Best Dogs For Runners
Are you looking for a dog that can be your running partner and your best friend? Dogs that can run with you come in all shapes and sizes. Running with your dog is a great way for you both to get some exercise, have some fun and get some quality bonding time.
That being said, some dogs are more suited to running longer distances than others. Some breeds can tolerate certain road and weather conditions better than others, too. And of course, annual check ups with a veterinarian are key to ensure that running is safe for any dog.
So, which breeds make the best running partner dogs? From apartment dogs to large dogs, there’s a breed to suit every lifestyle and running style. Let’s explore 10 dog breeds that like to run and make wonderful companions.
10 Best Dogs for Runners
1. Rhodesian Ridgeback
The Rhodesian Ridgebackis a powerful athlete who loves to run. These dogs have a natural gait and profile made for running. They’re capable of running at decent speeds for extended periods, which makes them an excellent choice for sprinters and long distance runners. They also tolerate heat better than many breeds.
Although the Ridgeback is classified as a hound, it was originally bred to hunt lions in Africa, so it’s considerably tougher than many hound breeds. Ridgebacks have a natural protective instinct and make excellent watchdogs and family protectors, but obedience training and socialization are essential, starting in early puppyhood.
2. German Shepherd
The German Shepherd is an incredibly intelligent breed with many talents, including running. This breed is durable and sturdy, so it can keep pace over the long haul. These dogs also make loyal and protective family companions.
This breed is easy to train and active. A German Shepherd enjoys having something to do, which makes it ideal as a running partner dog. Positive social experiences in puppyhood will prevent puppy aggression and help to ensure that your German Shepherd doesn’t become an overprotective or nervous adult.
Poor breeding practices have contributed to hip dysplasia issues in this breed, so be sure to work with a reputable breeder.
3. Siberian Husky
The Siberian Husky was bred to pull a sled, so running for long distances over all kinds of terrain is part of its nature. The endurance of these dogs is unbeatable. That being said, their thick fur makes them better suited for running in cold weather. They can overheat quickly on hot days.
Huskies are smart, but also somewhat independent. They love human companionship but will require firm yet gentle obedience training from puppyhood. This breed’s love of running could overcome its love for its human running partner at times, so expect to do some training in this area as well.
Weimaraners are strong and well muscled with a build that’s suited for long, steady runs on pavement or trails. This breed is extremely energetic and loves to run fast! These dogs also like to stick close to their human, which makes them an excellent choice as a running partner.
This is a high-energy breed that is also very intelligent, so an active lifestyle is ideal. However, it’s important to know that Weimaraners don’t do well when left alone for long periods. Be sure to have a plan, such as a dog walker or doggie daycare, for when you can’t be at home.
5. Border Collie
The Border Collie is known for its high-intelligence, agility and endurance. This breed loves to run and enjoys having a job to do, so it will thrive as your running partner. Border Collies are known to be fast learners and extremely intelligent dogs. They respond well to positive reinforcement.
This breed has natural herding and protective instincts, so it will look out for its humans and territory. Obedience training and socialization in puppyhood will help to ensure that your Border Collie doesn't become overprotective or shy around strangers as an adult.
6. German Shorthaired Pointer
The German Shorthaired Pointer is an energetic and fast sporting breed that has the endurance to go for a higher mileage run. In fact, when it comes to dogs that can run with you, this breed thrives on lots of exercise and outdoor adventures, so it's an ideal running partner for the serious runner.
This breed is playful and smart, and typically gets along well with other pets and children. German Shorthaired Pointers are quick learners and faithful family pets, but they won’t be content to sit around the house all day, so daily exercise and mental stimulation are a must.
7. Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever is a lean, sturdy dog with lots of energy and a loving personality. This breed has the endurance to keep pace during a sprint or to run a steady 10K, depending on what you’re up for that day.
Labs are loving family companions and they’re extremely obedient. As long as they’re getting plenty of exercise and adventure, they’re happy to spend an occasional afternoon lounging on the couch, too.
8. Jack Russell Terrier
If you’re looking for an apartment dog who makes a good running partner, consider a Jack Russell Terrier. If you take the time to build up a Jack Russell’s endurance, this breed is happy to accompany you on long, steady runs.
These active little dogs love to run and play, but they also have a strong prey drive. Expect to spend some time training them to stay close and avoid getting sidetracked looking for something to chase when you’re out on a run.
9. Australian Cattle Dog
The Australian Cattle Dog is a medium sized breed averaging about 35 pounds fully grown. This breed is a natural herder, which means it’s athletic, agile and full of energy. With proper precautions, Australian Cattle Dogs are adaptable to either hot or cold weather.
The Cattle Dog is happiest when it has a task to perform, so it will push you out the door even when you’re lacking the motivation to get going. However, this breed can become destructive when bored, so you’ll want to ensure that your Cattle Dog gets lots of exercise and adventure.
At first glance, Poodles might seem a little too prissy for running, but they shouldn’t be overlooked. From sturdy Miniature Poodles to Standard Poodles, this breed was bred to be a hunting dog and water retriever, so its athletic instincts are built in. They’re well suited for long, slow runs, and they’re one of the smartest, most obedient dogs on the planet.
Poodles are well known for their intelligence and trainability. They’re also a hypoallergenic, fun-loving, active and somewhat protective breed that thrives on family life. Socialization and obedience training in puppyhood will ensure that your Poodle becomes an excellent running and family companion as an adult.
How to Choose the Best Dog for Running
You may have noticed that most of the dogs on our list are sporting, herding or hunting dogs. That’s because these breed groups are bred for endurance, speed and a willingness to work. They’re also happiest when they’re outdoors.
When choosing a dog that can run with you, considering what the breed was originally bred for can be immensely helpful. For example, a St. Bernard, who was bred to move slowly and methodically through the snow looking for missing people, isn't going to be the best running companion.
You should also consider your running style. If you prefer slow, steady jogs through the neighbourhood, consider a Standard Poodle or Poodle mix. If you’re a trail runner, go for a sturdy herding breed like a Weimaraner. For speed or distance, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a great choice.
At the end of the day, training is what will really make your dog a good running partner, no matter what breed you choose. Just like humans can build up their strength and endurance over time, dogs can too.
Tips for Success: Running with Your Dog
Keep in mind that puppies of any breed should not go on regular or long runs. You should wait until small to medium sized dogs are at least 6 months old to begin running. For large and giant breeds, running should start after 18 months.
Most importantly, be sure to get the all-clear from your vet before you start a running program with your puppy. Running too soon could cause permanent damage to developing bones, joints and muscles.
When you’re running with your dog, follow their lead. If they’re tired, slow down or take a break until they catch their breath. Next time, slow your pace and shorten the distance to your dog’s comfort level. Then, increase the pace and distance slowly over time so your dog can build up its endurance.
Some breeds are naturally high-energy, but low-endurance, like Bull Terriers and Staffordshire Terriers. They’ll do best on short runs in cool weather. Breeds with short snouts are prone to exhaustion and overheatingand dogs with short legs will tire quickly. Short, leisurely jogs around the block in cool weather will be all these breeds can handle.
In the right conditions, almost any dog can be your running partner, as long as you stick to their capabilities and the type of running they’re best suited for. Have water on hand at all times and watch your dog closely for signs of overheating. Never try to force your dog to run further or faster than it’s comfortable with.
Still in Search of Your Canine Running Partner?
The breeds listed above are an excellent place to begin your search for the perfect running partner. But remember, dogs that can run with you come in all shapes and sizes, depending on your running style and your lifestyle. While you’re here, take our Puppy Match Quiz to help you narrow down your search even further!
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