Can Jack Russell Terriers Swim? The Truth and Guide

Can Jack Russell Terriers Swim? The Truth and Guide

Jack Russell Terriers are a small terrier type with 10-15 inches in height and 13-17 pounds in weight. They are energetic, clever, and independent. They were considered a type of hunting dog.

As an owner of a JRT, one of the initial matters I had when I adopted my JRT was that can Jack Russell Terriers swim? If you are a JRT owner or a pet lover and willing to adopt a JRT, you also have this issue, and you may be excited to know the answer.

So, can Jack Russell Terriers swim? Yes, most JRTs are very good at swimming in their nature. But the matter is that they need to have a good initial introduction to water from their young ages. If not, it will be challenging and exciting for them to react to water. You can observe their reaction by throwing a ball into the water and asking them to take it. But be careful and attentive to the response of your JRT because some may have the risk of drowning.

I’m glad that it worked well with my JRT, Shaggy, since he jumped into the pool and successfully brought the ball back. Then I trained him to interact with water, and now he is an excellent swimmer that loves to play in the water.

I know that now you are more excited to explore whether JRTs swim or not and how to make him swim. You’ll have answers for all your matters at the end of reading this article.

First, let’s identify whether JRTs can swim or not and if they like swimming. Then if your JRT does not enjoy swimming, this article will provide some possible reasons for it.

You can obtain several benefits by getting your JRT to swim, and let’s discuss them also. Finally, I’ll introduce you to some safe swimming tips for dogs according to my experience.

So, let’s get started!

Can Jack Russell Terriers Swim?

As JRT owners, it would be great to know that Jack Russell Terriers swim. Since playing with dogs in the water, especially in the swimming pool, is so much fun, you’ll be keen to test whether your JRT can swim or not.

The answer is yes; they can swim. Most of the JRTs are good swimmers, and they love to interact with water. However, some JRTs who are not good at swimming may face difficulties in the water and risk drowning. 

As their owners, you need to introduce them to the water from a young age and try to make them have a good interaction with water.

While training a JRT, you can use water-based activities to make them familiar with swimming. JRTs are naturally hyper dogs full of energy. Therefore, they love to learn how to swim and then they’ll begin to enjoy it.

Most of the time, JRTs get stressed and display negative behaviours when they have no space to release energy. You can use the practice of swimming as a solution for this to help them release energy to make themselves healthier.

Since they have the skill of swimming by born, it’s at your hands to take them out through a proper introduction to water and training. It will give you great fun to play with your Jack Russell in the water.

Do Jack Russell Terriers Like Swimming?

When exploring can jack Russell terriers swim, we need to have a better idea of whether they like swimming or not.

If your JRT is typically getting into the water and swimming only for a purpose, but without enjoying it, he won’t be able to enjoy with you by playing in the pool or water. So you need to identify the preference of your JRT on swimming. 

However, after your JRT is beginning to interact with water and learn to swim, you’ll notice that they are enjoying swimming most of the time. If your JRT jumps into the water without reason, but for fun and enjoyment, then you can realize he likes swimming and enjoys it.

In my experience with my JRT, Shaggy, I have faced some difficult situations because of his excitement to swim. He is more likely to jump into the swimming pool we are passing and which makes me apologize to people regarding his behaviour of swimming.

Then I had to teach him self-control to not jump into the water whenever we didn’t have a desire to play or swim. 

So try to identify the preference of your JRT on swimming and find out whether he is enjoying it or not. Then, you can train him more with swimming and have more fun by engaging in swimming with your dog.

Don’t your JRT like swimming? These are the reasons

Before adopting a JRT, you may exactly explore, can jack Russell terriers swim. By knowing they can swim and they love swimming, you may be excited to adopt a JRT and enjoy swimming with them.

But what happens if you notice that your JRT doesn’t like swimming and stumbles to jump upon the water. Will it surely be disappointing, right? Try to identify the reasons for them to behave like that.

Then you’ll be able to find solutions to make your dog familiar with water and swimming. Here are some reasons.

1. Lack of proper introduction to water

To take out the swimming skill of JRTs, you need to properly introduce them to water like pools and provide water-related training.

If not, it will be completely new and different for them to swim. Then they will display negative attitudes towards water and swimming.

2. Bad previous experiences

Suppose your JRT had a bad experience regarding the water and swimming before. In that case, it will be scary to experience it again and then show off a dislike towards the water.

It can be a bad experience of drowning, dropped into water, being mistreated around water, or losing a loved one due to water.

However, any of these bad experiences can result in a negative attitude and response towards the water. Therefore the JRT may refuse to swim. 

3. Can be nervous at the initial stage

Even though you give them a proper introduction to water, your JRT may have some feelings of nervousness regarding swimming during the first few moments.

