How Much Exercise Does a Jack Russell Need?

Reviewed By Julie •  Updated: 10/05/21 •  9 min read
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How Much Exercise Does a Jack Russell Need

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Jack Russel Terriers (JRTs) are highly intelligent and athletic dogs! We thought this was a good opening because you’ll have a clue about how much exercise these dogs require.

In this article, we’ll take an overall look at the Jack Russell Terrier dog breed, how much exercise they need, as well as fun activities you can do with your JRT canine companion.

What is a Jack Russell Terrier?

Jack Russell Terriers are working dogs all the way. And they have an interesting history. JRTs were named after the Reverend John Russell, who is the person responsible for today’s Jack Russells. He bred different strains of terriers to create a dog that would “work the fox.”

The dogs were eventually brought to the US, where they have continued to gain in popularity. In fact, many horse riders appreciate having a Jack Russell Terrier by their side.

Intelligent & Alert

JRTs are extremely alert, intelligent, lively, and curious. These dogs aren’t afraid of much and have plenty of self-confidence. And boy, they can also be real charmers, so watch out!

We have to say right now that Jack Russell Terriers do not take well to living in an apartment. They’re also not the best choice for first-time pet parents. These are dogs that need plenty (we can’t stress this enough) of room to run, play, and have fun. These little dogs can be a bit on the rowdy side.

Can be Challenging to Train

Next, we have to mention that JRTs are also challenging to train. It’s not impossible, it just takes some patience, firmness (no harshness) to get one of these dogs to be well-mannered. This is why first-time pet parents may not want to adopt a Jack Russell Terrier. These dogs aim to please, but they definitely have a mind of their own, which they will use! Don’t say we didn’t warn you! \

JRTs don’t accept boredom at all. If they don’t receive plenty of attention, exercise, and playtime they can become very destructive. This is especially true when they’ve left home alone for long hours. Jack Russells do not tolerate this at all.

These dogs are diggers; if you have a backyard, be sure it’s fenced in, with some of the fence going underground. Not only can JRTs dig out of the yard, but they can also climb over the fence utilizing trees, and more. This is a dog that requires supervision when out in the yard!

Jack Russells & Other Pets

Because Jack Russell Terriers are extremely prey driven, they should not be kept with other pets such as cats, rabbits, small pocket pets, and more.

We’re not trying to say these are not good dogs—they’re lovely, in fact! But we wanted to make sure you understand what you’re getting with a JRT.

JRTs do better in homes that have older children who are able to learn how to treat dogs correctly and with respect. The dogs are really not good with younger children; they won’t attack younger kids but tend to be a little too rough and may snap if they don’t like being handled a certain way.

Having said that, Jack Russells are extremely devoted to their families. They want nothing more in the world than to spend time with their favorite people in the world.

Health Issues of JRTs

Jack Russell Terriers stand about 10-15 inches and weigh in between 13-17 lbs. This breed is pretty healthy, but they can suffer from certain medical conditions including:

Your JRT will need to be brushed at least once a week to remove loose hair and debris. They only need to be bathed when really dirty. Thorough brushing can keep bathing to a minimum.

There you have it! Jack Russell Terriers are truly excellent dogs! They just need plenty of exercise and activity to help wear off the huge amount of energy they have!

How much Exercise Does a Jack Russell Terrier Require?

Jack Russell Terriers need at the minimum about 1 hour of exercise a day. However, more is always better! They can play and run in a fenced yard, go for walks, and more. These dogs require a large amount of physical activity. We can’t state this often enough.

Exercise is imperative to a JRT. It makes him a more well-balanced dog, as well as healthy, and happy. Your Jack Russell will want to have fun with you, count on that. They thrive at activities where they can release their boundless energy, those where they are mentally stimulated, and more. Jack Russell Terriers also do well on a routine.

Lastly, exercise creates a loving bond between you and your JRT! What more could you want than a devoted, funny, charming, and active little canine companion?

Exercises & Activities for Jack Russell Terriers

Here are some activities and exercises your Jack Russell Terrier will excel at!

