Beagle vs Jack Russell Breed Comparison

jack russell vs beagle

Jack Russell vs Beagle - Battle of the Breeds!

The Beagle and the Jack Russell Terrier are members of different dog breed groups (Hounds and Terriers), yet share many similar characteristics.  

Of course, there are distinct differences in these two dog breeds as well.

Let’s compare the two breeds over the following main categories:  Size and Appearance, Temperament, Physical Activity, Grooming Needs, and Health and Life Expectancy.

But first, a brief history lesson on each of these purebred dogs.

Beagle Breed History

The Beagle is a breed of small hound that is believed to originate in England during the 16th century.  Beagles were bred for hunting small animals, such as rabbits and hares.  By the 1800s, Beagles began arriving in the United States, where they were also used for hunting.  The breed became very popular in America, so much that several Beagle clubs were formed throughout the country.

The American Kennel Club recognized the Beagle as a breed in 1885.  Present day, Beagles are one of the most popular breeds in the United States in part due to their friendly personality, cute appearance, quality hunting instincts as well as being great family dogs.

Jack Russell Terrier Breed History

Jack Russell Terriers were originally developed as fox hunting dogs in England during the early 19th century.  Jack Russells are named after Reverend John Russell, who was looking for a small, fearless and agile dog that could keep up with horses, possessed a great hunting instinct and had the courage to dig a fox out of its den.  

Over the years, they have been further bred to highlight there terrific hunting instincts, courage, stamina, agility and high-energy.  This high quality hunting breed quickly became popular in England and their population took off.

Two distinct varieties of the Jack Russell Terrier are now recognized due to modest differences in appearance and work ability.  These are the Parson Russell Terrier and the Jack Russell Terrier – More detail about each of these sub-breeds can be found later in this article.

Jack Russell vs Beagle Characteristics

Size and Appearance of Beagles and Jack Russells

Beagles are small to medium-sized dogs, which typically weigh between 20 and 35 pounds and with different sizes generally standing 13 to 15 inches tall at the shoulder.  There are also smaller sized beagles, referred to as pocket beagles or mini-beagles, that stand less than 13 inches tall at the shoulder.

Beagles have a smooth and short coat that comes in a variety of colors, including black, white, tan, and brown. Beagles have shorter noses, with long floppy ears that hang down, giving them a cute and friendly appearance.

Jack Russells are small to medium-sized dogs with a healthy weight range of 12 to 18 pounds.  With their short, compact legs they usually stand 10 to 12 inches tall at the shoulder. Jack Russell Terriers have short and smooth coats that come in a range of colors, including white, black, tan, or a combination of these colors. 

They have a sturdy, compact build with a square shaped head.  Their dark eyes and smaller triangular shaped ears give Jack Russells an intelligent expression.

jack russell vs beagle

Jack Russell Terriers are a very high energy and enthusiastic breed!!

Temperament of Beagles and Jack Russells

Beagles are known for their friendly and outgoing personalities. They are social dogs that love to be around people and other dogs, and have an affectionate nature. Beagles are also known for their loyalty and intellect; although their stubbornness can sometimes be confused for a lack of intelligence. 

They are highly trainable, especially as puppies, and make great pets for families with young children. Beagles have a keen sense of smell and are often used as hunting dogs – specifically rabbit hunting. Beagles are also a great dog breed for tracking and detecting scent, often times used in the United States as drug sniffing or cadaver dogs.

Related:  Are Beagles Good Watchdogs?

Jack Russels are friendly dogs, known to be alert, intelligent and full of energy.  They have a fearless and determined mentality along with a high prey drive, which can make them a challenge to train at times.  Russells are energetic dogs that require lots of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy.

Similar to beagles, Jack Russel Terriers are a more vocal breed.  This can be viewed in a good way as they make good watchdogs, or some owners view this as a negative as Russells can get a little too barky and be a nuisance.  

Physical Activity of Beagles and Jack Russells

Both Beagles and Jack Russells are high energy breeds that require regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. Beagles are active dogs that enjoy walks, runs, fetching and playing outdoors. As small dogs, beagles should get at least an hour of exercise each day to stay in shape and bring down their high energy levels when in the house.

Jack Russell Terriers require even more exercise than Beagles. They are highly active dogs that need plenty of outdoor space to run and play.  They will get plenty of exercise if out on a hunting trip, where they excel, but otherwise long walks, fetching dog toys and running around the backyard are highly encouraged. 

