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German Shepherd Jack Russell Mix

The German Shepherd Jack Russell Mix

Purebred German Shepherds are great pets, but so are mixed breeds.  More and more people are looking to purchase or adopt mixed breeds as you can get the best of two different breeds. 

If you are looking to get a German Shepherd Jack Russell mix you should learn more about the breeds individually to ensure they mix to be a good combination for what you want in a dog.

About the German Shepherd Breed

German Shepherds are a member of the herding dog group and they fluctuate between being the 2nd and 3rd most popular dog breed in the United States. 

German Shepherds are known for their working ability, loyalty, courage, strength, confidence, and intelligence.  They are commonly used as guard dogs, service dogs, in the police, and for personal protection, but they also make great family companions.

About the Jack Russell Breed

The Jack Russell Terrier is a smaller dog breed that was originally bred to hunt fox in England.  In the UK, they usually rank between 11th and 13th most popular breed whereas in the United States they are currently ranked as the 117th most popular breed and known as the Parson Russell Terrier.

Although they are small, they have a strong drive to work and have a lot of energy.  Jack Russell’s are loving, loyal, spunky, intelligent, and high energy.  They do well with training and having a job, but in the home are a great addition to anyone’s family.

Why Cross on Jack Russell with a German Shepherd

German Shepherds Jack Russell mix is often the result of a accidental mating situation.  Given the size difference between the breeds, these dogs aren’t normally mated intentionally.

When these breeds are crossed intentionally, the female is usually the German Shepherd and the male is usually the Jack Russell because of the potential size of the puppies it could be unsafe for the smaller Jack Russel to carry the puppies.

For breeders that do intentionally mate these dogs, they are usually looking for an extremely intelligent, hardworking dog of medium size with a loving, fun personality.

General Characteristics of a German Shepherd Jack Russell Mix

Dog mixes of the same breeds can be drastically different depending on whether the pups take on more of the characteristics of one breed over another.  Below are the characteristics you can generally expect from the GSD-Jack Russell crossbreed:


The German Shepherd is a large dog, whereas the Jack Russell is a smaller dog.  Here is how the breeds compare size wise:

German Shepherd Dog22 to 26 inches50 to 90 pounds
Jack Russell Terrier10 to 15 inches14 to 18 pounds

Since there is a big size difference between the breeds, the German Shepherd Jack Russell mix will likely fall in the middle being a medium-sized dog weighing between 30-60 pounds.

However, a mix could be on the larger size if it takes more after its GSD parent and more on the smaller size if it takes more after the Jack Russell parent.


Both German Shepherds and Jack Russell terriers shed.  Jack Russell’s tend to have a short smooth mostly white coat with tan or black spots over their body and face.   They also can have a rough or broken coat too.

German Shepherds have a double coat of medium to long length ranging in colors from black and tan, all black, sable, liver, blue, and bi-colored. 

A mix between the breeds can create either the shorter coat of the Jack Russel or a medium-length coat more similar to the German Shepherds.  The coloring of the coat will depend on whether the pup takes more after their GSD parent or their Jack Russel parent. 

The GSD Jack Russel mix will be a shedding dog!


The German Shepherd and Jack Russell having similar grooming requirements.  A German Shepherd Jack Russell mix will need to be brushed once a week.  They may need to be brushed more frequently like two or three times a week in the spring and fall during shedding season.

Baths can be given every 6-8 weeks, nails should be clipped about once a month, and their teeth should be brushed regularly. 

Bite Force

German Shepherds have a strong bite force at around 238 psi.  Jack Russell’s obviously don’t have as strong of a bite force due to their size and their bite force strength isn’t commonly documented.   

A mix of these two breeds will likely lead to a dog with a bite force in the mid to upper 100s, but some of this depends on whether the pup takes more after their GSD parent or their Jack Russell parent.


Jack Russell Terrier Running Outside

A Jack Russell German Shepherd Mix will have some speed.  German Shepherd typically run about 32 miles per hour, and a Jack Russell runs at a speed of about 30 miles per hour. 

