Which is better, Jack Russell Terrier (JRT) or a Border Collie? Complete Breed Comparison

The Border Collie, a well-known breed often called “The Shepherd’s dog,” is both swift and captivating. These dogs possess lively personalities and keen eyes, with bodies slightly longer than their height. They hold the top position on Stanley Coren’s esteemed list, “The Intelligence of Dogs,” and are renowned for their remarkable intellect. Border Collies excel in sprinting across fields and eagerly returning to their owners, as they were originally bred for herding. Although they are sociable with familiar individuals, they may display wariness towards strangers, underscoring the importance of providing them with sufficient exercise to ensure their happiness.

On the contrary, the Jack Russell terrier, a determined and resourceful breed, has captured our hearts and become a delightful presence on television. They exhibit a profound curiosity about their surroundings and a keen interest in their human companions, staying true to their terrier nature. Welcoming a Jack Russell terrier puppy into your home means embracing an adorable young fox hunter and a charming companion.

Characteristics of a Jack Russell Terrier and Border Collie

to get a Border Collie or JRT?

The Border Collie, renowned for its abundant mental and physical energy, eagerly awaits the opportunity to conquer the world. This breed shines as one of the most intelligent and obedient, but if not provided with daily challenges, they can become quite demanding in a household. They demonstrate their dependability and loyalty when provided with ample activity. Their intense gaze, which can intimidate other animals, showcases their focus. Additionally, they have a natural inclination to chase after other animals. However, without a designated job, they may develop destructive tendencies and acquire bad habits.

On the other hand, the Jack Russell Terrier (JRT) boasts a robust physique and a distinctive appearance that is easily recognizable. A mere glance is enough to identify a JRT. They have a slender, athletic build, deep brown eyes, and ears that fold over in a unique “V” shape.

While they typically have smooth coats, some may have rough fur. The most common color is white, with occasional tan, brown, or black markings. Brown hues are most prominent around the ears. Jack Russell Terriers are known for their short, wagging tails, which typically measure around 4 inches in length.

Border CollieJack Russell Terrier
Weight12 to 20 kg6 to 8 kg
LifespanCan live up to 18 yearsCan Live up to 15 years
GroupAKC - HerdingNot Applicable
Best suited forFamilies and children, people with active lifestyle, houses with large space for activities such as yards, farms, or rural areasFamilies with children older than 8 years old, people with active lifestyle, owners with ample experience with active dogs, preferably houses with a large space for activities
TemperamentDisciplined, sharp, spirited, motivatedDynamic, assertive, smart, firm
Height46 to 56 cm25 to 38 cm

Breed History

The Border Collie, hailed as the ultimate sheepdog, is the result of meticulous selective breeding over many years, with a primary focus on performance. In the 1800s, various breeds of sheep herding dogs with distinct herding techniques coexisted in Great Britain.

Among them were “fetching” dogs that naturally circled sheep and guided them back to the shepherd. These canines often exhibited unruly behavior, displaying a tendency to nip and bark while carrying out their duties. The first breed standard for Border Collies was established in 1906. Unlike most breed standards that prioritize physical appearance, this standard placed a greater emphasis on working abilities.

This emphasis significantly influenced the evolution of the Border Collie. The name “Border Collie” was officially recorded in 1915, referring to the dogs’ origin in the English and Scottish borders. Initially, they were simply referred to as sheepdogs.

On the other hand, the Jack Russell Terrier was primarily used as a small game hunting dog in the mid-1800s and was named after Reverend John (Jack) Russell. The breed’s accepted physical types varied widely, depending on the specific standard. In 2003, the Jack Russell Terrier Association of America was replaced by the Parson Russell Terrier Association of America to differentiate between the American working types, now known as Parson Russell Terriers, and the American show varieties, still referred to as Jack Russells. Regardless of their name, these energetic canines never fail to charm.

