The 7 Best Dog Foods for Jack Russells

By Kevin Myers | 2021 Update

This ultimate guide reviews all of the best dog foods for jack russell terrier available this year.

The Jack Russell Terrier, or JRT for short, has been described as stubborn, intelligent, fearless, moody, hyperactive, energetic, keen, alert, and many more. The gist is that if you have a JRT, you have a highly intelligent perpetual motion machine that needs plenty of exercise and activities planned throughout its day. Let your Jack Russell become bored at your peril because this dog will find its own entertainment if you don’t.

A dog this active needs a well-thought-out nutrition plan to keep it happy and healthy for its ten to fifteen-year lifespan. To help you with that, we’ve come up with this list of the best dog foods for the Jack Russell Terrier.

Let’s dive in…

The Best Dog Foods for Jack Russells

Top PicksRatingsTop Ingredients
1. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Small Breed4.7Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley
2. Taste of the Wild Small Breed Grain-Free4.6Venison, Lamb Meal, Garbanzo Beans, Peas, Lentils
3. ORIJEN Small Breed Grain-Free4.8Deboned Turkey, Deboned Chicken, Quail, Eggs, Whole Blue Whiting
4. Purina ONE SmartBlend Small Bites Beef4.7Beef (Source Of Glucosamine), Rice Flour, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal (Source Of Glucosamine)
5. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed Turkey and Chicken4.6Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal (source of Glucosamine), Chicken Meal (source of Chondroitin Sulfate), Lentils, Peas
6. Taste of the Wild Puppy Formula4.7Water Buffalo, Lamb Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Egg Product, Pea Protein
7. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Senior Small Breed4.7Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal,

How to Switch Dog Food Without Getting Your Pup Sick


Jack Russell Dog Food Reviews

1. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Small Breed

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Brown Rice, 4. Oatmeal, 5. Barley

If you are looking for dog food for your Jack Russell Terrier, you should look at this life protection formula from Blue Buffalo. This recipe is one of the best dog food options for your adult Jack Russell Terrier because of its ratio of protein to calories. The grains are easily digestible, and high-quality animal proteins are the building blocks for strong muscles. Furthermore, there are plenty of garden veggies and fruits full of antioxidants for a strong immune system. The small kibble size is just right for your Jack Russell Terrier. 


2. Taste of the Wild Small Breed Grain-Free

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Venison, 2. Lamb Meal, 3. Garbanzo Beans, 4. Peas, 5. Lentils

Another dog food you may want to consider is this one from Taste of the Wild. It has been designed specifically for smaller breeds, so you know your Jack Russell Terrier is going to enjoy it. It has a well-balanced, complete nutritional formulation that makes sure your Jack Russell Terrier has everything he or she needs to grow up big and strong. With a slightly higher calorie content than some of the other choices, this dog food also contains plenty of pure protein. 


3. ORIJEN Small Breed Grain-Free

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Turkey, 2. Deboned Chicken, 3. Quail, 4. Eggs, 5. Whole Blue Whiting

This option from ORIJEN is great for smaller dog breeds, including the JRT. It is free from any grain, which is a common allergen. Furthermore, there is plenty of protein, fiber, and nutrients. Fiber is important for the health of the digestive tract of your Jack Russell Terrier. Because the JRT is such an active dog, the higher calorie content will provide them with plenty of energy.


4. Purina ONE SmartBlend Small Bites Beef

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Beef (Source Of Glucosamine), 2. Rice Flour, 3. Corn Gluten Meal, 4. Whole Grain Corn, 5. Chicken By-Product Meal (Source Of Glucosamine)

Purina is one of the leading names in dog food for a reason. This small bites beef and rice dry dog food recipe is great for Jack Russell Terriers. It has a relatively small kibble size, meaning that your dog will have an easy time eating it. Furthermore, it is one of the most reasonably priced options on the market. It contains plenty of vitamins and minerals, which are important for the overall development of your Jack Russell Terrier.


5. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed Turkey and Chicken

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Turkey, 2. Turkey Meal (source of Glucosamine), 3. Chicken Meal (source of Chondroitin Sulfate), 4. Lentils, 5. Peas

Next, you may be interested in this option from Wellness CORE. This recipe has been specifically designed for smaller dogs. It has a high protein, high-calorie formula that is perfect for active dogs like Jack Russell Terriers. Furthermore, it contains plenty of vitamins and minerals that are important for supporting your Jack Russell Terriers joints and coat. Because of the caloric content, keep in mind that this may not be the right dog food if you have an older, more sedentary JRT.


6. Taste of the Wild Puppy Formula

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Water Buffalo, 2. Lamb Meal, 3. Sweet Potatoes, 4. Egg Product, 5. Pea Protein

If you have a JRT puppy, you may also want to look at this puppy formula from Taste of the Wild. It has plenty of calories for a growing puppy. The kibble is appropriately sized for puppy jaws, and it contains plenty of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and protein for the development of your Jack Russell Terrier.


7. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Senior Small Breed

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Brown Rice, 4. Barley, 5. Oatmeal

If your dog is older, then he or she may have a hard time dealing with traditional dog food. That is where this specific formulation from Blue Buffalo is helpful. It has fewer calories than other Blue Buffalo recipes, as senior dogs tend to be less active. Furthermore, this dog food still has plenty of antioxidants that are important for preventing the development of chronic medical problems in old age.


8. Purina Beneful IncrediBites

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Beef, 2. Whole Grain Corn, 3. Barley, 4. Soybean Meal, 5. Whole Grain Wheat

If you are looking for a recipe containing all-natural ingredients, you should take a closer look at this option from Purina. It contains farm-raised beef as the primary protein source for your Jack Russell Terrier. Furthermore, it has been specifically designed for smaller dogs. It contains numerous antioxidants that are important for preventing the development of chronic medical problems. One of the most cost-effective options on the market, this may be a good choice for your Jack Russell Terrier.


9. ORIJEN Puppy Dry Dog Food Grain-Free

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Deboned Turkey, 3. flounder, 4. Eggs, 5. Whole Atlantic Mackerel

If you have a puppy at home, then you may want to take a closer look at this grain-free option from ORIJEN. This recipe contains vitamins and minerals that are important for the heart, brain, coat, skin, and immune system of your Jack Russell Terrier. It also has a very high-calorie content, which is ideal for Jack Russell Terriers that are still growing.


10. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed Freeze-Dried Turkey 

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Turkey, 2. Turkey Meal (source of Glucosamine), 3. Chicken Meal (source of Chondroitin Sulfate), 4. Lentils, 5. Peas

This formula is another option you may want to consider for a Jack Russell Terrier from Wellness CORE. This recipe has plenty of vitamins and minerals, with the main protein source coming from freeze-dried turkey. If you notice that your Jack Russell Terrier has issues with other protein sources, you may want to consider this formula from Wellness CORE. It also contains complex carbohydrates that are perfect for energetic Jack Russell Terriers. 


11. Royal Canin Weight Care for Extra Small Dogs

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Corn, 2. Chicken By-Product Meal, 3. Brewers Rice, 4. Corn Gluten Meal, 5. Wheat Gluten, 

If you have a Jack Russell Terrier struggling with weight issues, you may want to consider this choice from Royal Canin. It has fewer calories than traditional adult small dog recipes, helping you keep your Jack Russell Terrier’s weight in check. Despite the reduced calorie content, it still contains all the required nutrients for your Jack Russell Terrier to remain happy and healthy. 


12. Purina Pro Plan Shredded Blend Adult Small Breed

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Rice, 3. Poultry 4. By-product Meal (Source Of Glucosamine), 5. Beef Fat Preserved With Mixed-tocopherols

This shredded blend is perfect for adult Jack Russell Terriers. From Purina, this choice is a bit more expensive than some of the other options on the market, but it contains a wide variety of important nutrients for your dog. This recipe includes lean chicken protein, complex carbohydrates from rice, and numerous vitamins and minerals. If you are looking for well-rounded dog food for your Jack Russell Terrier, consider this option from Purina. 


13. Taste of the Wild Wetlands Grain-Free

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Duck, 2. Duck Meal, 3. Chicken Meal, 4. Sweet Potatoes, 5. Peas

If your Jack Russell Terrier has an allergy, you may want to take a closer look at this grain-free option from Taste of the Wild. Some Jack Russell Terriers can develop allergies, and grain is a common culprit. You may be able to eliminate grain from the diet of your Jack Russell Terrier with this choice from Taste of the Wild. It includes numerous vitamins and minerals that are important for the health of your Jack Russell Terrier. 


14. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Smaller Bites

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Brown Rice, 4. Barley, 5. Oatmeal

This dog food is another great option from Blue Buffalo. Particularly if your dog has a hard time getting its jaws around traditional-sized kibble, you may want to take a closer look at this smaller bites formula from Blue Buffalo. It contains plenty of lean protein, in the form of chicken, along with complex carbohydrates from brown rice, which provides your Jack Russell Terrier with plenty of nutrients to lead an active life. Even though this dog food is a bit more expensive than some of the other Blue Buffalo formulas, it is worth it for your Jack Russell Terrier. 


15. Wellness CORE Reduced-Fat

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Turkey, 2. Turkey Meal (source of Glucosamine), 3. Chicken Meal (source of Chondroitin Sulfate), 4. Lentils, 5. Peas

If you have a Jack Russell Terrier that is overweight, you may want to take a closer look at this reduced-fat option from Wellness CORE. With a lower calorie content, this formula may be able to help your dog lose weight. It has a slightly larger kibble size, so make sure your Jack Russell Terrier can eat the individual pieces before deciding to purchase an entire bag of this grain-free food.


Further Reading:

Frequently Asked Questions About the Jack Russell Dog Foods

A few of the most common questions people ask about finding the best dog food for their Jack Russell Terrier include: 

How many calories does my Jack Russell Terrier need per day? 

The number of calories your JRT needs daily depends on its age, size, and activity level. A typical Jack Russell needs somewhere between 400 and 650 calories each day. Puppies and active young dogs will be on the higher end, while older, less active dogs will be on the lower end. Talk to your veterinarian for more specific guidelines. 

Does my Jack Russell Terrier need carbohydrates to be healthy? 

Even though many people try to stay away from carbohydrates, they are important for providing your Jack Russell Terrier with enough energy. Pay attention to the number of carbohydrates in your food, and make sure your Jack Russell Terrier is getting enough. 

Are Jack Russell Terriers prone to becoming overweight?

Jack Russell Terriers are not more prone to becoming overweight and other dogs; however, if you do not pay attention to how much your Jack Russell Terrier is eating, it could struggle with weight. 

Is it okay for me to give my Jack Russell Terrier grapes and raisins? 

No. You should never give your Jack Russell Terrier grapes or raisins. These are toxic to your Jack Russell terrier and could result in an emergency visit to the vet. 

How long does it take a Jack Russell Terrier to reach his or her full size? 

In general, a Jack Russell Terrier will reach full size before a year of age. It may vary slightly from dog to dog. 

Is it okay for me to give my dog onions and garlic?

You should not give your Jack Russell Terrier onion or garlic because they are potentially toxic and could lead to serious health problems or worse. 

Is it okay for me to get my Jack Russell Terrier cheese?

Cheese is not toxic to Jack Russell Terriers. Therefore, you may be able to give you a Jack Russell Terrier cheese from time to time. Keep in mind that this food does have a lot of calories. If you give your Jack Russell Terrier too much cheese, he or she could develop a weight issue. 

Can I give my Jack Russell Terrier macadamia nuts? 

No, do not give your Jack Russell Terrier macadamia nuts. Remember that macadamia nuts may be hidden in cookies or other goodies, so be careful about what you give your dog. 

Are Jack Russell Terriers friendly to people? 

Yes, the vast majority of Jack Russell Terriers do like to be around people. If you train your Jack Russell Terrier to be nice to people at a young age, he or she should be friendly with other people. 

Are Jack Russell Terriers good with other animals? 

Jack Russell Terriers can be good with other animals, including dogs and cats. You need to be careful when introducing your Jack Russell Terrier to dogs and cats for the first time. Make sure to give everyone time to adjust. 

Is it okay for me to give my Jack Russell Terrier human food? 

It is okay to give your Jack Russell Terrier human food if it is not toxic to dogs. Talk to your veterinarian if you have concerns about specific types of food. 

Is it okay for me to give my Jack Russell Terrier blueberries? 

