What Is the Average Jack Russell Terrier Litter Size?

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It’s joyous and exciting to have a pregnant Jack Russell Terrier pet. Knowing the litter size of your dog can help you prepare for how you will care for the soon-to-be-born pups. So, what is the average Jack Russell Terrier litter size?

What Is the Average Jack Russell Terrier Litter Size?

The average Jack Russell Terrier litter size is six puppies. The dog’s first litter is usually smaller and can vary from 5-6 puppies. Depending on the size, age, and health condition, your Jack Russell Terrier may have 8-10 puppies or a maximum of 12 puppies a litter.

Graphic image of 6 Jack Russells with a text explaining that the average litter size for Jack Russell Terriers is 6 puppies

Looking at the past litters of your bitch or your bitch’s mother can help estimate the number of puppies your dog will have. Breeding your Russell Terrier with a healthy male plays a considerable role in the litter size, health, and quality of your puppies.

Choose A Healthy Male Dog To Mate with Your Jack Russel Terrier

Without keen breeding, your newborn puppies may be predisposed to hereditary health problems from the parent Terriers. For a larger healthy litter size, check for the following before breeding your Russell Terrier:

  • Observe if the male Russell Terrier has the behavioral and physical characteristics you desire in your litter.
  • Check the age, pedigree, and mating history. You can get this information from your breeder.
  • Analyze the lineage of both parents and screen them for hereditary diseases or syndromes.
  • Perform a physical health check for health concerns like hair loss, dandruff, deafness, rotten teeth, and physical abnormalities on both parent dogs.

An easy way of ensuring ethical breeding is by seeking professional breeding services. Having professional breeders mate your bitch with a proper male will make registering all the newborn puppies easier. Puppies with papers are beneficial when showing potential buyers how you bred each puppy properly.

Sunkissed photo of a female JRT

Heat Cycle of Female Jack Russell Terriers

Female Russell Terriers have two heat cycles per calendar year. These heat cycles each last up to 21 days. For a good quality litter, you should mate your Russell between the 11th-13th day of the heat cycle, after your Russell has had a red, light-red, and colorless discharge prior.

It is advisable to mate your Terrier with a male that is 1-7 years old. The optimum age at which your female Jack Russel can safely give birth to a healthy litter is 1-6 years old.

Length of The Gestation Period of A Jack Russell Terrier

Fertilization occurs five days after mating. The average pregnancy time for a Jack is two months, around 58-63 days. It is tricky to notice signs of pregnancy in the first term; however, with time, evident signs of pregnancy begin to show after successful mating.

Preparation To Birth Your Jack Russell Terrier

Most dogs can naturally give birth on their own without any difficulties. Regardless, it’s advisable to prepare and have easy access to some of these items if you want to help out your dog as it gives birth at home:

JRT dog standing on the grassland
  • Antiseptic to sanitize your hands prior.
  • Adequate clean napkins to catch the slippery puppies.
  • Clean towels to wipe the amniotic sheath off the puppies as they are born to avoid hypothermia. The mother may be too tired from a significant litter birth to bite and lick it off by herself.
  • A heating pad to warm the newborn puppies if the mother has a large litter and is struggling to keep them warm.
  • Sanitized scissors and a silk thread to cut and tie the umbilical cord an inch away from the puppy’s abdomen.
  • Emergency contact details of your veterinarian.

Signs of Birth and Labor Duration In Jack Russell Terriers

You may notice some of these behavioral signs in your Terrier when it is ready to give birth:

  • Restlessness
  • Eating less
  • Panting
  • Hiding away and nesting around where she wants to deliver the puppies
  • Vaginal discharge and a few cases of vomiting
  • Body temperature drops to 37°C around 48 hours before delivery.

The labor time of your dog can last 12-24 hours maximum. Jacks typically deliver one puppy within 15-30 minutes intervals, which can stretch to an hour towards the end of the birth as the dog gets tired of pushing.

Dog slightly looking up

Related Questions

Other questions you may have are answered below. 

What Is the Lifespan of a Jack Russell?

The average lifespan of a Jack Russell is 13-16 years. If it is not well taken care of, it may become sick and live for a shorter time compared to one that is well taken care of.

What Other Breed Can You Breed With a Jack Russell Terrier?

You can breed a Jack Russell with a poodle, a Pomeranian, a Chihuahua, a Shih Tzu and a Dachshund, and many more dog breeds. You must find out from a breeder if you can be able to breed your JRT with another dog breed.


In a litter of Jack Russell Terriers, you may expect between 6 and 10 puppies, or as many as 12 puppies, depending on your dog’s size, age, and health. For most JRT owners, the size of their litter is not important. What is crucial is that the puppies are healthy and have no complications during labor.