Are Jack Russells Playful? [7 Ideas + Tips] is reader-supported. If you buy a product through a link on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

Adopting a Jack Russel is quite the adventure, to say the least.

They are amazing dogs with unique personalities.

A question that I see arise often from potential Jack Russell owners is simple but worth explaining.

Are Jack Russells playful?

I’m the proud owner of a Jack Russell myself and here is what I can tell you about this topic.

So, are Jack Russells playful?

Yes, Jack Russells are playful dogs. Jack Russells love mental and physical stimulation and get bored and frustrated easy without interaction. Jack Russell’ love to play and owners can implement various activities to accommodate this behavior and keep their Jack Russells happy.

Overall, A Jack Russell is much like any other dog breed.

I also own a 5-year-old yellow lab who also enjoys playful interactions and activities and tends to act out at times.

This only occurs when he is neglected or when the wife and I simply don’t have time for him due to everyday life demands.

The result is typically a new fresh hole in the backyard.

It happens to all of us.

This doesn’t make you an unethical pet owner by any means.

The key to successfully owning a Jack Russell is understanding how to accommodate their playful behavior and turn it into the positive, constructive and desired behavior.

The rest of this post is designed to break this down for you in-depth.

In fact, I’ve created easy to navigate links directly below that you can use to skip to any specific section of this post that you desire or would like to learn more about.

My Jack Russell Luna Trying To Show My Lab What She’s Made Of

Here’s what’s on the agenda for today’s topic.

As stated previously, feel free to use the links directly above to skip to any specific section of this post that you want further information on.

I know it’s a fast-paced world and it won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t read this post word for word.

However, if you want the full details on how to handle playful Jack Russell’s behavior, I recommend you spend 3 minutes reading the details below.

Here is what you need to know.

Accommodating Playful Jack Russell Behavior

Before we get carried away, I want to throw out a disclaimer.

I’m not a dog expert by any means.

I’m a dog lover for sure.

I own two and have owned several in the past.

My female Jack Russell “Luna” happens to be the subject of the conversation here today.

The most significant fact I want my readers to understand is that Jack Russells are fantastic family pets and a unique, loving dog breed.

However, they do require some activity and yes, they are extremely playful.

If you know this going into your adoption for your JR, you will be in much better shape.

It’s no different than owning any other dog breed.

If you are looking for a cuddle buddy only, a dog likely isn’t the animal to adopt.

They require some attention, training and yes, they require you to play with them when time permits.

With a Jack Russell, it’s imperative to make time for play.

The good news is that there is no right or wrong way to do this.

You can start from scratch with a Jack Russell puppy and choose the activities you enjoy.

If some activity is taking place and you are providing mental or physical stimulation to this dog breed, you are going to be in excellent shape for a lasting bond and a Jack Russell that respects and loves their owner.

So, what do you do and how do you accommodate your Jack Russell’s playful behavior and reduce some of the hyper nature in this dog breed?

Here are the details you should know.

Activities to Enjoy with Your Jack Russell

My Jack Russell and Yellow Lab Playing

Now is when the fun can begin.

Well, if you enjoy interacting with your pets the fun can begin.

It’s also when you can begin to breath easy simply from understanding that you don’t need to be a secret dog whisperer in order for your Jack Russell to grow up with good behavior.

Here’s the deal.

Don’t overthink of activities needed to entertain a Jack Russell.

Don’t believe the horror stories you have heard online or read in forums.

Treat your Jack Russell like any other dog breed.

Simply make time to interact, train and love them and you will be in great shape.

Here are some recommendations and activities I implement myself to keep my Jack Russell mentally and physically stimulated:

  • Long Walks
  • Running (Jack Russells Are Fantastic Running Partners)
  • Fetch (Use a Tennis Ball or Rope Tug)
  • Clicker Training (Use for Specific Training Such as Sit, Shake, Lay, Come and Stay)
  • Tug of War (Yes, this is an Ideal Activity to Burn off Steam)
  • Dog Park Visits
  • Anything Outdoors

I’m guessing you picked up one key piece of information from my list above.