Yes, blueberries are a great snack for you to give your Jack Russell Terrier. Blueberries are high in antioxidants. Therefore, they provide your Jack Russell Terrier with important ingredients that could prevent chronic health problems. 

Can I give my Jack Russell Terrier carrots from time to time? 

Yes, you can give your Jack Russell Terrier carrots from time to time; however, you need to cook these carrots before you give them to your Jack Russell Terrier. If the carrots are still raw, your dog could have a hard time digesting them. 

How many meals should I feed my Jack Russell Terrier per day? 

You should try to feed your Jack Russell Terrier twice per day. When your Jack Russell Terrier is a puppy, he or she may eat more frequent, smaller meals. Think carefully about when you feed your Jack Russell Terrier. Add up the calories make sure you are giving your Jack Russell Terrier enough to eat. 

Are Jack Russell Terriers considered to be affectionate dogs? 

Yes, Jack Russell Terriers love to please their owners. Therefore, you should develop a strong bond with your Jack Russell Terrier. 

Do Jack Russell Terriers like to bark a lot? 

Yes, Jack Russell Terriers do like to bark a lot. Because they are smaller dogs, they bark to scare away larger dogs that could threaten them. If you do not want your Jack Russell Terrier to bark a lot, you need to train him or her. 

Do I need to take my Jack Russell Terrier to the vet once per year?

Yes, even if your Jack Russell Terrier is healthy, you need to go to the vet once per year. Make sure he or she is okay and does not have any hidden health problems. 

Is it okay for me to give a Jack Russell Terrier peanut butter? 

Yes, you can give your Jack Russell Terrier peanut butter; however, keep in mind that this is high in calories. Therefore, they should only be a special treat. 

Do I need to bathe my Jack Russell Terrier?

Yes, you do need to bathe your Jack Russell Terrier from time to time. Every four weeks is a good target. If your Jack Russell Terrier is active outside, you need to bathe your Jack Russell Terrier more often. 

Is a Jack Russell Terrier a good dog to have around children? 

Yes, your Jack Russell Terrier should be great with children if you teach your children to be nice to the dog. Make sure your Jack Russell terrier has a place to go when he or she feels stressed. 


A Buyers Guide: The Best Dog Foods for Jack Russells

Ultimately, if you are looking for the best dog food for your Jack Russell Terrier, there are plenty of options from which to choose. You need to ensure you provide the correct balance of protein and calories required for small dog breeds, such as the Jack Russell Terrier. These dog breeds tend to have very high energy levels. Therefore, they need more calories than the average dog. Even though it is easy to pick a food with plenty of carbohydrates, this will drive up the calorie count, which is not necessarily the best approach to take if you are trying to find the right dog food for your Jack Russell Terrier. A few important points are:

  • Even though you may be trying to steer away from dog food that has a lot of fat in it, omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids are very important to the overall health of your Jack Russell Terrier. These ingredients are important because they help the dog’s coat remain healthy, strong, and intact. Even though you don’t necessarily want to give you a Jack Russell Terrier plenty of saturated fat, you want to target omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are plentiful in dog food containing fish. 
  • Next, you need to make sure you protect the joints of your Jack Russell terrier as well. To do this, you must find a dog food that has plenty of glucosamine and chondroitin. Even though these are not necessarily required for your dog to grow up big and strong, they are a requirement if you want your Jack Russell Terrier to get as many years out of his or her joints as possible. There are minerals you may want to target if you wish your Jack Russell Terrier to get the most out of his or her bones, including calcium and phosphorus.
  • Finally, you do want to think about the number of calories that are present in the food as well. Even though most dog foods require approximately 40 calories per pound of body weight per day, it is not unusual for a Jack Russell Terrier to require closer to 60 calories per pound of body weight per day, particularly when they are still a puppy. Therefore, pay attention to the serving size, figure out how many calories you will give your Jack Russell Terrier with each meal, and make sure he or she has enough energy.

These are just a few of the most important factors you need to consider if you are looking for dog food for your Jack Russell Terrier. Think carefully about the dog food you give to your furry friend. If you have questions or concerns, be sure to reach out to your veterinarian for help. He or she may be able to guide you so that you can make the best possible decision for your Jack Russell Terrier.