Jack Russell vs Beagle

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If looking for a family dog and a hunting companion that is loyal and affectionate, you might wonder whether to go for the Jack Russell or the Beagle. Although they share similarities due to their hunting instinct, the following Jack Russell vs Beagle comparison reveals some differences.

Jack Russell vs Beagle General Overview

Beagles and Jack Russells are popular companion dogs originally developed for hunting in Europe. The two breeds have their ancestry from the Canidae family, making them have square-shaped bodies.

Although they differ in temperament and personality traits, they are both friendly and loyal to their family members.

White and brown dog in the forest

Jack Russell Overview

Jack Russells were developed in the 19th century to help flush out foxes from their dens in England. They share the same ancestry as Fox Terriers, making them have a strong prey drive.

They are relatively small dogs with a low center of gravity, making them seem stable when running and chasing prey. Despite their small sizes, they are energetic dogs and require mental and physical stimulation.

Beagle Overview

Although there is no reliable documentation regarding the ancestry of Beagles, it is believed they were developed way back in the 5th century as rabbit hunting dogs in Greece.

However, the modern Beagle was bred around the 16th century in England, Italy, Greece, and France, sharing the same ancestry as Foxhound and Southern hounds. They were imported into the US in the 1870s by General Richard Rowett from Illinois.

Comparing Jack Russell and Beagle

Since both Jack Russells and Beagle were originally developed as hunting dogs, they share a lot in their exercise requirements and instinctive intelligence. However, these are breeds with different gene combinations, and you can expect them to have differences in their temperament and physical appearance attributes.


Jack Russells and Beagles share a lot in how they play with interactive toys and how they demonstrate their instinctive intelligence. The strong prey drive in these two breeds makes them have the following similarities.

  • Both dog breeds are double-coated with thick coats that help them keep warm during winter
  • Both Beagles and smooth-coated Jack Russells are moderate to heavy shedders. However, the shedding level of JRTs with wiry coats is much lower
  • Although both dog breeds are intelligent, they can be challenging to train due to their stubbornness and unwillingness to follow commands
  • Considering that both dogs were initially bred for hunting, they have good vocals and tend to bark a lot
  • Both dog breeds are highly energetic and need intense exercises to help use the excessive energy level. Lack of enough exercise makes them develop destructive behaviors such as excessive barking and eating furniture
  • The hunting instinct in these dog breeds makes them curious, and they can wander and get lost if you leave them without a leash
  • Both breeds are loyal to their family members and can develop separation anxiety if left alone for too long


Keeping in mind that Jack Russell and Beagles have different ancestry histories, they have different gene combinations, resulting in the following personality and physical appearance attribute differences.

Coat Type

One of the notable differences between a Jack Russell and a Beagle is the coat texture. JRTs can have three different coat types: rough coat, broken coat, or smooth coat. The hair of a rough coat is usually longer than 1 inch and grows in varying directions, giving the dog a wiry appearance.

The hair of a smooth coat is short and tends to grow in one direction. Typically, the smooth coat has the highest shedding level in JRTs. The broken coat is medium, combining the attributes of a smooth coat and a rough coat.

On the other hand, Beagles only have a smooth coat, which is typically short, with the hair growing in one direction. This makes the coat appearance and texture of Beagles consistent across the breed.

Brown and white dog lying on the bed

Coat Color

JRTs can have three different color combinations of white, brown, tan, or white, black, and tan. Usually, white is the predominant color in JRTs, with the other colors distributed as patterns or markings in varying proportions.

On the other hand, Beagles are multi-colored and can come in a wide range of color variations. However, the most common colors are tan, red, white, and black. Unlike JRTs, the inconsistency of color variations in Beagles makes it more challenging to identify them through their coat color.


Although both JRTs and Beagles were originally bred for hunting and have strong hunting instincts, they significantly differ in their temperament and how they relate with intruders and strangers. JRTs are possessive, protective, and territorial and will want to dominate.

This nature makes them aggressive towards strangers, other pets, and even children who provoke them. Their possessive nature also makes them unwilling to share their place and food with other pets. It is not uncommon for JRTs to be aggressive against their owners if they try taking their toys away.

On the other hand, Beagles are social and friendly, even around small children. They are more accommodative and won’t be aggressive against strangers and other pets unless provoked. Keep in mind that Beagles can also be aggressive due to pain or fear.

Life expectancy

Although the life expectancy depends on ancestral history, health condition, diet, and overall lifestyle, JRTs have a longer life expectancy than Beagles. Under the same conditions, JRTs have a life expectancy of 13 to 16 years, while the life expectancy of Beagles range from 12 to 15 years.

Major Distinguishing Factor 

The major distinguishing factor between Jack Russells and Beagles is the size. JRTs are fairly small dogs with a standing height of 10 to 15 inches and weigh around 13 to 17 pounds. 3-month-old JRT puppies weigh around 6 to 8 pounds and reach maturity after 12 months.

On the other hand, Beagles are medium dogs, heavier and larger than JRTs. On average, Beagles have a standing height of 14 to 16 inches and weigh 20 to 30 pounds. 2-month-old Beagle puppies weigh about 7 pounds and mature after around 18 months.

White and brown dog with red harness

When to Adopt a Jack Russell

Considering that JRTs are territorial and aggressive towards strangers and intruders, they can be a good choice for a watchdog. Their small sizes make them good choices for lap dogs and camping companions when traveling by car.

Additionally, the rough-coated JRTs can be a good option for people suffering from dog allergies due to their low level of shedding.

When to Adopt a Beagle

Beagles’ friendly and social nature makes them a good choice for people with small children and frequent visitors. Since they can relate well with other people and pets without much training, they are suitable for new dog owners and people with other pets.

Unlike JRTs, their bigger sizes make them a better choice for people looking for a hunting companion as they can engage in more rigorous exercise without much exhaustion.

Which Dog Is Better?

The small size of a JRT makes it a better choice for a lapdog and traveling companion. Its personality traits make it vocal and bark when it sees or hears a stranger, making it a good watchdog for alerting you when there are intruders or strangers.

However, if you have small children in your home or you are a new dog owner, and you don’t know how to control the aggression of JRTs, it’s advisable to go for a Beagle.


Although JRTs and Beagles are bred from different ancestries, they’re both loyal and friendly to their family members, making them a good option for a home pet.

The Jack Russell vs Beagle comparison above highlights the key temperament and physical appearance differences, helping you determine which breed suits you best.