Appearance Comparison

The Border Collie is a medium-sized dog characterized by its long-haired coat and slender build. They possess a somewhat broad head with semi-erect ears, a tapering nose, and dark oval-shaped eyes. While a Border Collie’s long tail may rise, it never curls over the back. This breed showcases two coat types: smooth and rough, with the latter having a slightly longer coat. Border Collies exhibit a range of color variations, including black, black & white, red & white, tri-color, and black & gray.

On the contrary, the Jack Russell Terrier is a small dog with a predominantly white coat adorned with brown spots, accompanied by a pair of surprisingly nimble legs. They feature small V-shaped ears that often fold over at the middle. Jack Russells possesses alert almond-shaped eyes with dark irises and black eye rims. Their snout tapers towards a button-shaped, all-black nose. The tail of a Jack Russell Terrier is upright and straight, although it may slightly bend while the dog is in motion.

Size Comparison

The Border Collie typically weighs between 30 to 55 pounds (13.6 to 25 kilograms) and stands at an average height of 18 to 22 inches (45 to 56 centimeters) at the shoulder.

On the other hand, the Jack Russell Terrier has some variations in terms of height standards. According to the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America (JRTCA), the acceptable height range for Jack Russell Terriers is 10 to 15 inches (25 to 38 centimeters) based on their breed standard. However, the American Kennel Club (AKC) has a narrower height range, specifying that Jack Russell Terriers should fall between 12 and 14 inches (30 to 36 centimeters) at the shoulder.

The JRTCA further categorizes show dogs into two divisions based on height, with one division for dogs ranging from 10 to 12 1/2 inches (25 to 32 centimeters) and another division for dogs ranging from 12 1/2 to 15 inches (32 to 38 centimeters).

Coats & Colors

Border Collies exhibit a wide range of coat colors and patterns. Their coats are typically centered around a predominantly white base, and the accepted colors include black and white, black and white tricolor, blue merle, blue merle tricolor, chocolate/liver, tan/copper, tan/copper merle, lilac, lilac merle, slate, slate merle, and Australian red. These colors provide a variety of combinations with shades of red, black, and white. The specific coat color and pattern of a Border Collie can vary greatly from one dog to another.

Jack Russell Terriers, on the other hand, have two main coat types: smooth and broken. Both coat types feature a coarse-textured double coat. The smooth coat is short and dense, while the broken coat is slightly longer and may have a scruffy appearance with eyebrows and a beard.

There is also a rough coat variety that is longer than the broken coat but does not have a curly or wavy texture. Jack Russell Terriers can come in various colors, with white being the dominant color. They may have markings of black, tan, or both, and tricolor variations with white, black, and tan are also seen.

It’s important to note that coat colors and patterns can vary within individual dogs of both breeds, and there may be some variations or combinations not specifically mentioned. The variety in coat types and colors adds to the unique and diverse appearance of both Border Collies and Jack Russell Terriers.

Personality & Temperament Difference of a Border Collie and Jack Russell Terrier

expectations from a JRTs personality

Border Collies are renowned for their exceptional energy levels and strong herding instincts. As a herding breed, they have a natural inclination to work and excel when given a specific task or purpose. It is crucial to provide them with regular mental stimulation to prevent boredom and the development of destructive behaviors. Their high level of intelligence necessitates engaging activities and mental challenges to keep them occupied and fulfilled.

Due to their herding instincts, Border Collies may exhibit herding behaviors towards other pets or even young children in the household. Proper training, socialization, and consistent mental stimulation are vital for shaping a well-behaved and well-rounded Border Collie. They are quick learners and thrive in environments where they are given tasks to fulfill.

Moving on to Jack Russell Terriers, they are known for their alertness, observant nature, and unwavering loyalty. They are often found by their owner’s side, always eager to learn and participate in various activities. With their cheerful disposition, they can bring a sense of joy and playfulness to their families. However, it’s important to note that some Jack Russell may occasionally exhibit nervousness, which should be addressed with proper socialization and positive reinforcement training.

