Russell Terrier vs American Hairless Terrier - Breed Comparison

Russell Terrier vs American Hairless Terrier - Breed ComparisonRussell Terrier is originated from United Kingdom but American Hairless Terrier is originated from United States. Russell Terrier may grow 10 cm / 3 inches shorter than American Hairless Terrier. Both Russell Terrier and American Hairless Terrier are of same weight. Both Russell Terrier and American Hairless Terrier has almost same life span. Russell Terrier may have more litter size than American Hairless Terrier. Both Russell Terrier and American Hairless Terrier requires Low maintenance.


russell terrier - historyThis feisty little dog was developed in England a couple of centuries ago. He has a well documented history. An interesting aspect with this dog is that the very name ‘Jack Russell’ became a common name for predominantly white terriers after the death of clergyman Jack Russell.

The Russell Terrier was developed from Jack Russell working terrier strains that were used in the 19th century for hunting fox. The dog has been standardized by Kennel Club recognition. The Fedédération Cynologique Internationale also recognizes the breed.

It was in the early 1970s that the Jack Russell Terrier Club of Great Britain was formed.

american hairless terrier - historyDerived from the Rat Terrier, the American Hairless Terrier was born in a litter of Rat Terriers in 1972.

The evolution of this breed is very different from other hairless breeds. The American Hairless Terrier was independently developed when a hairless pup was produced in a litter of normal Rat Terriers. The owners of this pup, Edwin and Willie Scott attempted to breed her to other Rat terriers but were not successful in having another hairless pup until years later. Then they had a litter with one male and one female hairless puppy.

From that point on they worked with a veterinarian and a geneticist to develop the breed until it was accepted as a separate breed from the Rat Terrier in 2004 and accepted into the AKC in 2016.

The breed is very rare and with hairless dogs breeding only produces about two thirds of the litter as hairless and one third as coated. If a hairless is bred to a coated terrier, the chances of getting hairless puppies are 50% hairless and 50% coated. It is very rare to get a hairless when breed two coated terriers. The difference between the American Hairless Terrier and other hairless breeds is that the hairless gene in most breed is a lethal dominant gene, but in the AHT it is a recessive gene.

Basic Information

Terrier dog
Terrier dog
United Kingdom
United States
Height Male:
20 - 35 cm
7 - 14 inches
18 - 45 cm
7 - 18 inches
Height Female:
20 - 35 cm
7 - 14 inches
16 - 40 cm
6 - 16 inches
Weight Male:
7 - 12 kg
15 - 27 pounds
3 - 12 kg
6 - 27 pounds
Weight Female:
7 - 12 kg
15 - 27 pounds
2 - 10 kg
4 - 23 pounds
Life Span:
12 - 14 Years
14 - 16 Years
Litter Size:
4 - 8
3 - 5
Small dog
Small dog
Other Names:
Jack Russell terrier, Parson Russell terrier
AHT, American Hairless Rat Terrier
Colors Available:
black, White, tan
variety of colors and patterns (blue, black, brown, pink, sable and tan) with white
Short, broken and rough - 3 types of dogs
hairless, coated variety has a short dense coat
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Responsive, Social, Stubborn, Territorial
Affectionate, Alert, Energetic, Lively, Loving, Territorial
Low maintenance
Low maintenance
Kids Friendly:
New Owners Friendly:


russell terrier puppy - descriptionThe Russell Terrier has a weatherproof coat that is mainly white with patches of tan or black or maybe even both. You get the smooth haired type, the broken type- as well as the rough haired Russell Terrier. All these coats shed.

He is a small dog standing at between 20-35cm in height and weighing between 7 and 12kg.


Your Russell Terrier is a jaunty, fearless, confident little dog with a powerful personality. The bright face with alert eyes are constantly telling you that he is just ready to spring into action when you’re ready.

He just loves games and sports and you won’t have to ask him twice to join in. Happy and energetic, you could say it's his desire to hunt as well as his high energy levels that make it necessary for him to be trained and socialized It is of particular importance because he is so strong willed. Super smart, you won't have any trouble teaching him some basic commands.

He also makes a good watch dog and while he can be aggressive towards other dogs, he is prepared to get along with children in the house who have been disciplined and who know how to treat animals with respect and kindness.

american hairless terrier puppy - descriptionThe American Hairless Terrier is similar to it’s breed of origin, the Rat Terrier, and the coated AHT looks very much like a Rat Terrier. They are small to medium in size, very muscular and have more refined features than the Rat Terrier. Their round eyes can be a variety of colors including amber, brown, grey, turquoise and blue. The tail is not docked but rather long and thin.