Jack Russells are so highly energetic that they need at least 1.5 to 2 hours of exercise each day to stay happy and in top condition.  Since they need a lot of exercise, Jack Russells may not be the best dog to own for individuals or families that are not able to provide sufficient exercise and physical activity.

Grooming Needs of Jack Russells and Beagles

Both Beagles and Jack Russels have short, tight, coats that require minimal grooming. 

Beagles shed moderately throughout the year, with heavier shedding twice each year, typically during the fall and spring months. They should be brushed at least once a week to keep their coats healthy and clean. 

Beagles also need their large ears cleaned regularly to prevent infections and mite infestation.  With plenty of walks and playtime your Beagle will keep their nails tidy; however, check monthly to see if any additional nail trimming is needed.

Jack Russell Terriers have a short coat that is easy to maintain. They require occasional brushing to remove dead hair, and like Beagles they do shed seasonally, so more frequent brushing may be necessary during these times. 

Bathing is necessary when they get dirty, but too frequent of bathing will dry out their skin and remove natural oils that keep their skin and coats soft.  With being so active, their nails usually remain short on their own; however, check monthly to determine if additional trimming is necessary.  

With smaller ears, they are less likely to develop infections, but check occasionally for any debris or wax buildup that needs to be removed.

Health and Life Expectancy of Beagles and Jack Russell Terriers

Both Beagles and Jack Russel Terriers are generally healthy breeds, but like most breeds they can be prone to particular health issues. 

Beagles are prone to obesity, epilepsy, and back problems such as intervertebral disc disease.  Regular veterinary checkups are encouraged to keep your Beagle happy and avoid health problems.

Jack Russell Terriers can be susceptible to their own array of genetic diseases and health conditions; allergies, hip dysplasia, and deafness.  Likewise, routine vet visits will help ensure their long-term health is a top priority.

Beagles have an average life expectancy of 12 to 15 years – this is typical for a smaller and relatively healthy breed of dog.  Related:  How Long Do Beagles Live?

Jack Russell Terriers have a typical lifespan of 13 to 16 years.  This is expected given their smaller stature.  It is important to provide a high-quality diet, plenty of exercise and routine health checks to ensure they reach their maximum life expectancy.

Other Types of Beagles and Color Variations

Pocket Beagle – A mini beagle, 7 to 12 inches in height at the shoulder and weighing 7 to 15 pounds as an adult.

Bluetick Beagle – A color variation of a purebred beagle, blueish ticking or mottled spots on the white portion of their coat.

Jack Russell Beagle Mix (aka Jackabee) – A hybrid between a Beagle and a Jack Russell Terrier. Cute dogs that are typically a combination of white with black, brown or both.  They maintain both breeds excellent ancestral hunting instincts and high energy.

Lemon Beagle – A purebred beagle with unique white and light tan coloring.

White Beagle – Similar to a lemon beagle but with more white.  White beagles are less common.

Types of Jack Russell Terriers and Color Variations

Jack Russel Terrier – Customary variant of the breed, smaller, compact, muscular with a more rugged appearance of the two sub-breeds.

Parson Russell Terrier (aka Parson Jack Russell Terrier) – Taller and more refined, PRTs stand 12 to 15 inches at the shoulder and will be a couple pounds heavier.  They have the same high-energy and fearless nature as their slightly smaller cousin, the Jack Russell Terrier.

What's Next?

Both Beagles and Jack Russell Terriers are great breeds of dogs that have their own unique personalities, temperaments, and physical traits.   While the Beagle is a member of the hound group and Jack Russels are members of the Terrier group, they both have a strong lineage of being excellent scent dogs and hunting partners.  Don’t let the small size of either breed fool you, they are both full of energy and confidence.

Beagles are small to medium sized, a more social breed, and are known to be very affectionate dogs. Beagles are pack dogs that thrive in groups and a family environment.  

Although they can exhibit separation anxiety at times, there are several tricks and treatments to help ease a beagle’s separation anxiety.

Jack Russell Terriers are smaller in size and very much high-energy dogs. Jack Russells also have friendly personalities and a desire to please.  Owners of Jack Russells need to be vigilant with their exercise routine, consistent walks, runs and playtime are essential to keeping a Russells’ high energy levels in check.

Regardless of which breed you chose, as a pet or hunting companion, it is a good idea to find a reputable breeder in your area.  Find breeder recommendations and always make sure they have a history of providing a caring and humane environment for their animals.

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