Patterdale vs Jack Russell 

In the battle of the terriers, which would you choose?

Both Patterdale’s and Jack Russell’s are ‘typical’ terriers.  So, let’s have a quick look at their similarities and differences.

Patterdale vs Jack Russell – what were they bred for?

Both Patterdale terriers and Jack Russell Terriers were originally bred and developed to go to ground to flush out foxes.  Both have reputations as great little hunters and vermin dispatchers.

Size and Appearance

Patterdale Terriers are athletic longer-legged terriers and come in at between 25-38cm 10-15″ and are in proportion and athletic in appearance.

Jack Russell Terriers are smaller, short-legged and come in at between 20-30cm 8-11.5”.  The Jack Russell height to length ratio will often see them appearing a little long in the back compared to their height. However, they are still medium length and should not appear Dachshund like. Height wise, they are one of the smaller terrier types being shorter-legged than Patterdales and Parson Russell Terriers and more athletic in appearance than Cairn terriers.  Originally Parson Russells and Jack Russells were considered the same breed; however that changed when the kennel club created a breed standard based on the long-legged version. The Jack Russell remaining the shorted legged variety and they now also have a kennel club breed standard.


Patterdale Terriers weigh approximately 5kg-10kg, but the main thing is that they are in proportion and athletic in appearance.

Trigger Stacking in Dogs
An alert and active Patterdale terrier

Jack Russell’s also weigh from approximately 5kg to around 9kg. Smaller Jack Russell’s often look heavier in appearance than Patterdale Terriers, with a deeper chest and rounder girth. 


Black is the dominant gene for Patterdale Terriers, although you will also see them in chocolate, red and brown.   It is not necessary, but not unusual, for a Patterdale to have a little white on their chest and feet.  More about Patterdale Colours

Jack Russell’s, on the other hand, are usually but not always primarily white with another colour or colours.  They come in white and tan, white and brown, white and black, white and lemon, tricolour.  Some are mainly or even all brown, brown and black or brown with some white; however, these colours are not recognised by the Kennel Club. 

Coat Type

Patterdales and Jack Russells both come in smooth, broken and rough-coated versions. However, you are more likely to come across a rough-coated Patterdale than a rough-coated Jack Russell.

Temperament & Personality

To be honest, most of the time, a Jack Russell terrier will win against any other breed for personality.  To generalise, they are bright, vivacious, full of mischief, fun-loving, lively, cheeky and intelligent.  Oh, and feisty, it’s not unusual to see a little Jack Russell terrier wanting to take on a much larger breed of dog!

Patterdales are intelligent, confident, independent and lively.

Both are loyal and affectionate companions who will protect their human family at any cost.  Both have a strong prey drive and are highly trainable to be safe around livestock.  Both come from a background of being bred to hunt foxes and vermin such as rats and mice, and both take their hunting genes very seriously.  Of the two, the Patterdale is the most likely to follow a scent trail. However, the Jack Russell is more likely to give voice when they ordain to follow a trail, or rather smell a rat and take a shortcut, yapping joyfully as they do so. 


Patterdales are bred to be active and they enjoy plenty of fresh air and exercise.  They benefit from at least two 30 minutes walks a day, plus free running time and something to occupy their minds.

Jack Russells, on the other hand, although also originally bred to be active, are more likely to accept less exercise as long as they can snuggle down with you or with a nice chewy.  This may be because the smaller Jack Russells have also frequently been lapdogs and companion pets and so may have developed that trait or more likely have in the past being crossed with amiable toy breeds to keep the size small.  That said, Patterdales love to spend time with their families too and are just as likely to want to snuggle with you.

Family Pet

Jack Russells often have a reputation of being snappy.  Well trained Jack Russells, just the same as well trained Patterdales, will not be snappy or possessive of toys if the correct, careful training has been put into place.  Because both are originally bred for hunting and let’s be honest, as little killing machines, you must be confident in your dog’s socialisation and training for them to mix with unknown children.  Both will be loving, loyal companions for family children with the correct training and terrier savvy kids.

