Jack Russell Terriers are a fun-loving breed with a ton of personality. If you’ve owned one before, you know there is nothing else quite like them. When looking to add a Jack Russell Terrier to your home, there are a number of important things to consider. Since Jack Russells are a headstrong breed, they are not for the inexperienced owner. A breed that can be prone to temperament issues if not properly bred and raised conscientiously, it is critical that price tag not be the foremost determining factor in where to acquire your new Jack Russell Terrier puppy.
What can I expect to pay?
If you are like most families, you began the search for your new family member early. Armed with lots of research about your favorite breed, you are now needing to determine just how much it is going to cost you to bring your new furry friend home. As with most breeds, there is a large amount of disparity in price for a Jack Russell Terrier. Puppies can be available for as low as $800 but can also cost $2500. On average. a well-bred, ethically raised Jack Russell Terrier puppy will cost you $1500. Though puppies can be purchased for a lower price, hopeful puppy buyers should be very wary. Puppies available at the low end of the price spectrum can be indicative of dogs bred without health testing and likely raised in far less than optimal conditions. The money you save now may cost you not only in dollars but also in heartbreak later.
For many people, a price tag of $1500 sounds like an awful lot of money, and they wonder how the breeder settled on that particular number. It’s a good question. Many pet owners do not realize the costs associated with breeding, whelping, and raising a litter of puppies. While many so-called breeders throw any two dogs together and provide no pre or post-natal care, this is not the ideal way to breed and can often result in dogs who end up being rehomed, suffer health and/or temperament problems, land in shelters, and ultimately, have to be euthanized. Raising a litter of puppies is a huge investment of time and resources. The best breeders do this purely out of love for the breed, and though their puppies may come with a $1500 price tag, they often lose money on every litter rather than make any. How can this be so?
The Costs For a Breeder to Have a Litter of Jack Russell Terriers
The process of ethically breeding a litter is far longer than the average pet owner may realize. With all breeds, there are a number of diseases that they can be genetically predisposed to. For the health of the breed now and in future generations, responsible breeders want to ensure that they only breed a healthy male to a healthy female. This, of course, takes time and money.
On average, a Jack Russell Terrier female is not sufficiently mature to whelp and raise a litter until she is two years of age. Though physically her body may be able to carry and whelp puppies successfully, she lacks the maturity necessary to mother them well, a key component for any healthy puppy. Though a female should not be bred until her second birthday, the breeder is quite busy making breeding plans for her which start with health testing.
Here is a list of the most commonly diagnosed problems that can befall Jack Russell Terriers:
Primary Lens Luxation
Primary Lens Luxation is a genetic disease that affects the eye. It is intensely painful and most often leads to blindness. Common in many terrier breeds, a DNA test can detect a carrier or affected dog. Carriers may be bred to dogs who have tested clear; however, all puppies must be carefully tested prior to being used in any breeding program. A carrier must never be bred to a carrier, and affected dogs must be sterilized.
Spinocerebellar Ataxia is a disease of the brain which affects balance and motor skills coordination. Dogs with this disease usually present symptoms within 2 to 6 months of birth. The disease becomes progressively worse until the dog is unable to walk without serious impairment and consistent tremors. Dogs are typically euthanized prior to their second birthday to alleviate suffering.
Late Onset Ataxia
Late Onset Ataxia is very similar to Spinocerebellar Ataxia with the notable exception being that the disease becomes symptomatic when the dog is 9-12 months of age.
Luxating patellas are essentially knee caps which pop out of joint. They are intensely painful for your dog and can lead to more serious issues like torn cruciates and meniscal tears which necessitate expensive surgeries, limited activity, and long recovery times. Luxating patellas can be surgically repaired, but it is rarely recommended due to the immediate onset of arthritis which affects the dog’s quality of life.
Jack Russells, like many terriers, are prone to a number of eye issues including glaucoma, distichiasis, and cataracts. A yearly exam by a board-certified opthamologist should be performed in all breeding stock.
As with many breeds who can potentially be born all white, deafness is a problem that can befall Jack Russell Terriers. A hearing test must be administered prior to breeding. Any abnormalities from normal hearing should eliminate the dog from being bred.
All of these diseases can and should be tested for prior to considering using a dog in a breeding program.
