If you were a designer dog breeder and wanted to create a small (but not too small) feisty (but not too feisty), sweet-tempered (most of the time) dog, you couldn’t come up with a better choice than a Jack Russel-Chihuahua mix. Combining the assertive, fearless nature of the Jack Russel terrier with the devotion, loyalty and “I’m not a little dog” attitude of the chihuahua, the dog would most likely be a little larger than the standard chihuahua but still small enough to pick up and carry around if the need arose. Its coloring, coat, ear shape and other variables would be less predictable, but no matter what, you would probably wind up with an awesome little dog.
A Jack Russel-Chihuahua mix can have many looks. This puppy has the coloring and floppy ears of a Jack Russel, but the large round eyes of a Chihuahua.
Any time you mix two dog breeds, the results are going to be, to some extent, left to chance. That being said, if you breed a purebred Chihuahua with a purebred Jack Russel terrier, it’s quite likely that their offspring will have some, if not all, of the characteristics of both breeds. Keep in mind, however, that many designer dog breeders cross second and third generation hybrids in order to maximize or minimize certain traits. For example, Jack Russel terriers are bred to hunt small prey, while the chihuahua is pretty much a lap dog. So a breeder might cross a 50-50 Jackchi with a 100% Chihuahua to create a slightly less prey-aggressive, more laid back dog. That’s one reason why it’s a good idea to know the lineage of any designer dog you’re considering bringing into your home.
So what might you expect from a Jackchi (the most common name for a JRT/Chihuahua mix)? Here are a few things you should know about this hybrid dog breed.
- No. 1. They’re definitely feisty
- No. 2. They’re very smart
- No. 3. They may not be good with kids
- No. 4. They’re great snugglers
- No. 5. Their looks are unpredictable
- No. 6. They can have freckles!
- No. 7. Obedience training can be challenging
- No. 8. They will run off!
- No. 9. They may use a litterbox
- No. 10. They are wonderful companion dogs
No. 1. They’re definitely feisty
If you look up the dictionary definition of “feisty,” you’ll find words like “lively,” “determined” and “courageous,” as well as “ touchy” and “aggressive.” And all of these words can apply to the little Jack Chi. Both chihuahuas and Jack Russels are known for their fearlessness in the face of danger — both breeds will often face off against dogs much larger than themselves. (Given that chihuahuas average no more than 6 pounds, that equates to almost any dog!). Add to that Jack Russel’s strong hunting instincts, and you have a dog who will not back down from a challenge easily — not even if the challenge comes from its caretaker. For this reason, a Jackchi is a dog that needs early and consistent training and an owner who can assert herself as “the boss of the house.” Without these, a Jackchi can become unruly and domineering, characteristics that are unwelcome even in a small dog.
Jackchis, like their Jack Russell terrier parents, are high-energy, playful dogs
No. 2. They’re very smart
Like most terriers, Jack Russels are extremely intelligent and love having a job to do. They can be assertive and strong-willed, but at the same time are highly motivated people-pleasers who will quickly pick up on complex commands. Also known for their keen intelligence, chihuahuas have the largest brain relative to their size of any dog breed. So there’s lots of brain power there, too! Taken together, the two breeds are almost certain to create a lively, intelligent, playful pup that will love learning new tricks and showing them off.
No. 3. They may not be good with kids
As a rule, both Jack Russel terriers and Chihuahuas are loyal, happy dogs that make good family pets. However, both breeds have a propensity towards aggression, although the stimuli for the behavior are usually not the same. Chihuahuas typically become aggressive when they feel threatened or afraid, taking “the best defense if a good offense” approach. They can also be possessive of their owners and may nip or bite out of jealousy.
Jack Russels, on the other hand, can be fear-aggressive, but they also have strong protective instincts, and may become aggressive towards a person — even a child — who they perceive as a threat to you. Jack Russels can also be intolerant and reactive towards other dogs, especially other JRTs.
For these reasons, a household with young, active children may not be the best place for a Jack Russel Chihuahua mix.
Young children can be great companions for sturdy, mellow dogs like this English bulldog. But they can be too rough and frightening for a small Jackchi
No. 4. They’re great snugglers
Like their Jack Russel parents, Jackchis are high energy dogs. They love to play, take long walks, and if the opportunity arises, chase rabbits and squirrels (or their own tail!) And if they don’t get enough exercise (at least one 30 minute walk every day, for sure) they can be unruly and destructive. But then, when their chihuahua DNA kicks in, they can suddenly turn into wonderful lap dogs who want nothing more challenging than to snuggle on the couch..
