Small Dog Breeds That Jump High


Jumping is a natural behavior for dogs that allows them to expend energy and entertain themselves. Small dog breeds may not seem like high jumpers, but many of them can leap surprisingly high when properly motivated. This article will provide an overview of small dog breeds that are known for their strong jumping abilities. We will explore the physical traits that enable small dogs to jump high, provide tips on how to train them, and discuss the potential benefits and risks of dog jumping.

The purpose of this article is to inform readers about which small dog breeds have a proclivity for jumping and how to properly channel their energy through training. Proper training can minimize negative behaviors like jumping on people while providing your dog with enough activity to satisfy their exercise needs. With the right approach, a small jumping dog can be a fun and manageable companion.

What Makes Dogs Able to Jump High?

A dog’s ability to jump high is largely attributed to having strong, muscular legs. According to iHeartDogs, dogs like Greyhounds and Salukis are able to jump so impressively due to their lean muscles and light frame. Their long, slender legs contain powerful muscles that allow them to explode into a jump and propel themselves upwards.

Additionally, a dog’s hind legs play a critical role, as they provide the thrust and force to launch the dog into the air. Dog breeds like the Belgian Malinois have very muscular rear legs that generate the strength required for their extraordinary vertical jumps. Proper conditioning and exercise can help build up and maintain the leg muscles needed for jumping.

So in summary, a dog’s jumping ability stems greatly from having strong, toned leg muscles, especially in the hindquarters. This muscle mass gives them the power and spring they need to jump to impressive heights.

Breeds Known for Jumping

Certain breeds of small dogs are known for their ability to jump high. Two breeds that stand out are the Jack Russell Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier.

The Jack Russell Terrier is a very energetic and athletic breed that typically stands between 10-15 inches tall. Despite their small stature, these dogs can jump very high. According to HEPPER, Jack Russell Terriers have been known to jump up to 5 feet in the air! Their muscular hind legs allow them to spring straight up with ease. This makes them excellent agility dogs.

Yorkshire Terriers are another small dog breed capable of jumping to great heights. Yorkies usually grow up to 7-8 inches tall but can leap over 4 feet up when properly motivated. According to All About My Small Dog, their strong back legs combined with their light body weight enables Yorkies to be champion jumpers. Owners are often amazed at how high their petite Yorkie can jump when playing or trying to reach a counter top.

Training Tips

When teaching a small dog to jump high, it’s best to start training when they are young puppies. Puppies have less fear and inhibition, making it easier to motivate them to try new things like jumping. According to wikiHow, you should start training a puppy to jump before they are 6 months old. Once a dog is past 1 year old, it becomes much more challenging to teach them to jump from a stationary position [1].

Use treats or toys as lures and targets to motivate your puppy to jump up and grab them. The AKC recommends holding a treat above your puppy’s head and saying “jump!” to encourage them to reach for it. You can also use targets like hanging a treat from a stick or attaching one to a wall at increasing heights. Keep training sessions short, just 5-10 minutes at a time, to maintain your puppy’s energy and enthusiasm [2].

Jumping Safety

When dogs jump, especially repeatedly, it can put a lot of stress on their joints and growth plates if they are still developing as puppies. It’s important not to overdo jumping activities while a dog is still growing to avoid potential injuries. The GOI recommends waiting until a dog is over 1 year old before engaging in any high impact jumping activities like agility training.

For young dogs, focus on low impact surfaces like grass rather than hard surfaces like concrete when playing jumping games. Provide ample warm up and cool down time before and after any jumping session. Avoid exercising on slippery surfaces as well, as this can lead to strains or sprains while jumping and landing.

Keep jumping sessions short, around 5-10 minutes at a time. Provide rewards and breaks during the session rather than prolonged repetitive jumping. Monitor for any signs of injury or lameness after jumping activities. Consider consulting with your veterinarian if you have any concerns over proper exercise for a young or growing dog.


Games for Jumping Dogs

a jack russell terrier jumping to catch a frisbee

There are lots of fun games perfectly suited for dogs that love to jump high. Three popular options include:


Flyball is a high-energy racing game between two teams of four dogs each. Dogs jump over a series of four hurdles to trigger a box that releases a tennis ball. The dog catches the ball and brings it back to their handler, allowing the next dog on the team to begin their turn. This fast-paced relay-style game is a great way to put your dog’s jumping skills to the test!

