So many dog lovers love doing everything with their dogs – right down to exercising. Dedicated runners might even be tempted to choose a breed based on how well they will be able to handle a run. And it’s no secret that some breeds truly do excel at exercise. Curious about which ones? This article is for you. We’ll go over some traits that make a good running dog, as well as list out dog breeds that make for good running partners.
We’ll go through specific characteristics for each breed as well as why they are good for running with. Then you’ll be able to figure out what breed is best for you and be able to pick out your next running partner!
Traits Needed for a Good Running Dog
Let’s start with the basics. In order to make sure that your dog is actually going to be a good running companion, it needs to have several important traits.
First, it needs to have a short, low-maintenance coat. Your dog is going to get hot when running – long hair would be really uncomfortable.
This is especially important if you live in a warmer climate—your dog needs short hair in order to run in the heat. A Siberian Husky isn’t going to be your best choice (at least for the summer) if you live in the South like me.
No matter where you live, though, you don’t want a fragile dog. You need a breed that has a strong and durable build. Obviously, trying to run with a teacup Yorkie isn’t quite going to work.
In addition, you’ll need a dog that is obedient and intelligent, one that follows your lead and isn’t constantly stopping along the road to smell the flowers (or scent the flowers). Similarly, you need a dog with a good reaction time to adjust as needed to you. These traits are especially important if you plan on trying canicross with your dog.
Finally, it’s good to pick a breed that is good with people, especially if you tend to go running with others, and one that is energetic and just as eager to go for a run as you are. You’ll also want to pick a dog that you can easily train.
With that said, let’s move on to some good running dog breeds!
Australian Cattle Dog
This breed is a great option because Australian cattle dogs are a herding breed and love having jobs or tasks. Once you train them that going for a run is their task, they will wholeheartedly pursue it.
Another benefit of Australian cattle dogs is that they are an athletic and agile breed. They will be able to keep up with you when you go for a run and won’t tire out.
If you have kids or plan to have some in the near future, a lab is a great option. It’s the quintessential family dog, yet also very active and able to go for runs. A lab has a lean body and is plenty sturdy to endure longer runs.
Labs are generally obedient, easy to train, and loyal. You can be sure that your lab will listen to you while running. In addition, you can definitely take a lab for sprints because they are fast. Their loyalty will also help if you are ever approached by someone unwanted because your lab will protect you.
German Shorthaired Pointer
If you’re a trail runner, you should look into a German Shorthaired Pointer. They are the true endurance athletes of dogs and are great on trails. Beyond being able to handle regular exercise, they actually require it. It’s an excuse to make sure that you’re getting your runs in every day.
Additionally, they are so good for long runs that they can even go with cyclists if you’re training for a triathlon or a biathlon. Because their reaction time is good, they will be able to keep up with you.
Because Siberian Huskies are bred as sled dogs, it is in their nature to want to run, and they have an unending endurance. I’ve run with a Siberian Husky before, and he can go at quite a clip.
Although Huskies are quick and light, it’s best to run with them in colder air due to their substantial fur coat. That doesn’t just mean the dead of winter, though – they are fine in the spring and fall. The only downside is that your husky will need to stay inside during the summer. It’s just much too hot.
While a poodle probably isn’t the standard choice for a running dog, it can be a really good option. Poodles are fast, smart, athletic, and obedient. If you want a less typical but still athletic breed, go for a poodle.
Because they are high in energy, leash training is a must. You will need to teach your poodle to follow your lead when running and how to sustain that energy over a long period of time. After that, your poodle will be great for long, steady runs.
Jack Russell Terrier
Similarly, a Jack Russell Terrier is a less common choice for a running dog, but is definitely a good option. If you prefer smaller dogs, a Jack Russell is worth selecting. They are energetic, bred to chase small prey, and will be able to keep up with you when running.
They are small but strong dogs, good for long-distance runs because they won’t have to go as fast and can slowly wear down all the energy that they have from the time they wake up. If you live in a small apartment, but still want a running dog, this is definitely the best option.
If you want a super athletic dog, you can’t go wrong with the Vizsla, known for speed, endurance, obstacles, and jumping. A Vizsla will definitely be able to keep up with technical trails and any more complicated runs that you’re training for.
It is easy to train Vizslas, and they are known for staying close even off lead, making them great for long, steady runs as well as trail running. They are also heat-resistant, keeping them safer on hotter days. But their best feature is that they are versatile, which is perfect if you like to mix things up.
If you’re looking for a great endurance runner, get an Alaskan Malamute. They are very intelligent and will keep you company during those Saturday long runs. Malamutes are often mistaken for huskies, and like huskies, they are better in colder climates. They’re not the best choice in warmer climates.
Dalmatians are another great running dog breed because they can keep pace with horses. So they will definitely be able to keep pace with you. They are especially good for long-distance and steady runs.
In addition, they are protective, making them a particularly good breed if you’re going to run alone as a female. That being said, you’ll want to run with them on trails rather than on the road due to their weight.
Along with labs, German shepherds are probably some of the most common running dogs, but it’s because they are talented in many fields. They can serve as a great guard dog because they are super protective, but are also athletic and can sustain running.
Because they are strong and durably built, you can be sure that your German shepherd will be able to keep pace with you. Additionally, they are very intelligent, good with kids, and good in the cold—all helpful components for many runners.
Some people don’t prefer German shepherds, so there is always the German shepherd’s more friendly “cousin”: the Australian shepherd. This breed has great people skills and is perfect for active families.
They can handle different terrains, trails, and obstacles, but will still be protective and take care of you to ensure that you stay safe. Plus, they are just really pretty dogs, but they may be kind of expensive on your checkbook.
Like Australian Cattle Dogs, Border Collies are herding dogs and are therefore very agile. In addition, they are one of the most intelligent breeds, making them an excellent running companion.
We all know Lassie and how faithful of a dog she was, and you can expect the same from any border collie. They are the perfect option if you’re looking for a dog that is going to be great on long, steady runs.
Finally, as a side benefit, border collies can also run in the cold, so you don’t have to worry as much about the temperature outside. But they are not Siberian huskies, so avoid the snow.
If you love to do short intense runs, then you might want to get a Weimaraner. They are great for short, quick bursts of energy as well as long distance. Weimaraners are the perfect breed if you live somewhere warm because they can run well in the heat.
If you like to take on challenging technical trails and rough terrain, a Weimaraner will be able to keep up with you every step of the way. Plus, if you have kids, Weimaraners are a great family dog, and you can take the whole family on your trail runs.
In addition to just being beautiful dogs, Rhodesian ridgebacks might just be the epitome of a good running dog. Because they were originally bred to hunt lions in Africa, they will be able to keep up with you.
Rhodesian ridgebacks are very athletic dogs that are great for long, steady runs. Plus, they are good in the heat and great with people, so they’re the perfect breed if it gets hot where you live and there tends to be a lot of people around.
Just as there is so much variety among human beings, there are all sorts of dog breeds that will best suit your running needs. We’ve listed our favorite dogs for running, but you might have another breed at home that works too!
No matter whether you need a dog for the heat or cold, one that is great with families, or one that is perfect for trails, you can be sure that there is a dog for you that can keep you company during your runs!