Jack Russel Terrier lifespan

Jack Russell Terrier Life Expectancy: Way Above Average!

A Jack Russell Terrier life expectancy can range from 15 to 20 years, but some breeds live for longer. This breed, which originated in England, is white bodied but can be any colour. Its lifespan will depend on its overall health and its general temperament.

In this article, we will discuss the common health conditions that affect the breed and may impact its lifespan.

Jack Russell Terrier Life Expectancy: Joint Conditions

Patellar Luxation

This condition refers to the dislocation of a dog’s kneecap. The incidence of this condition is higher in dogs with an age of more than three years and in dogs that were older. In addition, female dogs that had been neutered have a lower incidence.

Patellar luxation in dogs is often caused by a variety of factors. While there are no specific single factor causing a patellar luxation, breed-related genetics may predispose a dog to developing the disorder.

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease

Legg-Calve-Perthes is a condition that affects small dogs. It is thought to have a genetic basis but is still not fully understood.

The disease causes degeneration of the hip joint, resulting in painful inflammation. It affects more specifically the pelvis and thigh bone area.

The disease begins in childhood, usually between six months and three years of age. The symptoms start with a bit of lameness that becomes more severe over time. As the condition is progressing, muscle atrophy occurs, resulting in the inability of the dog to bear weight on its affected leg. The disease will cause the bone and the cartilage in the hip joint area to gradually deteriorate.

It requires a full diagnostic workup, and lifelong medication is often necessary to control the symptoms. Moreover, in severe cases, periodic blood tests may be required for monitoring. If left untreated, the disease can lead to involuntary tail chasing. Dogs may even injure themselves.

Jack Russel Terrier Life Expectancy

Eye Diseases

A Jack Russell Terrier life expectancy is generally much above the average dog but some medical conditions are more common than others.

The CERF, an organization that aims to eliminate hereditary eye diseases in purebred dogs, lists cataracts and lens luxation, as two of the most common eye diseases in the breed.

Lens Luxation

Lens luxation, also called Ectopia lentis, is a genetic condition in the Jack Russell Terrier and usually develops between the ages of three and eight. If left untreated, it can lead to blindness and requires surgery to correct the problem. As a result, dogs with this condition may need to spend several days in the hospital.

It is possible to detect lens luxation at an early age by performing a thorough eye examination. Symptoms include increased tear production and continual pawing at the eye. If this condition persists after a few months, you should consult an ophthalmologist.


PRA stands for “progressive retinal atrophy” and is degenerative condition affecting the eyes and is caused by a genetic mutation in the ADAM9 gene. The mutation affects photoreceptors, resulting in impaired vision. This condition can affect both the left and right eyes. Fortunately, there is a gene therapy available for the disorder.

PRA has two forms: early onset and late onset. Early onset PRA results in degeneration of rods and cones, and late onset is caused by gradual degeneration of the pigmented layer of the retina. Luckily, the condition does not result in total blindness in dogs, but it does decrease vision.

Congenital Deafness

One of the most common ailments that affect Jack Russell terriers is congenital deafness. This degenerative condition is known as spinocerebellar ataxia and carries no known cure or definitive prognosis. This disease is recessive, meaning that both parents must carry a certain genetic marker to pass it down to their offspring. However, breeders can test for this disease to determine the risk of developing the disorder.

The most effective method for determining deafness is through BAER testing. This test involves observing a dog’s response to a sound stimulus in the non-visual field.

However, this method cannot distinguish between unilateral and bilateral deafness because it is not sensitive to stimulus perception through other senses. It also fails to identify blunted responses caused by stress or expired novelty of a repeated stimulus.

Furthermore, in the home environment, deaf animals may be unable to be wakened up by an auditory stimulus.

Jack Russell Terrier Life Expectancy: Wrap-Up

If you are looking for a dog with a long lifespan, the Jack Russell Terrier life expectancy checks that box. With an average in the 15-20 year range, the breed clearly surpasses the average lifespan of a dog. While there are common ailments affecting the breed, they evidently are not widespread enough to hinder the chances of living a long and healthy life!