The Best Dogs to Walk (and Even Run) With
These are the best breeds for your active lifestyle, vets and dog trainers say.
When you decide to get a dog, picking a breed that fits your lifestyle is of the utmost importance. In particular, one of the things that's crucial to consider is how your energy levels may match up. If you love taking long walks or going for regular runs, it's best to choose a breed that's known for athleticism, speed, and trainability. That's why we checked in with veterinarians and dog training experts to find out which 10 dog breeds are best to walk and even run with. Read on to find out which one is a fit for you and your active lifestyle.
The Best Dogs to Walk and Run With
1. Belgian Malinois
Sleek, strong, and muscular, Belgian Malinois are known for their high-performing physiques. Because they are natural herders, they also have a reputation for being smart and obedient working dogs.
"Malinois are known for their boundless energy and their role in the military and police. They require regular exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated, and running is an effective way to achieve this," explains Lynda Taylor, MSc, an expert dog behaviorist and trainer. "This is also a very agile breed who will have no issues clambering over obstacles on wilderness runs."
2. German shorthaired pointer
German shorthaired pointers are another dog breed that makes excellent running partners. "These dogs are known for their athleticism, endurance, and high energy levels," explains Taylor.
Courtnye Jackson, DVM, a veterinarian and founder of The Pets Digest, agrees that these are ideal pets for people who love long walks or runs. "German shorthaired pointers were bred for hunting and have been used to hunt in all kinds of terrain," she tells Best Life. "They also have great stamina and can walk for a couple of miles a day."
3. Jack Russell terrier
If you're interested in a smaller breed to accompany you on your walks or runs, Taylor suggests getting a Jack Russell terrier.
"These are small, high-energy dogs known for their agility and enthusiasm to keep up with a runner's pace. With their shorter legs, they are a great choice for short to moderate-distance runs, but you can gradually build up their endurance for longer distances," she says.
4. Border collie
Loyal, affectionate, and smart, border collies are considered great family dogs. They also make excellent running partners due to their high energy levels and agility, Taylor says.
"These dogs are known for their intelligence and are often used in various dog sports and working roles to herd livestock," says the dog training expert. "However, don't forget that this dog was bred to work for long days and will need both mental and physical exercise to become a good addition to the family."
Dalmatians are predominantly known for their striking spotted coat, a feature which often overshadows their natural athleticism and intelligence.
"If you're a hardcore runner, Dalmatians are a perfect breed," says Daniel Caughill, co-founder of The Dog Tale. "Although their origins are unclear, they were used as carriage dogs for most of the 17th and 18th centuries. They ran alongside horses to protect horses and their passengers from the various perils of the road. A healthy Dalmatian would be able to keep up with most professional runners who run long distances at an aggressive pace."
6. Siberian husky
If you're a lover of the outdoors and like to stay active in the winter months, a Siberian husky may be the right dog for you.
"Huskies are built for endurance and can maintain a consistent pace over long distances," says Taylor. "Huskies are well-suited for running in cold weather due to their thick double coat, which keeps them warm, but they may struggle in extremely hot and humid conditions."
Jackson agrees that huskies are ideal pets for long-distance runners: "Siberian huskies were bred for pulling sleds while running. They can run for miles and are a breed known for having high stamina."
7. Labrador retriever
If you love to take long walks rather than run alongside Rover, you may be best suited for a Labrador retriever.
"Labrador retrievers may not be as fast as many other dogs but they can cover long distances and have pretty good stamina," says Jackson. She adds that they also have "a lot of energy overall, which makes them great companions for those who enjoy walking."
8. Rhodesian ridgeback
If you're looking for a dog breed that can keep up with you in all seasons, there are few better options than the Rhodesian ridgeback. "These dogs have powerful, athletic bodies and high stamina. This makes them a perfect companion for a serious runner, especially when running during the summer or in warmer climates," explains Caughill.
Jackson says that this is because Rhodesian ridgebacks were originally bred in Africa to hunt large game over long periods and distances. Today, she says they not only make great running companions but also wonderful family dogs.
RELATED: The 10 Best Dogs for Beginners, Vets Say.
If you love sprinting but avoid long-distance running, a greyhound may be your ideal dog breed.
"Greyhounds are built for speed and are often known for being race dogs," explains Jackson. "However, this does not mean they have the stamina to run long distances. A nice walk or run for about 30 to 60 minutes a day is optimal for them."
Aesthetically similar to greyhounds, whippets are a medium-sized dog breed that makes great pets for fast runners.
"While they cannot run as fast as greyhounds they can probably run farther," notes Jackson. "They were bred for hunting and sometimes had to run quickly for long distances to catch prey—but even with this instinct they still make wonderful family pets."
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