Atlas Terrier Dog Breed: Facts, Traits, Character and Look

Atlas Terrier Dog Breed_ Facts, Traits, Character and Look

Atlas Terriers are an offshoot of the Jack Russell Terrier, which results from many different terrier breeds crossed together. Breeders created the Jack Russell Terrier for their working abilities and paid little attention to their looks. Throughout history, more and more people have bred dogs for cosmetic reasons instead of their original working purposes. 

The Jack Russell Terrier is a perfect example of this concept. Contemporary breeders attempted to breed the Jack Russell Terrier into a predominantly white dog, and they regarded the multi-colored specimens as non-breedable. Unfortunately, the gene that causes the mostly white coloration has led certain Jack Russell Terriers to become deaf. The coloration of the Atlas Terrier significantly reduces its chance of deafness.

There are three sizes of Atlas Terrier, toy, miniature, and standard sizes. Atlas Terrier dogs are small to medium-sized dogs with strong personalities. Atlas Terriers come in two coat varieties, smooth and wire. Being direct descendants of the Jack Russell Terrier, this feisty dog suits those who want a low-maintenance, fun breed who will join them on their walks or jogs. Atlas Terriers are brave and loyal and will double as watchdogs and family pets. The breed is accepted for registration, classified under the Terrier dog category.

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What is the History of Atlas Terrier Dog?

The Atlas Terrier is a rare breed developed in the USA as a blend of Jack Russell Terriers, Border Terriers, Rat Terriers, and Patterdale Terriers. In 1990 Lauren Wolfe developed the Atlas Terrier in America. Wolfe began her research to improve the health of the Jack Russell Terrier breed by combining the Jack Russell Terrier, Border Terrier, Rat Terrier, and Patterdale Terrier. 

However, after seeing the result, she realized that she had created a new breed, unique from any other terrier. The puppies are tiny, under 11 inches tall, weighing between five and nine pounds. These perky pups are excellent hunters, athletic achievers, friendly furbabies, and lovable lap dogs despite their small size. 

Using various Terriers from all over the world, Wolfe chose an apt name for this new Terrier breed. Atlas reflects the world, and she founded the Atlas Terrier Association in 2001.

What are the Breed Traits and Characteristics of Atlas Terrier?

Atlas Terriers will do well in a small household or apartment if sufficiently exercised. They are very active indoors and are happiest with at least an average-sized yard. The Atlas Terrier needs constant supervision and company when left inside. Atlas Terriers enjoy active sports as they are a very agile breed. They need plenty of outdoor exercise and mental exercise daily.

Atlas Terrier dogs are an affectionate and playful breed, and their high level of intelligence usually makes them easy to train. Their innate protective skills make them great companions and family watchdogs. Below is a list of other Atlas breed traits and characteristics.

Atlas Terrier 



It is easy to see the Jack Russel evidence in the traits of the Atlas Terrier. Like JRTs, Atlas terriers are outgoing, social, affectionate, and mischievous. It is not uncommon for Atlas Terrier and Jack Russel Terriers to compare their pups to regular naughty children. Having one of them in your home will mean energy and lots of fun and games. 

The Atlas Terrier is a highly social breed, and he won’t like to be left alone every day. Like a human child, it will need to be stimulated to ward off boredom and prevent it from becoming destructive.

Adaptability Level

The Atlas Terrier becomes attached to their human families, and they are in turn regarded as family members by their families. They can adapt to any circumstances and relocate anywhere if the changes do not separate them from their beloved human family members.

Sensitivity Level

Atlas Terrier Dogs are not affected by irregular daily routines, noisy households, and frequent guest visits. However, they are known to tune in to their owners’ emotions and even health problems. When they sense a family member is unwell, emotional or physical, they will show empathy by remaining close to that person, as if to protect them from further harm. Atlas terriers may suffer emotionally when harshly punished and they might withdraw, and if such punishment happens frequently, depression and anxiety may follow. 

Affection Level

When appropriately raised, this breed can be very affectionate and loyal to the family.

Overall Friendliness

Atlas Terriers have a friendly, outgoing demeanor. They are typically friendly with children, other dogs and pets and regard their humans as family members. They are wary of strangers, but only until they see their owners are not threatened.


