All types of dog love a run! It’s just that some dogs can run faster and further than others – a bit like humans. What could be better than taking your pooch with you to share your favorite hobby? So, if you are serious about your running and it’s a big part of your lifestyle, it’s important that you pick a dog that can match you in terms of speed and stamina.
We all know that some dogs have been bred to run – the Greyhound is a typical example. Many of the working dog breeds are also excellent runners. On the other hand, there are breeds like the Pugs and the Bulldogs who don’t tend to cope with a lot of running and who overheat very quickly.
The Best Dog Breeds for Runners
Here we’ve prepared a list of the best dog breeds for runners. However, you don’t have to stick to a pure breed. Many of the dogs in animal shelters will also make very capable and enthusiastic running partners. Any that have some of the following breeds in their heritage would be a good bet but it would be wise to check with your vet first.
German Shorthaired Pointers
This Pointer is a medium sized breed and is both intelligent and enthusiastic when it comes to running. They will enjoy long and steady runs out in the country but are perfectly capable of short bursts of speed as well.
They have an abundance of energy but you can’t take them on a very long, endurance run right away. You will need to gradually build up their distances.
The Weimaraners love running so much that a non-runner may not be the best owner for them! They will be delighted to accompany you on any sort of run; fast or slow. They are also lovers of trail running.
This breed has a medium build but has a strong, lean muscled physique and they need a lot of exercise to give them enough physical and mental stimulation. Because they love to be with their owners 24/7, you will have trouble leaving the house for a run without them!
If you live in a warm climate, the Vizsla will be the best breed for you because they are able to run in warm temperatures. However, be very careful with this and only take them out at the coolest time of day because dogs can suffer from heatstroke.
They will be more than happy to take part in long runs and they can build up a high speed. The breed is well known for having a huge store of energy and they must have at least an hour of exercise a day. They have very long legs and can cover a lot of ground so you may have trouble keeping up with them.
Parson Russell Terriers
You may know this breed as the Jack Russell. They are very good at long and steady runs despite their small stature and short legs. The problem is that they also like to hunt prey which could prove to be an issue if you are running in a park or the country.
It would be best to train up your Parson Russell Terrier properly first so that they will not run off after a small animal and abandon you half way through your run.
The Greyhound is the first dog that you think about when it comes to running but they are not long-distance runners. They are excellent at short bursts of very fast speed. Therefore, they are perfect for sprint training next to you but will not cope if you are training for a marathon.
Even though they are competitive runners, when they are not on the track they are a very gentle and sociable dog and will make a great companion.
Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers
These breeds are traditionally hunting dogs and are good all-rounders when it comes to running. They can cope with a long, slow jog but are also quite capable of short, fast bursts of running as well.
They are very friendly and sociable and will love being with you all the time. They have boundless energy but are also very easy to train especially when a tasty treat is involved.
Dalmatians are carriage dogs and were originally bred to trot alongside their aristocratic owners as they crossed the country in their carriages. Therefore, they have strong leg muscles and are capable of traveling long distances
Dalmatians are great lovers of exercise but you do need to keep their welfare in mind. They are large dogs and their joints can get damaged if they do too much running on sidewalks in the city. Therefore, they may be best suited to runs in the country.
If you live in a cold climate, you will be used to getting wrapped up in appropriate clothing for your run but what about your dog? You don’t want them looking miserable and shivering by your side! The Malamute was bred to be a sled dog in cold climates so they love plenty of exercise in wintery conditions.
They have a combination of a thick coat and a stocky build so they can withstand very cold conditions.
From their name alone, you would expect this dog to be good at withstanding cold temperatures and you would not be wrong. Despite being quite a large dog, they are agile and quick on their feet.
The cold weather is what suits them the best and they are capable of traveling long distances once you have built up their stamina.
Portuguese Water Dogs
If your training schedule includes plenty of country runs and leaping over obstacles, this is the breed for you!
They are happy to cover many muddy miles with their owners and are happy to get their paws wet. This is a very energetic breed that is also very affectionate and devoted to their owners.
This is another sure-footed runner that will just love leaping over obstacles on a country run. They seem to have boundless energy and will just carry on running for as long as you do!
They are sometimes called the ‘Aussie’ for short and need a huge amount of exercise to keep them happy. This means that they are best suited to an owner who enjoys some serious and regular running. They can go from a standstill to a top speed in seconds.
Brisk and short runs are just what this lovely breed needs so if that sounds like your own training schedule, they will be perfect for you. They cannot cope with long distances though!
You are very unlikely to be able to keep up with them so don’t let them set the pace. You have to show them that you are boss on the run just the same as in other aspects of your life together. You do need to watch out for their hunting instinct as well. They can get distracted by small animals in parks and out in the country and could head off in pursuit of a rabbit rather than staying by your side.
The Practicalities of Running With Your Dog
Whatever breed you choose as your running partner, there are certain wellbeing and safety issues that you need to consider. Before you start, any concerns that you have about existing or potential health issues should be discussed with your vet.
It makes sense to build up your running distance together. Start with a short run of a couple of miles so you will not be out of breath and exhausted and you can focus on communicating with and controlling your dog. Repeat this every few days so your dog gets used to it.
Then, try adding half a mile at a time. If this is also successful, you could add in an extra run at the weekend. Following this preparation program, your dog should be able to handle a regular run of four or five miles a day. However, it is recommended that you both have one or two rest days a week.
Also, think about appropriate equipment. The correct harness is essential so that you are in control of your dog at all times. You may also want to consider a collapsible water bowl so that you can keep your pooch hydrated. A reflective harness and/or leash could also be useful if you will be running in poor daylight.
Remember that dogs can overheat very quickly so don’t go running when outside temperatures are very high. If you are concerned about sunburn, there are plenty of sun protection products for your dog’s nose and ears.
Finally, dogs that are getting a lot of exercise must have a healthy diet. They need a high protein dog food to build strong muscle and healthy sources of carbohydrate to give them plenty of energy.