Top dog breeds for running

If you’re thinking of having the dog you plan to adopt be your running partner, consider what breeds will best suit your fitness pursuits.

woman running with dog

If you’re a runner and thinking a dog could make an excellent running partner, you’d be right. But think carefully about which breed of dog to make a part of your family if you want him to join you on your runs. “All dog breeds are natural in so far as being able to run, but some are especially equipped to run,” explains Brandon Steen, certified balanced dog trainer and owner of The Dog Squad Dog Training, based in Toronto, Ontario.

Consider working and hunting breeds

Working breeds

  • American pit bull terrier
  • Belgian Malinois
  • German shepherd
  • Doberman pinscher
  • Rhodesian ridgeback

Hunting breeds

  • Saluki
  • Greyhound
  • Weimaraner
  • Vizsla
  • German short-haired pointer
  • Portuguese water dog
  • Labrador retriever

Small dog breeds

  • Irish terrier
  • Beagle
  • Parsons Jack Russell terrier
  • Springer spaniel

In terms of build, look to a dog that has a lean frame, deep chest and legs like a supermodel, says Steen. Breeds that excel at running include working breeds, such as an American pit bull terrier, Belgian Malinois, German shepherd, Doberman pinscher and the Rhodesian ridgeback. “These have been bred for endurance and stamina,” explains Steen.

Furthermore, dogs developed to help man hunt are another great breed for running. That includes dogs like the saluki, greyhound, Weimaraner, vizsla, German short-haired pointer, Portuguese water dog, and Labrador retriever. “They all have incredible endurance and can go for hours,” he says.

Small dogs can run too

If you have your heart set on a smaller dog, don’t worry, because there are some fantastic smaller dogs that can make great running mates too, says Steen, like the Irish terrier, beagle, Parsons Jack Russell terrier and the springer spaniel, to name just a few.

Avoid these breeds for long runs

As you can imagine, not all dogs are built for running. “Heavy-boned dogs such as an English bull terrier make for not the best running mate, nor would a pug,” says Steen. Pugs have respiratory issues due to their short snouts and the English bull terrier due to their dense muscle weight on a compact skeleton. They are both, however, great at running at a dog park, notes Steen.

When to start training them to run with you

Be sure not to start running with your dog when he is still a very young puppy, warns Steen. “Puppies’ bones are very susceptible to injuries, such as fractures [and] bone breaks, and misalignment due to any injuries sustained as a pup undoubtedly come back to haunt in the dog’s senior years in various forms, such as arthritis,” he says. Steen advises his clients not to walk their young pups very far for the first few months and to never take a run with them until they are 5–6 months old because of the inherent risks.

More on dog breeds

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Top 10 Large dog breeds
Top breeds for families with allergies

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