While many experts will disagree with what hypoallergenic means, there are some breeds that are more suitable for people who suffer from mild allergies. Among the small dog breeds, Jack Russel Terriers are a popular breed known for their speed, athleticism, intelligence, and bold personality. In this article, we answer the question, “Is the Jack Russell Terrier hypoallergenic,” along with other important facts if you’re serious about getting a hypoallergenic dog breed.
What is the Jack Russell Terrier?
Also known as JRT, the Jack Russell Terrier was first introduced in southern England by Parson John Russell around the 1800s, where the breed gets its name from. He had the idea of breeding a working dog with hunting instincts to scare foxes out of their dens so that hounds could chase after them. These dogs soon became a favorite among sportsmen who would hunt on horseback, and they soon made their way to the United States by 1930.
It was in 1976 when the first club dedicated to these dogs was formed, known as the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America (JRTCA), and has since maintained an independent registry. While they consider this terrier to solely be a hunting dog, the Jack Russell Terrier Association of America sought recognition from the American Kennel Club (AKC), which it received in 2000. To set these dogs apart from the ones registered with the JRTCA, the AKC has renamed them, and are now called the Parson Russell Terrier.
Today, Jack Russell Terrier Dogs are known for their small size, high energy levels, and lively attitude, while they are also praised as intelligent dogs. This small breed can be a good family dog thanks to its great temperament and happy attitude, and will happily settle in both homes and apartments. Now that we know more about these great pups, we’ll share what you need to know about hypoallergenic dogs.
What Exactly Does Hypoallergenic Mean?
First coined within the cosmetics industry around the 1950s, the word hypoallergenic refers to products that are less likely to cause severe allergic reactions. However, anything that’s deemed hypoallergenic doesn’t mean that it won’t lead to an allergic reaction, it just means that it’s less likely. Since there are no legal or scientific definitions for the term, seeing it printed on labels won’t necessarily guard you against allergies.
If you think that you might be allergic to certain foods, substances, or even pets, be sure to speak to your doctor. You may also want to see an allergist for tests and proper treatment so that you can understand the allergens you need to avoid.
What Causes Pet Allergies?
Unfortunately, people are allergic to certain proteins found in the saliva and skin of dogs, and dog dander is often linked to dog allergies. Dander refers to dead skin cells in dogs, which shed in the same way that dandruff comes off humans. These also appear as small white flakes but they are much too small to be seen by the naked eye.
As a dog ages, it will produce and shed more and more dander; even dogs that are meant to be hypoallergenic will still produce dander. While the hair they shed won’t be the cause of allergic reactions, a build-up of dander can occur within the hair follicles. This is what will cause the reaction and has led to the belief that breeds with short hair or those that are low-shedding won’t cause allergies and other health issues as much.
However, even dogs with short hair will have just as much of the proteins we’re allergic to as dogs with long hair since the allergens aren’t found in the hair but instead in the saliva and skin. Moreover, any dog that loves to play outside is more likely to pick up pollen and other kinds of allergens that can affect you, especially during allergy season. Below, we discuss dogs that could be suitable for you, despite allergies that you might have.
Do Hypoallergenic Dogs Really Exist?
The truth is, there’s no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog breed since all dogs will produce skin cells and saliva which are the two biggest sources of allergens in dogs. The former will eventually become dander, which can further exacerbate your problems. According to the AKC, no dog breed can be classified as completely hypoallergenic.
Unless your home provides an environment that’s completely sterile, there’s no way for you to avoid the various allergens that may already be present. While there won’t be a dog that’s 100% hypoallergenic, you can look into dogs that produce little to no dander, shed minimally, or have fur that won’t shed.
These dog breeds will be more suitable for allergy sufferers and will have predictable, non-shedding coats that create less dander, making it possible for dog owners to enjoy their companionship despite allergies.
Is the Parson Jack Russell Terrier Hypoallergenic?
The answer to this is simple — Jack Russells are not considered to be a hypoallergenic breed since they’re moderate shedders. Any individual who has a typical allergic reaction and exhibits symptoms from allergies will find that these dogs can trigger them. Unfortunately, all dogs are capable of causing a flare-up depending on what you’re allergic to.
Jack Russell Terriers can produce a little to a moderate amount of dander, so for people who may have severe allergies, they might not be the right dog for them to raise. How much it sheds shed will depend on the type of coat it has.
Grooming Jack Russell Terrier Mixes
These dogs are easily recognizable and are a distinctive breed even with the wide variety of coats that are available to them. There are three different types of coats that you can find them in, which include the following:
- Smooth-Coated Jack Russells have a smooth coat that’s very short and grows only in one direction.
- Rough-Coated Jack Russells have a longer coat type which ranges from one inch or longer in length. They are also called wire-haired Terriers and will have a rough coat.
- Broken-Coated Jack Russells will have a combination of both rough and smooth coats. These will tend to be slightly longer along with some beard and eyebrow hair.
