At What Age Is a Jack Russell Terrier Considered a Senior?

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Watching your dog grow old is a difficult time for dog owners. The dog has slowed down, and at some point, you are unsure if it is sick or old age catching up with your Jack. So, at what age is a Jack Russell terrier considered a senior?

At What Age Is a Jack Russell Terrier Considered a Senior?

A Jack Russell terrier is considered a senior from the time it is between the age of 10 and 12 years. During these years, you will notice that it has become less active, more tolerant of strangers and other small animals, and quieter. It will become tired soon and not play for as long as it used to.

Graphic image of a white and brown Jack Russell Terrier that explains that Jack Russell Terriers are considered a senior at the age of 10-12 years old

When you recognize these changes in your Jack, you have to put in measures to ensure you provide it with the best care. It is also essential to consult your vet; sometimes, it may be a sign that your furry friend is sick.

Signs Your Jack Russell Is Now a Senior

Several signs indicate how advanced in age your Jack is. Your dog may not display all of the signs; however, from those, it will show that you can conclude.

Changes in Mood and Weight

One of the reasons why most Jack Russell owners adopt them is because of how energetic and playful they are. However, with time, you may notice that it is not as playful as it was, and the energy levels have also decreased. It also starts to display gentleness with other animals, something it may not have done before.

This is often attributed to it becoming more mature over the years. As it is older, it slows down and becomes more understanding. Its metabolism will also slow down, and gaining weight becomes easy for them. It also does not indulge in as much exercise as before, making losing weight difficult.

An old brown and white Jack Russell dog lays down on green grass in a sunny field

While some dogs gain weight, others tend to lose weight as they grow older. Your dog can fall in any of the categories. If it loses weight, it is mainly because its appetite has reduced and the digestion system is not as efficient as before. Weight changes can also indicate a medical condition such as arthritis.

Loss of Sight and Hearing

As your Jack grows older, you may notice that it does not react to sound as it used to. In some cases, it is impossible to tell if they are deaf, or it is a case of selective hearing. The best solution to this is to consult your vet. If it is genuinely losing its sense of hearing, you will notice signs such as:

  • The skull seems swollen
  • The head is tilted
  • Pain in the ears.

If it displays signs of deafness, you should teach it some sign language commands and avoid letting it off its leash during walks or when you are in unfamiliar places.

Your dog may also lose its ability to see or develop a cloud over its eyes. This condition is called nuclear sclerosis, and it is prevalent. It should, however, not be confused with cataracts. If your dog develops this condition, it will still be able to see for a while before gradually losing sight.

Diseases and Conditions

As your Jack ages, its body becomes weaker, and the immune system is compromised. As a result, it develops some diseases and suffers from diseases such as

  • Arthritis: This disease attacks the cartilage tissues that protect joints and bones. It cannot be treated; however, your vet can give treatment to reduce the severity and the pain that your Jack is feeling through surgery and medication.
  • Seizures: They can either be caused by metabolic diseases or tumors. Your Jack can experience generalized, psychomotor, or partial seizures. When your dog has a seizure, you mustn’t put your fingers in its mouth as it may bite you, which does not help.
  • Diabetes: When your dog’s pancreas cannot produce enough insulin that metabolizes sugar in its body, it leads to diabetes. With regular exercise and an appropriate diet, the progress of the illness can be delayed.
A senior tri-colored Jack Russell dog wears a black collar and a pink ribbon standing on a green grass field

Related Questions

Other questions you may have are answered below. 

What Is the Life Expectancy of Jack Russell Terriers?

The life expectancy of Jack Russell is 13 to 16 years. The number of years it lives depends on the care it receives and if it suffers from any diseases and conditions. Generally, dogs that are neglected tend to die earlier than those that are well taken care of. 

How Do I Extend the Lifespan of My Jack Russell?

You can extend the lifespan of your Jack by ensuring it feeds on a healthy diet, has regular vet visits, and exercises regularly. This is the best way to ensure it lives a healthy life. However, it does not guarantee that it will extend its lifespan.


While you cannot control the aging of your Jack, you can ensure that it enjoys its senior years by giving it the best care. Many signs indicate old age; if you notice some signs you are unsure about, consult your vet immediately.