Do Labradors & Jack Russells Get On Well? (9 Factors Examined!)

By Benjamin Tash

It’s no surprise that Jack Russells and Labradors are among the most popular breeds in the world, given their extremely loving and playful nature.

There are subtle differences between the two breeds that you need to be aware of if you’d like to settle both of them together.

Here’s whether or not Labradors get on well with a Jack Russell Terrier: 

Jack Russells and Labradors share many similar and nuanced traits that  complement each other and they are generally compatible for one another. Although both breeds can get along with each other with good socialization, their compatibility depends on many factors including their size, temperament, gender and age.

Before you decide to settle these two breeds together, be sure to read on for more information and tips to avoid any unnecessary confusions.

It is important to examine the compatibility of their breeds from a range of factors in order to confirm the camaraderie between lab and dachshunds for harmonious homes. We’ll be discussing the following factors:

  • Breed history
  • Friendliness
  • Level of devotion & Possessiveness
  • Prey drive
  • Intellect and Trainability

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Breed History

These labradors are well-known for their amazing skills in water, including their ability to dive that went back as far as the mid 19th century. Due to their natural aptitude for water, these labradors are proficient in waterfowl hunting. Labs could also make excellent bird hunting dogs if they are properly trained.

Jack Russell terriers were bred in the mid-1800s to hunt. Their hunt instincts were based primarily on flushing foxes from their dens where they worked along with the hound dogs in order to capture their prey. They are versatile terriers that have been known to hunt in the quarries of badgers, raccoons, and other areas. Hence, they make excellent work dogs to this day.

Both of these breeds were bred together to hunt in packs. Because of this, they have excellent social skills and can be trained to get along with other dogs under the right circumstances and with proper training. 

Read also: Do Labs & Goldendoodles Get Along Well? (A Complete Guide)

Friendliness

Labradors have a reputation for being friendly with everyone. It’s in their genes to have a propensity to be loving, sweet and affectionate. Because of how easy-going and laid back Labradors can be, they are a popular choice for new owners.

Labs are socially oriented and they are highly adaptable in all circumstances. As their genes are predisposed for socialization with dogs and humans, any incompatibility among one another is quite rare.

Jack Russells, however, are not as friendly to strangers as labs are. These terriers do have an innate sense to please people and in turn seek their approval but that is always the case with their parent owners. Jack Russells may also initially seem standoffish with strangers due to their natural proclivity to independence. 

These terrier dogs usually are aggressive to other dog breeds of a different size thanks to their fearless nature. But this negative tendencies can be corrected with proper training and socialization early on. 

Also, Jack Russells aren’t as adaptable as labradors are in terms of sociability and it may take some time for them to be accustomed to changes.

However it's advisable to keep young children away from the Jack Russells breed as they are extremely energetic, tenacious and rambunctious. These tendencies may prove too much to handle for young children or a toddler; not to mention how these terriers are also infamous for their habit of bouncing and jumping onto people.

Read also: Are Labradors Better In Pairs? (Or With A Different Breed?)

Loyalty

Jack Russells as well as Labradors are extremely loyal to their owners because they are affectionate and natural pleasers by nature. With their easy bonding abilities and bubbly tendencies, they’re devoted to their owners.That alone is what makes these two breeds compatible for each other.

Though they may appear to be devoted to every family member on the surface, both breeds tend to have a favorite person they spend the most time with.

However, Labradors’ casual interactions with strangers and their over-friendliness should not be taken as a sign of dissatisfaction. That is because Labradors are social butterflies by nature. After all, they will only obey your orders and stay by your side.

Terriers are high-energy dogs, and they will show their affection by following you around, often with excessive cuddles. These terriers could also be possessive of their owner if they were not properly trained.

These two breeds will often see one another as a member of their pack, and they will then be loyal to one other and to the whole family. This will ensure that these two breeds get along well over the long term.

Related Article: Why Are Labradors So Loyal? (Explained)

Prey Drive 

Jack Russell Terriers have an overall higher prey drive than a labrador does. This is because these terrier dogs are typically line bred as hunters for generations, coupled with their intense energy levels. These terriers are also infamous for their natural inclination to chase any smaller animals or animals that resembles their preys. 

