We will probably never know the reason for crosses like the Jack Russell Lab mix. The hybrid is not a better retriever, nor does it have improved skills in hunting vermin.
It does not have the striking patches of the JRT and is not a miniature Lab. However, it has several qualities that resonate with many owners.
A Jack Russell Terrier Labrador Retriever mix also called a Jackador, is a medium designer cross in demand for its outgoing demeanor, portable size, and unique appearance.
Developed from an English (JRT) and a Canadian breed (Lab), Jackadors are fast and nimble sporting dogs that get along with older kids and other dogs.
They are challenging to train and require a lot of exercise and attention for their size but are otherwise easy keepers.
How to Determine if a Jackador Is Right for You
Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Get a Jack Russell Labrador Mix
- High energy
- Shed a lot if they have short hair
- Independence may contribute to training challenges.
- High prey drive
- Not efficient guard dogs
- Wire-haired dogs can be challenging to groom
- Not ideal if you want a retrieving dog
Reasons Why You Should Get a Jack Russell Labrador Mix
- Smaller than a Labrador
- Great for dog sports – flyball, agility, general hunting, racing, luring
- Fun-loving personality
- Excellent watchdogs
- Good with children
- Most are accessible to groom
Appearance, Personality, Coat and Colors, and Traits of a Jack Russell Labrador Mix
When you deal with a mixed breed dog, physical and personality traits are always unpredictable.
However, most puppies in a litter from such a cross will have a balanced blend of the most prominent traits from each parent.
Occasionally, a pup will inherit most of its genes from either the JRT or the Lab. Such puppies can look a lot like purebreds.
Most Jackadors have a large but balanced wedge-shaped head with a moderate stop. The eyes are large and wide-spaced, and the ears are high-set and either floppy or half-prick. Sometimes, one ear flops down, the other half upright and orients to the side.
The neck is strong, thick, and medium in length, while the shoulders are sloping and well laid back. These traits, along with a powerful back and hindquarters, ensure your Jackador will be athletic with a confident, ground-covering stride.
Jackadors tend to be compact and frequently have shortened legs. The back is level, and the croup is slightly rounded. A Jackador’s tail sets on high and has a sickle shape. Some breeders may dock their puppies’ tails like a JRT.
Most Jackadors are active and full of energy and curiosity. They have a high propensity to chase small animals, and a few may run after any fast-moving object (i.e., bicycles and running children).
A Jackador also tends to be alert and readily barks at intruders and suspicious sights or sounds. However, very few Jackadors are aggressive. They greet strangers with enthusiasm and friendliness.
Jackadors are usually jovial playmates with kids and other dogs. Kids over eight years of age are better for Jackadors because of the dog’s rambunctious mannerisms. Poorly trained Jackadors can also be rough and nippy.
Socialization is vital with Jackadors as with any dog. Otherwise, they can be belligerent with larger dogs.
Jackadors get along well with many animals, such as horses, goats, and cats. Avoid exposing them to free-roaming cats that may run from them or animals they see as prey, such as hamsters, gerbils, Guinea pigs, ferrets, rats, and rabbits.
A few Jackadors have the intensity and tenaciousness of purebred Jack Russell Terriers. They can prove unbearably obnoxious for sensitive owners. Other Jack Russell Labrador Retriever crosses are exceptionally mellow like some family lines of Labs.
Most Jackadors have a short, smooth coat. However, the Jack Russell Terrier has three possible hair coat types. All of them are double coats.
- Smooth-coated – short coat
- Broken-coated – a mix of short and wiry hairs; the dog is not as shaggy as a wire-haired JRT on the body and has a smooth head and face.
- Rough-coated – hair is medium-long, coarse, and wiry, giving the dog a ruffled or shaggy appearance.
Labrador Retrievers have a double coat. The underfur is soft and fleecy, while the outer coat is short and glossy. Labradors have more sheen than many other breeds because their fur is slightly oily to help it repel water.
Most Jackadors seem to inherit a coat more consistent with the JRT. This is especially apparent when Jack Russell has a wire-haired coat.
Wiry fur is a dominant trait, so puppies born to wire-haired Jack Russells usually have a broken coat. A broken coat comprises short fur intermixed with wisps or clumps of wiry hair. The face and head are smooth.
