After seeing my dog (a corgi puppy, no less) successfully leap onto multiple high pieces of furniture recently, I know I’m not the first to wonder:
“Just how high can a dog jump?”
The answers and anecdotes that I found all over the internet were pretty amazing, to say the least.
A general rule of thumb is that dogs can jump around 1-3 times their height! The biggest dog breeds can usually jump up to 6 feet high from standing.
Not all dogs are great jumpers though. Some can only manage a few inches of the ground if their legs are short. For example, the tiny chihuahua breed can reach a relative max height of 1 foot off the ground. Older dogs obviously won’t be able to jump as much either.
Do you want to know exactly how high your dog can jump? Try measuring them from the “withers” down to the ground. The withers are another word for the highest point of their shoulders.
Trainers entering their dogs in agility contests usually measure this to see how high their jumping ramps can go. Affordable Agility offers a guide on how different organizations match a dog’s wither measurement to the appropriate jump height.
Maybe your dog does enough bouncing without jump competitions already. If you want to know how high a dog can jump concerning popular breeds, health, or fences, read on below!
Your dog doesn’t have to be a large breed for it to jump high. Sometimes, all you need is a dog with enough energy to spring up in the first place. Here, we’ll review some of the most popular dog breeds that jump high, from small to large.
Papillons are friendly, small dogs that can reach between 1 ½ feet to 3 feet tall while jumping. Jack Russel Terriers are slightly larger and can hit an impressive 5-foot jump height at its most determined.
Cocker Spaniels come from a line of hunting dog breeds, so they have a build that lets them jump from 3 to 4 feet tall.
Border Collies are similar because workers and farmers bred them to be herding dogs. As a result, they’re smart, energetic, and helpful. From standing alone, they can jump up to 6 feet tall.
As their name suggests, Labrador Retrievers are better at retrieving or fetching things for you than jumping. Still, their height lets them jump up to 4 to 5 feet high.
German Shepherds have a mild advantage over Labradors. They can reach up to a foot higher, with a typical jump height of 4 to 6 feet.
Dogs that are great for racing and sports, like Belgian Malinois and Whippets, can jump even higher than these dogs. You can typically see them jump up to 9 feet tall, although that accounts for long jumps.
How high can a dog jump without getting hurt? It depends on their age and breed.
Vets recommend you only train puppies to jump after they’re over 15 months old. Young puppies are still developing their muscles and limbs. They have something called growth plates– pieces of cartilage that sit at the end of their bones.
Puppies have very soft growth plates that only harden after about a year. Encouraging them to jump before they’re calcified can hurt their joints in the long term.
That advice is especially true if they’re jumping on hard surfaces. American Kennel Club offers a guide to help you know when your puppy is done growing.
Some dog breeds can safely jump higher than others. Breeds with uneven leg to spine ratios, like Dachshunds, are more likely to hurt their backs while jumping. So, even if they like to hop, it’s best to train them to enjoy safer exercises like walking.
The type of floor you have can affect how safe it is for your dog to jump, too. Grass is easier on dogs’ joints because it absorbs some of the impact when they land.
Hardwood floors like wood or marble are the opposite, making your dog’s legs take the brunt. That’s part of the reason people usually host dog agility contests on mats or outside.
Sometimes, dogs only jump because they want your attention. You can avoid rewarding them for that, but rewarding them for other ways of asking for you.
Does your dog keep jumping over a fence or gate that’s much taller than them?
It might be because of your fence’s grid pattern. If they have a shape like chain links that let your dog rest their paw, they might be climbing it and then jumping over. You can address certain problems, like boredom or mating needs, to discourage them from climbing out.
Alternatively, you can invest in an appropriate fence height for your dog. It’s best to get one that’s at least 5 feet tall, even for tiny breeds like chihuahuas. They won’t be able to jump over it, but its extra height will discourage them from trying and hurting their joints in the process.
Large breeds like German Shepherds may need something that’s 7 feet tall. In either case, you want to invest in something that stops them from both jumping and climbing.
So far, we’ve covered things you should consider when your dog jumps from standing. However, it’s different when your dog jumps down from a bed.
Instead of landing on their hind legs, they’ll tend to land down on their front paws. That angle isn’t easy on their bodies, especially when you consider that the average bed is 9 feet tall.
Try to discourage your dog from jumping off the bed. If they really insist on getting down, and you’re not around to help, a good set of dog stairs can fix the problem.
It’s important to give your dog safe venues to get down if they need to drink water or relieve themselves at night.
Ultimately, not all dogs can jump to the same height. Yet, they can all jump to impressive heights for their bodies.
If you want to teach your dog to jump safely, the most important thing to remember is to go slow.
You can use different tools at home like tree branches or tires as beginner starting points for your dog to jump over. Then, build your way up from there. As long as you keep an eye on them and they play on soft surfaces like grass, your dog can enjoy jumping high without getting hurt.
Heather Abraham is an owner of two dogs, one cat, a leopard gecko, and a parrot (who her dad still cannot teach bad words to), and an avid blogger. From the time she was a young girl, she always felt a connection with pets. She brings her love of every type of pet to you, with information on animal nutrition, medication, toys, beds, and everything else in between. Along with newly-on-board veterinarian DVM editor Elena, she puts pups first while offering other various fun tidbits along the way.