Can Two Jack Russell Terriers Live Together?

Jack Russell Terrier owners will know the love and joy these dogs bring into their home. There’s nothing better than coming home to a dog who loves you unconditionally. This may lead you to wonder if you can double down on that love with a second Jack Russell Terrier.

Two Jack Russell Terriers can definitely live together. It is better to choose Jack Russell Terriers of the opposite gender as this will reduce either dog’s need to dominate the other. Furthermore, ensuring each Jack Russell Terrier knows their place in the home also lessens dominate and aggressive behaviors. It is also important to ensure your living space is adequate and you have the time for a second Jack Russell Terrier.

Discussed in this article are some important things to consider before adopting a second Jack Russell Terrier.

Choosing a Jack Russell Terrier of the opposite gender increasing the chances of the two getting along

Generally speaking, you will reduce the chances of problems if you adopt a Jack Russell Terrier of the opposite gender to the one you already own. For example, if you own a male, it would be best to adopt a female. Male and female combinations tend to get along better than Jack Russell Terriers of the same gender.


Because they don’t have to assert themselves in the pecking order. Jack Russell Terriers of the same gender will seek to be the dominant, or alpha, in the pack, which can lead to conflicts and, sometimes, vicious fights. There is the potential that these conflicts could change both dogs’ personalities. For instance, one may become excessively dominant, while the other may become overly submissive.

Having one of each gender, means the male can continue being the alpha for the boys, and the female gets to be alpha of the girls.

If both Jack Russell Terriers have been desexed, there’s an even higher chance the two dogs will get along well and for obvious reasons if you are not wanting to breed, it is best to have dogs of opposite genders desexed. 

There are instances where two Jack Russell Terriers of the same gender (two males or two females) get along fabulously in a home, and there are cases where a male and female pairing has gone horribly wrong. Some experts suggest that if the second dog is much younger than your current one, it is possible for two Jack Russell Terriers of the same gender can live together quite amicably.

While it is generally better to have a male and female living together, there is no guaranteed of a smooth transition. There can be squabbles, especially if an older Jack Russell Terrier feels threatened by a new dog. They will either develop an uneasy peace or become the best of friends.

How well do Jack Russell Terriers share their living space?

Jack Russell Terriers tend to be very protective of their owners, which makes them great guard dogs. However, their territorial nature can impact on how well they take to accepting the addition of another Jack Russell Terrier.

Any perceived threat towards a Jack Russell Terrier’s territory, like the addition of a new dog, can be highly unwelcomed and in response they could become aggressive and seek to dominate.

This is amplified when the Jack Russell Terrier is uncertain of their pack hierarchy. Jack Russell Terriers are pack animals and in the wild they have a pecking order. The top dog is the leader and possesses the most power. They make the decisions and the other dogs in the pack know their place in the pecking order.

A Jack Russell Terrier must know their place in the family unit and all members of the family should have leadership roles. This doesn’t mean punishment for undesirable behaviors, but instead requires focusing positive reinforcement.

Introducing a new Jack Russell Terrier into the household where the existing dog believes they are the leader, could lead to serious problems as they attempt to sort it out themselves. Once your Jack Russell Terrier knows who the leader of their pack is, they tend to handle other dogs quite well. The role of gender can impact this as mentioned above.                                                

Ensuring your Jack Russell Terrier is socialized and well trained from a young age is another important step in avoiding aggression down the track. Enrolling in a Puppy Preschool program is a great way for your Jack Russell Terrier to meet other dogs in a controlled environment. It is also a great place to seek help if you have identified any troublesome behaviors.

However, don’t despair if your Jack Russell Terrier is older and you are concerned they may not like another dog in their territory. Taking your Jack Russell Terrier to a dog park to interact with other dogs on a regular basis is a great way to begin getting them used to other dogs.

It is important not to rush your Jack Russell Terrier, instead try slowly introducing them to environments and situations where they may be uncomfortable by providing treats and rewards. Monitor their interactions with other dogs and positively reinforce the good behaviors.