Jack Russell Barking
An excited Jack Russell who just wants to play!

Fun and Games

Patterdales love to be active, so they make a great choice to take running, or to do agility, flyball or canicross.  They will keep up and have endless stamina.

Jack Russells, on the other hand, love to be with their people and, given the choice, will follow you around all day long, but with their little legs, they are not an ideal choice if you want a dog to take on your regular 5K runs. They will take to agility and flyball if they WANT to but are better suited to slower or shorter bursts of activity.

Patterdale vs Jack Russell  – What’s the Verdict?

Well, I hope this has helped you decide on the Patterdale vs Jack Russell?  There is not really much to choose between the athletic Patterdale and the diminutive Jack Russell.  Although, as you can see from above, there are areas where one or other excels above the other terrier breed.  

2 thoughts on “Patterdale vs Jack Russell ”

  1. Patterdales are hard as nails, PRT’s are as well, don’t try to choose between two little working style killing machines, get one of each – PRT are more likely to try to please their owner and the human connection is stronger, a Patterdale is self serving – always!! Just be prepared for them to go to ground. They are both amazingly good fun if you like a naughty terrier. The JRT doesn’t even come close and there is no comparison. If you must compare a Patterdale to another like breed – try Jagd terrier, but be aware they are both hardcore working terriers, these are not pets, or for the faint hearted.

  2. I disagree with the above comment. I had a Jack Russell (parson x Staffie heritage down the line but more the main Staffie trait was more his face shape and markings, personally wise he was 100% Russell). I had him for 18 years and he kept up his energy and momentum til at least 16, it was til his last 8 months he slowed down. I know by 18 I had to accept he had more life behind him than ahead, it killed me but I knew I needed to think about life after him. I knew I would get another Jack Russell cross, I knew I’d get a puppy as I missed the things me and my first dog did when he was 10 week old ball of hyperactive mischievous, he had behaviour problems but with the help of a behavioural trainer and my ongoing commitment (the alternative was euthanasia but I would never let that happen) I dedicated my life to his training in the early years and it paid off, I turned my little Jack Russell terrorist into an award winning show dog who’s many rosettes hang proudly on the wall. I have ADHD myself so the more hyperactive the breed the better for me. In August me and Sammy (my first Jack) went to get some sleep for a couple hours, when I woke up Sammy was unresponsive and aged 18 laid next me, old age had finally caught up with Sammy, my little guy had been dead around 10 mins before I woke up. I knew even if I was awake nothing could be done. My world fell apart and unable to go on without a canine companion, 2 weeks later I welcomed 10 week old Chance into my life. This is what lead me to this site, you see I managed to find an almost lookalike of Sammy minus the staffie features. Instead the eyes are smaller and darker, he often spools, his snout his longer and his ears are set back slightly further and higher. Personality wise there’s no ounce of Staffie to mellow out the Russell, No! I am now the proud dog parent of a Jack Russell X Patterdale or PatterJack. I’m.very familiar with Patterdales, we have a family Patterdale, although he’s a pedigree and some of the craziness seems to have been watered down as he’s in a long line of family/companion patterdales opposed to workers. my PatterJack Chance may look like a Parson Russell, pure white but with Patterdale traits and facial features but even though he’s only half Patterdale, he has more Patterdale spirit alongside his craziness from the Jack Russell parent then some full Patterdales I’ve met. He was farm bred and at 4 months is walked 3 times a day with a park off the lead trip thrown in. I always knew when Sammys time was up I’d get another Jack Russell but a Jack cross, I never thought I’d own a half Jack half Patterdale but I’m so glad I do, The 2 best breeds combined and the being pretty unconventional, this mischievous, hyper, trickster, comedian yet loyal and loving breed is the absolute ideal breed for me 🙂


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