In this article
Overview of the Jackador
Jackadors are not purebred dogs; they're a mix of Jack Russell Terrier (JRT) and Labrador Retriever. Both these breeds are hunting dogs: JRTs were bred for hunting foxes, while Labradors used to track and retrieve water animals. As a result, Jackadors also inherit the hunting instinct.
Jackadors also inherit the charm and sociability of Jack Russells and Labradors. They're cute, cuddly, and outgoing. However, they aren't always suited to homes with small pets and children. Overall, Jackadors are just as loving, loyal, and intelligent as their parent breeds.
Because of the difference between the sizes of these breeds, the mother is usually Labrador, and the father is Jack Russell.
Being a hybrid, Jackador is not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). However, both of its parent breeds are members. Jack Russell is a relatively new member. The AKC registered it in 1997 under the "terrier" group. On the other hand, Labrador is a long-time member of this club. The breed was registered under the "sporting" group in 1903.
We will discuss various characteristics of this hybrid in the next sections, but let's look at some essential physical traits Jackadors have:
History of the Jackador
The Jack Russell Lab mix is a unique hybrid with two very different parents. To learn more about this crossbreed, it would help to look at the history of Labrador and Jack Russell. We will keep referring to the parent breeds' traits throughout the article to understand where this hybrid comes from and what to expect from it.
Jack Russell Terrier
The breed gets its name from John Russell, who bred these dogs in the early 1800s to drive away foxes with his barking. They were bred to be hunting dogs and independent problem solvers. This is why JRTs are courageous and self-reliant. They can figure out their own ways to go about things and solve problems.
The breed standard of JRTs varies because of their broad genetic make-up. Due to the distinction, the breed has even been divided into two separate breeds in England: one is Parson Russell Terrier, with longer legs, and the other is Jack Russell Terriers, having shorter legs.
Labradors originated in Newfoundland, Canada, and were brought to England in the 19th century. They are hard-working dogs who used to retrieve fish and haul fishermen's boats from the water. Today, they serve society as guide dogs, service dogs, therapy dogs, etc.
We've discussed seven uses of Labradors in a separate post. You can read it here: What Are Labradors Good For? 7 Ways Labs Are Used.
For the last 29 years, Labradors have been the most popular breed in the United States, and for good reasons. They are smart, friendly, playful, and charming. Their high energy levels and intelligence mean that they are easy to train and can work for hours without losing their focus.
What do Jack Russell Lab mixes look like?
Like all mixed breeds, Jackadors' physical traits vary greatly. They may look like anything between a small Labrador and a big Jack Russell. They're short-to-medium-sized dogs, usually bigger and heavier than their parent Jack Russell but smaller and lighter than Lab.
Jackadors can weigh between 25 to 50 lbs (9 to 22 kg), and their paw-to-shoulder height can range from 16 to 20 inches (40.6 to 50.8 cm). As with any dog breed, male Jackadors are a bit heavier and larger than their female counterparts.
Both of Jackadors' parent breeds have water-resistant coats, so Jackadors will likely be fond of water, but some may be afraid of water because of negative experiences at a young age. Their ears are usually floppy but can also be partially erect, and their legs are proportionate to their height, giving them an athletic build.
Coat and Colors
Labradors come in several colors like black, white, yellow, and chocolate. JRTs are available in standard brown and white colors. Usually, Jackadors' color is determined by Labs, though it's not always the case. The hybrid can have various colors, but popular ones include black, cream, and brown.
Temperament of Jackadors
Both Labradors and Jack Russells are working dogs—they've been bred to work for hours out in the field. So, it's safe to say that Jackadors will also be an active breed that will need lots of physical and mental stimulation. You'll also require chewing toys and perhaps some puzzles to keep them occupied indoors.
Similarly, both parent breeds are also hunting dogs, which means Jackadors will have a strong hunting instinct. Training will help reduce this behavior, but it cannot be eliminated entirely. So, it's critical to familiarize them with other animals at an early age, or else they'll instinctively see cats and other small animals as prey.
