Are Jack Russells Good Hiking Dogs?

Are Jack Russells Good Hiking Dogs?

I’m very lucky and grateful to live in a mountainous area with lots of hiking trails and spectacular views. I try to take full advantage of this by going on regular hikes with friends, or by myself.

Sometimes though, I feel guilty leaving my Jack Russells at home when they give me those sad puppy face looks as I leave for a hike. This got me wondering, are Jack Russells good hiking dogs, and if so, how far can they hike?

Well, I decided to take my Jack Russells on a few hikes, and have lots of information to share with you.

Let’s get started.

Are Jack Russells Good Hiking Dogs?

Yes, Jack Russells are good hiking dogs because they are agile, strong, and have lots of energy which means that they can handle most hikes without any problems. In addition to this, they absolutely love the outdoors and taking part in activities with their owners, and this makes them great companions for a hike.

How Far Can A Jack Russell Hike?

Now that we’ve established that Jack Russells are great hiking dogs, you’re probably wondering how far they can hike. Well, the short answer is, it depends.

A Jack Russell can conquer a 10-mile hike, but this depends on the age, size, and fitness level of your pup. Senior Jack Russells won’t have the endurance of a younger Jack Russell. Also, a chubby Jack Russell might tire out quicker because of his size.

And finally, if your Jack Russell is not used to long walks then he might be able to hike for long at first. However, if you take him on short hikes first, and increase the length of the hikes slowly, then he will be able to handle longer hikes much better.

What You Should Know About Taking A Jack Russell On A Hike

As mentioned, I’ve taken my Jack Russells on a few hikes now and there are a few things I’ve learned along the way. Please take note of the following when taking your furry friend on a hike.

1.) He Might Chase Small Animals

Jack Russells are known to have a very high prey drive, and they are also known for chasing small animals. If your Jack Russells spots a smaller animal, like a squirrel, on a hike then his natural instinct might kick in and he might want to chase it.

2.) He Won’t Handle Cold Weather Well

Jack Russells do get cold in cold weather because of their short coats. It is best to put a winter coat on your pup if the temperature outside is low, and if it is colder than 45 degrees Fahrenheit, then you should consider leaving your pup at home instead.

3.) He Might Try To Run Away

It is hard to imagine that your Jack Russell might want to run away from you, but if he spots another pet or small animal he might run after it. If your furry friend does this then it is best to keep him on a leash or in a harness.

Preparing To Take Your Jack Russell On A Hike

Now that you know what to look out for when taking your Jack Russell on a hike, it’s time to go over a few things you need to take care of before heading out.

1.) Take Water With You

It goes without saying that you should take water for yourself, but it is equally important to take water for your Jack Russell as well. Your furry friend will get thirsty along the way so it is important to give him some water to avoid him getting dehydrated.

2.) Make Sure That He Is Healthy

If your pup is under the weather, or if he has an injury then it is best to leave him at home so that he can recover first. A sick or injured Jack Russell won’t enjoy a hike, so make sure that he is healthy first before heading out.

3.) Put Him On A Leash Or Harness First

As mentioned, Jack Russells might run off to chase a small animal, so if you’re concerned about this then you put your furry friend on a leash. A better option for me personally is to use a harness instead because it will not choke your dog.

4.) Put A Winter Coat On Him

If it is cold outside, do your Jack Russell a favor and put a winter coat on him. They get cold in cold weather, and a winter coat will make sure that he keeps warm on a hike.

5.) Start Slow

If this is your Jack Russell’s first hike, then it is best to start with an easy and short hike first. You can slowly increase the length and intensity of each hike so that he can build up some endurance.

Jack Russells have short legs, so take care not to take him on hikes with steep sections.


Jack Russells are amazing hiking dogs because they are agile, and athletic and they absolutely adore the outdoors. Plus, they have just the type of personality that makes them ideal dogs to take on a hiking trip. I have taken my Jack Russells on numerous hikes and it is one of their favorite activities.

Not only do I get much-needed exercise, but it also gives them a release for all that pent-up energy, so it is a win-win situation for everyone involved.


  • Jan Pretorius

    Meet Jan Pretorius, the passionate dog lover and proud owner of the popular canine haven, Born and raised in a small town known for its love of animals, Jan’s journey into the world of dogs began at a young age, fueled by an innate connection with our four-legged companions.