Boosting the self-confidence of Jack Russell Terriers is crucial to allow their lively terrier personality to flourish. Providing them with opportunities for learning, training, and interactive play can help channel their energy in a positive way. They are highly trainable and enjoy tasks that challenge their intelligence and problem-solving abilities.

Dogs towards Family

Both male and female Border Collies can make wonderful family pets. However, females often exhibit a calmer temperament compared to males. Border Collies are not inherently aggressive and generally get along well with children when the youngsters are taught how to interact with dogs appropriately. They are often sociable and enjoy spending time with their human family members.

The Jack Russell Terrier is an energetic breed that also thrives as a family dog, particularly in households with children over the age of three or four. Families with active and outgoing lifestyles tend to mesh well with the adventurous nature of Jack Russell’s. It is important to note that Jack Russell’s can easily become bored, so it’s beneficial for them to live with a family that can provide sufficient time and attention to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.


While Border Collies make wonderful companions, there are important considerations to keep in mind, especially when bringing one into a household with young children or unsocialized pets. Young Border Collies often exhibit herding behaviors towards children within the family.

While this behavior may initially seem amusing, it is important to discourage and not encourage it. Establishing clear boundaries is crucial to ensure that both the children and the dog learn appropriate behavior from the beginning. Teach your children that if the puppy tries to herd them, they should leave the room or sit down and ignore the dog.

On the other hand, it is generally not recommended to have Jack Russell Terriers in a family with young children under the age of 8. Young children may not yet have the maturity to understand the distinction between a stuffed animal and a real animal.

They may have difficulty controlling their emotions and could handle the dog roughly, leading the dog to feel the need to defend itself, potentially resulting in biting incidents. Other factors that can overwhelm and frighten an excitable terrier include the fast movements of young children, high-pitched noises, and unfamiliar smells.

Other People

Border Collies are well-known for their loyalty and devotion to their owners. However, they can exhibit suspicion towards unfamiliar humans or other dogs. This wariness stems from their protective instincts and natural caution. To help them feel more comfortable and less apprehensive in new environments or around unfamiliar people or animals, proper socialization and training are crucial.

On the other hand, Jack Russell Terrier puppies are often receptive and even friendly towards strangers. They tend to bark when someone knocks on the door or enters their space because barking is characteristic of the breed. They naturally exhibit typical Terrier behavior, which includes being watchful and vocal. However, their barking tendency can be managed and appropriately directed through proper training and socialization.

Dogs & Other Animals

Border Collies often have good compatibility with other dogs. As working dogs, they are accustomed to collaborating with other dogs to cover larger areas and manage larger flocks. While their play style may differ from that of other dogs, Border Collies enjoy chasing and playing with fellow canines. They particularly enjoy running alongside fences, whether at home or in a dog daycare setting.

Most Border Collies can peacefully coexist with non-canine siblings, such as cats, when properly socialized from a young age. However, it’s important to note that some Border Collies may develop an intense fixation and a tendency to chase smaller pets if they have not been taught how to interact with other animals during their puppyhood.

With proper training and socialization, Jack Russell Terriers, known for their energy, intelligence, and lively nature, can get along with other dogs. However, like any breed, if they are not adequately trained, they may display aggression or dominance towards other dogs.

It is crucial to properly socialize Jack Russell Terriers with other dogs, especially those of the same sex, and to monitor their interactions regularly to ensure they are respectful and non-aggressive. With appropriate socialization and management, Jack Russell Terriers can have fulfilling relationships with canine companions.

Behavior Issues

Border Collies can exhibit unwanted behaviors such as herding and nipping at the heels of children or adults, as well as destructive behaviors like chewing or digging if they do not receive proper training and regular mental stimulation.

