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Sometimes, it’s all about being the fastest thing on four (short) legs. Jack Russell Hurdle Racing tests the running and jumping prowess of some of the feistiest dogs out there.

At the Purina® Pro Plan® Incredible Dog Challenge (IDC), competitors race one another in fast-paced heats to crown the top dog – but practicing hurdles at home can be just as exciting.

THE BASICS

The elements of the sport are

  • A Jack Russell terrier in good condition
  • 3 padded hurdles
  • A clean outdoor area with even ground and no large obstacles

HOW COMPETITION WORKS

In Jack Russell Hurdle Racing at IDC, each dog races through the course alongside five other dogs, to try to be the first to the finish line. In competition, the dogs chase a lure, wear muzzles (for the safety of all the dogs involved), and usually reach a “finish pad” with a small gate that allows only one dog through at a time.

Each dog runs in a heat against five other dog, and the fastest two dogs in the heat move on to the next level of competition.

Official Rules

GETTING STARTED

If you have an outdoor area with enough space, you can get your Jack Russell terrier started on his own. Though it can be difficult to replicate the conditions of competition at home, there are a few ways to get started.

The first step is to get your dog used to running and jumping over hurdles. Buy a set of hurdles online, or build some yourself, and practice leading your dog over the hurdles. Start slow and gradually increase the speed. Then, if you have a fenced in area, work with a partner so that one of you holds your dog at the starting line while the other person calls your dog from the finish line (and offers him a treat when he makes it across). Before long, your dog will probably love practicing hurdles.

After you’ve got the basics, find a facility nearby to practice under competition conditions – there are clubs and dog gyms all over the country with facilities and knowledgeable staff. Just do a quick search online to locate one near you.

Another great place to begin is by networking through your local breed-affiliated club. Many Jack Russell breed organizations will know where to point you to learn more about hurdle racing. 

There aren’t many events faster than Jack Russell Hurdle Racing. It’s a great way for these incredible little dogs to focus their energy and wow the crowd. But even if you don’t enter competition, Jack Russell Hurdle Racing gives you the chance to spend time with your dog in a way you’ll both enjoy.