How to Give a Jack Russell a Bath

Avoid outside activities until your pooch is completely dry.

Avoid outside activities until your pooch is completely dry.

The Jack Russell's coarse coat is designed to shirk off dried mud, but grime and dead skin cells can still irritate his skin. Even if he's not caked in filth, an active Jack Russell will need a bath every few weeks. Preparing your dog's coat before bathing him will yield longer-lasting results.

Brush your Jack Russell with a slicker brush, available at any pet store. Start at his head and upper back and work your way down to his feet. Always brush in the direction of hair growth. The rounded pins on a slicker brush help remove loose hair, dead skin cells and anything else that might come between your pup and a good scrubbing.

Place a large cotton ball inside your Jack Russell's outer ears. Getting water in your dog's ear can lead to an ear infection. Plugging his ears with cotton balls prevents water from entering. Position the cotton balls so they're secure, but not so deep that they're hard to reach.

Place your Jack Russell inside a laundry sink or bathtub and wet his entire coat with warm water. The coarse double-layer coat of your Jack Russell makes it difficult for water to reach the skin without some human assistance. Massage his body with your fingers while wetting his hair so the water reaches his undercoat and skin.

Apply a line of shampoo from his neck to the base of his tail and massage the suds into his coat with your fingers. Add more soap as necessary, and don't forget to wash his underside and inner thighs. Your Jack Russell's short stature means his underbelly often sees the most dirt.

Pour a dime-sized amount of shampoo on a wet washcloth and gently scrub your Jack Russell's face and neck. Adopt a "less is more" approach when it comes to suds and his face. To prevent soap from irritating his eyes and mouth, wring the washcloth before washing his face. If your Jack Russell isn't cooperative, stick to cleaning the sides of his face rather than risking further resistance with stinging, soapy eyes.

Rinse the shampoo by wriggling your fingers through your terrier's coat as you apply clean water. Start at the top and work your way toward his feet so you don't have to re-rinse his legs. Point the spray nozzle underneath your dog's body, as well. A thorough rinsing is important because even the gentlest dog shampoos can leave an irritating soapy residue on your dog's skin.

Allow your pup to shake off inside the tub or sink and massage him with a clean towel until he's damp, but not soaking. Remove and discard the cotton balls in his ears. Prevent chills during cold weather by drying his hair completely with a hairdryer.

Items you will need

  • Slicker brush
  • 2 large cotton balls
  • Spray nozzle
  • Dog shampoo
  • Washcloth
  • Dry towel
  • Hairdryer (optional)


  • Avoid walking your Jack Russell terrier outside until he's completely dry. Damp hair attracts dirt and grit, which is especially unwelcome after a recent bath.
  • Give your dog treats throughout the bathing process so that he learns to enjoy the experience, rather than fighting you tooth and nail.


  • Wait 48 hours before applying any insect prevention on your Jack Russell's back. Applying it immediately after the bath makes the ointment less effective.

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About the Author

Christina Bednarz Schnell began writing full-time in 2010. Her areas of expertise include child development and behavior, medical conditions and pet health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations.

Photo Credits

  • Jack-Russell-Terrier mit Ball image by Andrea Braun from Fotolia.com