Take Your Jack Russell Swimming!

Jack Russells love to swim! However, it may take some patience and guidance if your JRT hasn’t hit the water before. It’s always best to start out slowly and build up over time. This way, your dog will gain confidence and training to swim and enjoy it.

As your teaching your JRT to swim, you want to also ensure his safety. So, you may want to consider buying him a dog life vest. We found a doggie life vest, which has some great ratings:

Paws Aboard Life Jacket Vest for Swimming and Boating: this life vest for dogs comes in several sizes, which means you’ll be able to find just the right size for your fur baby. It’s also available in several different patterns and color combinations! This life jacket for dogs is made of breathable nylon fabric and made to be buoyant. Plus, the vest allows a full range of movement, so your dog can swim normally. There’s also a sturdy handle on the top, just in case you need to fish your canine companion from the water quickly.

Running with Your Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terriers make great running buddies! Terriers were bred to run! The key here to make running a fun activity for both you and your dog.

With a JRT, you’ll want to ensure he stays by your side all the time. And remember he’ll need some training to learn to run in this way. This may take some time and patience, so don’t give up the effort too soon.

Your fur baby will also need to behave on the leash. This is because Jack Russells may become aggressive if there’s a standoff with another dog. We came across stories online about these dogs even taking on Rotties! No kidding! The goal is to have control of your dog at all times. And never let him off-leash when he’s running with you.

In addition, a harness is much better than a collar when running. This because the collar chokes and pulls your dog’s throat, which can lead to gagging or choking. On the other hand, with a harness, you’ll have full control of your Jack Russell’s upper body.

You might consider this harness: ThinkPet No Breathable Sport Harness: this harness comes in various sizes and colors and is made of durable, escape-proof fabric. The harness also features quick snap buckles and wide straps to make sure the pulling pressure is distributed to keep your fur buddy from choking or pulling. The harness also includes reflective straps, for these evenings you two are out running.

Start out slowly to see how he does for endurance over a few days. Just take a short run, nothing too long in the beginning. Work up from there to see if your fur buddy will make a great running companion.

And don’t forget, these dogs also make great walking companions!


Jack Russell Terriers love to chase things—anything you throw, they’ll chase! However, you may need to teach them how to play fetch in the beginning. With a little patience and effort, your JRT will learn the ropes and understand the game. Fetch is a great game to help your dog wear off some of that energy, too!

Playing fetch gets your dog to run quite a bit. Every ounce of energy that comes out makes him a better dog. And playing this game is fun for you both! Just make sure to choose a large area, where your dog can safely run free.

Jack Russells love to chase small things, so we found a couple of toys that may come in handy:

Kong Ball Dog Toy: Kong toys are known for being strong and durable. This ball is made from red rubber that’s made to last. It’s puncture-resistant, too, so your dog can play safely. The balls are made for small- and medium-sized dogs. We’re sure your JRT will love playing fetch with this!

West Pa Zogoflex Zisc Dog Frisbee: this is an aerodynamic dog frisbee your fur baby will enjoy! It’s made especially for dogs, so it’s made from soft, pliable material to keep it from hurting your dog’s teeth. The disc is easy to throw and just perfect for an afternoon of fetch with your Jack Russell Terrier!

Other Activities Your Jack Russell Terrier will Enjoy

Your JRT will also enjoy these other types of activities with you. If you love to hike, this is the perfect activity for a Jack Russel. They also enjoy rollerblading, hunting, playing tug of war, and more.

The key is to ensure your Jack Russell Terrier gets as much exercise as possible! This way he can wear off all the energy stored in that little body! Wouldn’t you just love to have even half his energy?

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Julie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, where she studied Animal science. Though contrary to the opinion of her parents she was meant to study pharmacy, but she was in love with animals especially cats. Julie currently works in an animal research institute (NGO) in California and loves spending quality time with her little cat. She has the passion for making research about animals, how they survive, their way of life among others and publishes it. Julie is also happily married with two kids.

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