Thus, you can expect a Jack Russell German Shepherd mix to run between 30-32 miles per hour.

Exercise Requirement

German Shepherds and Jack Russell’s have a lot of energy; thus, a mix of these breeds will be energetic as well, so they will need plenty of exercise.  Expect them to need a minimum of one hour of physical activity each day, as well as some time for mental stimulation.

This mixed breed will do well with enough space to roam, but this dog can definitely live in an apartment assuming the apartment doesn’t have breed restrictions that restrict German Shepherd mixes and the owner is diligent in making sure their dog gets plenty of daily exercise.

Since both breeds are smart a Jack Russell GSD mix will thrive in households that focus on training and provide opportunities for them to mind.  A bored dog with this much energy and smarts could develop destructive tendencies if their needs aren’t being met.


German Shepherds are the 3rd smartest dog breed and Jack Russell’s are ranked in the mid 40s for their intelligence. 

Dogs with the German Shepherd’s level of intelligence will generally learn new commands in fewer than 5 repetitions and will obey commands 95% of the time.  Dogs with a Jack Russell’s level of intelligence will generally learn new commands with 25-40 repetitions and obey commands at least 50% of the time.

Don’t let the ranking of the Jack Russell fool you.  Jack Russell’s are highly intelligent and eager to please their owner even though they aren’t ranked as high as the German Shepherd Dog. 

The German Shepherd Jack Russell mix will be an excellent intelligence level and be a highly trainable dog understanding new commands with between 5-15 repetitions and obeying commands at least 85% of the time. 


The German Shepherd Jack Russell mix can be an excellent family dog and can also be good with other dogs, and even cats given the proper socialization.  This dog will be energetic with a spunky personality, friendly, love to play, courageous, loyal, vocal, have the drive to work, and loving and affectionate.

Both German Shepherds and Jack Russell are vocal dog breeds so expect a cross between the two to produce a dog that likes to bark, whine, groan and maybe even howl from time to time.


German Shepherds are known to be prone to bloat, which is where a dog’s stomach expands to a dangerous level.  This is typically caused because of excess gas or too much food or fluids.  Additionally, they are also prone to hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia.

Jack Russell Terriers are known to have eye issues such as dislocation of their eye lens.  Basically, the lens becomes unattached from the ligaments that hold them in place.  Additionally, they are also prone to tracheal collapse and pancreatitis.

Although some of these conditions sound scary, all dog breeds are prone to some health issues.  Being aware of the potential issues with both breeds of a mixed pup will help you know what to look out for during their lifetime.


The lifespan of a German Shepherd Jack Russell mix is expected to be between 12-15 years.  This lifespan is based upon the life expectancy of both breeds. 

AKC Recognition

Mixed breeds aren’t recognized by the AKC so the German Shepherd Jack Russell mix wouldn’t be able to be registered with the AKC.  Although this pup can’t register, they can still participate in some AKC competitions like agility, rally, and obedience.

How Popular is the German Shepherd Jack Russell Mix?

Jack Russell’s and German Shepherds aren’t usually intentionally crossed mostly because of the size difference between the breeds.  Accordingly, a mix between the two is usually either the result of accidental mating or artificial insemination by a breeder that intentionally wants to create this mix.

The German Shepherd Jack Russell mix is not a very popular breed strictly because these breeds aren’t often bred together.

Final Thoughts

A German Shepherd Jack Russell mix is a great dog to add to your family, but they may be difficult to find as there are not many breeders who actively cross these two breeds.  If you are lucky enough to find one, you’ll be getting a dog who is active, loves to work and play, with a lively personality providing you and your family with a lifetime of fun times.

If you are looking for other options for German Shepherd mixes, check out the GSD Dalmatian mix, the St. Bernard German Shepherd Mix, and the German Shepherd Bloodhound mix.

You can also see how the Doberman, Dutch Shepherd, Husky and Australian Shepherd compare to the German Shepherd if you are considering other breeds altogether.

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