Agility Competitions

Agility competitions feature obstacles like hurdles, tunnels, teeter-totters, and weave poles. Dogs navigate the courses at top speeds, guided by verbal and hand signals from their handler. Jumping over hurdles of various heights is a core element of these competitions. For dogs that love both mental challenges and jumping, agility is the perfect sport.

Catching Frisbees/Balls

Playing frisbee or catch with a ball allows dogs to jump and leap to snag their toy out of the air. This is an easy way to engage a dog’s natural jumping ability. Start with lower throws and work up to high tosses that will really get them airborne. Always allow proper rest time to avoid overexertion. This classic game taps into a dog’s predilection for jumping and chasing.

Providing Proper Exercise

Small dogs need daily exercise to stay physically and mentally healthy. While they don’t require as much exercise as larger breeds, small dogs still need activity adjusted to their size and energy level. Jumping, running, swimming, and playing fetch are great ways to exercise a small dog.

a yorkshire terrier jumping over agility hurdles

Jumping provides an intensive cardiovascular workout for small dogs. Make sure to monitor for signs of fatigue and pause activity if your dog seems overly tired. Breeds like Jack Russell Terriers enjoy agility obstacles and can be conditioned to jump safely at moderate heights. Always ensure proper warm up and cool down time before and after strenuous jumping activity 1.

Running and swimming are low-impact yet tiring exercises for small dogs. Start slow and increase duration gradually over time. Some companion breeds like French Bulldogs or Pugs should not be pushed too hard. Pay attention to signs of overexertion like wheezing or limping. Fetch games allow dogs to sprint short distances and strengthen muscles in quick bursts. Use soft, lightweight balls or toys that won’t injure a small dog’s mouth 2.

Aim for at least 30-60 minutes of activity per day, with appropriate adjustments based on age, health status, and breed. Mental stimulation through training, puzzles, and social interaction will also help meet a small dog’s needs for exercise 3.

Benefits of Jumping

Jumping can provide some great benefits for small dogs when done safely and in moderation. Here are some of the main advantages:

Jumping is a great workout that provides exercise and keeps muscles toned. For energetic and athletic breeds like Jack Russell Terriers, jumping helps expend pent-up energy and prevent boredom or destructive behaviors.

Successfully jumping builds confidence as it allows dogs to demonstrate their abilities. Achieving new heights literally and figuratively through training can boost self-assurance.

Jumping reinforces training and the human-canine bond. Teaching a dog to jump on command reinforces the handler’s role as pack leader. It also strengthens the relationship through shared goal-setting and accomplishments.

Potential Downsides

While jumping can be fun exercise for small dogs, overdoing it may lead to some potential downsides. According to this article, bouncing on uneven surfaces repeatedly can increase the chance of joint injuries. Jumping from higher areas like beds or furniture can put more stress on a dog’s joints and bones, especially as they age. As one Quora user noted, “Jumping on and off the bed is a ‘high-load activity, with a mixture of hard and soft surfaces which can make joints unstable.”

Small dogs that love to jump may try to jump up on furniture like beds, couches, and chairs. While amusing at first, this repeated impact can harm their joints over time. It’s best to provide more controlled opportunities for jumping through games or agility equipment. Setting boundaries for where they can and cannot jump will also help limit overexertion on their bodies.


a pomeranian puppy jumping up high

In summary, while small dog breeds like the Jack Russell Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier, and Pomeranian are known for their athleticism and ability to jump high, proper training and care should be taken to ensure they jump safely. High-jumping dogs require plenty of exercise and outlet for their energy. Games like agility courses and Frisbee catching are ideal activities. Owners should provide safe environments for jumping and monitor for signs of joint pain or injury. With the right care and training, small athletic dogs can enjoy jumping while owners can rest assured they are not putting undue strain on their pets. Moderation and safety should always come first when dealing with dog’s natural inclination to jump.

To recap, key points covered in this article include:

  • Smaller breeds have leg strength enabling them to jump much higher relative to their size
  • The muscles and structure of their rear legs give them powerful lift
  • Breeds like Jack Russells excel due to high energy and prey drive
  • Proper exercise outlet and training helps dogs jump safely
  • Agility courses and games provide ideal jumping activities
  • Monitor for joint issues and do not overwork dogs
  • Jumping brings dogs joy but should be done in moderation

a small dog jumping to catch a ball

With this knowledge and some care, owners of athletic small dogs can allow their pets to enjoy their natural jumping abilities while maintaining their health and safety.

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