Labradors on the other hand have a much lower prey drive than a terrier does because the latter hunting instincts are deeply embedded in their genes and they are born to hunt, so to speak. Unlike a labrador who may have a relatively dormant high prey drive but they require an extensive training to be efficient in hunting.

These polarizing characteristics are generally a perfect match for both Labs and Jack Russells as the latter wouldn’t typically run after a bigger dog despite their intense prey drive. Also, both of these breeds won’t fight each other for dominance as they have complementary prey drives.

You might also be interested in Do Labs & Chihuahuas Get Along Well? (A Complete Guide)

Training and Intelligence

Labs are typically smarter and more sharper than Dachshunds due to their inherent instinctual intelligence, which is dependent upon obedience as well as their remarkable adaptability skills.

Jack Russells, on the other hand, are known for being extremely stubborn and hardheaded. Because of their stubbornness, Jack Russells have a lower intelligence level than a lab which explains why their poor trainability record.Training these terriers are no joke either. 

Their strong willful nature and energetic temperament are usually a huge challenge to parent owners as these terriers do not stand boredom nor do they appreciate a mundane routine. They also do have a knack for thinking independently and aren’t as susceptible to adaptability as labs are. 

Hence why it can be hard to obedience-train these terriers.

Thus, their breed intelligence levels are complementary and conducive for a harmonious home. The last thing you'll ever want is two highly intelligent dogs trying to constantly outsmart one another for attention and treats. With proper training and socialization of the terrier with an existing labrador, coupled with patience; they will get along just fine.

You might also be interested in Why Are Labradors So Goofy? (8 Goofy
Labrador Behaviors Explained)

After confirming each breed’s compatibility, it is important to examine their individual personalities and temperaments.

This is due to the fact that are outliers within a breed, and a dog may or may not bond well with other suitable breeds based on their:

  • Individual temperament
  • Gender of the breeds
  • Size
  • Age

I’ll also incorporate tips and useful guidelines in the factors mentioned above in order to equip you with the best knowledge possible before settling both Jack Russells and Labradors together. 

Individual Temperaments

Jack Russells are resistant to bonding with other dogs at first, especially if they are not used to dogs that differ in sizes. However, with proper socialization training and practice it is possible. These terriers are more comfortable with other breeds who share the same temperament and energy as them.

Labradors on the other hand are laid back and sociable with just about any breed thanks to their exceptional adaptability skill, and hence it wouldn’t be a hassle in training labs for a faster bonding. Labs are hands-down a neutral compatible breed for the most part.

It’s a good idea to pair up labs with terriers who have similar energy levels. Terriers thrive when they are stimulated and they can’t stand boredom. To keep them occupied, they need constant stimulation both mentally and physically.

Nevertheless, these breeds will bond quickly if they are properly socialized and well trained together with patience, rather than having mismatched energy levels where they wouldn’t enjoy each other’s presence.

If a Jack Russell’s exuberance knows no bounds despite training and socialization, it’s best to not pair it up with a calm and reserved labrador. 

Hence, it’s always crucial to never grow a Jack Russell puppy together with a puppy of a different breed as their individual temperaments may conflict with each other in their adulthood – more so with a terrier as they are well known to be highly energetic, and tenacious and are prone to aggression and jealousy when temparaments don’t match.

Gender

Labradors and Jack Russells of the opposite genders are your best bet in getting them on board with each other.

According to the experts, neutered breeds of the opposite sexes tend to get along much better compared to breeds of the same gender. A combination of two female would incite more violence compared to two males.

Two male dogs would undoubtedly lead to the formation of a stable pack order, establishing dominance and submissiveness among each other.

As a result of this, fights will always erupt if neither one decides to cave in, and it may permanently change their personalities. This is because your pooch may become more overtly dominant than it could have otherwise been, and the same applies vice versa in terms of submission. This may lead to distress over time.

On the other hand, two females would lead to a much more brutal fight that would sometimes lead to death. This is due to the fact that neither female dogs would usually compromise to form a stable pack order as female dogs are slightly independent in nature.

Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, and some female dogs have formed amicable life-long bonds with one another but exceptions aren’t the norm.

Size

As for Jack Russells, you’ll have to make sure they’re not intimidated by a bigger dog. But for the most part they’ll likely bark at larger dogs and are likely to be more protective due to their fearless nature. 

However, this can be toned down by a proper introduction. It also depends on their individual temparaments on whether or not they are able to co-exist together with a bigger dog like a lab.

Furthermore, it’s also important to keep in mind that the size disparity between a lab and a Jack Russell may render excessive playfulness very risky between the two. This is because Jack Russells are prone to deformity of the hip joint ball if they constantly get hit accidentally by much larger dog in their playtime together. 

Hence, it's crucial to supervise and keep a constant eye on their playtime together to make sure those terrier dogs don't get hurt. Also, be sure to train them to not jump off an elevated position or furnitures at home. This will actually save you a fortune from surgeries. 

An extra tip for taking care of both these terriers and labradors is to never overfeed them or otherwise they’ll be prone to their predisposed diseases —hip dysplasia in labradors and arthritis in Jack Russells respectively. 

Check out also: Why Are Labradors So Clumsy? (What To Do About It?)

Age

You should consider getting a second puppy, or a young dog, once your current dog is at least 2 ~ 3 years old. This is because this is the age when your existing pooch is physically mature and coincides well with the development of dog selectivity, reactivity and aggression.

This will allow you to know your dog’s temperament and make it easy for you to choose a companion which matches its breed and personality. You could also train another puppy to be compatible with your dog, which always works out well.

Hence, you shouldn’t get both labs and Jack Russells as puppies as they might grow up to be total opposites and not get along despite being close as puppies. They may also suffer from littermate syndrome if raised as puppies together.

Furthermore, it will be best for you to fully train and socialize your current dog in order for it to be well mannered and friendly for a second dog later.

Fully trained dogs are more likely to bond well with other dogs of different breeds, and plus they have many more good habits to teach young dogs. Besides, they can be a little less high maintenance if you ever decide to get a second puppy.

However, you should never introduce a second young dog/puppy to a current old dog that has past their prime years. Senior dogs and young puppies don’t get along well in the slightest. Those rambunctious pups will be too much for an old dog with health issues to handle.

How to introduce both Labradors and Jack Russells for the first time.

The first introduction is key to making sure both dogs are set up for success together. If you’re introducing two young dogs at the same time, you’ll want to make sure either one of your lab or a dachshund is properly leashed trained on your command.

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  • Set the first meeting outdoors out on an open neutral space with each dog on a leash (Amazon). 
  • Then walk your lab/Jack Russell towards the other dog on your command by making sure they are fixated on your attention and the other dog. You’ll have to let your dog know that you’re the boss and the meeting has to take place under your terms.
  • If your dog seems a little more feisty than it usual would without even taking heed of your commands, pull back on the leash and walk in the opposite direction to let it know you’re not allowing your pooch to run the show.
  • After walking your pooch in the other direction for awhile, gradually walk your lab/Jack Russell again to the second dog and make sure its attention is fixated on you, as if its seeking your approval to meet up with the second dog.
  • Once both dogs are close to each other, let them sniff each other vigorously and pull back on the leash a little every 10 seconds and repeat the same procedure. 
  • Let them eventually sniff each other’s bottom to get them familiarized with their specific scents, and in turn learning more about one another. Also, keep an eye on their wagging tails.

If both of them are comfortable in each other’s presence with their tails wagging, then gradually take them for a walk together for 10 minutes and nip any aggression in the bud by pulling on the leash and walk away to reinforce a negative association to it.

Walk them long enough till you could gradually let them loose together without a leash on. And be sure to give them positive reinforcements on a good behavior during the introduction.

As for introducing them indoors, let the newer dog get familiarized with the house while keeping the residential dog separated outside. And let the latter walk into the house under close supervision. Chances are they’ll get along really well indoors if they’ve already acquainted well during the first meeting outdoors. 

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Sources

AKC: The Russell Terrier Breed

Hillspet: Personality of Jack Russell Terriers

Cuteness: Compatibility of Jack Russell Terriers