How Do You Describe a Jack Russell Terrier Coat Pattern?

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Describing a dog breed can be a difficult task, and describing the coat pattern can be equally challenging, if not more difficult. JRTs have a unique variation that has no two dogs having the same coat. So how do you describe the Jack Russell terrier coat pattern?

How Do You Describe the Jack Russell Terrier Coat Pattern?

You can describe a Jack Russel Terriers coat pattern as white or having a combination of white with patches of either black, tan, brown, lemon, or chestnut. These non-white patches are often around the eye, ear, mask, saddle, or tail.

There are endless ways for how this breed may look when it comes to colors. However, some colors are more common, and breeders tend to have some traits that are found more often throughout the species.

An image of a Jack Russell terrier with coat pattern

Combination of Colors That Make Up a JRT’s Coat Pattern

Two types of melanin pigment determine hair color in these dogs. They include:

  • Eumelanin pigment that is responsible for black and brown pigment
  • Pheomelanin pigment that is responsible for red and yellow pigment

Jack Russells have unique genes that interact with melanin producing the varying pigments of black, brown, yellow, and red that decorate their white fur coat on different parts of their body. Common variations of fur coat color on the dog include:


White Jack Russells are rare as most white puppies will develop color patches as they grow. Taking your white ‘Jackie’ for veterinary checkups is often essential because white Russells have a higher chance of developing congenital deafness.


These Russels have a combination of white, brown, black, and tan patches on their coat. Most of the dog’s body is predominantly white with irregular patches of black, brown, and tan on their face, saddle, or tail.

Black and White

The unique fact about black and white Russell terriers is that they are not exclusively black and white. They will look black and white; however, they have mixes of tan and brown color bases that are not easy to see under their fur coat.

Red and White

These Jack Russels have a red base with big patches of white fur. It gives the impression that they are predominantly white while, in actuality, they have a red-brown base.

Chestnut and White

Jack Russell Terrier’s genes in this combination dilute the Eumelanin black pigment responsible for the black color. This dilution results in a white dog with dark brown patches

Tan and White

When Russell Terriers’s genes dilute the Pheomelanin red pigment, it produces a tan color. This genetic effect leaves the dog white with tan patches on the body, especially on the back of the ears and cheeks.

Lemon and White 

Terriers with this color pattern are generally white with small patches of lemon-yellow color. These lemon patches preoccupy the muzzles and saddle of the dog’s body.

A tri-colored Jack Russell terrier puppy

Effect of Jack Russell Terriers Fur Types on Its Coat Pattern

The fur type of a dog can affect how you will see the color of your dog’s coat. A Jack Russell Terrier can have three coat types. Jack Terriers can have a:

  • Smooth Coat – A thin, smooth layer of short fur measuring about 1cm-1.5cm in height.
  • Rough Coat – A dense layer of long shaggy fur measuring up to 10cm long.
  • Broken Coat – A combination of a smooth and rough coat where some areas of the dog’s body have short fur while some regions are denser and more shaggy.

Small dot-like patches of black or brown color on a rough coat Jack Russell Terrier called tickings might not be visible with a thick fur coat. A rough fur coat can result in the Russell Terrier’s white fur covering patches of colored areas affecting its appearance.

Related Questions

Why Do My Jack Russell Terrier Have Spots?

Most Russell Terriers have spots of color on their primarily white coat. It is usual for white Jack Russell puppies to develop spots of color as they grow.

What Is a Rough Coat Jack Russell Terrier?

A rough coat Russell Terrier, also called the Parson Russell Terrier, is a dog with a double coat of thick, shaggy fur. Rough coat Jack Russells also have longer hair than their smooth-coated counterparts and have excess hair on their head, legs, face, and body.

What Are the Markings of a Jack Russell Terrier?

The modern ‘Jackie’ is predominantly white with patches of brown, red, tan, and black markings. These colors may vary in intensity depending on how much the dog’s genes dilute these patch colors.


Jack Russell Terriers are tenacious, athletic, and very friendly. Their various coat color and fur options make them even more attractive and unique to each pet owner. Brush your Russell Terriers coat at least every week to ensure it is bug-free to maintain its beautiful, uniquely eccentric coat.