These activities are the same as you will find with any dog breed.

The important thing to understand is that the behaviors a Jack Russell may display if ignored consistently are not very fun to deal with.

Jack Russells are hyper dogs that simply need this 30-60 minutes to burn off steam each day.

Below are some of the behaviors and issues you may encounter if you ignore the playful side of a Jack Russel and allow them to get bored.

The Impacts of Ignoring Your Jack Russell

I hate doing this.

I hate pointing out the negatives of owning a Jack Russell.

I dislike it so strongly because when these negative behaviors surface it’s often, the owner’s fault.


While some dog breeds may be more prone to barking, biting or digging, they are still nothing more than a moldable trainable dog when you first adopt them at 8 weeks old.

Nonetheless, I wouldn’t be doing my readers justice not presenting what you may experience if you let a Jack Russell build energy and boredom.

A bored and neglected Jack Russell may do any of the following:

  • Chew Excessively (In puppyhood especially)
  • Dig (Especially when left unattended in a fenced back yard)
  • Bark (this could be taking place often when you’re not home)
  • Escape (yes, a bored Jack Russell is a smart Jack Russell)

Always remember, Jack Russells are extremely intelligent.

In my opinion, they are slightly too intelligent for their own good and it can come back to bite you in the rear if you are not careful (no pun intended)

Leaving your Jack Russell in a fenced residential yard with nothing to do and no training is begging for them to end up being caught by doggy police and taken to the pound awaiting your pickup.

Jack Russells were born to move and born to use energy.

They hunted fox underground dating back nearly 200 years ago.

They are fearless and they will find something to do if you don’t find something for them to do.

I certainly hope this doesn’t turn off future JR owners but it’s the truth.

In all honesty, it shouldn’t steer you away from adopting.

It should be nothing more than educating you that you need to devote a bit of time each day.

Can you skip a few days when the time doesn’t permit or when you take a vacation?


Jack Russells are not just sitting around waiting for the first day you make them upset to ruin your life.

They are kind, loving and smart dogs that want to please you and gain your approval.

At least that been my experience with my JR thus far into my journey.

Let’s touch on a few last tips and get you on your way.

Other Tips and Advice to Implement

Outside of what we have already discussed, I have a few other tips you can implement to be that much more prepared for Jack Russel parenting.

First and foremost, stock up on toys.

Chew toys, rope toys, tennis balls.

ALL the toys you can purchase.

Trust me, they will use it all.

Make sure to take the time training your dog that you prefer they destroy these toys and not your favorite pair of shoes.

This is extremely easy to do.

Wait for your dog to present themselves chewing the wrong item and simply replace it with a toy and reward them for chewing the correct item.

Attempt to avoid scolding or making a big deal out of negative behavior.

Simply replace bad behaviors and reward the desired behaviors.

The last tip I have for you is to ensure you stick with kennel training.

Especially in the early days.

These wild Jack Russells will be up and active at odd times or when they please.

A kennel can keep the behaviors in check until you have time to train the correct behaviors and will also help towards potty training.

That’s it.

Nothing too fancy to it.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, it boils down to love, attention, and training with any dog breed.

To recap, are Jack Russells playful? Yes, Jack Russells are extremely playful and energetic dogs who want to interact and please you.

Take the time to train your new JR and watch your relationship will reach new heights.

Share Your Thoughts and Concerns

As always, Luna and I appreciate you stopping by and encourage you to share your thoughts and concerns on this topic by leaving a comment below.

Do you believe Jack Russells are playful dogs?

What tips and tricks can you share with the readers to adjust and accommodate for this playful behavior?

Thanks again. We will catch you next time.

Josh Martin- Founder and Creator of Terrier Owner

Josh Martin is the proud owner of a female Jack Russell Terrier Named Luna. Josh founded to share the stories of owning a Terrier and to help all terrier owners with the struggles, excitement and common questions that come with being a new terrier parent.

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