These dogs like to be around their family members, so it's not a good idea to leave them alone for long periods. Doing so can result in destructive behaviors like chewing, barking, urination, etc.
Jackadors are usually not an aggressive hybrid. With proper training and socialization, they can become excellent family companions, though it's essential to introduce them to kids at an early age. They must learn to be gentle with children and not chase them.
Jackadors can also inherit the loud barking from their parent JRT, which means they will like to make themselves heard. Lastly, like their parent breeds, Jackadors are very loyal, loving, highly energetic, and intelligent.
Jack Russells have a mostly white coat, so Jackadors are likely to inherit markings on their head and chest from their parent JRTs. A white chest or partially white face is common in these dogs.
Brushing your Jackador's coat once a week and bathing occasionally will keep him clean and happy. Increase the brushing frequency to once or even twice a day during the shedding season. This is because Jackadors, like Labs and JRTs, shed heavily during the shedding or molting season.
Labradors are highly energetic dogs, and so are JRTs. As a result, you can expect Jackadors to be just as energetic and active. Be ready to devote lots of exercise and playtime as this hybrid will drive you crazy if you don't give them enough physical activity.
Their small size can allow them to adjust to apartments - traditional Labradors not so much! However, you'll have to make up for the lack of physical activity in the form of more exercise and playtime. Having a decent-sized house with a backyard will make a massive difference as it'll give your Jackador space to roam in.
Both of the breeds are also very intelligent, so they must receive mental stimulation as well. JRTs are independent problem solvers, and Labs are always eager to work, so consider getting toys, puzzles, and food dispensers for your pet.
How much time does your pup need for exercise? Usually, 30 to 60 minutes a day is enough, along with long walks and some running. It's best to divide this period of activity into small chunks throughout the day.
As we've discussed, Jackadors become bored and restless without their daily dose of physical activity. They will begin targeting your furniture and chewing everything they can, so they must run around, play, and tire themselves out.
Are Jackadors easy to train?
Labradors are very intelligent and eager to please their owners. This means they are highly trainable, and you can teach them to do virtually anything, so owners will not have much difficulty training Labs themselves.
On the other hand, JRTs were bred to be independent. Like Labs, they are very intelligent and energetic. However, they tend to solve problems on their own and don't depend on their human partners. JRTs are also loud, and they instinctively chase anything that moves.
When these breeds are crossed, the resulting Jackadors are also intelligent and energetic, but consistent, rigorous training is required when they're at the puppy stage. This is to make sure they only chase toys and balls rather than cats or other animals. Training is also critical for keeping their barks under control.
The Jack Russell Lab mix isn't always suited to homes with small pets or young kids, but early socialization and training will ensure that they are friendly toward children and adults alike. Since both JRT and Labrador are hunting dogs, it's crucial to introduce them to other pet dogs and animals at a young age to avoid any trouble later on.
Overall, you can prevent Jackadors' typical behavior issues through positive reinforcement training and physical activity. They'll also benefit from plenty of interaction with other animals and people of all ages from about 10 weeks of age.
Are Jackadors healthy dogs?
Jackadors are generally healthy, but they can be prone to any of the diseases that plague their parent breeds. Common health problems in JRTs and Labs:
Jack Russell Terriers
- Patellar luxation: This is a common problem among small dogs. It happens when the kneecap is not correctly lined up and usually causes lameness. It's a congenital disease, though the actual misalignment occurs later on in a dog's life.
- Eye disorders: JRTs are prone to several painful eye diseases like glaucoma (abnormally high pressure in the eye), lens luxation (displaced eye lens), and cataracts.
- Legg-Calve-Perthes disease: This is another disease that usually only occurs in small breeds. It is similar to hip dysplasia and is often confused with it. In this condition, the ball of the hip joint is deformed, causing arthritis and wearing.
- Ear infections: The large, floppy ears can provide the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, making Labs more prone to ear infections. This can be prevented by regularly cleaning your pet's ears.
