The Jack Russell Terrier has a double coat of harsh, thick hair. Called the Parson Russell Terrier by the American Kennel Club, the dogs can have smooth, rough, or broken coats. Rough-coated dogs have longer hair than the smooth-coated, and have excess trace hair on the dog’s head, face, legs and body. The hair is coarse to protect the dog from the elements, and soft, silky or curly hair is considered a fault. Rough-coated Jack Russell terriers need little grooming to look their best at all times.
Brushing is the most important aspect of grooming a Jack Russell Terrier, and the main purpose is to help the dog develop a hard, water repellent coat. Start by brushing or combing the dog’s entire body using a wide-toothed comb. Daily brushing with a slicker brush is necessary when the dog blows the coat, (the shedding of excess hair naturally). This type of brush has a rubber cushion embedded with fine, metal pins, and will remove the hairs of the undercoat as soon as they are loose or almost ready to drop.
Shampoo is detrimental to the rough-coated Jack Russell as it softens the hair, according to the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America, and the dogs benefit from a dry shampoo instead. Mix equal parts of cornstarch with baby powder, work it into the dog’s coat and brush it out thoroughly. However, if your dog is especially dirty and you need to give them a full bath, use a high-quality dog shampoo made especially for rough-coated dogs.
Strip the Jack Russell Terrier’s undercoat twice a year as part of the grooming process. This is best done when the dog is blowing the coat. Once you have combed all loose hair and dust from the coat, separate the remaining hair into sections and examine each section to ensure all dead hairs have been removed. Pluck these out one hair at a time, as this removes the dead hair shaft from the dog’s skin and allows for even growth of new hairs. You can also do this using a stripping knife, which removes several dead hairs at a time. If you are uncomfortable with this procedure, consult a professional groomer for advice and instruction.
The Jack Russell Terrier needs very little trimming. Trim the loose hair around the dog’s face with a pair of blunt scissors, and avoid removing more than a little. Leave eyebrow hairs and whiskers around the dog’s mouth, and trim just enough to balance the face evenly on both sides. Trim excess hair around the dog’s genital area to help with hygiene, and trim excess hair on the feet and between the toes. Use thinning scissors to trim the tip of the tail to neaten it up.
If you are uncomfortable trimming the dog's coat yourself, consult a groomer once every eight to ten weeks to keep your dog's coat looking healthy and clean.