The AHT might have eyebrows and whiskers or they might only have whiskers. Their head is broad, and wedge shaped with upright ears. They are an energetic, social and intelligent dog.


russell terrier dog - characteristicsIt is true that this very active, very 'in-your-face' dog may not be everybody’s cup of tea. He will be discontent if not given the chance to run and be active.

If you’re a super active family who loves swimming, going on hikes or you enjoy sports such as cycling and horse riding, you can count the Russell Terrier in every time.

These dogs make a loving, loyal companion. They'll make you smile and be amused by their antics, bringing you lots of joy and entertainment.

american hairless terrier dog - characteristicsThis is a curious, intelligent, little dog. They are terrific family dogs with a note to say they are better with older children than with younger. If they are raised with small children, then they are terrific with them. They are territorial, and the children become part of their territory. They will guard and protect them.

They need to play, and this is the biggest requirement for owners. Be sure you have time for them. This is not a couch potato dog. They have a lot of energy and can be destructive and “barky” if that energy is not dissipated. They are terriers through and through and love to “go to ground” whether going in holes they find or digging the holes themselves. They will go after small rodents like chipmunks. They need to be protected in these activities since their skin is vulnerable to scratches and cuts from brush. Their prey drive is strong, so it is important to protect them from themselves in this respect.

They are curious and feisty and every inch the terrier. Affectionate, friendly, and social it is also important to remember they can be scared easily, hurt if play is too rough, and this will trigger barking. They make very good watch dogs.

Health Problems

russell terrier puppies - health problemsThe Russell Terrier is a robust little dog who can lead a good, healthy life of 13, 14 or 15 years if well cared for. There are however, a number of common dog ailments that he can succumb to. Some of these are cataracts, deafness and myasthenia gravis.

Myasthenia Gravis:

This disorder is caused by a breakdown of the transmission of impulses from the nerves to the muscles. The muscles can’t contract and the dog becomes weak. It’s a disease that can be an inherited congenital defect, and the Russell Terrier is at risk of getting this disease. Symptoms do vary from dog to dog but a common symptom is muscle weakness.

american hairless terrier puppies - health problemsThere are not many health problems bothering this sturdy little dog.

The American Hairless Terrier has limited breeding stock and it is still a rare breed. Its health problems are mostly related to its hairless state. The breed is highly susceptible to sunburn, rashes, pimples, and allergies. They often need clothing in all seasons to protect them from the heat of the sun or from the cold. The skin must be cleaned regularly often daily with soap and water. This is especially true if sunscreen is used as they are open to skin infections.

Hip dysplasia is also a common issue for this small breed.

Caring The Pet


russell terrier dogs - caringThis little dog needs plenty of exercise, and being lazy yourself and not exercising him will lead to him becoming destructive through no fault of his.

He will need walks every day as well as runs in the park off his leash. Ball- and frisbee games fill him with delight and he gives chase every time. Even though he is small, he isn’t recommended for life in the city and small properties as he is a small dog with high energy needs and requires a lot of room to run.


The weatherproof coat isn’t going to require much grooming apart from a brushing twice week. Regular checking of the teeth, checking the eyes, looking inside the ears and checking for lumps will be required. He will also need to have his nails trimmed.

Provide him with nice, warm, dry place to sleep.

Have him neutered or spayed if you aren’t wanting puppies.

Keep his vaccines up to date and get him to a vet if you see his is lethargic, miserable and in pain.

Provide him with top quality food, whether it is commercially manufactured food or homemade food.

Your Russell Terrier will be relying on you for good food. Try to include some home-made food for him which can be simply mixed into the kibble twice a week which is easy to prepare and totally uncomplicated.

You can add everything together in one big pot -chicken, brown rice or pasta and spinach, sweet potatoes and carrots. This food can all be chopped up, refrigerated and added warmed up and in small portions to your pets dry kibble once or twice a week.

Simple and tasty, your Russell Terrier will love tasty treats like this. Ensure he always has a bowl of fresh, cool water within his reach.

american hairless terrier dogs - caringThe American Hairless Terrier has some food needs that might be different from other breeds. They should not be given food that contains soy, wheat or corn. They need to be fed at least 3-4 times a day in small amounts as puppies and twice a day as adult. Be sure to avoid overeating and obesity. Puppies need about 400 calories a day whether you feed four times or two times. The adult American Hairless Terrier needs about 500-600 calories per day. This might be half a cup to a cup per day.

Health issues

As previously mentioned the American Hairless Terrier has skin health issues and is also prone to hip dysplasia.

Exercise and games

This is a great breed for games if you make them small to match his size. He is energetic, athletic and playful. He loves agility, lure chasing and barn hunt activities. They need a good half hour of vigorous exercise per day.

Comparison with other breeds

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