Don’t be surprised if your Jackchi decides to spend a little time under the covers. The little bundle of energy needs time to recharge.
No. 5. Their looks are unpredictable
Because the Jackchi is a hybrid dog who may have several generations of hybrids in its lineage, it’s hard to say exactly what physical characteristics a single pup will have. Both JRTs and chihuahuas come in a wide array of colors and sport different kinds of coats. Chihuahuas, for example, can be short-haired or long-haired, and Jack Russels can have a short smooth coat, a longer wiry coat, or a combination of the two. Their size also varies considerably. The average Chihuahua is about 3 to 6 pounds and about 8.5 to 13 inches tall, while the Jack Russell can weigh anywhere from 13 to 17 pounds and be 10 inches to 15 inches tall. So predicting exactly what a Jackchi pup will look like is definitely a guessing game.
With that said, however, most Jack Russel Chihuahua mixes will look somewhat alike. Their size, coloring and coat length will vary, and they may have erect ears like a Chihuahua or floppy ears like a JRT. But generally speaking, they are compact, muscular dogs — about 8 to 15 pounds and about 10 to 15 inches tall, with a curly Chihuahua tail. Most have a long snout, either rounded like a JRT or a bit longer and thinner, like a chi. Their heads are usually rounded, and their eyes are round and soulful, as is common in the chihuahua breed.
A Jack Russel Chihuahua may have erect or floppy ears, but he will almost always have a curly Chihuahua tail and big round eyes.
No. 6. They can have freckles!
Most Jack Russel terriers are bicolor dogs. They can be brown and white, black and white, tan and white, or even tricolored. But a defining characteristic of the JRT is that they are at least 51 percent white. What’s more, almost all of them have dark spots on their skin. (These are most noticeable on their bellies and are typically the same shade as the darker part of the dog’s fur) These may or may not show through on the dog’s coat — the spots are called “ticking” when they do.
JRT freckles are perfectly normal, and they may come and go based on the season and the dog’s age. So, if you adopt a Jackchi and she suddenly starts to develop brown or black spots, don’t worry!! It’s just part of her DNA.
No. 7. Obedience training can be challenging
As smart as both the Jack Russel terrier and the Chihuahua are, teaching them new tricks is a breeze. They love to show off for their owners, and will typically respond very well to praise. But obedience training may be a different ball of wax entirely. That’s because neither the JRT nor the Chihuahua like being told what to do. Call it willfulness or assertiveness, the fact is that both breeds and, by extension the Jackchi, can be just plain obstinate when they don’t get to do things their way.
If you’ve adopted a Jackchi who displays a stubborn streak, don’t despair! Identify the commands that are essential to the dog’s safety and your sanity, and work on those first. The key is to be assertive but not aggressive– it won’t help to get angry with the dog. Use positive training methods only, and never, never, punish the dog physically. Jack Russels in particular are bred to defend themselves against aggressors, and you don’t want your dog to feel she has to defend herself against you.
No. 8. They will run off!
It’s a simple fact: Any dog who is even part Jack Russel terrier should not be trusted off-leash except in an enclosed park or yard. Even if you have patiently trained him to Sit, Stay and Come, one day he will follow his instincts and take off and not come back. So if you don’t have a fenced in yard, always take your Jackchi out on a leash.
As tempting as it may be to let your Jackchi off leash to play, the consequences can be dire. Jack Russell mixes have been known to run off, and some never make it home.
No. 9. They may use a litterbox
For a number of reasons, Chihuahuas are notoriously difficult to housetrain. First, they are very small dogs with very small bladders, so they have difficulty holding their urine for a long time. Second, they are so low to the ground that it may not be apparent when they are squating or raising a leg to pee. And third, they are very sensitive to inclement weather, so they may stubbornly refuse to relieve themselves if it’s cold or wet outside.
But the good news about Chihuahuas (and Jackchis) is that they want to be “good dogs” and please their owners, and are usually quite amenable to learning to use a litter box. It will take a little patience and a keen eye to train your dog. You’ll need to spot her as she begins to relieve herself and take her immediately to the box. But once she knows that it’s “her spot” she should use the box reliably.
No. 10. They are wonderful companion dogs
After all is said and done, Jackchis are wonderful companion dogs. Independent and stubborn though they may be, they make up for these somewhat challenging characteristics with a loving nature, quirky personality and strong willingness to please. If you’re a single person, a couple, or a family with older children, the Jack Russell-Chihuahua mix might be just the dog for you.
No matter what your little Jackchi looks like, it’s a sure bet he will be great company for a long time!