- Heart diseases: Labs can suffer from a range of heart problems. The most common ones are chronic degenerative valve disease, cardiomyopathy, and heartworm disease.
- Progressive retinal atrophy: PRA is a group of genetic diseases that affect your pet's retina. The photoreceptors inside the dog's eye deteriorate over time, which eventually leads to blindness.
Use a DNA test to know your Jackador's actual breed percentages
What do Jackadors eat?
JRTs are not very prone to obesity, but any dog can gain weight with the wrong diet and lack of physical activity. On the other hand, Labradors are voracious eaters and can quickly become overweight, so you should monitor the amount of food your Jackador eats, especially if he takes after his Lab parent.
Since there's a huge difference between JRTs and Labs, it's difficult to suggest the exact amount of kibble your Jackador should eat every day. Depending on your particular dog's size and energy level, he may eat anywhere between 1 to 2 ½ cups of kibble daily—though it would be best to consult your veterinarian about the dietary needs of your pet.
In any case, make sure you only give your pet high-quality dog food designed for small-to-medium-sized dogs. Feeding little and often is the safest option, which means you may have to feed your pet at least three times a day. After every meal, you should also give your dog enough time to digest it before taking him out.
Check out my Recommended Products section to see which foods I recommend, including custom fresh food solutions you can order online!
Should you get a Jackador?
The Jack Russell Lab mix is best suited for families that can dedicate enough time and attention to their physical and mental needs. Jackadors can be an excellent companion if you have an active lifestyle, but if your family cannot devote a few hours every day, you'll probably be better off getting a calmer breed.
As we've discussed, you don't necessarily need a large home or a backyard, though it's certainly preferred. Early socialization and training are also indispensable, so you'll have to spend extra time on these.
JRTs were initially bred to chase away foxes with their loud, consistent barking, so your Jackador might be fond of his own voice. However, he may also inherit Labrador's calm demeanor, in which case you wouldn't have to deal with the barking that much.
In this article, we've tried to discuss the common traits found in Jackadors, but you can never be 100% sure with mixed breeds. They may inherit all the best qualities of the parent breeds, or they may get the worst of both worlds. So, only bring a Jackador puppy home if you're ready to deal with whatever traits he will have. We're not trying to scare you, but you should be aware of this fact.
Overall, if you're asking yourself, 'should I get a Jackador?' then the answer probably lies in your own love for exercise.
Where to find a Jackador puppy
Since Labradors and JRTs differ a lot in size, it's unlikely that any breeder will intentionally cross them. However, accidents happen, and Jackadors do exist.
Contact reputable breeders around you and online, and inquire about this hybrid. Make sure only to purchase a puppy from a certified breeder and never from puppy mills or pet stores. This will ensure you get healthy puppies whose parents have been screened for diseases.
You will probably have better luck finding a Jackador in shelters or online adoption centers. Start by looking for this hybrid in your local rescue shelters. They may or may not have a Jackador available right away, but you can talk to the staff, and they will probably be able to guide you correctly.
Head over to Petfinder and other such websites to look for these dogs. Sites like the ones listed below are more likely to have a Jackador than local shelters or breeders.
- American Lab Rescue
- Midwest Labrador Retriever Rescue
- Labrador Retriever Rescue
- Lucky Lab Rescue
The Jack Russell Lab mix is a unique hybrid with very different parents. Labradors are giant dogs with a calm demeanor, while Jack Russell Terriers are small dogs with an aggressive personality. The resulting Jackadors fall somewhere in the middle—small-to-medium-sized dogs with lots of energy.
Early socialization is of the utmost importance when owning a Jackador puppy. Rigorous training from three to six months of age is crucial to avoid or reduce common behavior problems like excessive barking and hunting.
All in all, if you have an active lifestyle and can give him plenty of exercise, a Jackador will make for an excellent companion.
About THE AUTHOR
Mark is the founder of Everything Labradors and a husband and father of 3. He enjoys spending time with his family, including his dog Molly, a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix. He’s a big fan of the outdoors and loves to travel to new places.Read more about Mark Brunson