If you love pounding the pavement with a canine companion by your side, then the best dogs for runners will make sure you’re working out with the kind of doggy that can really put you through your paces.
While we have plenty of tips for running with your dog, the most important one of all is to ensure that you’re not engaging in fast sprints or longer endurance jogs with a breed that’s not up to the task.
Some dogs are built for running and then there are others, like many of the most affectionate dog breeds, that were made for snuggling and gentler forms of exercise. You wouldn’t want a Bichon Frise by your side if you were training for a marathon, just like you wouldn’t expect a Border Collie to sit on your lap all day.
Although all the breeds featured in this guide have high energy levels, plenty of stamina, and the ability to run long distances, each dog is different so it’s important to monitor them when you first start taking them out to make sure they’re enjoying the pace and distance.
We also recommend getting your dog checked out by a vet before you start running with them. Some breeds, like German Shepherds and Border Collies, are prone to hip dysplasia and arthritis – a thorough physical will make sure they’re not in any pain and are fit to run.
Ready to lace up those trainers and get out into the great outdoors? Here’s our pick of the best dogs for runners – we dare you to keep up with them!
The 10 best dogs for runners
1. German Shepherd
Bringing together the best of speed and stamina, the athletic German Shepherd makes for the ideal running partner. With a high mix of curiosity and courage, these dogs love adventure and because they have so much energy to burn, a run can be the perfect way to let them shake some of it off.
2. Border Collie
With their smart, affectionate, and energetic natures, Border Collie’s make great fitness buddies. They’re easy to train, full of enthusiasm, and love the outdoors, and the fact that they’re so obedient and responsive to verbal commands means you’ll remain in control when you’re running.
3. Australian Shepherd
Full of zip and zing, there’s nothing an Australian Shepherd dog loves more than to be running outside and adventuring with their humans. This is an active, intelligent, and high-energy breed that thrives on bursts of intense activity, but just remember that they have a long coat so avoid running with them in hot weather.
Obedient and with an insatiable love of exercise, the fearless and friendly Weimaraner is strong and active with an athletic body that gives this dog an almost unrivalled level of stamina. Light-footed and as fast as the wind, this elite canine will definitely put you through your paces.
5. Rhodesian Ridgeback
Hailing from South Africa where it was used to track lions, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is fast and powerful, able to sprint and maintain speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. These dogs are natural born runners with high levels of endurance that make them ideal companions for long distance runners.
Ougoing and super smart, Dalmatian’s are graceful and elegantly proportioned with a lean physique and a love of nature that makes them willing exercise partners. High in stamina, this breed enjoys longer and slower runs as opposed to short sprints and will happily jog alongside you for a good 10km before they need a break.
Lean and light-footed, the Vizsla hails from Hungary where they were bred as hunting dogs. They’ll often sport a facial expression of intense concentration when pounding the pavement that immediately gives way to a sensitive and loving look the moment they get home. Their sleek coat means they have no problem running in warm weather and they have bags of energy that lends itself well to vigorous daily exercise.
8. German Shorthaired Pointer
German Shorthaired Pointer’s are enthusiastic and eager to please, thriving on positive training methods and bags of love. Powerful, fast, and agile with boundless energy, this breed can’t get enough of the great outdoors and is capable of both short sprints and longer runs, making them the perfect all-round running mate.
9. English Springer Spaniel
Tough, muscular, and built for hunting, the playful and sweet-natured English Springer Spaniel is like the Tigger of the doggy world, keen to engage in any activity that will help them burn off their energy. They crave companionship and exercise in equal measure and will happily run for more than 10km as long as there are a few short breaks along the way.
10. Doberman Pinscher
They may be one of the best guard dog breeds, but the Doberman Pinscher is far more than just a watchdog. Muscular and immensely powerful, they have a love of vigorous exercise that makes them a fantastic workout partner. Able to do everything from short sprints to jogs and long runs, they’re highly trainable and will respond immediately to commands.
Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past two years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with one very mischievous Cocker Spaniel, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and attempting to set numerous world records for the longest ever FaceTime calls with her family back home in NZ.
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