These behaviors often stem from boredom or pent-up energy. Due to their intelligence and energy levels, Border Collies require both mental and physical stimulation to remain engaged and fulfilled. It is important to provide constructive outlets for their energy, such as regular exercise, interactive toys, and engaging training sessions.

Similarly, a sedentary lifestyle is not suitable for Jack Russell Terriers. Boredom can manifest in negative behaviors like digging or excessive barking when they lack activity, companionship, and mental stimulation. Jack Russells thrives when given opportunities to run, play, and engage in activities that cater to their natural instincts. Providing a secure outdoor space or garden where they can safely expend their energy is crucial for their overall well-being.

Training & Exercise

importance of dog training

A Border Collie’s innate working instincts, high intelligence, and active nature make training a delightful experience. Early training is crucial to redirect their natural inclinations and prevent destructive behavior.

They easily grasp basic commands and excel in more advanced training. Engaging them in games such as fetch and frisbee helps them channel their energy effectively. To prevent boredom and the development of undesirable habits, it is essential to provide them with sufficient mental stimulation and challenging tasks.

The intelligence Jack Russell Terrier exhibits impressive performance during training sessions. However, their Terrier temperament may occasionally lead to stubbornness. Establishing yourself as the pack leader is vital for successful training. Utilizing treats and positive reinforcement proves to be effective in encouraging and rewarding good behavior.

Harsh punishment should be avoided as it can elicit defensive responses. Incorporating variety into training sessions helps maintain interest and energy levels, ensuring participants’ attention remains focused and reducing boredom.

Taking Care & Maintenance of a Jack Russell Terrier and Border Collie

A Border Collie has a strong aversion to being left alone and craves companionship. They require a partner to accompany them and a designated task to engage in; simply allowing them to roam freely is insufficient.

When bored, they may resort to chasing cars, digging, chewing on furniture, or excessive barking. It is vital to provide them with a variety of stimulating activities to ensure their well-being. Additionally, due to their natural herding instincts, Border Collies may nip or herd people and other animals, which can pose challenges in households with multiple pets.

While caring for a Jack Russell Terrier may seem more demanding compared to other dog breeds, many of their needs are universal for all dogs. They require daily exercise for a minimum of 45 minutes, although more is preferable.

In addition to regular physical activity and ongoing interaction, a nutritious age-appropriate diet is essential. Considering their inherent preferences and behaviors, prioritizing their safety by keeping them leashed unless in a secured area, avoiding cohabitation with small animals, and providing them with engaging activities is imperative.

Grooming Comparison between Border Collie and Jack Russell Terrier

To maintain the coat health and remove dead hairs, Border Collies typically require brushing once or twice a week. Depending on their specific grooming needs, it may be necessary to enlist the services of a professional groomer to maintain their appearance.

Introducing grooming gradually and in a positive manner is crucial to ensure your Collie feels comfortable and secure during the process. This approach ensures that grooming becomes an enjoyable experience for both you and your dog.

On the contrary, Jack Russell Terriers have a relatively low-maintenance grooming routine. Regardless of their coat type (smooth, broken, or rough), they do shed their fur, so a weekly brushing is recommended to manage any loose hairs.

Regular baths are generally unnecessary unless they decide to indulge in a muddy swim. It’s important to maintain their oral hygiene by brushing their teeth daily to keep their gums healthy. Since you never know who they might encounter at the dog park, keeping their breath fresh is a good idea.


The Border Collie possesses a double coat consisting of a long, glossy, and feathery outer coat, along with a shorter, rougher undercoat. In terms of shedding, the Border Collie falls within the average range. They exhibit a moderate amount of shedding throughout most of the year.

Regular brushing two to three times a week is usually sufficient to manage shedding by removing dead hair. However, be prepared for increased shedding during the spring and fall seasons when they undergo a more significant shed in preparation for the following season. It is advisable to brush them daily during these periods to stay on top of it.

