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How High Can Dogs Jump? Highest Jumping Breeds & Recommended Fence Heights

Dogs are well-known for their incredible athleticism and their jumping ability is no exception. From high jumps in agility competitions to bounding over backyard fences, dogs have a remarkable capacity for leaping. But just how high can they go?

Well as a simple rule of thumb, the majority of dogs have the ability to jump one to three times their own height. Therefore:

  1. Small dog breeds: These dogs might be able to jump 1 to 3 feet high (up to 1 meter), sometimes a bit more depending on their level of fitness and determination.
  2. Medium to large dog breeds: Many can jump significantly higher, with an average of 4 to 6 feet (up to 1.8 meters). However, breeds that are more athletic, such as Border Collies, Belgian Malinois, and Greyhounds, can often jump even higher.
  3. Exceptional cases: In competitive settings, like agility contests or dock jumping, some dogs are trained to jump quite high and can clear hurdles of more than 6 feet (over 2 meters).

Factors that Affect How High Dogs Can Jump

Several physical and environmental factors can impact a dog’s jumping ability, including:

  • Breed: Some breeds are naturally better jumpers than others. For example, the Greyhound is known for its impressive jumping ability, while the Bulldog is not.
  • Size: Smaller dogs generally can’t jump as high as larger dogs, due to their smaller leg muscles.
  • Weight: A heavier dog will have a harder time jumping high than a lighter dog, since they have to propel more weight upwards.
  • Muscle Mass: A dog with a high muscle mass can generate more power, leading to higher jumps.
  • Physical Condition: A dog’s health and age can also play a role in their jumping ability. Older dogs may have weaker muscles and joints, while dogs with health problems may struggle to jump at all.
  • Surface Type: The type of surface a dog is jumping on can also affect their ability to jump. Dogs may struggle to jump on slick surfaces, like tile or hardwood floors.
  • Traction: A dog needs good traction to be able to jump effectively. If a surface is slippery, a dog won’t be able to push off as well.

How Is Jump Height Measured?

The height of a dog’s jump is typically measured using a special device called a vertical jump tester. This device consists of a pole with markers at specific intervals, which is placed against a wall or other flat surface. The dog is then encouraged to jump up and touch the highest marker they can reach. The distance between the highest marker touched and the ground is the dog’s jumping height.

It’s important to note that the height of a dog’s jump can also be influenced by the angle at which they jump. For example, a dog that jumps at a steep angle may not jump as high as a dog that jumps straight up.

The Highest Jumping Dog Breeds

While any dog can be trained to jump, certain breeds are naturally better at it than others. Here are some of the breeds that are known for their impressive jumping ability:

  • Greyhound: Average Jump height of 1.5 meters to 2 meters (4.9 feet to 6.6 feet).
    This breed is a natural athlete and excels at many sports, including jumping. Greyhounds have long, powerful legs that give them a lot of jumping power.
  • Belgian Malinois: Average Jump height of 1.5 to 2 meters (4.9 feet to 6.6 feet)
    Often used as police or military dogs, the Belgian Malinois is a highly active breed that is known for its agility and athleticism. They’re excellent jumpers and excel at canine sports like agility and flyball.
  • Kelpie: Average Jump height of 1.5 to 2 meters (4.9 feet to 6.6 feet)
    Kelpies, also known as Australian Kelpies, are medium-sized herding dogs with a strong instinct to work and excel in various physical activities.
  • German Shepherd: Average Jump height of 1.8 meters (6 feet)
    German Shepherds are often used as police dogs, military dogs & search and rescue dogs due to their remarkable abilities.
  • Weimaraner: Average Jump height of 1.5 to 1.8 meters (5 to 6 feet)
    Weimaraners, known for their elegant appearance and athletic build, are a breed that often captivates with their agility and energy.
  • Whippet: Average Jump height of 1.2 to 1.8 meters (4 to 6 feet)
    Whippets are known for their sleek and elegant appearance, characterized by their lean and muscular build. These remarkable dogs possess an innate ability to leap with precision and power.
  • Border Collie: Average Jump height of 1.2 to 1.5 meters (4 to 5 feet)
    Another breed that’s highly active and athletic, the Border Collie is known for its speed, agility & intelligence. They’re often used in sports like agility and frisbee, where their jumping ability is put to the test.
  • Australian Shepherd: Average Jump height of 1 to 1.5 meters (3 to 5 feet)
    A popular breed for canine sports, the Australian Shepherd is known for its high energy and athleticism. They’re excellent jumpers and excel at agility, flyball and other sports.
  • Jack Russell Terrier: Average Jump height of 1.5 meters (5 feet)
    Small but mighty, the Jack Russell Terrier is a feisty breed that’s known for its jumping ability. They’re often used in agility competitions and can jump surprisingly high for their size.
  • Pomeranian: Average Jump height of 1 to 1.5 meters (3 to 5 feet)
    Pomeranians, known for their fluffy coats and lively personalities, are surprisingly good jumpers for a dog of their size.

