Boston Terrier vs Jack Russell

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Boston Terrier and Jack Russel are two of the most popular dog breeds. This makes it very difficult for dog lovers to choose between the two. If you are currently considering either, here is an overview of Boston Terrier vs Jack Russell to help you make an informed decision. 

Boston Terrier vs Jack Russell: General Overview

In this overview, I will give you an in-depth look at the characteristics of both Jack Russells and Boston Terriers. I will also show you the similarities they share, and the differences between them. Additionally, you will get to know why you might need each dog and everything they need from you as a dog parent.

Jack Russell lying down

Boston Terrier

According to the American Kennel Club, the Boston Terrier was the 21st most popular dog breed in 2019. This is no surprise since the ‘American Gentleman’ is one of the most beloved dogs in the pet industry. It wins many hearts thanks to its friendly nature, high intelligence, and relative ease in training.

Boston Terriers have a life expectancy of 11 to 13 years. Therefore, they make great companions for more than a decade. If you take very good care of them, these small-bodied dogs can live up to 18 years. The major concern is their short nose which makes them prone to respiratory problems.

Though small-sized, the Boston Terrier is muscular and sturdy. Its ears are huge in comparison to the body and they stand erect. They also have large, adorable eyes that make them the perfect pet companion. 

Jack Russell

Also known as the Parson Russell Terrier, the Jack Russell came from England in the early 1980s and it remains an active dog breed. Originally, Jack Russells were fox hunters, which explains their aggressiveness and high energy. 

That also explains how it can intimidate a prey with powerful barks, yet refusing to kill it. As a result, this energetic dog makes for an impressive watchdog. You will need all the strength within you to train and entertain the stubborn Terrier for all its 13 to 16-year life.  

In terms of appearance, it has button ears that fold forward and a tail that you can dock to a few inches. A Jack Russell can easily chase prey on foot, thanks to its legs being longer in comparison to other Terriers.

Read up on the best dog food for Jack Russells.

Boston Terrier vs Jack Russell: Similarities and Differences 

Now that you know a little bit about both dog breeds, let’s go deeper and compare their strengths, point out any issues that might arise with either breed, and help you figure out which one fits your home best. 

Boston Terrier with a trainer


While these two breeds have opposite temperaments, they have some similarities. These include:

  • Both are purebred: Both the Boston Terriers and Jack Russells are pure breeds that have been in existence since the 1980s. The Boston Terrier resulted from cross-breeding an English Bulldog and a White English Terrier. Jack Russells are named after Reverend John Russel who is said to have bred them. Although it is not exactly known which dogs he cross-bred, most speculations center around Bull Terriers and Beagles.
  • Both are small-sized: Both pups have very small bodies. A Boston Terrier weighs about 10 to 25 pounds and stands at around 15-17 inches. On the other hand, a Jack Russel weighs about 14.5 pounds and towers a little over 8 to 15 inches.
  • Both are recognized by the American Kennel Club: The American Kennel Club recognized the Jack Russell as a Terrier breed in 2012 while they officially recognized the Boston Terrier as a non-sporting breed back in 1893.
  • Both are high-energy Dogs: If there is something you can bet on is that the two are energy mines. They love playing around and having something to do most of the time.
  • Both are hypoallergenic: This means that they do not cause allergic reactions and are, therefore, good choices for people who are allergic to dogs.


Though the two have a lot of similarities, they have a few differences as well. Let’s go over a few of them below: 

  • Training: While both pups have a lot of energy and a fair share of stubbornness, the Boston Terrier is simpler to train. In contrast, a Russell is very hard to train, you need to put your foot down hard as the Alpha. This is difficult for a novice owner.
  • Origin: Boston Terriers are from the USA while Jack Russells are from England.
  • Coat: A Boston Terrier has a smooth, thin coat with bold white markings that make it look like it’s wearing a tuxedo. A Jack has a rough double coat that is mostly white with tan, black or tan-and-black markings.
  • Friendliness: Generally, Boston Terriers are friendlier to people, other dogs, and cats. A Jack Russell might be aggressive to kids, and mostly not friendly to other canines and cats.
  • Living space: While a Boston can comfortably live in an apartment, a Jack Russell requires more space.
Jack Russell surrounded by leaves

Major Distinguishing Factor

The major distinguishing factor is that a Boston Terrier is a companion dog while a Jack Russell is a fierce hunting dog. The Boston Terrier is more friendly to kids, strangers, other dogs, and pets. It barely barks and can stay indoors without any problem.

A Jack Russell on the other hand is not as friendly, or an indoors kind of dog. 

When to Get a Boston Terrier

I recommend that you get a Boston Terrier if: 

  • You are looking for a pup that can stay indoors most of the day. 
  • You have kids or a cat. A Boston Terrier will be a better fit since it is friendlier to both. 
  • You have limited space, like an apartment, since they are apartment-friendly.
  • Neither you nor anyone you live with is allergic to dogs

When to Get a Jack Russell

Alternatively, go for the Parson Russell Terrier if:

  • You are sporty at heart because Jack Russell is a brilliant hunting dog
  • You are looking for a small-sized watchdog. This breed fits that work description
  • You want a weatherproof dog. Its rough coat makes it resistant to weather conditions
  • You prefer a tough dog to train for pride’s sake, get yourself this stubborn pup. You will love the challenge. 

Final Verdict

So, which dog should you get? I find the Boston Terrier to be an all-around dog and a great fit for most people. It’s gentle, intelligent, and eager to learn. However, if you are the athletic type and need a dog that doesn’t run out of energy, the Jack Russel should be a great pick. 

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