How Much Exercise Does a Jack Russell Need?

By John Martin - June 6, 2022

Jack Russell going for a walk with the owner

All dogs, including Jack Russell Terriers, need adequate exercise to keep them active, healthy, happy and fit.

And, when it comes to exercise, all dogs have different exercise needs and it is very important to understand your pet’s specific exercise needs and fulfill them.

So, how much exercise does a Jack Russell Terrier need?

Understanding Jack Russell Terrier’s Exercise Needs

Jack Russell Terriers are athletic dogs with boundless energy. They are highly energetic dogs and can run and play about all day. They are very smart, spirited and independent dogs with minds of their own.

And, if they are bored, they can be mischievous and even destructive. So, a Jack Russell needs a lot of physical, as well as mental activity and exercise to keep him happy and fit.

If your pet does not have avenues to release all his pent-up energy and ways to challenge his mind, he can end up developing behavior problems like chewing things, digging, escaping and running away to explore his surroundings and even aggressive behavior.

Why Does a Jack Russell Terrier Need Adequate Exercise?

A sportsman’s favorite, the Jack Russell Terrier was originally bred as a working dog who hunted with hounds and helped to bolt foxes from their hidey-holes so that the hounds could chase them. And, for this, they needed a lot of energy and stamina.

Today, although Jack Russells have become family pets, their high prey drive and high energy can be challenging for owners, especially if not channelized properly and your pet does not get sufficient exercise.

Without physical and mental stimulation, all your pet’s energy will be bottled up and can result in negative and destructive behaviors.

Your Jack Russell Terrier’s tons of energy will not be satisfied by a relaxed walk around the park. This breed loves to run about, jump, play fetch and be extremely active.

Ideally, getting at least 45 to 60 minutes of vigorous exercise is best for your Jack Russell Terrier.

Benefits of Exercise for Your Jack Russell Terrier

Providing your Jack Russell with adequate exercise is essential to expend all his pent-up energy and keep your pet healthy, active and fit, not to mention that exercise can keep your pet mentally stimulated and away from trouble.

Some of the key benefits of providing your Jack Russell with adequate exercise include:

  • Reduced chewing and other destructive behaviors indoors
  • Reduced digging and other destructive behaviors outdoors
  • Reduced bottled-up energy
  • Reduced barking
  • Calm demeanor all through the day
  • More relaxed and obedient
  • Healthier and happier, physically and mentally

Drawbacks of Not Providing Your Jack Russell Terrier Adequate Exercise

Some of the negative consequences of not providing your Jack Russell with adequate exercise include:

  • Indulging in destructive behaviors such as digging, chewing and other negative behaviors
  • Excessive barking
  • Boredom and depression
  • Pent-up nervous energy causing shaking
  • Reduced bonding

How Much Exercise Does Your Jack Russell Need?

The exercise needs of your Jack Russell depend on the age of your pet and his overall health. Jack Russells that are 1 year and older, need a minimum of 60 minutes of exercise at least to keep them healthy and happy.

You can ensure that your pet gets 60 minutes of exercise all at once or you can split it into two sessions, once in the morning and again in the evening or into a number of smaller sessions.

Some of the best exercises for Jack Russells are walking, running, games, swimming or a combination of all of these. Spacing out the exercise sessions can help to keep your pet stimulated throughout the day.

But, irrespective of the way you decide to exercise your pet, the important thing to remember is that being consistent and following a routine are key to keeping your pet well-exercised and happy.

How Much Exercise Does Your Senior Jack Russell Need?

Just like people, Jack Russell Terriers too start to slow down as they grow older; however, to prevent problems like obesity and to ensure that they have a good life in the later years, your senior Jack Russell must get plenty of exercise.

It is important to understand your pet’s limitations as he grows older and ensure that you don’t push him further than he is capable of going. And, the best form of exercise for older dogs is walking.

Your senior dog who is 8 years or older needs 60 minutes of exercise, but this must be split into 2-3 intervals. For example, you can walk your pet for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening.

But as your pet grows older, you must pick the appropriate time of the day to exercise him.

This is because, during the winter months, your pet may be more vulnerable to arthritic conditions, whereas, during the hotter summer months, your senior dog may become dehydrated more easily.

While exercising your senior Jack Russell, keep a watch out for the following. If your pet is panting excessively, sitting down and refusing to move, all these signs may indicate that your pet is tired or uncomfortable.

Don’t push your pet, instead allow him to rest before you exercise him further.

How Much Exercise Does Your Jack Russell Puppy Need?

Typically, the exercise needs of puppies are a lot less compared to adult dogs and so it is extremely important to keep a watch on how much exercise your Jack Russell puppy is getting.

Make sure that your puppy is not overexercised and also avoid high-impact exercises because when your pet is young, the bones and joints are still developing and can be damaged because of too much exercise.

On the contrary, insufficient exercise can cause your Jack Russell puppy to become overweight and even obese, which can lead to several health problems. Also, inadequate exercise can lead to behavioral issues in your puppy.