Regardless of their exact coat type, Jackadors generally have shorter and less dense fur than a Labrador. It has a lower degree of weather resistance.
A Jackador is usually a solid color because the white spotting gene that gives the JRT its flashiness is incompletely dominant and tends to be breed-specific. Labradors do not have the white spotting gene at all.
However, you can get numerous white areas in the breed by crossing a first-generation Jackador (F1) with another F1 dog or purebred Jack Russell. Since this is not commonly done, most Jackadors are the following colors:
- Golden to honey
A white Jackador is not a dog with white spots but instead has the suppression of phaeomelanin (red or yellow pigmentation). You can tell because there is often shading on the ears and sometimes on body parts. You will see this same phenomenon in the White Shepherd or Great Pyrenees.
In this video, most white Shepherds have red shading, especially around the ears and down the back. It reflects the “bleeding through” of red pigmentation. White Jackadors usually have the same coloration.
Jackadors often have minor white markings on the paws, a spot on the chest, and a blaze down the forehead.
A different gene (yet unidentified) than white spotting causes these markings. This dog classically illustrates how white markings can appear on a Jack Russell Lab mix.
- Size – 13 to 18 inches tall, 25 to 50 pounds; usually under 40 pounds
- Frequent barkers
- Become attached to owners
Jack Russell Labrador Mix Puppies for Sale
Jackador puppies usually are less expensive than Doodles, running between $350 and $750 compared to $1,500 to $5,000. You might be able to find accidental litters where the owners are willing to rehome them for free or at little cost. However, with designer dogs trending, a free Jackador is rare.
You can also find hybrid puppies at shelters and rescue organizations where someone’s guess affixes a Jack Russell Labrador mix label to them.
If you buy a Jackador from a breeder, perform research just as you would for a purebred dog. Ideally, your purchase from a private and professional individual should include documentation of the puppy’s parents and her family tree.
Be aware that some breeders use the similar Parson Russell Terrier in their programs. While it may not be an essential distinction to you, such puppies will have subtle differences from the JRT mix.
- Longer legs
- Larger and more rectangular head – you will miss the triangular silhouette that gives the JRT a faintly fox-like appearance on the face.
- Not as compact – the body is a little longer than the dog’s height
Ethical breeders should have certifications that prove they have not bred two dogs with known genetic problems. Potential owners often give sellers of mixed breed puppies a pass when it is just as easy to test their dams and sires as a purebred dog.
Basic tests for the Lab and JRT include an evaluation of the hips, knees, and eyes. Other possible tests are a genetic screening for exercise-induced collapse (Labrador) and a variety of neurologic defects, including degenerative myelopathy (Jack Russell Terrier).
Once you have chosen a puppy, look for any signs of illness such as an underweight appearance, dull or soiled fur, fleas, diarrhea, or discharge from the eyes and nose. You should see a pup that is anything but alert and curious as a red flag.
Grooming Your Jack Russell Labrador Mix
Most Jackadors are delightfully easy to groom. You only have to use a pin brush on their short coats weekly.
Wire-haired dogs should be stripped every few months. You can also keep their skin healthy by brushing them regularly, but you must use a proper technique to avoid damaging the wiry hairs.
Stripping is the name of a grooming process whereby the handler gently plucks dead hairs from the undercoat. Some owners utilize a professional groomer to strip their dogs.
Jack Russell Labrador Mix Health Problems
Lifespan of a Jack Russell Labrador Mix
The Jack Russell Terrier is an exceptionally long-lived breed. With a life expectancy of 13 to 16 years, they pass their longevity to the Jackador. Jack Russell Lab mixes live an average of 12 to 14 years.
Genetic Health Issues
Jackadors can suffer from several unique health problems and a few genetic challenges from either of the parent breeds.
- Hip dysplasia (Lab) – growth abnormality of the hip joint; can lead to arthritis later in life
- Luxating patella (JRT) – kneecaps move in and out of their proper position
- Late onset ataxia (JRT) – LOA appears between 6 and 12 months old and is progressive; the dog develops an uncoordinated gait
- Primary lens luxation (JRT) –
- Exercise-induced collapse (Lab)
- Spinocerebellar ataxia (JRT) – resembles LOA but is early onset with puppies affected between 2 and 6 months.
