If your dreams of being a dog parent include you and your pup, side-by-side, running in slow-motion and glancing at each other with winded, tooth-bearing smiles, you’ll want to make sure you get yourself one of the best dog breeds for running. As the mom of a dog that literally needs to sit down and pant dramatically every few feet, I’ll tell you that not all breeds are made for long distances. While most dogs are glad to romp around for a while or chase after a ball for a few minutes, not all breeds can keep up with you on a long run, nor would they want to. Only certain breeds are both interested and physically equipped to be your dream running partner. And some of the breeds that technically could go on a run with you, should only join you if the climate is appropriate. For example, the Siberian Husky will gladly be your running partner, but only if the weather permits. Huskys are suited for very cold weather and running with them in the warmer months or climates could be incredibly dangerous for their health. Luckily, there are many other breeds with lighter coats and more flexible needs that will gladly take that morning run with you.
Jack Russells were literally made for long-distance runners. These little pups come jam-packed with boundless energy, and to be honest, they’re much sweeter and obedient when they’re able to burn off some energy outside of the house. Taking your Jack Russell on a run with you in the morning will be beneficial for both of you. Expect to be humbled by your Russell when he speeds past you just as you start to lose energy.
According to the American Kennel Club, “a tired Weimaraner is a good Weimaraner.” This breed is very high energy and while walking helps, burning energy with a high-intensity sprint is a better use of their energy. These dogs are happiest when they’re running as fast as they can, and when they’re able to tire themselves out a bit, they’re very calm and loving and obedient. If you like trailblazing and going on long distant jaunts, a Weimaraner is going to be a great running mate.
The Vizsla is a working dog. You might have seen them working for the Police Department or at the airport with the TSA. That’s because they like to work. They have lots of energy and like to be constantly stimulated. When you let a Vizsla off-leash in a wide-open area, they will run around like crazy, whipping back and forth like a penny-colored blur in front of you. If you’re a sprinter or have access to large wide-open spaces, a Vizsla is the dog for you.
Though Labrador Retrievers can be cuddly couch potatoes, they do have a lot of energy and if they’re not exercised regularly, they can put on weight that can be detrimental to their health. Labs love to run with you in different terrains, so if you like to hike or run in non-urban areas, your Lab will really thrive. They have a blast running uphill and trotting through shallow water or rocky terrains, it’s all very exciting and entertaining for them, just as much as it is for you.
If you’re a long-distance, everyday kind of runner, the Border Collie is the running partner of your dreams. This herding breed is glad to go, go, go. They have very high endurance and thirst for physical activity. This breed literally needs to run long distances daily in order to be happy, so their dream owner is a runner, for sure.
German Shorthaired Pointer
The German Shorthaired Pointer needs a lot of exercise, runs twice a day, to be exact. If you’re not a particularly fast runner, but do enjoy long distances and multiple outings a day, this is the breed for you. They don’t need to go out full speed all the time, but they do need to get their heart rate up a few times a day and they will get restless if they’re just going on slow walks.
People don’t often associate Poodles with athletes of the dog world, but these smart and fancy pups are actually incredibly athletic. Poodles have active minds and active bodies and need interesting activities to stay happy. If you like to change up your running route, a Poodle will be glad to join you. Because they’re such a smart breed, they’re better suited for people who are a bit more cerebral and creative with their exercise game, too.
As a hunting dog, the Sussex spaniel is historically a great outdoorsman. The American Kennel Club notes that he has an “abundant coat” that may be slightly wavy or flat. He’s a medium-sized dog, carrying between 35 and 45 pounds on a relatively short frame. He stands between 13 and 15 inches tall. Though he enjoys time outdoors and his coat offers him protection when he’s working outside, the Sussex spaniel is definitely not a yard dog. He’s an eager to please, people-oriented dog who prefers to be with his family.
If you’re looking for a canine athlete, consider the Chinook, a dog who was developed specifically for sledding. He stands between 22 and 26 inches tall and weighs between 50 and 90 pounds, a build that helps him in his physical endeavors. If you don’t spend much time mushing in the snow, he’ll make a willing hiking partner. He has a thick, double coat that goes through a semi-annual process known as “blowing coat,” when he sheds heavily for about three weeks. He is a friendly, gentle dog, though he may be reserved with strangers.
Parson Russell Terrier
The Parson Russell Terrier’s diminutive size doesn’t seem to deter him from the most vigorous outdoor activities. Standing between 13 and 14 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 13 and 17 pounds, he’s a sturdy little fellow who was bred to chase prey down holes. Whether his coat is smooth or broken, it’s weatherproof, able to stand up to wet conditions, and withstand rough terrain as he gives chase. As intelligent as he is energetic, the Parson Russell needs firm training, and a job doesn’t hurt. A sport such as agility is a positive way to channel his drive.