Ever take your dog for a nice run, only to find out that he/she wasn’t up to the test? Like humans, every dog breed has its strength and weaknesses, and there are some breeds that are more aptly designed to be ‘running dogs’. Again, these are generalizations, as some people like short fast runs, while others like slow, long jogs 10, 15, even 20+ miles.
Below you have the top 12 dogs that are built for the runner in mind, broken down into 4 categories. Of course, the list is not exhaustive and many of these breeds can fit all types of runners, with that said:
Short Distance Runners
Everyone loves the labrador retriever. They make excellent dogs for first time and beginner runners as they are active dogs and love to be outdoors with their owners. This breed is very friendly and people oriented and will make a great addition to those group jogs or fun runs.
Full of energy and always ready to exercise, beagles are a family dog and make a perfect buddy for runs in the park. While smaller in stature, beagles have a strong broad back with well rounded ribs giving it excellent lung capacity and endurance. One caveat, this breed has a sharp sense of smell, and can easily get sidetracked while outdoors.
Daily exercise off the leash is a must for this breed, making it a good fit for light runners. The English Setter is a beautiful dog with distinct markings and gets along well with other dogs. Rural locations make a good environment for these dogs and will always be ready when you put on your running shoes.
Long Distance Runners
These dogs are natural hunters and love to be outdoors. They have exceptional stamina and can run for miles (think marathon) without getting winded. Vizslas originate from Hungary and will make a great overall running companion that won’t disappoint.
Border Collies are gifted athletes in the canine world. Not only that, they are also ranked as one of the most intelligent making it an all-around great dog for serious runners. The Border Collie is a natural herder so be sure to keep it clear from grazing animals are its natural instinct may kick in.
Dalmatians have remarkable endurance and historically were bred as coach dogs to run alongside horses. Their unique appearance make them one of the most distinctive of all dog breeds due to its spotted coat. Dalmatians have sturdy and strong front legs that give them the ability to run for hours and hours.
Cross Country Runners
A beautiful dog with a unique appearance, Rhodesian Ridgebacks have an uncanny ability to long distances. They were once bred to hunt lions! They are a powerful breed and are always ready for a run. Note, Rhodesian Ridgebacks need obedience training and are not the ideal dog for first time owners. That said, properly trained, this dog breed is a true delight.
Weimaraners are fine hunting dogs and can run through any terrain. With a distinctive gray colored coat, this dog breed loves to be outdoors on the trail and can match any human’s stamina. The Weimaraner is a popular gun dog as it possesses tracking, pointing, and retrieving abilities.
German Short Haired Pointer
Cousin to the Weimarner, the German Short Haired Pointer is another breed that thrives in rural and outdoor settings. With bundles of energy, they love to run and make great family dogs with older children.
Winter Weathered Runners
Huskies are known for their endurance which can go for days as witnessed by their presence in the Iditarod competitions. The Siberian Husky is worker dog and can brave the most fiercest of winter conditions. If you live up north somewhere and love to run, a husky will make a fine companion and even keep you warm if needs be.
Malamutes have a sturdy body with a deep thick coat for cold weather. Native to Alaska, this dog breed is also a worker dog that has been used as a sled dog for centuries. An aggressive dog, vigorous daily exercise is all too common for the Malamute.
One of the most recognizable dog breeds in the world, the German Shepherd Dog is a legendary working dog hailing from Germany. Naturally protective and watchful, they also make great guard dogs and are the most trained K9 for police work. If running outdoors in the cold weather is your thing, you can’t go wrong with a GSD.
So all you runners out there … what is your dog breed of choice?