Although parents should supervise all interactions between canines and children, the Atlas Terrier dogs are exceptionally patient and playful with children and can typically be trusted to be gentle.

Stranger friendliness – humans and dogs

They are not aggressive, but they do not like to be threatened. If an Atlas Terrier feels threatened, he will stand his ground. Proper socialization will help Atlas Terriers feel more comfortable around strangers and other pets

Exercise Needs

Atlas Terrier dogs are very active and need daily exercise of any kind. They love to go for walks but will be equally thrilled to join their dog daddy for jogging, cycling, or even skateboarding. However, they can quickly turn into couch potatoes, the first step to weight problems, and their humans must ensure they exercise daily.

Playfulness Level

The Atlas Terriers are a highly intelligent breed full of curiosity and playful competitiveness. They will constantly try to outsmart their owners and test boundaries.

Energy Levels

Atlas Terriers are high-energy dogs. Active lifestyles make them happy.

Trainability Level

Atlas Terriers are highly intelligent, and although they can quickly learn to respond to commands, they are mischievous and will always test the humans’ patience and set boundaries. Atlas Terriers make excellent pets, but they are strong-willed dogs and require a firm but fair owner.

Intelligence Level

Atlas Terriers are highly intelligent and although they can easily learn to respond to commands, they are mischievous and will always test the humans’ patience and the set boundaries. Atlas Terriers make excellent pets, but he is a strong-willed dog and will require an owner who is firm, but fair.

Barking Tendency

This breed loves to explore and dig and has a propensity to bark. Atlas Terriers make excellent pets, but they require a firm and dedicated owner.

Shedding Level

The Atlas Terrier breed’s shedding level is average, and regular brushing is enough, and maybe daily brushing during shedding seasons. Brushing sessions are excellent times for bonding between Atlas Terrier and its human.

Reproduction and lifespan

Atlas Terrier females have 4 to 8 puppies per litter once per year, and the lifespan of the breed is 11 to 17 years.

What are the Physical Traits of the Atlas Terrier Dog?

The coats of Atlas Terriers could be various colors or mixes of colors, brindles, and merles. They may also have white markings on their face, collars, chest, or toes. The two types of Atlas Terrier coats are wire and smooth. The Atlas Terrier is athletic, fast, and agile in body structure. This breed has a broad, pliable chest and powerful, properly-angled limbs. 

Their muscular neck is proportionately long, and their body is tapered. Atlas Terriers have a flat skull between the ears and a gradual and well-defined stop. Their almond-shaped eyes exist in a rainbow of colors: amber, brown, hazel, or yellow, to blue, green, or pale gray. Their ears are v-shaped, fold forward, and have a tail that may or may not be docked.

The Atlas Terrier’s coat is thick, loose-skinned, and weather-resistant, as without a good coat a terrier is very susceptible to the elements, above and below ground. The Atlas Terrier is a dog built for athleticism, speed, and flexibility. A pliable chest is of utmost importance, any other will have difficulty functioning underground. They are highly motivated, extremely willing, and incredibly intelligent.

The Atlas Terrier breed comes in three sizes, as listed below.

Size Atlas Terrier



Toy Size

9 to 11 inches

6 to 12 pounds

Miniature Size

11 to 13 inches

10 to 15 pounds

Standard Size

13 to 15 inches

13 to 18 pounds

What is the Average Maintenance Cost for Atlas Terrier Dog?

Atlas Terriers are very rare, one of the reasons being that there are only three Atlas Terrier breeders in the United States. The maintenance cost estimates below are based on average costs for other medium-sized breeds.

First-time Atlas Terrier owners should consider all the long-term expenses of purchasing or rescuing an Atlas Terrier before doing it. It is a good idea to be prepared for the financial responsibilities of bringing a new pup home.

The estimated average annual cost of having an Atlas Terrier is $650.

The most regular types of annual expenses annual costs for Atlas Terrier dogs consist of:

  • Food items
  • Veterinary care
  • Vaccinations
  • Preventive medicine
  • Toys
  • Pet Insurance
  • Pet Supplies

Other potential expenses include training, socializing, doggy daycare, dog sitters, dog walkers, etc.