Both the broken and smooth coat variants are known to have a double coat which has a coarse texture. If a JRT was born with a rough coat, it means that their hair is a bit longer compared to the broken, but to stay within breed standards, their coat should never be wavy or curly. All kinds of Jack Russells need regular brushing but their frequency will vary according to their type of coat.
JRTs with smooth coats only need brushing once a week, while the broken or rough coat variants will need daily brushing to eliminate dead hair that’s trapped in their hair. If you need to groom each of the textures above, be sure to get a good bristle brush and schedule a grooming session once a week. As long as you remove all loose hair properly, your dog won’t need to shower much, except for the occasional cleaning after jumping into a mud puddle.
Apart from brushing them, broken and rough coats will need to be hand-stripped twice a year at a minimum. This involves removing dead hair that hasn’t been properly shed and will require a certain grooming tool to accomplish. However, this process can be time-consuming and should be done through a professional groomer to get the best results.
To get your dogs used to being handled and groomed, be sure to start while they’re still puppies. Ensure that you handle their paws regularly, and don’t forget to look inside their ears and mouths for a thorough inspection. You can also make their grooming experiences positive by providing them with rewards and praise, which can also pave the way for quick and easy vet visits.
Other JRT Mixed Breed Options
If you’re looking for other dog breeds similar to the Jack Russell Terrier, consider the Jack Tzu, a cross between the JRT and Shih Tzu. Another option is the Jack-A-Poo, which is a mix between the JRT and Poodle, which was introduced back in the 1990s, back when designer dogs first gained recognition. These were first introduced with the hopes of creating a low-shedding breed that wouldn’t shed a lot of hair.
However, there’s no guarantee that the Jack-A-Poo will shed less than the purebred dogs they come from. The same thing applies to other Poodle hybrids such as the Goldendoodle, Cavapoo, and Labradoodle. Even so, it’s still worth knowing that Poodles are among the most highly advertised dog breeds to be hypoallergenic.
Living with a Jack Russell Terrier Breed
If you’re determined enough to adopt a JRT for your home despite having dog allergies, the first thing you need to do is go through an allergy sensitization test. Even if you think what’s causing your allergies is obvious, don’t rely on a self-diagnosis because your symptoms may be completely unrelated to what you think. There are many people who suffer from more than one allergy, and what triggers them can add up.
For instance, if you have issues with pet and pollen allergies then reducing your pollen exposure could be enough to keep the symptoms of your dog allergies at bay. However, another consideration to make is how severe your allergies are. If you experience symptoms that are tolerable and bring a little inconvenience, then it’s likely that you can have a dog as a companion.
Some dog breeds such as the Bedlington Terrier, Bichon Frise, American Hairless Terrier, and Yorkshire Terrier are born with hypoallergenic coats that won’t produce much dander. This is how people with allergies to dogs can still have one in their home. Moreover, there are plenty of strategies that you can use to control the doh allergens around your home, so you can have one to keep you company even if you have allergies.
Below are the best tips to keep your home allergen-free.
- Vacuum regularly: One of the most effective ways to control loose dog hair and dander around your home is to vacuum regularly using a vacuum cleaner that’s been designed to clean dog hair.
- Keep them out of your room: Doing this can help to limit the amount of allergens and dander in your room and can help you sleep better during nighttime.
- Get an air purifier: These can help to remove allergens such as dust and dander from the air you breathe. They can also help to eliminate viruses and germs, helping you to sleep and breathe better with clear sinuses.
- Keep furniture off-limits: If you don’t want to constantly vacuum your furniture, make sure that your dog keeps off the chairs and couches, which will also keep them away from your clothes.
- Regularly dust around your home: Keeping up with the dust around your house can also help to cut down on allergens. You can also vacuum after dusting to suck up any dust that didn’t get trapped while you dusted.
- Regularly brush your dog: Brushing may not prevent shedding but it can help to cut back on the loose hair around your home. It’s also best to brush your dog outside your home.
- Always wash your hands: It’s a good habit to wash your hands right after playing with your dog or its toys. During playtime, it’s a good idea not to touch your face since doing so may accidentally transfer allergens from your dog into your body.
- Try not to use carpets: It’s much easier to clean up dog hair from tile and wood floors compared to carpets. But even if you use them, you can always steam clean carpets regularly to keep them allergy-free. You can also wash your throw rugs in hot water.
- Wash your bedsheets every week: Even if your dog doesn’t enter your room, allergens can still find their way inside, so be sure to wash your bedsheets every week.
- Speak with your doctor: There are many OTC and allergy medications that can be prescribed to you that may help to manage your symptoms. Be sure to talk to your doctor about which options will be a good choice for you.
So Are Jack Russell Terriers Hypoallergenic?
In the end, Jack Russell Terriers may not be hypoallergenic dogs but there is a wide range of solutions you can use to help ease allergies even when you live with your pooch. But before you get one for yourself, the best way to see if you can live with one around your home is to organize a meeting with this little dog. You can try setting up a meeting with friends or family who might have this cute bundle of energy. Good luck!