- Degenerative myelopathy (both) – DM affects the neuromuscular system, eventually progressing to paralysis.
- Progressive retinal atrophy (both) – also called progressive rod-cone degeneration; involves progressive dysfunction of photoreceptors, leading to eventual blindness.
- Intervertebral disc disease/slipped disc/IVDD (JRT) – increased risk is linked to chondrodysplasia; the affected dog is extremely painful, uncoordinated, or suffers paralysis; some respond to potent anti-inflammatories while others require surgery.
- Chondrodysplasia/chondrodystrophy/canine dwarfism (JRT) – dominant trait of shortened limbs that can cause problems in the cartilage and joints
- Laryngeal paralysis (Lab) – larynx does not function properly, leading to difficulty taking deep breaths and possible obstruction of the trachea; it affects middle-aged dogs and older and leaves them more susceptible to heatstroke.
- Pyruvate kinase (PK) deficiency (Lab) – a deficiency of the PK enzyme leads to chronic destruction or hemolysis of red blood cells; it also occurs in Beagles and Pugs.
Jack Russell Labrador Mix Food Requirements
A Jackador is a small- to medium-sized dog and should eat 700 to 1100 calories a day (about two to three cups of food).
Adults must consume about 2.5% to 4% of their body weight. For puppies, the amounts may need up to 10% of their mass, depending on their growth stage. If you feed raw or fresh homemade food, you can calculate daily calories or feed your dog a percentage of her weight.
Jackadors are not particularly vulnerable to gastric torsion, but feeding them two or more meals a day is safer than one huge serving.
Like all domesticated dogs, Jackadors should get most of their nutrition from animal proteins like beef, chicken, or exotic meats. They also require fats with a balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
Although dogs are omnivorous, they do not have specific requirements for carbohydrates. Jackadors can benefit from the antioxidant properties of green vegetables, berries, and foods from the squash family (pumpkin and butternut squash are examples).
Jack Russell Labrador Mix Exercise Requirements
The Jack Russell Terrier and Labrador Retriever are sporting dogs used to plenty of strenuous outdoor activities.
You should be ready to provide at least 45 to 60 minutes of daily exercise for your Jackador.
They require 20% of their exercise to be dedicated to strenuous cardiac exertion (running, jogging, climbing hills, or wrestling with other dogs).
Another 10% to 20% should involve training exercises and mental stimulation. You can spend the remainder bonding with your dog or engaging in casual strolls.
Puppies need considerably less physical exercise and more basic training than adults. They should have frequent short outings with brief training sessions multiple times throughout the day.
Jack Russell Labrador Mix Training
Jackadors are not much different than other dogs in their training. They perform best with kind and empathetic methods as well as positive reinforcement. There are several training challenges when working with a Jack Russell Labrador mix.
- Intelligence can lead them to bore easily – you must make the training enjoyable, which takes innovation and multiple approaches.
- Independent thinkers – are not blindly obedient.
- High prey drive can make them distractable.
- Will require more repeat commands than the purebred Labrador
- Like to push boundaries
- May have poor recall – challenging to train them to come when called if they see something interesting.
Jack Russell Labrador Mix and Families
The Jack Russell Labrador mix makes an excellent family companion if you furnish plenty of attention and exercise.
A bored Jackador combines the destructive traits of both the JRT and the Lab.
- Excessive barking
- Eating foreign objects
- Escaping the house or yard
Jackadors are usually tolerant of kids if you introduce them at a young age. However, they are often go-getters during play.
This can lead to hyperstimulated snapping and competitiveness over toys. They enjoy all the family members and will take the time to cuddle after a difficult day.
Jackadors are extroverted and do not know a stranger. However, they are loud, making them a nuisance in crowded neighborhoods.
Jack Russell Labrador Mix and Other Pets
If you focus on socializing with your Jackador, he should get along with other dogs. The exception is potentially a Toy breed under five pounds that may resemble prey to a Jackador.
Jackadors usually do great with dogs they grow up with and even-tempered, larger cats. As mentioned, they are a terrible fit for rodents and rabbits. This is also true of reptiles and birds.
However, their background sees them doing well on farms with extensive training and exposure.