Grooming the Atlas Terrier requires no more than frequent brushing, and it will not affect the maintenance costs of keeping a healthy dog. Thus, professional grooming will not form part of the maintenance costs of Atlas Terrier. 

What are the common health problems of Atlas Terrier Dog?

Atlas Terrier Dogs are healthy, but regular veterinarian checkups remain essential. The Atlas’s extreme controlled breeding program used to create this breed is unique. All the originating dogs used were health tested as modernly possible, and they were monitored well into their senior years as longevity was a concern. To this day, no major health problems have been detected.

What are the nutritional needs of Atlas Terriers?

The nutritional needs of an Atlas Terrier Dog include high levels of specific nutrients. The essential nutrients for Atlas Terrier are listed below:

  • Protein: Atlas Terrier Dogs need natural animal protein, valuable for the amino acids they contain essential for Atlas Terrier’s health. Equally important is the fact that protein builds lean muscles and provides energy.
  • Fat: Animal protein provides adequate fat, an additional energy source that boosts the Atlas Terrier Dog’s metabolism. However, there is a fine line between enough and too much. Excessive fat levels in the dog’s daily diet could result in weight gain and, ultimately, obesity. Most importantly, adults and senior Atlas Terriers need lower fat levels than puppies.
  • Carbohydrates: Although carbs are not essential nutrients, they are crucial energy sources. Giving the Atlas Terrier Dog sufficient carbs will provide energy, encouraging the body’s protein absorption to build lean muscle. Beware, though, too much carbohydrate can lead to obesity.
  • DHA: DHA is one of the components of omega-3 fatty acids. It promotes proper eye and brain development in Atlas Terrier Dog puppies, and DHA develops cognitive development in puppies and slows cognitive decline in older dogs. Furthermore, omega fatty acids benefit aging dogs by treating chronic kidney disease and canine arthritis. Omega-3 oils improve the coat health of Atlas Terrier.
  • Micronutrient: Taurine is one micronutrient that aids heart health, and other valuable micronutrients for the promotion of strong joints in Atlas Terrier Dogs are chondroitin and glucosamine.
  • Minerals: Beneficial minerals for an Atlas Terrier’s growth include a healthy balance of phosphorus and calcium. Pre- and probiotics and chelated minerals provide additional health to the diets of Atlas Terrier Dogs.

Choosing the right dog food for your Atlas Terrier is never easy. Aspects to consider include Atlas Terrier’s life stage, overall health, metabolism, activity level, and any existing allergies. Below is a suggestion of Premium-quality dry dog food available in three versions for Atlas Terrier puppies, adults, and seniors. The benefits of BLUE Life Protection Formula Dry Dog Food to help your Atlas Terrier thrive are listed below.

  • HEALTHY MUSCLE DEVELOPMENT: High-quality protein plus protein meal and egg help promote strong muscles. Small breed formulas are precisely blended to help meet small and toy breeds’ higher energy needs. Large breed formulas feature L-carnitine to help promote lean muscle mass.
  • STRONG BONES AND TEETH: Calcium, phosphorus, and essential vitamins help promote strong bones and teeth. Small breed formulas feature special “small-bite” kibble for easier chewing and tartar removal. Large breed formulas contain glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint function and mobility.
  • HEALTHY SKIN, COAT, AND IMMUNE SYSTEM: Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids help promote a shiny coat and healthy skin. Essential vitamins, chelated minerals, and important antioxidants help support the immune system.

Where to Buy or Adopt an Atlas Terrier?

Atlas Terrier Dogs are incredibly rare and, therefore, hard to find. As it is, there are no more than three breeders of Atlas Terriers in the US. If you are successful in tracking down a dealer, it is crucial to do your due diligence. Instead of getting all excited and rushing ahead, you need to ensure it is a reputable breeder. Don’t expect to walk in and buy a puppy, instead, expect to have your name going onto a waiting list. Registered breeders have buyers for the puppies before they are born.

Only deal with breeders who will welcome you to their facilities and let you meet the parents of the puppies for which your name is on the waiting list so you can get a feel for their temperament. Atlas Terrier puppies are often peppy and playful—all should have cheery expressions and kind eyes. These dogs are not registerable by the AKC.