Highest Jump on Record by a Dog

The current record for the highest dog jump is held by a greyhound named Feather, who jumped an incredible 3. 97 meters (12 feet, 3 inches) in 2017. This impressive feat was accomplished at the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge in the United States.

Feather’s jump was measured using a vertical jump tester, as described earlier. According to her owner, Feather had been training for the competition for several months, using a variety of training exercises to improve her jumping ability.

How Far Can Dogs Jump?

In addition to measuring how high a dog can jump, it’s also important to consider how far they can jump. A dog’s jumping distance is related to their height, but other factors, like their speed and jumping technique, can also play a role.

On average, a dog can jump a distance that is roughly equal to their height. So, a dog that is one meter (3.3 feet) tall could potentially jump one meter (3.3 feet) horizontally.

However, some breeds are capable of jumping much farther than this. For example, the Whippet, a breed similar to the Greyhound, is known for its impressive long jump ability. In 2019, a Whippet named Sounders set a new world record for the longest dog jump, covering a distance of 10.67 meters (35 feet, 0.25 inches).

How High Does Your Backyard Fence Need to be?

If you’re a dog owner, you may be wondering how high your fence needs to be to keep your dog safely contained in your backyard. The answer depends on several factors, including your dog’s size and jumping ability.

In general, a fence that is at least 1.8 meters tall (6 feet) should be sufficient to keep most dogs contained. However, if you have a particularly athletic or determined dog, you may need to invest in a higher fence or take additional measures to ensure their safety.

It’s also important to ensure that your fence is sturdy and in good condition, as dogs may be able to jump over or dig under a fence that is in disrepair.

How to Improve Your Dog’s Ability to Jump

If you’re interested in training your dog to be a better jumper, there are several exercises you can try:

  • Hurdles: Set up a series of hurdles at varying heights and encourage your dog to jump over them. Start with lower hurdles and gradually increase the height as your dog improves.
  • Stairs: Encourage your dog to jump up and down stairs to improve their jumping ability and build leg strength.
  • Fetch: Playing fetch can also help your dog improve their jumping ability, as they’ll need to jump to catch the ball.
  • Agility Training: Consider enrolling your dog in an agility training course, where they’ll be able to practice jumping over a variety of obstacles.

It’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the difficulty of the exercises as your dog improves. Always monitor your dog for signs of fatigue or injury and consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns.

Can Jumping Cause Health Issues For Your Dog?

Jumping can cause health issues in some dogs, particularly those that are larger, overweight, of certain breeds, elderly, or in poor health. Larger breeds and overweight dogs may experience excessive stress on their joints from jumping, which can lead to arthritis or worsen existing joint problems. High-impact activities like jumping are also known to cause impact injuries, especially in breeds with long backs and short legs, such as Dachshunds, who are more susceptible to spinal injuries.

For puppies, especially those of large breeds, excessive jumping before their growth plates have fully developed can result in joint and bone issues. Dogs with pre-existing health conditions such as hip dysplasia or arthritis should avoid high-impact activities like jumping, as it can exacerbate their conditions. Furthermore, older dogs may struggle with jumping due to decreased muscle mass and age-related joint problems. Monitoring your dog’s activity and consulting with a veterinarian is important, especially for those prone to joint issues or belonging to breeds with specific vulnerabilities. Adjusting their play and exercise to lower impact activities can be beneficial for dogs at risk.

How to Teach Your Dog to NOT Jump?

While many owners want their dogs to be great jumpers, others may be looking for ways to discourage their dogs from jumping. Here are a few tips:

  • Ignore Jumping: When your dog jumps up on you, turn your back and ignore them until they calm down. This will teach them that jumping won’t get them attention.
  • Reward Good Behavior: When your dog stays on the ground instead of jumping up, reward them with praise or a treat.
  • Use a Leash: If your dog is prone to jumping on visitors, keep them on a leash when guests are over and don’t allow them to jump up.
  • Consistency: Be consistent with your training and don’t give in to your dog’s jumping behavior. With time and patience, your dog will learn that jumping is not an acceptable behavior.

Jumping Information by Breed

Are you trying to find out how high a particular breed can jump? See below for detailed jumping information on all of the most popular breeds.

How High Can Dogs Jump? Highest Jumping Breeds & Recommended Fence Heights