If your Jack Russell puppy is 3 months and older, then for every month of his age, he should get 5 minutes of exercise, which essentially means that a 3-month-old puppy requires around 15 minutes of exercise, whereas a puppy who is 9 months old will need 45 minutes of exercise a day.

Walking is best for your Jack Russell puppy because it is gentle on your puppy’s developing joints, bones and tendons. Take your puppy for short walks on the leash and allow him to explore and sniff around.

Avoid taking your puppy under 3 months walking in public before he has had his vaccinations, as he can catch infections and fall ill easily. Also, prevent your puppy from running, as this can harm his joints and cause developmental issues.

But ensure that you follow a consistent exercise routine and build up the duration of exercise gradually. The best form of exercise for your Jack Russell puppy is free-play with toys.

Another great way to burn energy is to allow your pet to play with other puppies or friendly adult dogs. Apart from offering your pet the exercise he needs, this can also help to teach him social skills.

Mental stimulation is also very important for your Jack Russell puppy and can tire him out as much as physical activity. Finally, after all the activity, ensure that your puppy gets sufficient sleep so that he can recharge.

How to Know If Your Jack Russell Terrier Is Overexercised?

The amount of exercise that your Jack Russell requires essentially depends on his age, as well as his overall health condition. It is extremely important to keep a watch on your pet’s exercise and energy levels.

If your terrier is energetic and showing signs that he has pent-up energy, then he probably requires more exercise.

But if he appears to be exhausted, then you must reduce his exercise and allow his body to recover before putting him through his paces again.

Some of the signs that indicate that you’re overexercising your Jack Russell include:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Excessive panting while or after exercise
  • Limping, lameness, stiffness or exhibiting reluctance to walk or exercise
  • Lagging when out on a walk
  • Appearing very exhausted after exercise
  • Laying or sleeping more than it’s normal

If your pet is showing any of the above symptoms, it probably means that he is over exercised. And, it is best to reduce your pet’s exercise for a couple of days or more until he has recovered.

Once your Jack Russell has recovered, then start exercising him again, gradually building up the intensity. But monitor him very closely to ensure that he is not being overexercised.

Best Exercises for Your Jack Russell Terrier

There are plenty of everyday exercises and activities that work well for all dog breeds, including Jack Russell Terriers that can help them to burn their energy, while keeping them active, healthy and happy including:


This is probably the most common and simplest form of exercise for your pet and can have a positive effect on your Jack Russell’s overall health.

When taking your pet out for a walk, make sure that you choose the right type and length of leash that is around 4-6 feet long and is comfortable for your pet.

It may be a good idea to use a harness instead of a collar to prevent any strain on your dog’s neck.


This is an excellent way by which you and your pet can exercise together. Choose an appropriate leash, belt and attachment that ensures your pet’s natural movement without any restrictions.

Avoid running with your puppy because the growth plates at the end of the bones and the joints are still growing and running can make them more prone to injury.

Also, running with your older Jack Russell is not recommended as it can be hard on your pet’s joints, especially if he is suffering from arthritis and other conditions.


Most dogs love swimming, including Jack Russell Terriers and this is a great form of exercise. A minute of swimming is equivalent to 4 minutes of running, which means that just around 15 minutes of swimming is all the exercise your pet needs in a day.

Further, swimming is a non-weight bearing and low-impact activity, which means that your pet can get his exercise without a strain on his joints, especially if he is suffering from problems like hip dysplasia or arthritis.

Swimming also helps to improve your pet’s range of motion.

Playing Fetch

A fast-paced and fun game, playing fetch is also a wonderful form of exercise for Jack Russell Terriers.

And, once your terrier learns to bring back things that you throw, be it a stick, ball or any other object, it can be a fantastic way for your pet to burn off some of that pent-up energy. Also, the game is best for older and less active owners.


Tug-of-war is a great game to play with your Jack Russell. And, allowing your pet to win during the game can teach him that playing with you can be fun. But it is important not to play with your pet if he is aggressive or showing signs of aggression.

The game will not necessarily make your Jack Russell aggressive, unlike the common belief that such games make dogs aggressive, but it can cause an increase in any negative behaviors present.

If you’re playing tug-of-war with your pet, make sure to use a flexible and durable toy made of rope or rubber.

Some of the other activities that you can do with your Jack Russell Terrier include hiking, frisbee, flyball, hide and seek, hunting or playing chase.

Doing these activities with your pet not only helps in providing the exercise he needs but also helps you to bond with your furry friend. Moreover, such activities can go a long way in making your Jack Russell a calm and well-behaved dog.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, Jack Russell Terriers are highly-intelligent, high-energy dogs and make excellent pets. They need adequate physical and mental exercise and activity, which can help to release their pent-up energy and keep them healthy, active and happy.

This can also help to prevent your pet from getting bored and frustrated, in turn, preventing destructive behaviors like barking excessively, chewing, digging, escaping, etc.

Make sure that you provide your Jack Russell Terrier with adequate physical and mental stimulation and your pet will be in great shape.