It might be easier to find a legitimate breeder in Europe and travel may very well be in the cards. Steer clear of backyard breeding by avoiding sales sites and ad pages. When you select a breeder, make sure they have proof of successful, healthy litters with all necessary documentation.

Do not forget to look for the Facebook pages of Atlas Terrier breeders, kennel clubs, associations or rescue clubs.  Reputable Facebook groups might handle requests and inquiries about breeders, adoptions, and rescues of Atlas Terriers. Although you can buy or adopt Atlas Terrier from abroad, not all countries allow importing adopted dogs.

Those whose countries allow the importation of Atlas Terrier may find the logistics challenging. Procedures include obtaining certification from a vet to prove the Atlas Terrier is fully vaccinated and providing all the additional required veterinary documents before the travel

Furthermore, your country must approve the veterinarian to authorize the importation, and it will be your responsibility to ensure you use the services of a certified vet. These regulations also apply to importing rescued Terriers from abroad. 

How to Name an Atlas Terrier?

Naming an Atlas Terrier might require different criteria than new Atlas Terrier parents might expect. It is never the actual name the pup responds to; instead, it is the sound and how it is said. There might be a specific inspiration like history, a movie, nature, or the night sky, and in the case of the Atlas Terrier, why not use their origins as inspiration. 

The building blocks for naming an Atlas Terrier include the significance of the sound. The Atlas Terrier’s name will mean something to the humans in the dog’s life, but as far as your canine companion goes, only the sound matters. Atlas Terrier Dogs respond best to two-syllable names that are not short enough to be confused with single-syllable command words like “sit,” stay,” “come,” and “down.” However, the names should not be long enough to become puzzling.

Choose a name that could sound different in regular interaction than when calling your Atlas Terrier. It might be a good idea to call out a name you like and check your Atlas Terrier pup’s reaction. Be creative use different tones for each syllable. Don’t rush; try several, and if your favorite name is too long or too short, add or remove bits until you have composed the perfect unique sound that your precious pup will recognize from a distance.

Below are several names to test on your Atlas Terrier.

Names for Atlas Terrier Puppies













What Dog Breeds are Similar to the Atlas Terrier?

When  Lauren Wolfe bred the Atlas Terrier, she crossed a Jack Russel Terrier with several other terriers and unintentionally created a new breed. Her goal was to use a selective breeding process to improve the Jack Russel Terrier’s health. However, the process got to a stage where Wolfe stood back and realized she had developed a breed unlike any of the terriers whose genes were used. However, some of the Atlas Terrier’s traits and characteristics are evident in the terriers used in the breeding process. Below is a list of those terriers and similarities they share with the Atlas Terrier. Notable is the fact that the Atlas Terrier does not share the stubbornness which is a characteristic of most other terriers.

Jack Russel Terrier: The Atlas Terrier’s roots are in the United States while the JRT originated in the UK. The two breeds share similar heights, but the muscular body of the Jack Russel makes it heavier. Both breeds have a similar expected life span and litter size. Their short, smooth, and dense coats make both breeds easy to groom. They are both intelligent, independent, and easy to train. Both breeds are alert, cheerful, energetic, kid-friendly,  and playful.

Border Terriers: Another UK breed used in developing the Atlas Terrier is the Border Terrier. The Atlas Terrier is significantly small, in height and weight, but they have similar short, dense coats, making grooming and maintenance easy. They are both highly trainable, energetic, cheerful, alert, and affectionate, as well as child-friendly and playful.

Rat Terriers: Like Atlas Terriers, Rat Terriers’ origins are in the US. However, the Atlas Terrier is taller and heavier. Both need only moderate coat care to keep their short coats healthy and shiny, and they are moderate shedders. Both breeds are energetic, playful, affectionate, and curious. They are alert, loyal, and protective.

Patterdale Terriers: Another UK source of genes for the development of the Atlas Terrier. Patterdale Terriers are heavier and taller than Atlas Terriers, but they are equally curious, energetic, loving, and playful. Both breeds are intelligent, loyal, and protective.

Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.