the Jack Russell parent.
These dogs adore being with their family and don’t like being left alone for long periods as they can be destructive. They can also inherit loud barking from their Jack Russell parent and like being heard! But like their parent breeds, the Jack Russell Labrador mix will be loyal, loving, energetic and intelligent.
Jack Russell Labrador Mix Exercise and Training
Both Jack Russells and Labradors are highly energetic dogs so expect a Jackador to have plenty of energy too! You need plenty of time to exercise and play with this mixed breed as they need two walks each day and lots of playtime so they can get rid of some of their energy!
Both parent breeds are intelligent, with Jack Russells being problem solvers and Labradors eager to work, so consider getting chew toys, puzzles, and food dispensers to keep your pet occupied. When it comes to obedience training, it all depends on which parent your mixed breed takes after.
With its eagerness to please, the Labrador is easy to train, whereas the Jack Russell is an independent dog who can solve problems independently, so it tends to have a stubborn and mischievous streak!
Early socialization is crucial to ensure your Jackador is friendly and gentle towards other people and children.
Are Designer Dogs Healthy?
Mixed breeds like the Jack Russell Labrador mix tend to be far healthier than purebreds. However, they can be prone to some of the health issues that plague their parent breeds, so you need to be aware of some of these conditions, which include:
Jack Russell Terrier
- Patellar luxation
- Eye disorders
- Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
- Ear infections
- Eye disorders
- Heart disease
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
How Long Do Jack Russel Lab Mix Dogs Live?
The lifespan for a Jack Russell Labrador mix is 10 to 14 years, which is relatively lower than some other mixed breeds.
Is a Jack Russell Labrador Mix the Right Dog for Me?
The Jack Russell Labrador mix is loyal and loving and is most suited to active families who can dedicate the time necessary to meet this dog’s mental and physical needs.
Learn More About Labradors and Terriers
- Comito et al. Congenital deafness in Jack Russell terriers: Prevalence and association with phenotype, The Veterinary Journal, 2012.
- Guevra et al. Cataracts in Labrador Retriever and Jack Russell Terrier from the United kingdom: A Two-Year Retrospective Study, Topics in Companion Animal Medicine, 2018.
- Lofgre et al. Management and personality in Labrador Retriever dogs, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 2014.
- Affenzeller et al. Playful activity post-learning improves training performance in Labrador Retriever dogs (Canis lupus familiaris), Physiology & Behavior, 2017.
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