This is a great initial step. Once the breeder has ensured that their dog is healthy to breed, they must then take the necessary steps to find the correct match for their dog. This involves a complex process of studying pedigrees and looking at photos of different dogs from every different angle. Most conscientious breeders attempt to breed to their breed’s standard, a code which states what the ideal Jack Russell Terrier should look like and be able to do. There are no perfect dogs; however, good breeders always strive to draw as close to the ideal standard as possible. This means weighing their dog’s strengths and weaknesses against what other dogs have to offer to try to come up with a pairing that will improve on what each dog has to bring to the table. This can sometimes take up to a year of the breeder’s time and expertise or more.
Of course, along the road to a litter, there are many other expenses as well from progesterone testing to stud fees, ultrasounds, x-rays, prenatal vitamins and care. Sometimes it is necessary to fly the female to the male for breeding, another costly proposition. The purchasing of all supplies needed for whelping and raising the puppies is another large expense not to mention registration fees, vet visits, microchips, food, de-worming, vaccinations, and more.
But more than this, every breeder must be prepared for their worst nightmare. If complications arise during whelping, it may be necessary to make an emergency trip to the veterinarian for a c-section, a costly endeavor. Worse still, puppies in distress can put the dam at risk. The breeder could not only lose the litter; she may also lose their mother, a beloved family pet. The risks are very high and not for the faint of heart.
Here is a list of other things that often factor into the cost of a puppy:
There was a time when Jack Russell Terriers were an extremely popular breed. Since the dog industry is largely unregulated, supply and demand sometimes drives up the price for particular breeds. Conscientious breeders remain consistent with their pricing. They do not breed more frequently because there is great demand. Most breed simply when they are looking to keep a puppy themselves, meaning their breedings are extremely infrequent, and if you are lucky enough to get a puppy from one of their litters, you should count your blessings.
The reason why you want a Jack Russell Terrier may help determine the cost. If you are looking for a well-bred, temperamentally sound family pet, the cost for your puppy may be slightly lower than someone who is looking for a show or performance dog. Why is this? There are far greater expectations placed upon breeders selling dogs to fulfill specific jobs such as showing, hunting, or performance sports. These dogs are also often sold with breeding rights. Their prices reflect the risk as well as the trust required by the breeder.
Sometimes the very best puppy for your family lives in another state. Sometimes even in another country! Travel costs can be very expensive for puppy buyers, and there are many hoops different countries require them to jump through in order to obtain the puppy.
It is always wise to a select a breeder with an excellent reputation for quality Jack Russell Terriers. Sometimes young breeders are mentored by more experienced breeders and come highly recommended by them. It is true that you get what you pay for. A breeder’s knowledge and experience often factors into the cost of a puppy, and it is invaluable. You cannot put a price tag on someone who has devoted a minimum of 8-10 weeks of their lives to putting everything they have into a mother dog and her puppies. But more than that, quality breeders are experts in their breed. They know everything there is to know about Jack Russell Terriers. When something goes wrong, they know how to fix it. They know what is normal and what is not. A conscientious breeder is every puppy owner’s best friend.
What To Expect from a Quality Jack Russell Terrier Breeder
It’s easy to see how quickly bills mount up for a breeder. But when every penny counts, it’s tempting to decide to go with the cheaper puppy, especially if that puppy is exceptionally cute! While the puppy you purchase at a lower price point might turn out to be a sound, healthy puppy, the odds are stacked against you. Health issues such as the aforementioned will not only cost you money, many of them will claim your dog’s life. There is no amount of money that is worth enduring that. However, quality breeders have far more to offer their puppy owners than just a healthy puppy.
Here is a list of things you can expect from a relationship with a reputable Jack Russell Terrier breeder:
Quality breeders will offer health guarantees in their contracts. They will be there to support you every step of the way.
In this breed, temperament is everything. Reputable breeders take the time to breed dogs that exhibit only the best temperaments and to raise their puppies in a well-socialized environment to ensure that the puppies they put into the world are a credit to the breed and a blessing to their owners.
A reputable breeder isn’t going to take your money, hand off the puppy, and run. They will want to be kept involved in the puppy’s day to day life. They will welcome your phone calls, photos, and questions. They will want to celebrate achievements and be included as much as you are willing to allow them to be. They are an excellent resource for you for the life of your puppy.
How much does a Jack Russell Terrier cost? The answer is: it varies. For best results, choose a puppy from a reputable breeder. The extra money spent now will save you time and heartache later!