Jack Russell Terriers and Sleep: What is normal?

Does your Jack Russell Terrier seem to sleep a lot? Perhaps you’ve noticed your terrier sleeping quite a bit during the day and wonder if this is normal? These dogs are considered super active and energetic, so seeing them sleeping a lot will undoubtedly bother you.

Whether you’re a first-time Jack Russell Terrier owner or a long-time lover of these energetic and intelligent little dogs, you may worry that they are sleeping too much.

Typically, a healthy Jack Russell Terrier sleeps anywhere from 8 to 14 hours per day. Sleeping this much is without any doubt, normal. In fact, Jack Russell Terrier’s on average sleep for 50% of their lives, spend 30% of their time while awake or lying, and 20% in an active lifestyle.

Interestingly, Jack Russell Terriers tend to follow the activity levels of their owners. So, if you are fit and active, your Jack Russell Terrier will be as well. However, if you are relaxed and laid-back chances are your Jack Russell Terrier will be similar to you. But how do you know if your Jack Russell Terrier is getting too little or too much sleep? Continue reading to find out.

How much sleep does my Jack Russell Terriers need?

Fun fact: Puppies and senior Jack Russell Terriers tend to twitch more in their sleep. This happens because the part of the brain called the Pons is underdeveloped in puppies and less efficient in older terriers. This part regulates muscles and keeps them still while they are sleep.

Newborn puppies 0 to 2 months

During the first two weeks of a Jack Russell Terrier’s life and before they open their eyes, 90% of their time will be spent feeding and sleeping. During these early stages, their sleep is interrupted regularly to nurse roughly every 2 hours.

As they grow, Jack Russell Terriers will slowly start to spend more time awake. At around 3 weeks they will spend about 2 to 4 hours a day broken up into small spurts of energy and exploring their world.

Puppies 2 to 12 months

The REM sleep phase restores energy to the body and brain. Humans spend 25% of their sleep time in the REM sleep phase. Puppies, however, only spend 10% of their sleep in the REM phase. Because of this, and the fact they are growing quickly, they need to take naps during the day.

Jack Russell Terrier puppies from 2 to 5 months of age, generally sleep around 18 to 20 hours in a 24-hour period. Older puppies, around 6 to 12 months, will average 14 to 16 hours of sleep during a 24-hour period. At this point, they should be more active and inquisitive during the day and will begin to sleep through the night in 6-9 hour stretches.

Adult Jack Russell Terriers

Adult Jack Russell Terriers normally sleep for around 12 to 16 hours in a 24-hr period. Of course, this can vary greatly, often depending on your terrier’s personality and temperament and your lifestyle and activity level.

Interestingly, this study found that older and middle-aged dogs slept more during the day than younger adult dogs. They tended to run out of energy quicker and more often than the younger age group.

Senior Jack Russell Terriers

Once your Jack Russell Terrier is around the age of 8, they are considered a senior and normally around this age you would start to see them slowly increasing the amount of time they are resting and sleeping. 

A senior Jack Russell Terrier will sleep for an average of 14 to 16 hour per day as this continues to increase as they age. For instance, a 14-year-old terrier could be sleeping up to 18 hours a day.

Even though your Jack Russell Terrier will be sleeping more, they may also be waking up more frequently at night because they need to use the potty more often. If your terrier is an inside dog, you can help with this by taking them out right before bed and limiting their late afternoon and night-time water intake.

Other things that influence a Jack Russell Terrier’s sleeping habits?

It is important to understand that the sleeping patterns of a Jack Russell Terrier are not always consistent; and can be influenced by many things. Lethargy or a lack of energy and enthusiasm can be a sign that your dog is being affected by something more than just laziness or being a little tired.

Stress, anxiety, boredom, diet, or disease can all be factors for why your terrier many be sleeping more or less than usual. If your terrier’s sleeping patterns have changed dramatically in a short period of time, then it could be a red flag that something more significant is happening.

These are the most common reasons why Jack Russell Terriers sleep more than usual.

Adapting to a new environment

A Jack Russell Terrier puppy that has just gone to their new home will tend to sleep a lot more as they adapt to their new surroundings.

This is mainly due to their lack of socialization with humans and unfamiliarity with the environment. When a puppy is separated from its mother and the rest of its litter mates, it can be an exhausting and emotional experience.

It may take a couple of weeks for them to adapt to the new home and their new family and as they adjust, they will sleep more rather than being playful or active.

As they become accustomed to their new home, their sleeping habits will level out to me more in line with their age.

Amount of exercise

Jack Russell Terriers are high energy dogs that require adequate exercise and stimulation to keep them happy.

They were originally bred to hunt foxes from dens, so they needed to be agile little dogs with loads of energy. When Jack Russell Terriers don’t receive regular exercise, they tend to bore easily.

The amount of exercise your terrier needs really depends on their age and overall health. It is important to monitor their energy levels and if they still have pent up energy, then they probably need more exercise.

After an intense exercise session, they will naturally take longer naps to relax and restore their energy. However, if they appear flat and exhausted for extended periods of time, it may be necessary to reduce their amount of exercise and let their body recover.

Health concerns 

If your Jack Russell Terrier has sudden or significant changes in their patterns of sleep, it could be signs of more serious issues such as dementia, arthritis, hypothyroidism, or other conditions associated with older age.

If this occurs, it is important to consult your veterinarian.

Where should my Jack Russell Terrier Sleep?

Every Jack Russell Terriers wants a warm, soft place to sleep. The best place for a Jack Russell Terrier to sleep is inside. A great place for them to sleep inside is in a crate.

A crate offers a safe, personal space in your home for your Jack Russell Terrier. Many terrier owners feel guilty at the thought of “locking up” their beloved pooch, but once trained, the enclosed space of a crate actually allows a Jack Russel Terrier to feel safe, rest and relax. It also stops your terrier from randomly going to the toilet in your house during the night.

It is not recommended to let your terrier sleep outside as their coats are not thick enough to keep them very warm in cold temperatures. You should not keep them outside for an extended period of time if the temperature drops to 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius) and below. This temperature is potentially unsafe, especially for smooth haired terriers.

Jack Russell Terriers thrive on relationships and being close to their owners. Sleeping outdoors can be lonely and may cause them anxiety, isolation, and stress.

Can my Jack Russell Terrier sleep with me?

Many studies have found that sleeping with your Jack Russell Terrier can actually be good for you. One particular study concluded that people who slept with their dogs had increased feelings of comfort and security.

Jack Russell Terrier’s like most pack animals, share an affinity for one another, so they sleep together as a pack. Since you’re the leader of your dog’s pack, they want to be near you and protect you.

For centuries humans have slept with dogs in order keep warm and feel protected. The practice of sleeping with dogs is not new and it is still quite common today. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the American Kennel Club, found that 45% of people sleep with their dogs.

There are some great benefits to having your Jack Russell Terrier sleep in your bed. Some of these include:

  • A positive effect on your sleep quality
  • Comfort and security for both you and your terrier
  • Boosting your mental health
  • Boosting your physical health

Co-sleeping with a Jack Russell Terrier is not for everyone. It is important that everyone who sleeps in or may sleep in the bed is in agreeance with your Jack Russell Terrier sharing your bed. When things aren’t gelling and a good night’s sleep can’t be had, have your terrier sleep elsewhere until you work things out.

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