Exercise and Your JRT

A Jack Russell Terrier with a ball

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“The JRT is a high-energy dog that needs a lot of exercise.”

Do you laugh out loud when you hear something like that? If you’re a Jack Russell owner, you probably think to yourself, you don’t know the half of it.

Jack Russell Terriers, like all working dogs, are used to having a job. This means that they need mental stimulation, but they also need exercise. A lot of exercise. They need to move and run and play.

And if you don’t provide those opportunities, you’ll live to regret it.

So what’s a devoted pup parent to do?

Why Do They Need So Much Exercise?

The Jack Russell Terrier was bred as a hunting dog. Specifically, the job that they have been created to do, is chasing prey — fast prey — to ground, then holding it there until the hunter arrives.

This means they’re born to run. And run. And run.

My old hound dog is happy with a half-hour walk every day. But for most JRTs, that’s just a start.

A slow start.

What Can Happen If They Don’t Get Enough?

Dogs are very similar to people in a lot of ways. Well, duh. But one of those ways is that we all suffer if we don’t move enough.

Dogs who don’t get enough exercise can become overweight. And, just like in people, this can lead to diabetes, heart problems, and problems with the joints and tendons.

With a hard-working, hard-playing, super-active dog like the JRT, there’s a behavioral dimension, as well. A dog with too much energy can become bored, destructive, and develop behavioral problems.

This isn’t true of all JRTs, but if yours is starting to misbehave, you might think about how much exercise they’re getting, and turn it up a notch.

How Much Exercise Do They Need?

Barkercise recommends two different kinds of daily physical exercise for your Jack. OMG. That sounds like a lot. But have a look.


Walking is good for releasing pent-up energy — and that’s as true for humans as it is for your Jack. Barkercise recommends a minimum of a 30 to 60 minute walk every day. If you break that period up into two walks, that will give your buddy something to look forward to.

Short-burst high intensity exercise

Hunting dogs are born for the chase. And this means short bursts of super-fast speed. Did you know a JRT’s top speed can reach 25 miles per hour? And Jacks can turn on a dime. This means they’re a natural for agility work. What else can give them this kind of exercise? How about:

  • Fetching a ball or a stick
  • Running up and down stairs
  • Tug o’ War
  • Frisbee

You could also check out some of these lesser known dog sports.

Indoor exercise

The Jack is not a natural apartment dog. They’re happiest when they can log regular outdoor time. However, if you have to stay indoors, there are still some things you can do. These include:

  • Fetch and tug o’war
  • Running up and down stairs
  • Hide and seek
  • Making your own JRT obstacle course
  • Some dogs even like walking (slowly) on a treadmill!

And your pup can help you exercise, too!

Happy Jack, Happy You

Getting enough exercise is important for everyone. For humans and dogs alike, exercise protects both physical and mental health.

Some dogs — like the JRT — require more exercise than others. It may feel overwhelming sometimes, but ultimately it will keep your pup — and you — healthy and happy.

What’s your favorite way to burn off energy with your JRT?

Featured Image CC0 by BerckenGroup, via Pixabay

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