As for Jack Russell Terriers, they are classified as having a moderate to high degree of shedding, contrary to popular belief. The frequency of shedding can be influenced by the length of their hair, as shorter hair has a shorter growth cycle and may shed more frequently.

Health of a Jack Russell Terrier versus Border Collie

Even while Border Collies are mostly in good health, there are a few hereditary disorders to be aware of. Even while these illnesses are uncommon, they can nevertheless be quite concerning. Breeders who are responsible take proactive steps to test prospective parents for certain illnesses to reduce the likelihood that their kids would contract them.

However, Jack Russell Terriers are renowned for having generally good health. They are regarded as a sturdy breed with minimal hereditary and inherent health problems. Most injuries or health issues are brought on by the dog’s own activity rather than being tied to characteristics unique to a particular breed. Nonetheless, to preserve your Jack Russell Terrier’s health, it’s crucial to provide them the right care and schedule frequent veterinarian exams.

Life Span Comparison

Border Collies typically have a lifespan ranging from 12 to 15 years and are known for their overall good health. However, like any breed, they are susceptible to certain health issues such as hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and hypothyroidism. Regular veterinary exams and early detection are crucial for maintaining the health and ensuring a long and happy life for your Border Collie.

Similarly, Jack Russell Terriers are known for their relatively long lifespan, typically ranging from 12 to 14 years. Many JRTs even live well into their late teens, exceeding this age range. Therefore, if you welcome a Jack Russell Terrier into your family, you can expect to have a loyal and loving companion for a significant period of time.

It is important to emphasize that proper care is essential for promoting the health and longevity of both Border Collies and Jack Russell Terriers. This care should include regular exercise, a balanced diet, and frequent veterinary check-ups. By prioritizing their well-being, you can enjoy the companionship of these wonderful pets for many more years to come.

Diet & Nutrition

To meet the nutritional needs of a Border Collie, it is crucial to provide them with high-quality dog food specifically formulated for active breeds. Look for foods with a higher protein content to fulfill their energy requirements and support muscle growth. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids will also promote healthy joints and a shiny coat. During the first 12 to 18 months of a dog’s life, it is recommended to feed them a high-quality puppy food before transitioning to an adult diet.

Due to their high energy levels, Jack Russell Terriers require a nutrient-dense diet to support their active lifestyle. While a homemade diet consisting of fresh meat and vegetables can be excellent, it may not be feasible for all owners.

In such cases, it is important to choose a premium commercial dog food. To ensure you select the best food for your Jack Russell Terrier, it is advisable to consult with your veterinarian. Every dog is unique and may have specific nutritional requirements.

While feeding recommendations from pet food manufacturers and online sources can serve as a starting point, your veterinarian’s expertise will ensure that your dog’s nutritional needs are met to the highest standard. Always prioritize your pet’s health and well-being by seeking dietary guidance from a professional.

Health Issues

While Border Collies are generally a healthy breed, it is important to be aware of a few health issues. One common problem is hip dysplasia, which can limit their mobility, especially in the hindquarters. Depending on the severity, treatment options such as medication and surgery are available.

Border Collies may also be prone to eye and ear issues, including progressive retinal atrophy, which can lead to the loss of night vision and eventual blindness. Collie Eye Anomaly is another eye condition that may occur, but once diagnosed, it typically does not worsen over time. Deafness can also be a potential issue, but these intelligent dogs often adapt well and can still lead happy lives.

Jack Russell Terriers have several prevalent health concerns to be mindful of. Patellar luxation, a condition characterized by the misalignment of the kneecap, often requires surgical intervention. Deafness is another issue that is typically congenital in Jack Russell Terriers.

Corrective surgery may be an option for glaucoma, an inner eye disorder that can lead to blindness. Lens luxation, where the lens separates from the eye, is another possible condition. Severe cases may necessitate the removal of the affected eye. Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, a hereditary disorder affecting small breeds, can result in the development of short legs and lead to back and joint discomfort.