Due to that, he may not be willing to bring the ball you have thrown to the swimming pool during the initial stage.

But don’t get disappointed. Even humans have this feeling of nervousness when experimenting with new things. However, it will go away with time, and then your pet will enjoy swimming. 

Why Should You Get Your Jack Russell To Swim? Benefits

Swimming is important for your dog since it helps them survive from a sudden fall into the water. Even though the question, can jack Russell terriers swim, was answered as yes, you, as their owners, need to train them to swim.

It will bring your pet numerous more benefits than you think. It is better to have a clear idea about why you should get your JRT to swim before starting to make your JRT familiar with water.

1. To make them safe

Teaching your JRT to swim is essential to save their lives from drowning and sudden fall into the water.

If they are not introduced to water properly and have fallen to deep water, they’ll get shocked, nervous, and their lives will face a threat. So it would be best if you got your JRT to swim for their safety.

2. Good for their health

Swimming is a good exercise for JRTs to stay healthy and maintain fitness. It will be good for their heart, and it will support the process of blood pumping.

It will prevent them from heart problems and minimize health issues. 

3. Reduce negative behaviours

Most of the time, Jack Russells show negative and aggressive behaviours before they are well trained, and it can be reduced by making them swim.

It will calm them and let them enjoy themselves.

4. Relieve discomfort of bad joints

Swimming is good for JRTs with bad joints since it is an exercise with no harmful impacts on their joints.

In contrast to walking or running, swimming is an excellent exercise for your dog to relieve the discomfort and pain of bad joints.

5. To release energy

JRTs are a terrier type full of energy. Sometimes, they get aggressive when they have no space to release their excess energy.

Swimming is a good solution for it, and it provides a space to release their energy. It improves their physical and mental well-being.

6. Support to face the hot weather conditions

Your dog can suffer from the hot weather and the heat. So to cool him, water plays a good role, and getting them in the water may support them to face excessive heat and cool their bodies.

7. Fun and enjoyment

Swimming provides your JRT as well as you a lot of fun and enjoyment.

Playing with him in the swimming pool or rivers may give both parties a chance to stress release and stay happy.

Safe swimming tips for dogs

Then, can Jack Russell terriers swim? If yes, what are the safe swimming tips for dogs? When training your JRT to swim, you need to pay significant attention to his safety.

Since swimming is associated with water, which can cause danger to the life of your JRT, you should follow safe swimming tips to assure the safety of your JRT. Here are some tips you can try.

1. Choose quiet, shallow water

Try to select a quiet and shallow place for swimming where he can endure and have control.

Especially when practising, it is better to use a small pond or a swimming pool to practice taking control of your dog within it. 

2. Use a life jacket for your dog

The dog needs support in the water since they have no control if they start to go underwater.

The best supporter is using a life jacket for your dog, which will save them from sinking underwater.

The dog feels easier to swim with the life jacket since they have to use less energy. And also, it will make you feel safe about your pet.

3. Stay close

Always stay close when your dogs are swimming. If an emergency occurs, they’ll be unable to paddle or control themselves.

If you stay close, you can take them out immediately. So stay close and pay attention carefully to your dog, and observe their progress in swimming.

4. Check the current and temperature of the water

Before releasing your dog to swim, first, test the current of the water if it is a river or the ocean. Make sure that currents can be endured by your dog and have no danger.

In addition, most of the JRTs cannot bear up to extreme cold water and therefore check the water temperature before letting your dog swim.

5. Give them water to drink

You need to give your dog drinking water before and after swimming.

Even though they were in the water, they’ll have thirst and dehydration after swimming, and therefore to reduce it, you should give them clean water to drink.

6. Dry their ears after swimming

After swimming, dogs’ ears are full of moisture, and it will remain a bad smell and ear infections later.

Therefore, you need to dry their ears well after swimming and take out all the moisture.


Now I guess you have got a clear idea on can jack Russell terriers swim. I have shared here about JRT’s preference for swimming and the reasons for their dislikes. Then you have identified benefits for your JRT from swimming and safety tips you can try in practising swimming with your JRT.

So it’s up to you to take out the natural swimming skill from your JRT through a proper introduction to water and good training. Trust me; then your Jack Russell may love to swim and play in the water so much. Then you’ll need extra training to control him from swimming as the situation occurred with my JRT, Shaggy!

Thank you for reading this post. Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner for more interesting posts about our four-legged friends.

Cheers from Shaggy and Lenny!


  • George Brown

    George B. is the founder of the JRO Organization. He believes in creating a better world for domestic animals. He believes domestic animals are more vulnerable than other animals, especially dogs, since they have been used to depending on their owners for generations. So, he started JRO to share his ideas and insights while helping vulnerable dogs worldwide. George runs multiple projects on street dogs in developing countries, especially Sri Lanka.

    [email protected]

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