This process will enable your Jack Russell Terrier to build up a positive association with other dogs before adopting a second Jack Russell Terrier.

Do you have to space and the time for another Jack Russell Terrier?

Jack Russell Terriers have seemingly endless energy! So, this will have a big impact on your decision and you probably need to ask yourself the following questions…

Is my living situation set up for another highly energetic dog?

Do I have the time to train and exercise another dog?

If the answer is yes to either one of these questions, then I say go for it!

But…if the answer is no, then you may need to consider how you could adapt your lifestyle before adopting a second Jack Russell Terrier.

Jack Russell Terriers are energetic dogs and need a lot of exercise, so living in an apartment, for example, would require some forward planning. It is important that these dogs are exercised daily, or they may become bored which could lead them to seek out mischief or become destructive around the home. Perhaps there is a dog park nearby that you could regularly visit, or you may enjoy some high energy activities together like running.

Jack Russell Terriers are hunting dogs and because of their hunting instinct, they have the urge to explore, resulting in a tendency to wander. Having a second Jack Russell Terrier increases the changes of them wandering as they will encourage each other to seek and explore. Training cannot eliminate the hunting instinct from the Jack Russell Terrier. The best way to remedy this is to have a secure space for them where they cannot dig out of or jump over.

It is also important to consider other pets you may own. This dog instinctively sees the family cat or hamster as prey and having a second Jack Russell Terrier increases the changes of this kind of behavior. Measures like separate or secure living spaces or cages need to be take the ensure all pets are safe.

On a positive note, once settled in, two Jack Russell Terriers will keep each other company when you’re at work, school, or out running errands. If your Jack Russell Terrier struggles with separation anxiety, a second dog can be there as an emotional support offering the attention they need to stay calm, cool, and collected. Plus, they’ll have a new playmate to focus on!

These are some logistics of owning a second Jack Russell Terrier that you should consider

It is important to feed Jack Russell Terriers separately. This will eliminate one Jack Russell Terrier dominating the other and eating all the food. Once they have finished eating, they can be reunited and any remaining food should be removed from shared spaces. This will ensure there are no arguments over food.

The good news is owning a second Jack Russell Terrier can double the fun without doubling your finances. In fact, having two Jack Russell Terriers at the same time doesn’t cost much more than having one.

Here’s why…

Jack Russell Terriers can share many of their things, including beds, bags of food, toys, grooming products, water bowls and treats. 

It is important to note that there are costs involved for regular immunizations and check-ups and puppies may require different food until they are ready for adult food. Talk to your vet about whether or not your new Jack Russell Terrier can share food with your existing dog. 

How do I introduce a second Jack Russell Terrier into my home?

Consider this…

How would you feel if someone came to your house, slept in your bed, ate your food, and got more attention from your family members that you? I’m guessing you wouldn’t be happy and may even resent that person!

This is what can happen if steps aren’t taken to smooth the transition when introducing a new Jack Russell to your existing one.

A great way to begin this process is to get your existing Jack Russell Terrier familiar with the new dog’s smell before the initial meeting. This can be done by letting your Jack Russell Terrier sniff a towel or a stuffed animal that they new dog has been using. Ensure you positively reinforce their interest in this item using hugs, pats, treats etc.

One the day of the introduction, it is best to remove all toys and items that could cause fights and as mentioned above, feed them in separately. Once they begin accepting each other and are no longer competing for your love, you can bring their toys back, however, be prepared because this could take some time.

Ensure that you give your existing Jack Russell Terrier just as much attention and affection to avoid them feeling left out, resentful, or alone. Introducing a new Jack Russell Terrier needs to be done gradually to allow both dogs to become comfortable with each other.

If there is some hostility or uncertainty, it can be a good idea to let them work it out for themselves without jumping in too soon. Just remember to intervene if things become too serious and separate them until they are calm before trying again. This gives them a change to sort out any differences early on.

Remember Jack Russell Terriers are a pack animal, so the introduction of a new member to the pack is ultimately up to the pack leader (you), and by slowly introducing the new dog, you allow for them to know the pack rules and hierarchy.

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