Comparing Cost

When welcoming a Border Collie into your home, it is advisable to budget around $2,500 for the first year. This estimate takes into account various expenses, including:

  • Food
  • Treats
  • Prescription medications
  • Training sessions
  • Grooming products
  • Vet visits
  • Food bowls
  • Crates
  • Beds
  • Harnesses
  • Leashes
  • Toys

While it is uncommon to find purebred Border Collies at pet shops, you can acquire a new pet through reputable breeders, rescue groups, or shelters.

The cost of a Jack Russell Terrier can vary depending on where you acquire one. The price of an adult Jack Russell Terrier can range from $800 to $2,000, depending on whether you choose to purchase from a private breeder, a puppy farm, or a rescue facility. The typical cost of a Jack Russell puppy is around $1,000.

Factors such as the dog’s coat color, the breeder’s reputation, the dog’s papers, and its age can all influence the price. It is important to consider these factors and find an ethical provider when bringing a Jack Russell Terrier into your home.


is a red BC breed for you?

If you are looking to purchase a Border Collie puppy, you can often find them in the price range of $300 to $1,000. The price may vary depending on factors such as breed lines, pedigree, and availability. It’s important to note that certain coat colors and patterns, such as blue merle or red merle, may come with a higher price tag. Blue merle individuals can cost up to $4,500, while red merle individuals can cost up to $1,200.

For Jack Russell Terrier puppies from reputable breeders, the typical price range is between $800 and $1,500. It is crucial to find a trustworthy breeder who prioritizes the health and well-being of their puppies. If you have a specific interest in show-quality puppies, the cost can be higher, starting at around $2,500 or more.

Breeders & Centers

Rescuing a dog can be an incredibly rewarding decision for both you and the dog in need. When you adopt a dog, you have the opportunity to get to know them and ensure that their personality aligns with your family’s preferences and lifestyle. Moreover, adopting from a reputable rescue or shelter is often more affordable compared to buying from breeders. The cost of adopting a Border Collie from a reputable rescue or shelter typically ranges between $600 and $800, which can be more cost-effective.

Many animal shelters conduct health screenings as part of the adoption process, providing valuable information about any existing health issues the dog may have. It is important to inquire about the shelter’s health screening procedures and the dog’s medical history.

Conclusion: Which Is Better for Me, Jack Russell Terrier or Border Collie?

Deciding between a Jack Russell Terrier and a Border Collie ultimately depends on your lifestyle, preferences, and ability to meet the needs of each breed. Both breeds have unique characteristics that can make them wonderful companions, but they also have distinct differences to consider.

If you’re seeking an intelligent and active dog that excels in obedience training and various dog sports, the Border Collie might be the better choice. Their herding instincts, high energy levels, and strong work ethic make them well-suited for owners who can provide them with plenty of mental stimulation, exercise, and training. Border Collies thrive in an environment that challenges their intellect and keeps them engaged.

On the other hand, if you prefer a smaller, feisty, and lively breed that is still intelligent and active but with slightly lower exercise requirements, the Jack Russell Terrier could be a good fit. They are known for their playful nature, high energy, and strong prey drive. Jack Russells are generally adaptable and can make great family pets with proper training and socialization.

It’s important to note that both breeds have their own specific care needs and potential health concerns. Border Collies may require more grooming and have a higher likelihood of certain genetic diseases, while Jack Russells are prone to issues such as patellar luxation and deafness.

Ultimately, it is crucial to thoroughly research and assess your own lifestyle, commitment, and ability to meet the needs of either breed. Consider factors such as exercise requirements, training demands, grooming needs, and potential health issues before making your decision. Additionally, adopting a rescue dog of either breed can be a rewarding choice and provide a loving home to a dog in need.

In the end, the best breed for you is the one that aligns with your lifestyle, suits your preferences, and can receive the care, attention, and environment necessary to thrive.

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